Doing your best for a man who doesn't appreciate you is like pouring water on a duck's back; your efforts have no effect on him. Instead, you suffer severe blows to your self-esteem each time he chooses to focus on your faults as opposed to looking at the myriads of good things you do.
A narcissist, someone who thinks too highly of themselves and believes that they are faultless, can make you feel worthless, because to them, you're never good enough.
If you do not want to lose yourself, you should surround yourself with people who help you grow, not those who pull you down constantly. It's not rocket science.
Do not allow yourself to become a tool to fix his broken self-esteem. A tool he damages in the course of trying to fix himself.
True, your past relationships involved men like those described above and they broke you. They have caused so much damage that you have given up on finding true love. You find it hard to trust anyone anymore because the ones you gave your trust, broke it into unmendable pieces multiple times.
It is only normal to feel hurt and to be scared of venturing into new possibilities.
We can't rule out the fact that our present is oftentimes molded by our past. As such, you think that all men are the same and that there is no one out there who will appreciate you and make you feel worthy. You think any new person will take advantage of you like those before him and eventually hurt you.
Truth is, all men are not the same.
A man who will appreciate you will come along.
He will value you, your suggestions, and your opinions. He will take note of the effort you make and appreciate it. He will let you know that he's not oblivious to them and in the process, teach you to appreciate yourself again.
This man will respect you. He will treat you as a woman, his woman. Your relationship will not be problem-free but he won't lose his respect for you in the face of disagreements. He won't make you feel that you are not enough for him.
He will be your partner. He will work with you, play with you, laugh with you, share your pain, be your comfort, help you grow, and entirely revamp your view of the opposite sex.
He will help you to see the best in people, not just sticking to the belief that they are a bunch of scum.
You won't feel less of yourself. You will be proud to be his woman just as he is proud of being your man.
In his eyes, no one will be better than you. He will make the decision to love you and remain by your side and he will follow through. He will believe in you and gradually teach you to put away your insecurities.
He will accept the fact that you are imperfect. As he discovers your flaws, he will accept them as his reality but it won't make him love you less.
This man will accept you for who you are and will not demand that you make unrealistic changes. You won't feel the need to be who you are not. Of your own accord, you will choose to make adjustments to bad habits or traits not because he forces you to but because you have grown to identify such needs objectively and see how they add to your self-esteem.
Finding a man who will appreciate you and who knows you are invaluable might seem impossible with all you have been through. Dating might even seem like hard work. But know that good men exist. They are not rare. It's either you find him or he finds you. Be patient and hopeful, he will come along.