Self esteem was in short supply when I was growing up.
Not that anyone was out to crush us. We just didn't have an environment where there was such a thing as self esteem, much less a sense of self. I'm not sure if my parents thought of us in those terms -- as individuals with individual sense of selves. To them, we were children -- viewed as a unit, perhaps more or less interchangeable, with roles to play and futures to fulfill. Of course, they knew us as separate people, with distinct personalities, but I don't know if they necessarily thought of us as contained beings ripe enough to possess inner lives worthy of consideration. We were beings in the making, nascent and malleable, billowing with potential and room for improvement. Their job was to help us ripen, prevent bruises and defects, and deliver us for perfection in the hopes that such painstaking preparation would help us weather future storms.