Our contributor, counselor and psychologist Zainab Farrukh explains how self-confidence affects your relationship.
Have you ever felt that your self-esteem is affecting your relationship? Low self-esteem is bound to manifest itself in the relationship and sabotage your connection with your partner.
Citing research on low self-worth, having low self-confidence can significantly hamper your relationship with your partner. It entails negative thinking, such as “I am not good enough,” “I can’t ever be happy” etc.
In other words, you are always finding flaws in yourself.
Having a poor sense of self can bring out behaviors that range from being a “people pleaser” to being demeaning in your relationships. Below is a brief overview of low how self-esteem can harm your relationship with your significant other.
Lack of Personal Boundaries
Low self-esteem often means that you or your partner lack personal boundaries. The reason is, one of you do not approve of yourself; and therefore, want to have approval from other people including your partner.
Have you ever felt like you’d do everything for your partner regardless of your needs and wants?
As time goes by; you start feeling as though your partner does not care enough. You start feeling as though you are the one who’s “giving” but not getting back as much. When in truth – this is the message you conveyed to your partner very early on in the relationship. “I am willing to give and sacrifice my personal space, to get the approval I need from you.”
Always Trying To Please Your Partner
Having low self-confidence may lead you to become a “people-pleaser.” You’re always trying to make other people happy, especially your partner. However, this would eventually drain you out, as it gets emotionally and sometimes physically demanding.
Every so often, it may make you feel “victimized,” and you may unconsciously start blaming your partner for your situation, or vice-versa.
Putting Up With Abuse from Your Partner
When you have low confidence, you are more likely to put up with an abusive relationship. People with low self-esteem do not believe in themselves, and they may also often have a lot of self-doubts.
Therefore, they have a difficult time interpreting whether they would be better off alone or in their current relationship. It’s known that some people actually often feel safer in an abusive relationship rather than being alone.
This ties deeply with co-dependency in relationships.
Co-Dependency between You and Your Better Half
Low confidence can also make you dependent on others since you are always looking for validation. According to a study on codependency in relationships, self-confidence plays a huge role.
Codependency means when you cannot function one without the other but in an unhealthy way. It’s also likely that you cannot even imagine leaving this kind of a relationship.
Lack of Relationship Intimacy
Another typical example where low self-confidence affects your relationship is your inability to become too close to your partner. There will always be an invisible barrier between you and your partner that will hold you back from being too close emotionally.
You will never be comfortable appearing vulnerable or weak in front of your partner as you may fear judgment and ultimately rejection. On the contrary – when you hold back being emotionally close, your partner will sense there is something wrong in the relationship and may start to back off as well.
Being Insecure about Yourself or Your Relationship
Low confidence will make you feel insecure all the time. You will always be worrying and ruminating about whether you are good enough for your partner.
Thoughts such as “Do they think that person is pretier than me?”, “Am I good enough for her/him in bed?”, “Do they think I should be a better me?” will keep crossing your mind.
It’s pretty much the same for either sex, when people are insecure, they’ll start worrying, overthinking, and potentially harming what was a perfectly normal and honest relationship.
Such negative thoughts eventually make you doubt yourself, and you start feeling low. Simultaneously, you may also develop trust issues just because you do not feel positive about yourself.
Lack of Assertive Communication in Your Relationship
Assertive communication is the crux of every stable relationship. However, people who have issues with self-esteem in relationships, often lack the skills for confident communication.
Instead of being open when they wish to express something that might be controversial or could cause a conflict – they would indulge in passive-aggressive communication rather than being direct. When delicate issues are not communicated and addressed appropriately, it creates a rift between the partners and damages the relationship.
Aggressive Outbursts Between You and Your Partner
On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes having low self-esteem may cause you to be continuously angry and aggressive at your partner. Because of your constant worry and feelings of inferiority that you are not enough, you start taking out your anxiety and frustrations on your partner – which will push them away.
If you often find yourself in a situation where your partner uses you as their exhaust valve, it might be useful to have a talk about that.
Blaming Your Partner for Your Flaws
Similarly, if you or your partner has extreme feelings of inferiority, you may start projecting your emotions on to others. For instance, if one of you made a mistake, instead of acknowledging it and apologizing for it– you would start blaming your partner about it and make a huge deal of it.
Excessive Criticism in Your Relationship
Lastly, some people dealing with bad self-assurance are likely to engage in heavy criticism. They are not willing to see themselves as deficient, so they start criticizing other people.
This goes on at a very unconscious level in an attempt to cover up one’s flaws and insecurities. However, it is bound to backfire. It’s likely the person on the receiving end won’t put up with this for long.
In short, low self-confidence affects your relationship at every stage. It may even be the cause of a vicious cycle of being unsatisfied in your relationships.
If you have a poor sense of self; be aware of it and know that it is not your fault that you feel that way. Something or someone made you believe that you were inferior in some way in childhood.
However, you can decide to start believing in yourself. Take steps such as seeking counseling to improve your self-worth and hence improve your relationships.
Downloadable: How Low Self-Confidence Affects Your Relationship (.pdf)
Communication is key, if you feel any of these apply to your relationship, you should consider going through all “10 ways” with your partner.
Grab all these talking points in a neat free .pdf now! (available soon!)
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Zainab Farrukh is a psychologist, researcher, and writer. She also works as an online mental health counselor and as a contributor to Life of a Winner.