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-   -   How to help my partner w/ Insecurities? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40628)

Velvet 02-14-2013 08:54 AM

How to help my partner w/ Insecurities?
 
I only just was shown this website www.morethantwo.com

Anyway, from the website, one of the articles was Relationship Assumptions. And one of the bad assumptions was "My partner is with me because I tricked him or herů". It must be almost every other day my partner Ave tells me this. Then I reply something that always goes along the lines of "You didn't trick me, I choose you. I saw you first and I said 'Hi'. You can't trick the willing, I love you."

We've been together 10 years now. The first four years we were monogamous together. He is completely mono, has only been with and loved me. So transitioning into poly in and of itself cannot be the sole factor, though I can guess he feels some insecurities from it.

I have never seen an article that hit so completely on the head when one's partner has this feeling of not being good enough. Just reading it straight through, I have been saying all the right reassuring things. I also always try to hug and kiss my guy Ave, to try and help him feel better.

But I don't know how to get him to build his own self esteem. I have even asked him outright, how or what I could do so that he feels better because I believe he deserves too. And he always answers that he needs to change this or that to be better, not his perceptions. I know he doesn't feel good about his weight or appearance in general (even though I love his body!). And for a long time I was the primary financial support, which only just change this year so that was a hit to his self-worth, but he still tells me he wishes he had more money for me.

I want to help him feel good about himself, but since it has been so long and there still seems so much progress to make I wanted to throw this up on the boards.

Cleo 02-14-2013 09:55 AM

if you are someone dealing with major insecurity issues, the problem is this:
when someone else tells you you are good enough, you don't believe them
when someone else tells you you are NOT good enough, you believe them.

No amount of reassurance is going to fix the insecurities. I know, because I was the insecure person once. My husband loved me hard and reassured me for 10 years and did not help. Then one night he told me he could not deal with my panic attacks and crying anymore and that if I did not do someting to change it, he ... could not deal with it (leaving it up to me to think about what that meant). The same night I went online and applied for the dreamjob that I had been too scared to apply for. I got therapy. I healed myself. He woke me up.

Now I'm not saying that any situation has to change so dramatically, but just wantd to illustrate that no amount of 'trying to make someone feel better' is going to actually make someone feel better. Short term maybe, but not really. The only person who can tackle this, is Ave.

Velvet 02-14-2013 10:26 AM

He has to help himself
 
Cleo, Yes, he does have to help himself. I wish I could facilitate himself into helping himself. Without an ultimatum such as you went through. That sort of strategy from me 1) would be forced and ungenuine and 2) do more harm than good.

Most of his insecurities are greatly a matter of perception, his perception of himself. And a person can always think they wish they had more money or stuff like that. So it's normal, but then his thinking is still selfdestructive.

But when there is something tangible, like him wanting to lose weight, he does seem adamant at not wanting to do for himself. That in some particular aspects he doesn't even try to try, because he feels unworthy. That thinking pattern is where I don't know what to say to even attempt to put logic in.

Cleo 02-14-2013 10:41 AM

I agree that an ultimatum is not something I would advise. The thing is that at the time it did not really feel like an ultimatum. I remember being so very shocked when I saw my husbands sadness, he was visibly upset and crying and for the first time in 10 years, he showed me what my fear was doing to HIM. How it was affecting his life.

It's hard! I think probably the most loving thing you can do is to live your own best life. Take care of yourself the way you would want him to take care of himself... if that makes sense...

Velvet 02-14-2013 02:37 PM

Makes sense
 
That does make sense. I may have over represented his insecurities. He must feel insecure a lot, but he hides it and it doesn't show much in his everyday life. I am one of the few people who he really let's his guard down around, and allows himself to be himself.

Something we do as a couple is to always say and show our appreciation for one another. That way when one of us is doing good at something necessary (like dishes) the deed rarely goes by without being acknowledged. I know I have benefitted greatly from this choice of willingly showing each other appreciation, my ego is well fed. But it has less impact for him, or less long standing impact to be precise.

We live fairly well into the countryside, but I might ask him if I can find a free counselor would he be interested? If he even thinks it would help? Paying for such a thing is out of the question, we couldn't afford it. Something to think about.

JaneQSmythe 02-14-2013 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cleo (Post 184515)
I agree that an ultimatum is not something I would advise. The thing is that at the time it did not really feel like an ultimatum. I remember being so very shocked when I saw my husbands sadness, he was visibly upset and crying and for the first time in 10 years, he showed me what my fear was doing to HIM. How it was affecting his life.

A similar thing happened to me a few years ago when I was having issues with professional stresses, anxiety problems, and feeling like "a failure as a woman" for not being able to "give him" children (my issue, not his). After a few weeks/months of me working myself into a state and crying on him practically every night - he took my face in his hands, looked me in the eyes, and, with tears streaming down his face, said: "Honey, this can't go on like this. You are hurting and I don't know how to help you - it is tearing me up to see you like this. You NEED to talk to someone. I will help however I can but this is too much for us to handle on our own - it's not working." The next day I got the number for a counselor and made an appointment.

(And, I'm glad to report, that much of the problem was an accumulation of "too much at once" - did 3 months of therapy, took care of a few looming deadlines, got through a big family event - and I was back on track - still anxious/still stressed at times but no longer overwhelmed. Thanks honey!)

JaneQ

Cleo 02-14-2013 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe (Post 184551)
A similar thing happened to me a few years ago when I was having issues with professional stresses, anxiety problems, and feeling like "a failure as a woman" for not being able to "give him" children (my issue, not his). After a few weeks/months of me working myself into a state and crying on him practically every night - he took my face in his hands, looked me in the eyes, and, with tears streaming down his face, said: "Honey, this can't go on like this. You are hurting and I don't know how to help you - it is tearing me up to see you like this. You NEED to talk to someone. I will help however I can but this is too much for us to handle on our own - it's not working." The next day I got the number for a counselor and made an appointment.

(And, I'm glad to report, that much of the problem was an accumulation of "too much at once" - did 3 months of therapy, took care of a few looming deadlines, got through a big family event - and I was back on track - still anxious/still stressed at times but no longer overwhelmed. Thanks honey!)

JaneQ

It's interesting isn't it? So the moment he (like my husband) started to take care of himself by telling you that it was too much for him, that he was hurting, it propelled you into action.

ThatGirlInGray 02-14-2013 06:23 PM

TGIB also has self-esteem issues, and I've also had times this year of wondering if I'm reaching my breaking point, so we've devised a plan to try. Because counseling is not really an option for TGIB (due to money, distance, and other circumstances) we are going to try a book that has been recommend both here and by a behavioral therapist I know, "10 Days to Self-Esteem". In order to help support his efforts, this is something he and I are BOTH going to read (we'll each have a copy). Our hope is that this will help keep him accountable to actually DO the reading and exercises and he'll have someone to talk to about what he's going through that has some idea of what's going on. So that may be something to think about. For myself, when I struggle with depression, it helps me a LOT, so much more than just talking, if MC does things WITH me, rather than just taking on for himself the things that I have not gotten around to. Exercising WITH MC or TGIB, cooking dinner or cleaning WITH one of them makes it so much more likely that I will accomplish what I need to.

One thing to be careful of if you go the book route, though: the behavioral therapist cautioned me that, unless this is ALL you're doing all day, 10 days isn't really realistic. As part of an average busy life, 10 weeks might be more appropriate. Or somewhere in between. So the book is a tool, but not a "Bible" of answers. Use in the time frame and method that seems to work best or make the most sense for the two of you.

NovemberRain 02-15-2013 07:02 AM

I find this website to be an amazing tool for just this sort of thing.
www.recreateyourlife.com

It is free for one (I think one) belief of your choice. I recommend choosing 'I'm not good enough.' I love to imagine a world in which no one believes they are not good enough.

There's an interactive video that walks you through the process. They have an option to pay for more, and you can schedule sessions with people well versed in the process for money. But money is not necessary. I have done the process by following the book (before the interactive website was available) and had great results.

Velvet 02-16-2013 06:34 AM

Thanks November Rain, and every one.

I brought up the subject with Ave. Since I had only done a little bit of reading around we decided to take the advice of going through the process and trying things out together. Which should do a lot of good, we spend lots of time together and work well as a team. And if something does stick out to him then we can try it. Going to start tomorrow (Saturday) and do some little research over the weekend. :)


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