Being a couple should be a beautiful way to grow together and you should be empowering each other in an exclusive, supportive relationship. Sometimes, for a bunch of reasons, things can get messy and you find yourself acting differently, living in frustration with a lower self-esteem. If you think your relationship is affecting your self-esteem, it could be because of the way your partner behaves and you should focus on whether it's really worth it. On the other hand, it's also true that once low self-esteem manifests itself, it nourishes itself day after day and it's not always your partner's fault. Sometimes you may be acting too submissive and causing misunderstandings and worthless discussions and it becomes a cycle that you just get caught up in. So how can you understand if your partner is lowering your self-esteem or if it's just that you need a bit more support? Here are 11 signs that he's doing a terrible job on your self-esteem and it might be time to evaluate if your relationship is really worth it.
11 You Don't Feel Important
At a certain point in the relationship you start feeling your needs and desires just stopped mattering and that you’re not totally involved in the things you’re doing as a couple. It could happen gradually, without feeling discomfort at first, and you stop deciding where to go and what to do, just because you want to avoid arguing. So you find yourself following your partner, only seeing the people he wants to see and hanging out where he wants to, and you start feeling that what you think has no more importance in the relationship. Try to balance this situation before it’s too late!
10 He Has Taken Control
This happens when you’re the half of the couple who doesn’t like worthless quarrels and bitterness. If he points out what you should and shouldn’t do, who you should and shouldn’t see, and makes all of your decisions, you will feel that he’s taking control of your life. In this case, you’ll mostly likely find him overreacting to everything you decide to do and you’ll stop feeling like the owner of your decisions. It's a short step from here to losing your self-esteem because when you stop taking responsibility about your decisions you start feeling incapable of making decisions at all. Psychotherapists suggest you should react to overly aggressive conversations so you can firmly stop them.
9 You Feel Misunderstood
Sometimes your partner’s behavior is just a reflection of your insecurities. It depends on if you feel uncertain about saying or doing something because you don’t know how he’ll react and you fear he won’t understand you, so you just communicate on a different level from where it should be. For example, if you want to cuddle, you should just show or say what you want and try not to be afraid of your partner’s response. If you don’t do what you’re feeling, chances are you’re isolating yourself, and you’ll just turn aside and look like the cold person you’re not. As a consequence, he will probably react distantly and you’ll feel misunderstood. So please, just be who you really are, and you’ll never be mistaken.
8 You Don’t Know Who You Are Anymore
Before starting this relationship, you liked having short hair and dying your hair red and you loved wearing colored skirts and listening to classical music. Now you have long blonde hair, listen to Rihanna, and only wear skinny jeans. Is it because he wants you like that? If you feel how you’ve changed has not happened spontaneously, chances are you’re just diluting your personality to please him. Maybe you should remember who you really are. Your partner fell in love with you for the person you were when you first met. Be courageous, there’s no worse loss than losing yourself!
7 He’s Creating Drama All The Time
He complains about you not being this or that, and you just believe him! If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells every time you have something to say because he’s going to turn on his drama-boy character, you’re likely to feel a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction. If you don’t want to hear him complaining about ridiculous things, just stop him, and make him grow.
6 You Feel Small
This happens when you feel insecure about who you are and you underestimate yourself in the first place. If you think you’re doing a good job and you are happy with who you are or how you’re improving, you won’t feel underestimated. If you feel misunderstood by him, you will feel underestimated by him because you underestimate yourself. I know it sounds like a crazy play on words, but that’s exactly what happens when you already feel you’re not worth it. Try to keep your self-esteem high instead, and you’ll also feel differently about how people see you.
5 You Feel His Love Is Conditional
When you have a bad day at work or lose something that made you successful and he considered you that way too, you notice he starts to change his perspective on you. If you feel he loves you for what you represent more than for who you really are, and he doesn’t help you when you need support, it’s a sign of conditional love. And when you finally notice it, it really brings you down. Try to understand his true perspective, and if the love he feels for you is linked to your social status and your success, be aware of the situation!
4 You Test Your Relationship
You see he feels so worthy it seems he doesn’t need anyone. And you continuously ask yourself if he really loves you, if you’re good enough for him, if that girl couldn’t be a better choice for him, because you’re not enough. This happens when your partner has a high self-esteem but he’s also really selfish. If he makes you feel that he’s the best and you’re “not so good after all”, he’s killing your self-esteem. What should you do instead of obsessively testing the relationship? Just take notice and realize that he’s a human being with many qualities, but also many flaws. Just like you are. Start feeling like you two are on the same level!
3 You Fear Rejection
When there’s a lack of communication or transparency in a couple, things just mess up. You already know that every couple has to be balanced to survive, and it always happens that one of the two partners has a stronger personality, or just stronger ways to express it. If you are on the opposite side of the balance, and you behave too submissive, the balance just gets unbalanced! When you start to resist addressing problems and talk clearly about issues or situations because you fear rejection, your self-esteem starts to lower and you lose the sense of responsibility that makes you take action and, consequently, improve your self-esteem.
2 He’s Overly Critical
A famous psychologist, Dr John Gottman, who studies couples and why marriages fail, (predicting divorce with more than 90% accuracy), defined criticism one of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Specifically, criticism is destructive when it’s not about a particular behavior or situation and instead it’s about the partner’s personality. This kind of criticism is filled with blame and useless. Useless criticism is based on dogmas, like saying there’s a “right way” of doing something, and it’s not focused on improvement. Often, criticism grows gradually, escalating over time and causing the partner great pain and frustration and a diminished self-esteem. If you feel he’s overly critical about you, try to stop it by talking about facts, and avoid just whining about the situation!
1 You Think It’s Always Your Fault
When you assume that all fights and incompatibilities are your fault, you’re doing a great job at frustrating yourself, and chances are your relationship is slowly getting messed up. If you don’t accept that things just happen and there’s no need to find the guilty party, or both you and your partner always end up blaming just you, you’re certainly going to embrace low self-esteem for the years to come. While taking responsibility for the things that happen is a good way of feeling in control of you life, this doesn’t mean there must always be someone to blame. Responsibility empowers you when it’s followed by acceptance, otherwise you’ll be like the judge and the indicted.