If you suffer from chronic insecurity, you may think that your fragile feelings are the only parts of your life that take a hit. Yet the effects of low self-esteem are like a ripple in a pond. What starts as your own lack of self-worth expands into other parts of your life. That’s true whether it’s the promotion you don’t seek, the unhealthy eating habits you fall into, or the relationship that you allow to become infected. That’s why low self-esteem is a problem for both members of a couple. Not breaking the vicious cycle of low self-esteem doesn’t just hurt you, but it can poison your relationship. Here are some ways that low self-esteem symptoms can do damage.
Identifying The Effects Of Low Self Esteem
In this article:
- Becoming Clingy and/or Controlling
- Running From Conflict
- Turning Uncommunicative
- How to Break the Cycle and Save Your Relationship
Becoming Clingy and/or Controlling
Insecure people tend to feel anxious about how long their relationships will last. They believe that they aren’t good enough for their partners. That uncertainty sets off a chain reaction of irrational behavior, which wreaks havoc on your relationship. In some cases, one of the disadvantages of low self-esteem is, your heart shows up in your relationship as possessiveness. For other people or at other times, it might manifest as neediness. How “the monster” shows itself might depend on your gender, but other circumstances can also influence it.
At first, needy people can actually be attractive to their partners, because it makes them feel strong and helpful. But that same clinginess soon becomes a problem. If you make your partner feel guilty about needing his own space, or that you can’t do anything without his help, he’ll soon feel crowded.
The flip side of neediness turning into an overly-controlling person. Your insecurity could show itself as irrational jealousy of anyone in your partner’s life, whether you’re worried about a romantic relationship or another kind of emotional bond. Your partner can even begin to fear you, as you work to isolate her or him from everyone else.
It’s important to understand that you might even bounce back and forth between these two extremes. The “clingy spouse” can soon become the “possessive spouse,” then switch gears again. Some people quickly cycle from begging their partners to stay home with them one moment to becoming angry and controlling the next. The more this happens, the more their partners begin to resent to that kind of manipulation.
Running From Conflict
Nobody likes arguments. But if you have low self-esteem, you probably hate them even more than other people. That can be a problem because resolving conflict is how relationships progress. No relationship is without stressful situations. The “big four” are money, sex, chores, and in-laws. Your central issue with your partner might be something else entirely, like wanting to do different things with your time together or having opposite political opinions.
The question isn’t whether the two of you will have problems, but what they will be. No relationship can escape this reality. The reason that some couples can overcome these differences is that they are able to work them out and achieve compromise. A person with low self-esteem, however, may not feel about to do that. To her, conflict is unbearably stressful because it means she is about to be rejected.
Another complicating factor? Your fear of confrontation might make your partner start taking advantage of you. If he knows that you’ll give in to avoid a fight, he may decide he gets to make all the decisions, or even to make critical remarks that make your self-esteem even worse.
Of course, if that behavior gets too extreme your partner isn’t worth holding onto. But if he’s doing this more because the two you are trapped in a vicious cycle that because he’s a habitual “user,” there’s still a chance for both of you to break that cycle.
Along with giving in to your partner’s demands in order to avoid conflict, your insecurity can also cause you to simply stop talking about your own feelings. While to you this might just be a means of protecting yourself, to the person that you love it can seem cold or even abusive. After all, how would you feel if you tried to talk to your significant other about your hurt feelings — and he just walked away?
Maybe we’ve all watched too many romantic movies, but women, in particular, seem to fall into the trap of expecting their partners to be mind readers. If some kind of drama erupts and our partner doesn’t run after us to reassure us, we wonder what we’re doing wrong. In fact, it could well be your habit of withdrawing constantly that has made your significant other tired of seeking you out just to make you feel better.
How to Break the Cycle and Save Your Relationship
Not surprisingly, there’s no quick fix for a lifetime of dealing with low self-esteem symptoms. A combination of things can help, especially when you are committed to understanding why low self-esteem is a problem. You might try meditation to soothe your looping thoughts of negative self-talk, or yoga to help you love yourself and boost your body image.
Actualized.org shows a video on understanding & fixing low self-esteem:
In addition, opening yourself up to spirituality and a journey of self-awareness tends to lead to greater self-love. Focusing on yourself is the opposite of selfish when it comes to banishing low self-esteem because ultimately you’ll be fighting for your relationship.
Do you show low self-esteem symptoms? Let us know in the comments section below.
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