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A Subtle Sign of Insecurity Can Kill a Relationship Silently

A Subtle Sign of Insecurity Can Kill a Relationship Silently

When you’re in a relationship, you can develop some funny habits with the person you’re with. It could be constant sharing of an inside joke, the expectation that they will always finish your meal at a restaurant, or something less cutesy. For instance, I have a friend who used to ask her boyfriend to say, “I love you” to her 3 times a day, in the morning, in the afternoon and before she went to sleep.

Maybe at first you’re thinking, okay? So what? But this need for validation was coming from an unhealthy place. When you’re dating someone, especially long-term, you should want to hear sweet words like that, but you should also be able to trust their feelings. Even if they don’t verbalize them frequently.

My friend had a strong desire for her partner’s love and attention. She looked to her partner to provide a sense of completeness in her life. This can also be a red flag. Your partner should absolutely add value to your life, but he/she shouldn’t define you as a whole person.

Sometimes her boyfriend would be too busy at work and forget to do it once or twice. Rather than understanding he couldn’t drop what he was doing to call or text her, she would get very upset – even angry. She felt that forgetting about her “simple request” is a sign of him neglecting her, or wanting to leave her. She has trust issues with her partner.

The relationship lasted for only a few months. It didn’t end well because my friend was very upset and her partner felt exhausted.

Insecurity in a relationship is not obvious most of the times.

While reading that example seems like a clear example of why insecurity can wreck a relationship, it’s important to realize that it’s only that obvious to us reading it. See, for my friend and her boyfriend, her insecurity caused big arguments about why he didn’t care about her, and the fact that he wouldn’t do simple things for her.

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Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for insecurity to exist with no obvious signs. You or your partner can feel insecure without voicing, or even realizing it. It’s that sick feeling in your stomach you can’t explain when the person you’re seeing doesn’t text you back right away or show up to hang out on time.

The need for proof of love prevents a relationship from reaching the next level.

Needing to be approved, or needing to see proof of love and self-worth prevents building an authentic relationship. You know the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”? It’s especially true when it comes to creating a long-lasting romance.

When you’ve been with someone, especially for a long time, little things really show they love you and only you. Maybe they did the laundry for you because they knew you had a ton of work to get done and wouldn’t have the time. Maybe they surprised you with your favorite thing from a nearby restaurant ‘just because’. In either of these examples, they didn’t have to say, “I love you and only you and you can trust me!” But you knew it.

Behaviors caused by insecurity wreak havoc all too quickly. If you’re always asking for reassurance, dealing with jealousy, accusing, and even snooping, you’re eroding trust.

Such behaviors are not attractive, and can push a partner away.

Most people tackle insecurity in a way that makes the relationship worse.

People handle insecurity in different ways, trying to make themselves feel better in the relationship. Yet they don’t realize the way they try to fix their insecurity issues is worsening their relationship.

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Some fiercely seek security.

Security in a relationship isn’t something tangible, but some people want to hold on to it. To feel secure all the times, they seek some kind of solid reassurance. In this case, a person will demand security from their partner by asking them to do something to prove their love. This tactic is not much different from peer pressure amongst teenagers.

But if you’re asking your partner to say I love you a certain number of times, or asking them to do favors constantly, things can get out of hand. And if you’re desperate enough to ask them to reply to you immediately when you text, things are going downhill fast.

When a partner is overwhelmed by ridiculous requests, he or she will be unable to perform perfectly 100% of the time. The problem of insecurity cannot be fixed this way. Actions do speak louder than words; but when they’re actions requested by the insecure party, they’re inauthentic and exhausting at best.

Some show insecurity in a subtle way.

These people tend to believe that it’s weak to admit feeling insecure, but also secretly hope to be cared by their partner. However, when the partner doesn’t pick up on what’s going on, it can cause more fights and insecurity.

They’ll give subtle signs and say things like, “I’m okay. Don’t worry,” or “Go ahead do what you want,” but then ignore their partner. While this is meant to show they are bothered by the action, it isn’t effective.

Assuming that couples should understand each other well, even without talking about things, is unrealistic. Even if you’re embarrassed about how insecure you feel, or you can’t explain the reasoning behind it, it’s still important to let it be known.

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When an insecure person relies on subtle clues and actions, their partner won’t understand what they really think and take their actions personally. This causes a lot of miscommunication because one of the partners has to always be guessing what the other is thinking, and it’s not likely that they can guess it right all the time. The passive aggressive behaviors such as ignoring a partner or throwing temper-tantrums can also hurt the partner’s feelings, and even anger them.

Some act like they are secure.

Some people choose to suppress their real feelings out of fear or embarrassment. While they may intend well because they don’t want their insecurity to affect another person or affect the relationship, they are only making things worse.

It may seem to work at first because whenever they meet their significant other, the happy time together can temporary make them forget about the insecure feelings. But because of trying so hard to suppress their feelings, they may tend to take in all the sadness.

Not letting out of the negative emotions or sharing them with anyone, these people are likely to overthink (about bad things that may not happen). This prolonged sadness may even lead to anxiety or depression.

In the long-run, the relationship is not healthy. Despite how much these people try to pretend nothing is going wrong, their partner will eventually feel the negative vibe and the relationship will not last.

The only way to fix insecurity is to be vulnerable.

Being insecure is not a mistake. Having insecurity issues doesn’t make one a weak person.

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Once you realize you feel insecure, reflect and determine where these feelings are coming from. It could be from past experience. Maybe you lacked attention or gained too much attention from your parents when you were small? Maybe you were in a relationship with an insecure partner? Maybe you lack confidence in yourself? Shift the focus from blaming your partner to digging into your inner thoughts.

After you have found out why you are feeling what you’re feeling, share it with your partner. Talk about the emotions you feel. Tell him/her how you feel when he/she does something, and why you feel such way. Share with him/her the reason why you think these things trigger you those feelings.

Figure out together with your partner what to do to make both people stay aware of the issue. Both partners need to work on certain aspects to minimize and fix insecurity together. For instance, if you ask your partner to text you immediately, take baby steps to stop that. Maybe he/she can agree to text you when he/she gets to work and let you know he/she’s going to have a busy day and may not be able to reach out until his/her lunch break.

No matter how you two agree to take steps to resolve the issue, it’s vital you have the discussion. Otherwise, things will never get better. Whether it’s nightly conversations about how you felt that day or something more personal like journalling, you have to make an effort to realize the issue and resolve it. Remember to be patient with yourself and your partner. It takes two people to make a relationship work, especially when overcoming a challenge.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on February 28, 2019

The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected

The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected

Admit it, you feel good when other people think you’re nice. Maybe you were complimented by a stranger saying that you had a nice outfit. You felt good about yourself and you were happy for the rest of the day.

    We all like to feel liked, whether by a stranger or a loved one. It makes you feel valued and that feeling can be addictive. But when the high wears off and you no longer have validation that someone thinks you’re a good, sweet person, you may feel insecure and lacking. While wanting others to like you isn’t in itself a bad thing, it can be like a disease when you feel that you constantly need to be liked by others.

    Humans are wired to want to be liked.

    It’s human nature to seek approval from others. In ancient times, we needed acceptance to survive. Humans are social animals and we need to bond with others and form a community to survive. If we are not liked by others, we will be left out.

    Babies are born to be cute and be liked by adults.

      The large rounded head, big forehead, large eyes, chubby cheeks, and a rounded body. Babies can’t survive without an adult taking care of them. It’s vital for adults to find babies lovely to pay attention to them and divert energy towards them.[1]

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      Recognitions have always been given by others.

        From the time you were a child, whether at school or at home, you have been receiving recognition from external parties. For instance, you received grades from teachers, and if you wanted something, you needed approval from your parents. We’ve learned to get what we want by catering to other people’s expectations. Maybe you wanted to get a higher grade in art so you’d be more attentive in art classes than others to impress your teacher. Your teacher would have a generally good impression on you and would likely to give you a higher grade.

        When you grow up, it’s no different. Perhaps you are desperate to get your work done so you do things that your manager would approve. Or maybe you try to impress your date by doing things they like but you don’t really like.

        Facebook and Instagram have only made things worse. People posting their photos and sharing about their life on Instagram just to feels so good to get more likes and attention.

        Being liked becomes essential to reaching desires.

          We start to get hyper focused on how others see us, and it’s easy to imagine having the spotlight on you at all time. People see you and they take an interest in you. This feels good. In turn, you start doing more things that bring you more attention. It’s all positive until you do something they don’t like and you receive criticism. When this happens, you spiral because you’ve lost the feeling of acceptance.

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          But the reality is this is all just perception. Humans, as a species, are selfish. We are all just looking at ourselves; we only perceive others are giving us their focus. Even for those who please others are actually focusing on making themselves feel good. It’s like an optical illusion for your ego.

            The desire to be liked is an endless chase.

              Aiming to please others in order to feel better will exhaust you because you can never catch up with others’ expectation.

              The ideal image will always change.

              It used to be ideal to have a fair weight, a little bit fat was totally acceptable. Then it’s ideal to be very slim. Recently we’ve seen “dad-bods” getting some positive attention. But this is already quickly changing. In fact, a recent article from Men’s Health asked 100 women if they would date a guy who had a dad-bod, about 50% of women claimed to not care either way, only 15% exclusively date men with a “dad bod”.[2]

              People’s expectations on you can be wrong.

              Most people put their expectations on others based on what’s right in the social norms, yet the social norms are created by humans in which 80% of them are just ordinary people according to the 80/20 rules.[3]

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              Think about it, every day, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you filter what you believe to be truth. If someone compliments you, you take it and add it to an idea of what the best version of yourself is. When someone criticizes you, even in a destructive way, you might accept it altogether, or add it to a list of things you’re insecure about. When you absorb the wrong opinion from others, you will either sabotage your self-esteem or overestimate yourself by accepting all the good compliments and stop growing; or accepting all the destructive criticisms and sabotage your own self-esteem and happiness.

              Others’ desires are not the same as yours.

                If you live your life as one long effort of trying to please other people, you will never be happy. You’re always going to rely on others to make you feel worth living. This leads to total confusion when it comes to your personal goals; when there’s no external recognition, you don’t know what to live for.

                The only person to please is yourself.

                  Think of others’ approval as fuel and think of yourself as a car. When that fuel runs out, you can’t function. This is not a healthy mindset.

                  In reality, we’re human and we can create our own fuel. You can feel good based on how much you like yourself. When you do things to make you like yourself more, you can start to see a big change in your opinion. For example, if being complimented by others made you feel good and accepted, look in the mirror and compliment yourself. Say what you wish others would say about you.

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                  Internal approval takes practice, but it’s worth the effort. You have to re-train your own mind. Think of the dog who knows there is food when the bell rings, the reflex is hard wired into the dog.[4] We need our own triggers to reinforce the habit of internal approval too. Recognize yourself every day instead of waiting for people to do it for you, check out in this article the steps to take to recognize your own achievements and gain empowerment: Don’t Wait for People to Praise You. Do It Yourself Every Single Day

                  Notice that when you start to focus on yourself and what to do to make yourself happy, others may criticize you. Since you’ve stopped trying to please others to meet their expectations, they may judge you for what you do. Be critical about what they say about you. They aren’t always right but so are you. Everyone has blind spots. Let go of biased and subjective comments but be humble and open to useful advice that will improve you.

                  Remember that you are worth it, every day. It will take time to stop relying on others to make you feel important and worth something, but the sooner you start trying, the happier and healthier you will be.

                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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