Have you ever reached the end of a relationship, and upon reflection, realized how big a role your low self-esteem played in the breakup? Your belief in yourself and the confidence it inspires plays a pivotal part in making you ‘relationship material’.
A lack of self-assurance and having faith in yourself can cause a lot of potential problems in your relationship. If your partner has these qualities, but you don’t, there will be an imbalance in the relationship. Such relationships are hard to sustain and often end in a split.
Through some serious introspection, you can find the seeds of self-doubt in your mind and address them directly. If you don’t, this is what self-doubt will do to your relationship:
You become codependent
When you feel that the only way you can define yourself is through your partner because of their self-assuredness, you will lose touch with who you are. You become a shadow of your former self as you get swallowed up in the relationship.
Soon, you won’t feel confident about any decision you need to make, and you’ll second guess yourself whenever you get the chance. You’ll continuously seek your partner’s approval for just about anything. It can get to the point where you can’t even decide on what color to paint a room without first consulting your partner.
Truthfully, that’s not really consulting; it’s asking for permission and giving your partner complete control over you. Most people don’t like having someone who is so heavily dependent on them, and you end up pushing your partner away. It might not happen that way, and it’s possible your partner can revel in subjugating you and being in complete control.
You feel increased levels of anxiety
When you doubt yourself, you start to question whether you even deserve to be in a relationship. You worry that your partner is too good for you, and in a sense, you’re waiting for them to realize it and leave you. These feelings can induce feelings of extreme anxiety in people with low self-esteem.
You replay every conversation you’ve had with your partner, looking for the subtext or hidden meaning in every sentence they utter, when it just isn’t there.
The anxiety gets worse when you think about what you said and wonder how your partner interpreted. The truth is that your partner is not doing a post-mortem on the conversation, and they’ve already moved on to something else.
Anxiety can be crippling and exhausting, and it can take over your life. It is a jealous mistress that demands all your attention all the time, and it will push your partner aside to make more room for itself in your mind.
Your partner will sense your aloofness and begin to question whether you’re ‘the one’. Other close relationships with friends, family, and colleagues will start to fragment, as well.
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You become your own worst enemy
A lot of people have low self-esteem and doubt their every decision because of an event from their past, which they have not processed. It is usually related to a loss of trust in a person they were close to or a messy end to a relationship. Without having dealt with these issues, you are always waiting for history to repeat itself.
At this stage, the only obstacle facing you in your relationship is… you. The self-sabotaging behavior and the ultimate demise of the relationship would not happen, but for the fact that you don’t believe in yourself.
In the long run, low self-esteem becomes toxic in a relationship, and your doubts and fears cloud your mind. You can’t see the relationship for what it is, because you’re coloring it with your previous experiences. This leads to you keeping your partner at arms’ length and ruining the relationship all by yourself.
Negativity consumes you
Your feelings toward yourself permeate every situation or relationship you’re in, and it’s easy for the negativity to take over. It renders you unable to see the bright side of anything, and you become the prophet of doom, who is someone people actively avoid. After all, who wants to be around someone who brings the mood down wherever they go?
These feelings of persistent negativity can lead to the onset of a depressive episode, which can place a strain on the relationship if your partner isn’t very understanding. There’s still a stigma surrounding mental health conditions, and being diagnosed with one might change the way your partner sees you.
If you don’t do the necessary self-reflection, you won’t pick up on how your negativity is affecting your relationship until it’s too late. Ask yourself what’s happening to make you feel this way, and what you need to do about it. Learn to work through what’s happening to you and your relationship by seeing a counselor or therapist for help.
Anger overwhelms you
You know that what you’re doing is going to ruin your relationship, but you can’t seem to stop yourself. Your frustration levels build, and slow-burning anger takes hold of you. Who are you angry with? The first person you’re mad at is yourself, but it’s not always easy to admit that.
So, you look around you for people to blame for what you’re feeling. It must be your ex who cheated on you, or it’s your father because you think he didn’t love you enough. It’s that teacher from high school who told you that you wouldn’t amount to much in life. And then you focus your anger closer to home, deciding that the person at fault is your partner.
You become prone to angry outbursts, saying things you neither feel nor mean. The hurt you cause your partner will make them question the wisdom of staying in a relationship with you.
You put yourself last
When you don’t have self-love, and your life is dominated by self-doubt, you begin to put everyone else and their needs ahead of your own. You complain about it like a victim and martyr all rolled into one, bemoaning how selfless you are in favor of others. Resentment toward your partner starts festering in your mind.
And that’s what you are: selfless, as in being without a sense of self. You feel so little value as a person that you regard yourself as unworthy of love and happiness. So focused are you on doing the ‘right thing’ by putting everyone else first, that you are destroying yourself in the process.
Conclusion: Rebuild your confidence
If you know you’re guilty of these behaviors, don’t sit and overanalyze them, punishing yourself as a result. Instead, start working on a plan to improve your self-esteem and reduce the feelings of self-doubt that haunt you everywhere you go. All is not lost, and there is a lot you can do to remedy the situation.
Be open with your partner about your struggles and ask for their support. Tell them that you might not be easy to love at times, but you’re rebuilding yourself for your own good and the benefit of the relationship.
About the Author
Tobias Foster is a journalist, writer and editor working with digital publications for over 5 years now. He’s ambitious, dynamic and knowledgeable which makes him highly successful in his area of work. His current assignment is with Best Essays where he works on business, finance and marketing subjects.