A healthy relationship is one in which both people are emotionally mature and healthy. The more emotionally immature someone is, the more needy and dependent on others, and the less likely it is that that person will be able to maintain healthy relationships.
When you’re in a toxic relationship with someone who is emotionally unstable, they’re almost impossible to be around. You end up either avoiding the person or giving way to their needs.
You know that wishfully looking up at the sky and begging it not to rain is hopeless.
Likewise, attempting to reassure someone who cannot be reassured will not work. No matter how you beg, they will continue to worry.
A serious issue is an ongoing insecurity in your relationship. Why? Because they are incredibly, profoundly important. Your relationships have the biggest impact on your happiness, health, and well-being. The strongest impact comes from your closest relationships.
Not only those with low self-esteem experience problems.
Being insecure in a relationship is awful for the person experiencing it. The burden of fear, obsessive thoughts, helplessness, and the terrible realization that all this insecurity might actually be destroying what they value most can feel pretty unbearable.
However, it’s difficult for the person who is on the receiving end of all that insecurity. The truth is that dating an extremely insecure person can be a nightmare.
An article highlighted the prevalence of the issue of insecurity.
Mark Tyrell recently published an article on overcoming insecurity in relationships, and he received a ton of feedback from people all over the world. Just the tip of the iceberg was represented by the countless comments on the article itself. More than a thousand more personal emails from people suffering from relationship insecurity flooded his inbox.
That article, which examines the causes of insecurity and provides helpful advice for overcoming it, eventually served as the basis for creating the new 10 steps to overcoming insecurity in relationships course. A recurring theme in these accounts is how lonely it can feel to be in a relationship with someone who is extremely insecure. Extreme insecurity can be harmful for a number of reasons, one of which is that it breeds fear.
Why it almost amounts to lying to reassure your insecure partner.
Because reassurance is what insecure people want most, and anyone can say reassuring things, it is all too easy for partners (and friends) to offer reassurance that everything is really okay in the relationship even when it isn’t. This is a kind of denial. And – ironically – the reasons it might not be okay are often the product of the insecurity itself.
Sometimes the only genuine problem in a relationship is the emotional insecurity of one partner and the effect that has on the relationship as a whole. It’s easy to get into the habit of always acting as though everything is fine, even when insecurity starts to seriously harm your relationship. Such pretense can isolate people and cause partners to grow apart. Insecurity has the power to sabotage or even end a relationship in this way.
Intimacy is the lifeblood of relationships, and it arises from the feeling that you can be completely honest with your partner. So how does it feel to be in a relationship with a partner who lacks confidence?
It is brought about by worrying about a failing relationship.
Unease brought on by worrying about lack of intimacy can actually cause the lack of intimacy. Former client Jake gave the following account:
“In fact, I now feel completely cut off from Sara. She constantly misunderstands what I say, doubts everything I say, and doesn’t believe me when I say I’ve been working. It’s so annoying, and the angrier I get, the more insecure she seems to become. I’ve tried to be sympathetic, but now everything is on her terms, and I constantly wonder if something will irritate her.”
Jake said that he had begun to experience extreme loneliness in his relationship and felt he had no one to talk to.
Like many people who are close to an insecure person, he noticed that his emotional connection to Sara was eroding. He felt less able to speak to her about how he felt and less able to relax around her. Loneliness isn’t about being alone so much as feeling alone with others – because you feel misunderstood by them – and that’s how Jake now felt with Sara. He had started to feel confined and found it difficult to be around her but also hard not to be around her because he knew how painful it was for her to wonder where he was or with whom he was.
The painful reality is that insecurity can cause intimacy to disappear in a relationship because insecurity is akin to having a fear of losing something. Attempting to compel love or intimacy demanding to know how someone feels, what they are thinking, who they’ve been talking to, and what they are doing – can drive them further from you.
What, then, if you are in a relationship with someone who is extremely insecure?
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How to recognize a genuinely insecure partner.
Determine whether the person you are with is really excessively insecure before continuing. Some jealousy and insecurity are actually normal in most relationships from time to time – especially in the early stages. Insecure people are often insecure about their insecurity because they instinctively know how damaging it can be. But if insecurity is a constant and central feature of the relationship, then yes, it is a problem and a potential cause of breakdown.
You can comfort your partner, reason with them, and treat them with kindness and love, but it’s important not to make too many changes for them. Jake erred by doing this. With Sara, he had entirely stopped hanging out with his friends. When he had to work past midnight, he called her every hour on the hour. He proclaimed his love for her so often that it began to feel more like a chore than a sincere declaration of his feelings. And eventually, he lost the sense of reality in the relationship.
When reassuring the insecure partner becomes the only goal of the relationship, rather than upsetting them, your needs stop getting met, and the relationship becomes a burden.
Only after Sara herself dealt with her insecurity and learned to trust and relax more by not constantly needing to know what Jake was thinking or doing did Jake and Sara’s relationship begin to improve. He felt more valued and no longer trapped or pressured to behave in a certain way as a result of her increased self-esteem. He was once more respected and heard at last.
You can support your insecure partner in making the changes that could benefit the two of you if they have the awareness that they need to do something about their insecurity. In the end, nobody should have to be emotionally isolated from their partner or constantly on call to them. Strong bonds between people are mutual and not exclusive. People thrive in relationships where partners can depend on one another, accept one another, give one another space, overlook one another’s shortcomings, and enjoy one another. Each of you deserves that, including your partner. Read more about 10 Steps to Overcome Insecurity in Relationships by Mark Tyrrell