ERP 126: What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship
LISTENER’S QUESTION “I have been listening to your podcasts and i find them very helpful for me to understanding how to communicate and work through some of my thoughts and needs in my relationship. I have been having an internal struggle with myself in my relationship that i was wondering if you might be able to help me work through and understand. I think this might have to deal somewhat with self love and self esteem but i am not sure how to get better with these subjects. I have this amazing boyfriend who knows I have insecurity issues and is really understanding and I believe I can trust him but I am having a struggle with modern normalities. There are 2 things that are similar but slightly different that I just can’t feel comfortable with. My boyfriend is a TV person and he likes to get into all sorts of shows ranging from standard TV to HBO and Cinemax type shows. He has told me that he doesn’t watch them for the sex scenes and nudity and i believe him but because he is a man i can’t think that he doesn’t enjoy them. This thought of that and how much there is in these shows makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to make him not watch the shows because it’s not his fault they put those scenes in these shows but I don’t know how to frame my mind to accept it. I also get uncomfortable about going anywhere where women will be barely wearing clothes like the beach, wondering if he might be enjoying what he sees, even though i know it’s natural to be attracted to other people it still makes me uncomfortable. I have talked to him about it and he has told me he is not a visual person and he doesn’t care about anyone else but i still understand that he is man. I want to be able to do these things with him because they are part of modern day life but i am having a hard time. If you could offer suggestions that would be so very helpful to me. I also would like to thank you so much for putting together these podcasts for people like me. They help me grow as a person and become a better partner.” DR. JESSICA HIGGINS’ RESPONSE Thank you for reaching out. I acknowledge your experience, the discomfort and struggle around these issues. I know it can be extremely painful. Also, I love that you are looking for ways to shift your experience and improve that way you deal with some of these insecurities. Today, I am going to offer you some tips to address your questions. I will also be offering general suggestions and recommendations for how to deal with insecurity in relationship. (Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear explanations, stories and examples.) INSECURITY IN RELATIONSHIP When we are feeling insecure, we are typically feeling as though we are not good enough and/or we are feeling some type of threat. While most of us will have feelings of insecurity at some point or another, it is important to pay attention to when we notice a repetitive pattern of insecurity. Especially because insecurities can push people away and be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Feelings of insecurity usually involve: Inadequacy Anxiety Criticism Comparison Inadequacy When we question our value and self-worth, we tend to put a lot of emphasize on other people’s perceptions of us. We will look for outside validation, affirmation and reassurance to feel good about ourselves. The trouble with this approach is: We never feel solid and secure in our goodness and worth. We typically feel disempowered, lacking and inadequate. Getting validation and reassurance rarely leads to satiation and lasting change. At it’s best, it provides a temporary fix. When we do not believe we are good enough, it is very difficult to believe someone else’s high opinion of us or to receive someone’s compliment. We never feel trusting, relaxed and at peace with ourselves and our relationship. Anxiety Relationship will evoke our fears, wounds, and insecurities. When we love deeply, we are confronted with our attachment insecurities, essentially our trust, confidence, and belief that our partner will be there for us. If you have experienced any disappointment, loss, pain, rejection, abandonment, trauma, or neglect in your early years in how your caregiver/s provided for you, it is likely that you may have some level of attachment insecurity. Criticism How do you talk to yourself? What is your internal dialogue? Are you kind when you look in the mirror or do you criticize parts of your body? When you get dressed in the morning, what do you believe about your presentation (i.e. “Ugh, I hate my outfit.” “I need to lose weight.”)? When you make a mistake, what do you say to yourself? Sometimes, many times, we are our worst and harshest critics. There is nothing wrong with striving for greatness, but are we using pain, punishment, and shame as forms of motivation? Comparison In the The Comparison Trap, By Rebecca Webber, she writes “Social comparison theory was first put forth in 1954 by psychologist Leon Festinger, who hypothesized that we make comparisons as a way of evaluating ourselves. At its root, the impulse is connected to the instant judgments we make of other people—a key element of the brain’s social-cognition network that can be traced to the evolutionary need to protect oneself and assess threats.” DISTORTED MESSAGES Constant imagery of women’s bodies. Concentrated exposure designed to be compelling. Over sexualized. Not valuing other traits, qualities, and characteristics Killing Us Softly WHAT WILL NOT WORK Trying to control his environment. Attempting to control the environment is a negative cycle because you will not develop trust. For example, if you feel success in minimizing your discomfort, it will because you managed the situation. Avoiding creates more anxiety, and at times phobias, as you let fear dictate and limit your life. If he is not respectful towards women or has a wandering eye, then you will know. You trying to control the situation will get in the way of gathering this information, as well as taking away his opportunity to show-up for you. Comparing yourself to every women on television and out in public. By constantly measure your worth against others, you are giving your power away. This sells you short because the only way for you to be valuable or lovable is if you rank high. This is an anxious feeling because you always have to compete with others. Rather than just being your awesome self. Making your partner responsible. When we feel threatened, it is easy to judge that what your parent is doing is wrong or bad. For example, if a guy feels insecure about himself, and his significant other is friendly. His temptation might be to be critical of his partner…judging her as too outgoing and gregarious. He may even try to control who she talks to and socializes with. While he doesn’t feel safe and secure, he attempts to blame and control her. She is likely to push his blame and criticism away. Thus, leaving them both feeling hurt, scared, and disconnected. Seeking continual reassurance. It is natural to seek reassurance from our partner when we experience self-doubt. Yet, if this is our only method towards feeling more security, then we come dependent on our partner’s approval for our well-being. Your partner will likely resists this responsibility and burden. It is a burden because it requires them to only convey positive feelings towards you, which is not realistic or authentic. Getting carried away with negative thoughts, worries, and fears. What is your worry? What is your fear? The majority of relationship insecurities are based on irrational thoughts, fears, and worries. Letting anxious feelings rule. When we feel threatened, it is easy to react to the alarms going off. However, when it comes to relationship, very little good comes from reacting. When we react, it can feel like we are out of our minds. Which in some respects is true, we are not in our right place. It is very hard to think rationally when we are panicked. I hear people say “I don’t know what I was thinking.” “It is so not like me.” “I DO trust you.” Stay tuned for the next episode discussing “What Will Work” when feeling insecure in relationship. Until then, check out the Connected Couple program to develop happy, lasting love: MENTIONED: ERP 125: How Kindness Can Strengthen Your Love (podcast episode) ERP 043: How To Transform Jealousy into Passion and Excitement (podcast episode) ERP 052: Save Your Relationship By Understanding Your Attachment Needs 9podcast episode) ERP 071: How To Use Sexual Energy To Improve Your Health a Relationship – With Sarina Stone The Comparison Trap, By Rebecca Webber (article) Killing Us Softly (Wikipedia page) Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash TRANSCRIPT: Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 126: What To Do When You Feel Insecure In Relationship [Transcript] If you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please reach out to me. Here is my contact information. I would really appreciate your honest rating and review. Please leave a review by clicking here. Thank you! If you are interested in developing new skills to overcome relationship challenges, please consider taking the Empowered Relationship Course or doing relationship coaching work with me.