Having a Partner with Low Self-Esteem
Self esteem is an emotional energy that can guide us to accomplish great things and overcome obstacles. It helps us to feel worthy of ourselves and allows us to trust and believe in ourselves.
In a nut-shell self esteem is the way we rate ourselves.
Good self esteem means that you like yourself and are fairly confident. If your self esteem is not good then you believe you are not good enough or inferior to others.
Low self esteem focuses on all the negatives and all the things you don’t have. It magnifies short comings and does not process or acknowledge strengths and achievements. People put themselves down; feel depressed, anxious or miserable.
It can be heartbreaking to watch someone you love wrestle with their own self-worth. Having a partner with low self-esteem not only hurts them, but it can affect your relationship as well.
Our level of self-esteem determines our comfort zone in life. This is also known as your “safe place.” It means you won’t take many risks outside of your comfort zone.
The problem with having a partner with low self-esteem is their comfort zone is extremely limiting because they believe so many things are outside of their comfort zone based on the way they feel about themselves.
When you’re in a relationship you end up merging into their comfort zone or they merge into yours. In essence you create a relationship “comfort zone.” But if the person will low self-esteem gets to determine how you spend your time it’s going to be based on their level of insecurity and their fears.
This is how low self-esteem impacts the relationship. It’s very similar to people who have a partner with anxiety that effects their relationship.
Eg. If you’re invited to a pool party for your friends 40th Birthday but your partner believes she is too fat to wear a swim suit or doesn’t want to be around the pretty women who have better bodies than her then you will probably end up not going.
Or, she won’t go and you do. Then she’s insecure that you’re going to be looking at these other ladies. Maybe it triggers her jealousy. And it creates a conflict for no reason at all.
In the end and over time it’s easier to say no to invitations that to go through the drama of it.
You want to make sure you don’t fall into that trap or play those games. It’s not your partners fault. They’re not trying to make you feel bad or limit your life experiences they are just trying to cope with how they feel.
Traits of Low Self-Esteem
People who suffer with low confidence and low self-esteem also:
- Look for signs that people don’t like them
- Seem awkward and appear self-conscious
- Mind read other people to determine what they are
- thinking of them
- Can become people pleasers. They will do anything
- for anyone else.
- Seek reassurance from friends
- Earn or buy their friendships
- Can appear cold or aloof
- Struggle to give eye contact or smile unconsciously
- giving the message to back off
- Feel inferior to others thus making it difficult for people to build relationships / friendships.
This just reinforces what they already believed – they’re not good enough. In order to break these cycles and behaviours people need to do things differently.
7 Ways to Help Your Partner with Low Self-Esteem
1. Understand Your Partners Low Self-Esteem
To help your partner, you need to understand what self-esteem means and where it comes from. Self-esteem isn’t just about feeling good about how you look or having confidence.
Self-esteem means having a sense of self-worth and self-respect. It’s not about how you feel about yourself because that changes day by day it’s about what you believe to be true about who you are as a person.
2. Learn about your partners past
A lot of times people with low self-esteem feel the way they do because of something that has happened to them in the past.
It could even be something they learned from a parent or someone else close to them. It could be from criticism from a friend or ex-partner.
Words cut deep and can leave a scar or a wound that keeps bleeding. Low self-esteem comes from the past and lives in the present.
3. Ask Questions
Without pressuring your partner too much, it may help to talk about their issues. They may or may not be willing to discuss their feelings of self-worth, and might even brush the whole situation off as silly.
It’s important that you do not force the issue too much, as you want them to come around in their own time and not feel pressured.
You need to listen while they do all the talking. This is not a time for your input or your solutions. This is a time to understand where they are coming from and why it’s impacted them to this degree.
This promotes trust and will deepen the connection between you.
Looking for Help With Your Relationship?
Building A Better Relationship Workbook is full of exercises, activities and tools to improve your connection, intimacy and communication in your relationship.
There are 90 pages designed to help you learn what is working and what needs to change in your relationship.
If you apply all the lessons in this workbook your relationship is going to improve on a big scale.
You deserve to have a loving, kind, respectful and intimate relationship. This workbook is a the first step on that journey.
4. Consider Counselling
Sometimes, especially if the situation is particularly bad or is affecting your daily lives, seeing a therapist can help get to the root of the problem.
Your partner may be more comfortable talking to a professional, and you need to be okay with that too.
Sometimes people don’t know where their low self-esteem comes from but it’s undeniably a big problem for them. They need tools, strategies and healing to move forward.
5. Be supportive
No matter what, it’s very important that you maintain and show unconditional love for your partner. The very idea that you love them unconditionally, even when they cannot find that love for themselves, is going to be what keeps you both holding on.
But understand this, you are not the solution to the problem. You can’t make your partner happy or make them feel good about themselves.
They need to do the work themselves to make internal changes. If you think you have to be the solution or know what to say or do to make them feel good you will get burnt out.
You will end up resenting that person because no matter what you do they will not feel good – at least not for long.
It will feel like a bottomless pit where you have to keep putting in and feel like you don’t get much back because they situation stays the same.
6. Tell them what you believe about them to be true
Your partner may not understand or realize their self-worth, but you do. Let them know by telling them what you believe about them to be true.
In other words don’t just tell them they are beautiful or have a good body this will eventually trigger their insecurities and will work against your good intentions.
Tell them what you know about them as a good person. What you admire about them, their achievements, their morals, their integrity etc.
Avoid making it all about their physical looks, though; remember that self-esteem is much deeper than that.
7. Be Patient
Teaching another person about themselves is a daunting and sometimes near impossible task.
You might be feeling irritated, upset, or your own self-esteem might take a few hits as well. Try to be patient and give your partner the time and space they need to heal.
Make sure you don’t their low self-esteem or insecurities stop you living your life. Don’t be guilted into doing or not doing something based on their low self-esteem. Remember you are sharing each others lives not controlling it.
Most importantly, don’t give up on your partner. Low self-esteem can have many influencing factors. It’s a deep and complex issue so it will take time and work to make improvements.
It’s not your job to fix them, but you can help them by having patience and the strength to ensure that they get help.
With patience, love, and determination, you can help your partner overcome their low self-esteem. It may be a tough process with heartbreaking moments, but the two of you can make it through.
Have hope and confidence that your partner will eventually, come around and see themselves for the wonderful person you know them to be.