When You Love a Man With Low Self-Esteem – 9 Things to Keep in Mind

When You Love a Man With Low Self-Esteem

So you love a guy with low self-esteem. Sucks to be you. I’m saying that as a dude who used to hate himself. Who still kind of does. I know the crap you deal with. He must drive you nuts.

I was in a relationship with an angel, let’s call her Mary. Mary was such a pure, beautiful soul. We connected. Looking into her eyes filled me with comfort and calmed my fears. Mary loved me so much, and I loved her too. But I hated myself even more. Long story short – I ran away from her love. The love I felt unworthy of. I sought validation and distraction in women, alcohol and career moves. And in many other dark ways I won’t mention.

Low self-esteem is easy to explain yet hard to understand for some. It’s feeling shameful about who you are. Feeling guilty or embarrassed about who you are, deep in your core. You feel ‘different’. Damaged or flawed in fundamental, irreversible ways. You don’t love yourself. Your man may never admit it outright – but he wishes he were someone else.

Alas, there’s no return policy in life. We’re stuck in this skin forever, and the hate, the self-pity – it gets us nowhere. But here’s the rub:

When a man is dealing with low self-esteem, he’ll make mistakes. Big mistakes. My shame and low self-esteem led me to become reckless. I felt a constant, nearly unbearable background anxiety. I had to make myself feel different. I had to escape. Luckily, there were several reliable methods: nonstop partying, irresponsible sex, starting businesses, spending lots of money, exotic traveling. My worst nightmare was being alone, in a quiet room. I couldn’t stand my own company. Maybe your man feels the same way, I pray he doesn’t. But my feelings aren’t unique.

The mistakes I made led to more shame and guilt. And then more mistakes made running away from those feelings. The cycle continues. This leads to what I like to call the 9th dimension of shame. The hole can get so deep. The spiral of pain seems unstoppable.

Your man’s low self-esteem can manifest in a variety of ways. Every guy will act out in his own way. Some pull back and hide, some flee and seek experiences. Others party and rage, or try to prove themselves at work.  It’s troublesome for both the sufferer and the poor individual who loves them so much. Low self-esteem is tricky; the sufferer can distract himself or run away from it for years. He may not even realize that the darkness he feels is low self-esteem. And it’s f*cking heartbreaking.

If you love him, he will need you to get through it. You may be able to show him the light. Don’t give up on him, he needs you. Many times it will be confusing, and he may hurt you without wanting to. (Trust me, he doesn’t want to hurt you. He hurts enough just being himself.)

Here are some important things to remember: a cheat sheet to get you through tough times. And maybe to help him see the truth of his ways.

  1.  He loves you so much, but hates himself even more.

    He’s lost. You two may have such an obvious, beautiful opportunity for love but he squanders it. He only sees his own shortcomings. His pain and depression is like a dark, heavy, thick blanket that he just can’t shake. But like I said above, he may not even realize it. He’s not trying to mess with your head. He’s not unreachable. However he is in a state of constant anxiety, always wishing he could be someone HE loves. If you say ‘I love you’, he probably thinks: ‘Why would you? You can’t. You’re wrong’.

    He yearns to love himself, and the struggle to do that can ruin your relationship. This should be a good thing, right? Not all men act out this feeling in healthy ways. It will be hard but think about their perspective. If they don’t love themselves maybe you can do something to help them. If you love him, do what you can to help his HEART. Buy him books on spirituality, ask him how he feels about himself. Listen, and if required seek the help of a licensed therapist or psychologist.

    A book I recommend is No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover. It was a wake-up call, and helped launch my wild journey of transformation. Don’t let the title fool you, it’s a book about shame, self-worth and learning to accept yourself. It’s a powerful starting point, buy it now.

  2. He may seek attention outside the relationship, or activities without you.

    This was a huge factor in my relationship ending. My low self-esteem led me to crave attention from other potential partners. I was addicted to approval and validation from other women.

    Maybe he likes attention from others, flirtation and come-hither looks. I hope you haven’t caught him on dating sites or apps. That was another thing I would do – I craved the attention so much. Maybe he also yearns for people to tell him how cool he is, how great he dresses, or what a sweet job he has. Point is, he’s just crazy for attention.

    He seeks attention and approval from other people – but what about you? Self-esteem is a real b*tch. He thinks that he has to either prove to himself that he’s worthy, or look for evidence of it anywhere he can. ‘If other people tell me I’m great, then that must mean I’m great.’

    It may be common sense to you – that we should all love and respect ourselves as human beings. But to a sufferer of low self-esteem, this isn’t the case. Having low self-esteem is like being in a courtroom. And you’re guilty until proven innocent. He’s shameful at the core of his being. His soul appears blackened, damaged and irreparable. He craves escapes from reality.

    Try to talk with him about this. ‘I think you act like this because you like how it makes you feel, right? Why do you need to feel this way?  Can’t you just be yourself, how you feel now?’ ‘Why aren’t I enough?’ ‘Do you need help learning to love yourself?’

    If your man can’t handle this conversation, consider moving on. He’s not ready. It must be him who makes the changes necessary to heal. It is NEVER on your shoulders to do this for him.

  3. He believes he must have ‘got lucky’. He feels unworthy of you.

    At first he cherished you. You were his prize. He held you close, showed you off to the world. It was intoxicating and intense. But soon, he knew he ‘had you’ and started looking around. The high that you and the new relationship gave him faded. The drug wore off, so he’s seeking fresh supply. He needs more intense intoxicating experiences to feel okay about himself.

    I had an amazing partner in Mary, but I didn’t believe I was worthy. She could see the man I was, beyond the shit-storm that was my life. She saw through my shame and self-hatred but I couldn’t buy it. I was too deep in my own trance.

    I thought I’d got lucky, that I’d fooled her somehow. So I needed to prove that I could be worthy of someone amazing. Does that sound stupid or what? I wanted to be able to ‘earn someone’ who everyone else wanted, to prove to myself that I was a valuable man. Then I could love myself.

    Remember that this isn’t about you – this is about a hole he has in his heart. He needs to know that he didn’t just ‘get lucky’ when he landed you. Don’t let him feel that way! Please, tell him you love him. Tell him everything you think is unique and enticing about him. Don’t make it only about appearance either. If he feels like he fooled you, he will not treat the relationship with the respect. This is an important point.

  4. He may be restless, or always trying to prove something to the world or himself.

    Some call it ‘hustle’ or ambition. Maybe he has grand ideas or entrepreneurial zeal up the wazoo. He wants to create something that will change the world. That’s wonderful, but in his case it may be a cover-up: a distraction from voices in his head. The voices that say, ‘you’re not enough’. He’s trying to create a life that will prove his worth.

    He doesn’t want a life without you. His big dreams or grandiose desires get him out of his head. They give him hope that maybe one day, just maybe he will be able to like the man he is. After he does all this awesome stuff.

    There is nothing wrong with drive and initiative. But why is he so driven? Why does he desire so much?  If we bothered to ask ourselves ‘why’ we want the things we do, we could save ourselves much heartbreak. We’d stop running after so many shiny red balls. We could live with more purpose. Your man should ask himself why he wants to accomplish so much.

    To bring him down to earth, remind him how much life there is to live right now, in this moment. This moment, between the two of you. Kiss his lips, hold his head in your hands. Tousle that hair and look deep into those eyes you love so much. Say, ‘I love you for exactly who you are, right now’. Tell him he is enough.

    The point isn’t to make him an aimless, lazy ass. It’s to make sure he has his motivation and priorities in the right place.

  5. He can be extremely jealous or insecure about other men.

    My ex, Mary, had to think that I was perfect and wonderful at all times. She was my entire support system, and my source of confidence and security. She was my everything. (And yet I treated her awfully – aren’t men the greatest?)

    If I felt threatened or not #1 importance in her life, I would start to lose my sh*t. The low self-esteem inside your man creates an enormous hole. He filled it with you, and sprinkles in other things like vices and attention from others. When you threaten to leave them empty again they go crazy or become irrational.

    He doesn’t want you to suffer. Nor does he want to dominate you. He doesn’t know why he feels this way, but it’s because he hates who he is. In effect it’s self-defense, your actions hurt him. It’s painful enough just being who he is – when you threaten to make him feel even worse about himself … he lashes out or gets uncomfortable.

    Nothing about this is okay. I’m only telling it like it is.

  6. It can be near impossible to get him living ‘in the moment’.

    Many guys with low self-esteem are living in the past. He may be guilt-ridden and woeful over opportunities he failed to seize. Maybe he regrets not doing better in school, or choosing a better college. He might feel like a failure and disappointment to his family. Who knows, the point is he rides himself down all the time.

    Alternately, he’s living in the future. He dreams of a day when he can ‘be happy’. You may feel sad because it seems all he cares about is making lots of money, accomplishments or fame. Or making his family proud. He may seem to leave you out of his utopian vision of the future. But he probably just feels he’ll only worthy of you once he conquers the world. He feels he’s unworthy of happiness until he proves himself. These thoughts consume him and he’s desperate for that sweet moment of relief when he’s ‘made it’.  Problem: it’s never coming.

    You love him exactly as he is, right? Tell him that right now.

  7. True commitment scares the sh*t out of him – but not for the reason you think.

    In my relationship, I was afraid because I didn’t know who the hell I was. The only parts of myself I knew were sh*t. I didn’t feel like a good person, so who would want to be with me? I convinced myself that I was helping by not giving her marriage or children. By not giving her 100% true commitment I was doing her a favor.

    I didn’t believe in myself. I had no faith in my own goodness or potential. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the hard times that would come.  My feelings were ‘everything I touch turns to sh*t, so why would I waste her time? It’s doomed from the start, and I do not want to hurt her’.

    No advice here, no matter what he’s going to give you the ‘deer in the headlights’ look. Knowing this may help you understand the complexity of a man. He needs to learn to love himself through the hard times before he can love you through the hard times.

  8. He may enjoy seeing you in pain or suffering for the relationship.

    Sick, huh? Hate me if you want, I don’t care. I come in truth. This is a tough one to talk about. Self-esteem can get so low that a man gets validation from seeing his partner suffer. Seeing a person go through hell for us, feel pain caused by us – can actually give us pride.

    It’s a dose of the ‘I’m worthy’ drug … ‘Look at how this person goes crazy for me, I must be worthy’.

    Enough said, it’s time to leave the relationship. Hurt never justifies hurt.

  9. He adores you – but he needs to learn how to love himself.

    Your guy has to learn to love himself. This includes all the deepest and darkest parts too, the parts that scare him to death. The unfaced and unfelt parts of our psyche are the source of all neurosis and suffering. Carl Jung said that, not me.

    If he only loves a certain part of himself like his looks, the rest of him will just go on undeveloped. In many ways I was like a child before. I avoided pain or sacrifice every chance I could, and I turned into a big man-child. If this is happening to your man, you must stop it right away.

In the end, you can get over this together. The bond between you will be unbreakable, and he will love you forever. He’ll never forget that you were the girl who helped him discover the greatest love in the universe. His love for himself. Stick in there, but develop a plan right away. Not only is he suffering, you are as well. Take action now. If he refuses to draw a line in the sand and change his life, it may be time to walk away.


About the Author: Paul Graves

Paul Graves writes about pain, shame, and better living through self-acceptance at TakeTheLemons.com. He lives in Ohio with his 7-year old daughter and two cats. 

Paul is on Twitter and Instagram.

499 Comments

Stefanie

I can relate to this article, my husband is the same way We are sepearated but but he is trying to get his life together, me too.. I love him more than anything…

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Muz

This relationship you describe was toxic. Your women is an exception if she went through this. She certainly went above and beyond and couldn’t be blamed if she left you. I think you must have realised this yourself.
I’ve recently had my heart broken due to my self esteem issues. This was just after 1 month! Crazy. It went deep fast. Had what I thought was an amazing connection. My insecurities surfaced from no where and I lost myself. They were always there underneath. I really liked this girl. Thought maybe she was the one. I wasn’t horrible to her, call her names etc. I tried to explain that some things she said I took to heart. Though she said that isn’t what she meant. She didn’t want to walk on egg shells. Low self esteem can mean you take everything to heart and are super sensitive. I needed her to be sensitive to my feelings. I voiced how I was feeling as I wanted to be honest with her and hoped that by doing so it would help me get over things.
She was under stress for her own reasons and just ended it. As hurt as I am she didn’t want to hang around and support me with it. She doesn’t have to either. I didn’t even get a chance. So your a very lucky guy.
I’ve had a couple sessions with a psychologist since and will be continuing with this. If you read much on self esteem issues it almost always stem from early childhood issues. I suffered a lot of abuse and abandonment in that abuse. Even if you think your life was ok you ownly know what your parents
know themselves. Perhaps they were strict? Didn’t encourage you how they could have it emotionally distant. There’s many reasons behind this.
How you are treated in those years are crucial to how you see yourself in the world and relationships.
I’d suggest to anyone suffering from self esteem issues do something about it. I’ve always been quite open emotionally but I could not get through this stuff myself.
You have this life now, right here in front of you. Do you not want to be free of the shit holding you back so you can be yourself? Your free self so you are capable of loving someone and you can except thier love? Have a healthy relationship? This shit will be there in your next relationship and the next unless you do something about it. Seriously, though in your heart you might not believe it yet. Your are worth it.
If you can’t save your current relationship get ready for the next. This won’t just help your current or future relationships but your life.

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Frances

This is hands down the best, most real, honest open and correct advice i have ever come across. Your insight to yourself and to the world is uncanny and may i add you are also 100% inherently correct but you communicate in-such an honest, relatable and humble way that shows you are practicing what you preach, speak from experience, pain and the will and want to be better. Thank you for adding your comment i will screenshot it and keep it with me to try and help myself x

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GD1582

Thank you so much! I’ve learned a lot from reading this. A lot of info on the internet regarding this issue makes men look like horrible tools. Hearing from a man admit his issues with low self-esteem and the struggles you deal with in relationships really helps me understand how my ex (and still friend) mind works. He tried to explain what he goes through as his struggles are exact to this article. However, after reading this, I’m much more aware and understanding of how a man with such low self-esteem mind works.

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Caroline

I have a problem where the guy thinks he’s not good enough for me because of issues with a friend of mine (she caused a whole arguement with me about him, getting involved in a situation in which she was not. He blames himself for the entire thing)]). How do I solve this issue and tell him that he was not the problem in the argument?

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ms K

Hi,my H recently feeling very down.He keep saying to me he wish to start his life all over again.We have one son and m carrying another one which is coming on the way in 3 weeks time.
Past 6 months he claimed i was not supportive in his studies which he wanted to continue his phD,I did not support him during his bad times in office and many more.In the past 6 months I left him alone in a separate room,he claims to be doing his work.So i assume and let it be daily until about 3-4 am only he comes to bed to sleep.Recently I went down to the room to get something from the cupboard.I heard him talking to this girl X,as I entered only he hang up.I panic and confronted him as i was not ready to listen to his explaination.He told me listen i wanted to tell you this but had no chance.This particular girl has 3 problems she had a breakup, suisidal thought and mum was not well.So he was talking to her he claimed..I over reacted n called his parents into the picture as we are living under a roof .Than i explain to them what i heard and what was happening in the past 6 months.He justified himself n refuse to protect me.Im confused now.WHY IS HE FEELING HE CANNOT BE HELPED.

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Lou

I appreciate this article very much and have identified with just about all of it. I did do all the things that he needed – constant compliments, assurance that he was succeeding and achieving, re-iterating that I’d stand by him, through thick and thin and no matter what he was dealing with, we’d get through it together. I picked up more of the financial requirements, kept the home peaceful, invited his friends and family over regularly for social gatherings, planned, booked and paid for fabulous holidays to places I knew he’d enjoy.
But none of that stopped him from having a 4 1/2 year affair. BTW, his affair started when I was recovering from cancer and even through my own life-battle, I worked, won major contracts and supported him in every way I could.
His low self-esteem and depression did not stop him from making a conscious decision and choice to have an affair. He could concentrate on his business, his other hobbies but not on the relationship and what he had? No, I can’t buy that.
I’ve left him now and what does he have left? Nothing. Business gone, mistress emigrated, me gone.
I do hope that he gets himself together and that one day he finds the peace, joy, prosperity and someone to love.

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Ashley H

Paul, My husband is exactly everything that you have said in this article! I found him on a dating site meet me.. and confronted him about it at first he denied it and finally just told me that he just gets on there to look. I asked him if he has met anyone on there and cheated on me and he says that he has not. I am balling my eyes out and he is just telling me how sorry he is and that he never ment to hurt me and that he will never do it again, then he said something to me that made me upset but i didnt say anything to him about it, he said “I am glad that you found it because I didnt want to cheat on you.” I said so you would have, he stated that he wouldnt, and that my crying made him feel better because he knows that I do love him. I love him with all of my heart, I would do anything for him and he says he will too, I was hoping that you can help me with what I need to do to get him in the right path to love himself. He is such a good man, a good lover and he has a good heart but he cant see that. His father was very mean to him and never showed him love when he was a kid, and now he is the way he is he does not love his self I mean everything you said in this Article is him for real. He needs help and he actually admitted it. please lead us in the right direction.

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Laura M

Woah. Thanks for this article. It is eye opening. I have read a lot about commitment phobia and can see that insecurity and self esteem can be at the heart of it.

I started dating an amazing guy. I fell head over heels and then out of the blue he ended it. We chatted it through and he backtracked, but he kept pushing me away. Eventually he opened up about how two of his exes had cheated on him. All his relationships tended to end with his partner leaving suddenly and he felt he must have not been enough for them. After sharing this he really pushed me away (he updated his profile on the app we met on after we’d been exclusive for 2 months) so I walked. He then started messaging that he missed me.
All my friends were telling me to ignore him and convincing me he never cared for me. I did initially and then we got back in touch. We chatted over the phone – he was out the country. This time he shared that he really hates himself. He doesn’t ever feel good enough for the person he is dating. He feels he has to achieve something spectacular (he’s just started a new business) and has to provide and protect for his whole family.
But he feels like a failure. He’s massively successful in his work life but doesn’t see it. He does also like to travel. When we were dating, he had to travel, he had to be free quite a lot. He also said he didn’t want to hurt me. When I asked what he meant, he said he would end a good relationship by… Well cheating on that person to push them away and he doesn’t want to do that to me and the best way to protect me is to push me away. I asked if he wanted to stop this behaviour and he said yes but that he didn’t know how.
Right now we are talking, he is still out the country. But I can feel him pulling away again. We were talking regularly but slowly he has started responding less and less to my texts. Again, my friends are telling me to ditch him and move on.
Im noticing a correlation between him sharing with me and then pulling away. I’m also not very verbal in my compliments for him even though I think he is awesome. It’s something I need to work on. I did tell him last time we spoke that he is enough for me.

I see so much potential for our relationship and in him. I’m really going to focus on letting him know that he is enough and lifting him.

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KJ

I’m not sure what your current status is but I simply had to reply when I read what you wrote about potential. I’m 9 years into a marriage with someone who was brimming with potential. What I wouldn’t give to have known then what I know now. Please do not choose a partner based on potential. Choose a partner based on their PATTERNS. Don’t listen to what they promise or declare, or project for the future, look at who they are and what they consistently do right now. Look at their patterns right now because that is what you are signing up for. Low self-esteem and realizing one’s potential rarely go hand in hand. I know that my husband loves me to death and would do anything for me (within his capacity), but I don’t feel loved by him because he doesn’t love himself. It really messes with you and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It can be so hard to let go of that potential and knowing that if this one thing were in order things would be amazing, but that one thing isn’t in order. And you are left with a nightmare.

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Lara

WoW. That’s eye opening. Needed to hear that. I hope for the sake of your marriage that you are wrong and that he will awaken and give you the best of him. I commend your commitment and clarity.

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M

Hi Paul –
Coming off of my own recent bad experience but doing ok, actually. I know that his ending things like a bolt of lightning, albeit a suddenly cold, unemotional one, was about him and his fears. But I’m wondering, once you came to terms with your issues did you want to try to get Mary back into your life? She may have already been with her new guy, but if she had been single would you have tried again, knowing who she was and what she meant to you?

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Robyn Elizabeth

Paul, thank you for this. I needed a mans perspective on this. I am going on my 3rd year of one of the hardest relationships I’ve ever had to encounter in my life, yet has given the most depth in not just a relationship but in myself. Without him, there would be no depth to me, As I stayed forever blind to my own deep rooted insecurities and low self esteem. Almost a mirror relationship, we have both been able to grow in it, discovering each other’s true, deep issues that desperately needed to be addressed within ourselves. I’m still “in” the storm, so much growing and changing brings much suffering as we go thru life trying to get ourselves to a healthy state in life. Much gets taken out on each other. A lot of hurt and damaged caused, and still being caused forcing us to both step back and away from each other just to stop the suffering. But we love very deeply and care for one another so much so that we recognize the need for distance, even tho this too doesn’t help as we need the love of each other and not the fear of losing our bond by staying away. I know his traumatic history that was bestowed upon him, thru no fault of his own, every type of abuse there is and so it is incredibly hard to have a relationship with someone who is emotionally damaged and has a hard time dealing with these types of strong feelings (love). You are absolutely correct in that I cannot do the one and only thing that will cure this and that is him truly, sincerely, genuinely loving himself – who HE truly is. I think a lot of people struggle with this, I know I have, due to the incredible amount of expectations placed upon people and life which only brings judgement and thus the cycle of low self esteem is formed. How to unwork something that has been engraved into your subconscious from such an early age…very hard, so I do thank you for this, and being real to the very core like when you said it gives a type of power when we (your partner) suffers. It is true, it is real. And all I can do is just remain constant. Remind him he is loved, unconditionally while still challenging him to be a better him by looking deeper, dating himself, get to know him like he is his newest love and attraction. By being with him and seeing my own issues reflected thru him I was able to work on myself, but guess what? That creates change which creates anxiety and fear of the unknown which could mean loss. It’s been a tumultuous experience, full of shameful acts that lead to more guilt and shame to add on the pile and it was just very refreshing and helpful that you wrote this article, I needed this, thank you.

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Littlewing

I’m just sick reading this, and the expectation that anyone should not only put up with this, but keep trying. You engaged in “irresponsible sexual behavior” while your partner thought you were being monogamous. You could have given her HIV or herpes, things that she would carry the rest of her life. It’s often women who are expected to sacrifice themselves for a dead beat man because he’s depressed or has low self esteem. My boyfriend has a lot of issues that I support him with and try to help him with, including low self-esteem. But the day he uses that as an excuse to cheat on me is the day I walk. NO ONE should be expected to sacrifice themselves the way your ex did.

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TheWomen

I honestly felt the same reading this. The expectation seems to be that men are the only ones that are misunderstood and that a
“good” women will put up with it. I found this page to try and find ways of reassuring my boyfriend, but I was a little taken aback that someone should need to literally put their life in danger for someone, to be worth their time. I have issues and I don’t feel worthy, and sure it’s nice to get attention from people, but I wouldn’t tolerate someone cheating on me and saying it’s because they have low self-esteem, because I don’t do it myself and it seems to fundamentally defeat the purpose.
I checked out the book and it basically follows an outdated perspective of masculinity, the advice given in that book could apply to either gender, but blaming women for the “nice guy syndrome” is going a bit far. Giving people support and great advice, as well as telling them to “go get it”, shouldn’t be gendered, and also shouldn’t put their partner through hell in the name of reclaiming their “masculinity” and creating selfish “self-love”

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Muz

I agree with the two women above. This relationship was toxic. Your women is an exception if she went through this. She certainly went above and beyond.
I’ve recently had my heart broken due to my self esteem issues. This was just after 1 month! Crazy. It went deep fast. Had what I thought was an amazing connection. My insecurities surfaced from no where. They were always there underneath. I really liked this girl. Thought maybe she was the one. I wasn’t horrible to her, call her names etc. I tried to explain that some things she said I took to heart. Though she said that isn’t what she meant. She didn’t want to walk on egg shells. Low self esteem can mean you take everything to heart and are super sensitive. I needed her to be sensitive to my feelings. I voiced how I was feeling as I wanted to be honest with her and hoped that by doing so it would help me get over things.
She was under stress for her own reasons and just ended it. As hurt as I am she didn’t want to hang around and support me with it. She doesn’t have to either. I didn’t even get a chance. So your a very lucky guy.
I’ve had a couple sessions with a psychologist since and will be continuing with this. If you read much on self esteem issues it almost always stem from early childhood issues. I suffered a lot of abuse and abandonment in that abuse. How your treated in those years are crucial to how you see yourself in the world and relationships.
I’d suggest to anyone suffering from these issues do something about it. I’ve always been quite open emotionally but I could not get through this stuff myself.
You have this life now, right here in front of you. Do you not want to be free of the shit holding you back so you can be yourself? Your free self so you are capable of loving someone and you can except thier love? Have a healthy relationship? This shit will be there in your next relationship and the next unless you do something about it. Seriously, though in your heart you might not believe it yet. Your are worth it.

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Holly

This article illustrates how a male malignant narcissist acts. I just ended a relationship with one. Women should not be doormats and take disrespect like this. Put your foot down and leave, ladies. You are worth more.

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Tanu

I’m in a relationship with my friend. Before getting in a relationship we were good friends. It was amazing at first. We like each other’s company. I fell for him over Time. But his low self esteem pushing me away. He thinks I deserve someone better than him. It’s not true. He thinks he doesn’t deserve happiness. His past and negativity affecting our relationship. I don’t understand what should I do. I want him back in my life. I wanna fight for him. I wanna help him. He said he tried to give me his best in a relationship but he cant because he doesn’t feel anything. He’s feeling guilty for no reason. He thinks he’s hurting me.

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blah

its been 7yrs of the nonsense you describe. I try to always take the high road to show him I dont want him to hurt. hes AWFUL to me.. vandalising my car, destroying my property, stealing , I have to pay for EVERYTHING. . I do cuz i dont want him to think I only care about money. but his sense of e titlement is horrific!! never a shred of gratitude.. so before work one morning he ****ed me and locked me out and I LOST IT. he hasnt been able to come lately when we have sex.. I know why.. I’m pretty sure it’s the pa tied I found and cried my eyes out four months ago. he swears he loves me but bes awf.. I lost it and dont wa t to be with him, I cant stsy away so I madat sure he would and I carved slut in his door——I FEEL AWFUL.

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WENDY CLARK

Then when you add a previous divorsed current functional alcoholic in the picture, it amplifies those traits. That’s where no amount of love and encouragement helps.

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Linda

ive been with a man in a Long Distance relationship for 3 years and I went though the same things and always saw that he was always super jealous of meaningless things like going to my girlfriends house to have a glass of wine. He really never went out,probably hiding behind social digital technology but he made me begin to do the same thing, not going out to show to him that I was loyal and not cause any waves in the relationship. I was happy with him so I didn’t need to go out. I felt like he would always punish me by isolating me and ghost on me always to return because I would never chase him. But things would be going so well and then out of the blue he would escalate any questioning that I had for him into his favorite excuse of him being not enough. He always talked about his life in the past as in what he used to do. But I noticed he never would do anything in the present. He used to play college baseball and then all of a sudden he would buy a mitt and the oils and the stretcher etc… but would never join a league or attempt to play. He bought a guitar and started taking lessons and never continued it. It almost seems like he needs distractions from his mind but they soon take over. I believe that he has been in contact with women from his past to validate himself the whole time that he was telling me he was in love with me and that he wants to marry me and coming back to Chicago. The latest thing that he where I really took time with was he began getting close with my daughers buying them girfts and taking us all out to dinner when he would come into town and staying with us and talking with them giving them encouraging texts and then one day just pick up and leave telling me he doesn’t feel like he is enough. When he always was. But this time I was very hurt because he hurt my girls too. They accecpted him in their life after so long and he just picks up and ends it. He continues to text me here and there with regular texts and I respond politely but I try not to engage because I know that he doesn’t have the capacity to love anyone and he will always be the one leaving when his mind gets the better of him. I love him very much but I cant fix him and I think that because he is so proud that he will never seek help and I don’t know how else to help him. Any thoughts would be helpful.

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Nelly H

My dear woman I know how you feel. My ex-partner similarly was geting close to my kids, but then the first time we split up 12 years ago, it was me who ended it. Now he got close to us again, for a while, and then told me to stop being so emotional. He is disturbed by my loving him intensely. So I have to accept that love is not for everyone on the planet. Some people have to protect themselves against it as they fear the pain of love too much to go through with it properly. They cause pain perhaps unintentionally, without being able to help themselves, like a pre-emptive war against a feared enemy who once was close to you. You fear they will strike first, so you strike to stop them striking…. a hard thing to watch as in the end it hurts everyone, including the person inflicting the pain on others. I really am with you in this, and hope you find a way to retain your self-respect and the respect of your daughters, more importantly. They need good models to learn from, as well as mistakes to learn from! Of course love itself is never a mistake, but it can be a case of ‘pearls before swine’. Next time you love, take it slow and be sure this is the person he seems to be.

Best for now and wish you strength.

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Heather RK

Linda, I am in the exact same awful situation. It’s heart breaking isn’t it? I hate that there is nothing I can do to heal the deep pain of this man I love.

The only choices it seems, when he is unwilling to seek real help, are to:

break yourself away completely and go no contact to save yourself the ongoing heartache-

or stay with this man you love but endure a lifetime of the same heartache and pain cycle repeating over and over.

Both choices suck and both mean this man you love will probably still be enduring the same inner pain constantly forever.

Just heartbreaking.

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Danae S

I am in love with a man like this. About every 6-8 weeks in our year relationship, he pulls back and begins going on dating sites . 3-4 weeks later he pulls me back to him. I nearly dropped on the floor reading this. He would always explain to me the high he felt meeting someone new. We would get in a routine and boom he said he needed a break.
Thank you for this story. I feel so relieved to finally make sense of this.
I really wantt to help him build his self Worth but must admit I’m running out of energy to stick with him.

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Amber

My heart goes out to you. I am 5 years into the same relationship patterns and now that my self worth, betrayal trauma, and flat out energy to care are gone he says he is ready to change. I dont know what the answer is but I pray this isnt where ur still at in a few years. Many thoughts and prayers for you to find the strength to help you and him.

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Joan

It is 3 months shy of 2 years for me and we are still together. He has improved greatly in the last 3 months but still has trouble letting go of friendship with women he dated or was married to. He says he wants to marry me but I will never marry him until and if he can give 100% of himself to me and no other women friendships. I am a pretty patient person but he does not need to hang on to a friendship with someone he dated. He said he is scared to let go of her because he feels good giving her advice/friendship.
It takes so much energy to hold up a man that has low self-esteem. They need reassurance quite a bit to know that you are with them and won’t leave. I love this man but am coming to the end of my rope with patience with this women that has this friendship. I won’t tolerate sharing his heart with anyone else. I would appreciate any advice someone reading this has on how to handle my life going forward with a man I want and love, but can’t have all of.

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Yvette

I am deeply in love with a man like this. He treats me very well. Always says that he’s lucky to have met me. And he dosent deserve me. We have a long distance relationship. After he leaves me.. after a few days he gets really low and negative. This time he found my daughter’s shirt in his drawer.. it’s a plain men’s t-shirt she sleeps in… He accusef me of sleeping around. I haven’t. He dosent think he’s worth waiting for.. but omg he is. Waiting has been so easy. Is there any way to reassure him? He’s barely talking to me. It’s torture.

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Chris

Reading this hurt, a LOT! That is because this is me, feels like the writer has read my mind. I have been like this for as long as I can remember, ever since i was a severely overweight child and the bulling that resulted from it! I have always tried to hide the true seriousness of the self loathing and depression which hounds me, sometimes more successfully than others. I’m 33 now and have recently had the biggest wake up call of my life. My partner of 7 years has finally had enough of my selfish, inconsiderate ways and has called it a day! I have never felt so broken and low in all my days, and its so much worse when I can realize its entirely my own fault! I Do feel like a veil has been lifted from my eyes and i know now what I have to do to make myself better – seek help, which i am doing! The changes I have made in the last two weeks make me immensely proud of myself and fill me with optimism for the future, I know that i am going to be a better person and love myself for who I am, I am not going to stop fighting for this for as long as it takes, It just kills me to know how much I have hurt the one person who means the world to me and who’s support i need so much! I fear it is all too little and too late. I don’t think she ever really understood what i was going through, but i was so disconnected i couldn’t understand how she was feeling too. Please, please please, any one of you partners of those going through this, make them get help like i never did until I lost it all!

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Heather RK

But how do we partners help our boyfriend or husband get help if he does not want to face it head on? My man acknowledges he is abnormally and majorly depressed and that he hates himself but whenever I suggest he go talk to a doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist he either A) flatly says ya or maybe or something in agreement but then never follows through and gets really angry if I follow up about it or try to remind him.
B) gets defensive and angry immediately, then getting angry and resentful and almost accusatory at me as if I am an enemy to him; or
C) says something very defeatist and extremely depressing to hear like, “there’s nothing anyone can do for me anyway” or “I’ll be dead soon anyway” or “what does it matter it’s not gonna change”

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Lara

I feel you so much! What is important for us partners to keep in mind is that there is a scale of normalcy in which someone can stick around and help but beyond these limits, it becomes detrimental and counterproductive to both parties to stay together. The reason is that the actual loss of a partner who meant the world is what makes most people who are resistant to help awaken. Sometimes, it even takes several losses and a lifetime of destructive recurrent patterns to realize. It is not always worth it to stay.

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Branden gray

this is me and I have been stuck in this pattern in my my realtiship and life for a while i didn’t realize it was my low Self-Esteem until now, until you described me in your article if you have any more books or advice i would be grateful

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Anonymous

I married in 2006 and in 2008 I found out my husband was having affairs. He lost 4 jobs for sexual harassment and or getting busted having sexual acts with women inside the work place. We went to marriage counseling due to he stated they could help me. He got kicked out of marriage counciling by the second session. The psychiatrist basically told him if he was going to attend these sessions and continued to lie and manipulate. Then he did not need to continue forward he either wanted to fix the marriage or he didn’t. I continue going to marriage counseling alone for 9 and a 1/2 years. I grew a lot by it I was able to keep my sanity even though things got worse within my marriage. By 2010 I met 13 mistresses and his children he had with his mistresses. My husband and I never had children together he stopped touching me in 2008 stop communicating me completely and 2009 and became a complete stranger living in a separate room as we lived under the same roof. I did everything I possibly could sink of to save the marriage. In 2017 I decided I could not take and live this way anymore. I asked for a divorce which he filled out all the paperwork. I just turned the divorce paperwork in and paid for it. Of course I became the bed guy in the situation he became the victim. I struggle with that due to his lies have cause not only my family but his to have animosity towards one another which is sad. The even more sad part about this story is my ex still lives under my roof and we still have no communication and he still lives in another room as if we had never divorced. I feel that he may have some psychological issues with his sexual acts with many women. Whether it’s over the phone, computer or in person. I feel his lies and manipulating ways will catch up to him if he doesn’t seek help.

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Myself

At this point, you’re bringing this all on yourself. Why on earth would continue to live with him? It’s almost like you enjoy being hurt or victimized by him. I think you both have some psychological issues that need to be addressed. Your relationship goes beyond toxic and delves into plain old ridiculousness. You need to move on and try to enjoy what is left of your life. Time is passing you by, and you are wasting it.

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Erik

I can totally understand what Anonymous is going through. I’m a male trauma bonder. I do not loathe myself in the least, but I do see myself as inadequate and incomplete. In an attempt to complete myself, I bonded with a woman who matches the description in the article to a degree that is almost frightening. Or maybe I should say that I bonded myself with the confidant, competent, strong, kind, and trustworthy half of this woman that she builds up in order to compensate for the other half (which she herself calls “the sucking void”). Of course, you know which side I ended up getting REAL familiar with.

She is now my ex-wife, although to this day I would not hesitate to sacrifice my life for her if I had to. I will probably never be able to grasp the fact that the happiest moments of my life were shared with someone who can act at one time as if I am at least somewhat important to her, and then at other times does things to me that can only be explained as evidence that she holds me in utter and abject contempt, without even the least bit of concern for my dignity well-being.

Right now, my estimate is that she simply doesn’t care whether I live or die. I would actually prefer that she actively harm me, or physically beat me than to simply not care one way or another about me (and yes, I was once in a relationship with a different woman who beat me many times). At least if my ex were to beat me up it would show that she puts me in a different class of being than, say, a cockroach or a public toilet. I struggle to try to reconcile the two different realities of my experiences with her, but I can’t.

I know I have brought all this on myself, and I know that it’s up to be to get “unstuck”. But before I can do that, I have to try to arrive at an understanding of things that makes some sort of sense. Otherwise, I’ll have to go through life believing two contradictory things at the same time and not trusting my own ability to correctly perceive reality.

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Joe

That sounds exactly like me. I’ve been urning for my ex girlfriend 30 yrs ago. Well I got her back and we were married for one year and recently got s divorce. It’s insanity on my part . She told me I had low self esteem, but she also said I was a full blown narcissist borderline sociopath. I was selfish and lied about everything just to get her back. To find out she said she wishes I would of told her the truth about myself instead of being delusional. I actually told her I had a daughter and actually sent her a picture I found on you tube of a young girl that resembled me in a way. I told her I was retired and would take care of her. She found out I lied about that also. But lying I had a daughter was the big Clincher. Even my own mother said ‘What’s wrong with you’ why would you lie that you had a daughter and even to go as far to send a picture of a stranger I didn’t even know that would pass as my significant other. I’m in my 50s and now alone with no confidence what’s so ever..

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Joe

Continued: There is a lot more shit I told her also. Because she thought I was the handsomed man on earth and the sex and the connection was off the charts, is why it lasted as long as it did. I also thought she was the most sexiest gorgeous woman on earth. We used to sit and talk how we knew each other’s body’s so well. So I guess it more of LUST on my part. I’m just being real here , not bragging or anything. I would just here her voice and my heart would race… I drove her nuts with my lies and stories. Like I said I’m surprised she stuck with me for Almost a year. One other thing. She’s from Mississippi and I’m from New England. Complete opposites in accents, types of people, religions, activities. For instance I was a fitness freak, she didn’t even want to take a walk as exercise. So much more I can tell. But I get antsy, restless typing.

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Lilly

Hy ,,,first of all you are a really strong woman…secondly wow …all I can say is that I wish the best for because this story relates to my father’s story and it’s painful for me as a young woman to imagine what you went through directly because you were married but my advice is to the future..of you can it’s best to get out of that house and start worrying about yourself and your happiness and mental health staying there only hardens the impression that the past has made and left …but this is entirely up to you…for my mom it was the same thing and after my dad start to display aggressive tendencies she reached her breaking point and left and now I’m 2018 she is a happy loving n joyful spirit off course life has problems but you know they can be better handled and as for her ex ..he has only himself to blame ..yeah sure he occasionally tries to bring her down but she’s at that point in her life where understands what’s crucial for her seek …I hope everything is better now n you don’t blame yourself for what happened…

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Emma

Wow I can relate so much to this article in what I see in my partner.
My partner and I have been together for over 7 years now. We’ve had an amazing relationship, with ups and downs but have always supported each other and made it through the lows. My partner suffers from quite severe depression and low self esteem. This ebs and flows and is part of our life together but something I am always willing to support him through. However, what has confused me is that twice now he has sought the love and affection of other females. I have found out both times and he has apologized and explained that it is his coping mechanism for his depression and low self esteem and it is me he loves. He wants/needs 100% attention and validation from someone who is always there and always willing to give, something you don’t necessarily just get from a normal friendship, and hence his need to seek further. While he has not had physical relations with these other women, he has had an intense emotional involvement with them through sharing everything with each other, discussing potential for feelings, long messages about love – which hurts incredibly much.
I recognize this desperate need for validation and self assurance from others in him and have therefore accepted it both times.
BUT, it hurts. Knowing and understanding it does not stop the intense hurt it causes me. Not to mention the distrust and feeling like an idiot. I should also add that during these times he does not become withdrawn from me and our sex life does not suffer. He doesn’t sneak off or spend less time with me or push me away. He just has it going on the side.
He has finally agreed to seek counselling as his depression is at an extreme low and I am hoping that will help him work through this issue that is so hurtful to me.
But, am I making excuses for my partner??

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Tayler

Emma, if you see this please reply so we can find a way to talk. Of all the comments I read on here I relate with you the most and I am going through the same thing!!

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" class="url" rel="ugc external nofollow">Rachel

I’ve just met a guy that is clearly suffering from low self esteem. He’s funny, charming and caring but already I’m starting to see the cracks. He wants all of my spare time and takes it as a personal affront when I can’t give it to him. When things crop up and I can’t see him, he bombarded me with impossible questions as to why and I know every answer I give will be unsatisfactory for him. I can see that he sees this as a sign of disobedience on my part and that he thinks he’s losing me in some way and I’m already finding it exhausting. I’m not emotionally equipped for this and I’m so grateful for this article because It’s given the insight I needed to make my decision. Self love first! x

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Rae

Tayler/Emma – this is years later, I know, but I’m going through exactly this. The validation from other women, the horrible pain and sadness. Please tell me you two met up/talked? I need so much advice.

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Ingrid

Thank you for the insight. All this I instinctively knew. Most women who instinctively partner for any length of time with fragile men are already compassionate, intuitive and empathetic. I told my partner I loved him for who he is. It was a tender and beautiful love affair. But he gained strength/power/control and a self esteem boost – it appealed to his vanity to hurt me. Not just hurt me but deliberately lure me with loving gestures and words only to pull the rug out/slap me down/shutthe door and leave me in the cold. It was vindictive and cruel. It was meant to hurt and humiliate and punish me for anything construed as a slight and it was vindictive, brutal, cold and cruel. I tried so many times to carry him over my shoulder out of the burning building. He promised me the earth and most importantly, that he was ready. But I was buckling from the weight, bruised from the blows and had to save myself.

You offer wonderful insights. But ultimately, I feel that for those men with some insight Into the pain and grief they cause to others, and it’s frankly hard to see how anyone could be oblivious, surely there’s a responsibility on any human being not to act recklessly with respect to the safety of those you love. There’s a responsibility to deal with these core wounds before you engage and hurt the next person. Don’t enter relationshipS before you heal yourself. Or you could have to live with the prospect of having destroyed someone’s life or caused them to take their own life. It’s reckless, self indulgent and for those with insight, a malignant and wicked thing to do.

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Lydia L B

All the above…7 yrs too…he acknowledges this about himself but refuses to do the work…because it’s “hard” ugh…I have to leave…he pulls me down…I enable him by supporting him….if I leave and everyone keeps leaving, he’ll eventually catch on…he’s 56…can’t do it anymore.

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Aleena

I feel like I’m also in the same situation and I’m not sure what to do. Like I know he loves me but he’s constantly flirting with others, he says that he’s there for me and even said so himself that he wants people running after him.

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Erin

I absolutely adore this article. I have been with someone a long long time who is the best person in my WHOLE LIFE. But he’s been beaten down by family friends exes etc, so I’ve been left to pick up the pieces. I will never give up though. But enough is enough. I drew my line 34 years ago after some cheating occurred on his end. We have a child and I cannot allow myself to be disregarded. Since our one 2 month break up we thrived— moved away to another town. Got away from some volatile influences we both thought were friends but were I fact vices. We now find ourselves still dealing with mediocrities. I have to constantly remind him he is enough and I love him. It’s been 7-8 years. I’m just getting exhausted. I know he loves me but I also get insecure from time to time as I am agong and wonder as a woman if I am enough too. I will ride this wave to the ocean and back though. I won’t give up unless he does. I’ll be forced to walk away if I am ever betrayed. I must love myself first, which is hard when you love someone so dearly and your child.

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Toni

Yeah all of this We do alright for awhile then he pull away.We dealt 30 plus years ago crossed paths again we got engaged year ago whew been like a roller coaster.We Love either so much.He is a very good person ,but very broken.Help

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Jen

Toni,

Same… Had a 2nd chance and we BOTH suffer from such depression, but I didnt seek the validation that he did… he says he has a sexual addiction (for validation, However SWEARS he never cheated, Only shared or recieved pics etc)) He purposely got me Pregnant, We now share a 9yr old son… 1 month into my pregnancy I found where he had shared a pic of himself & recieved by a girl we had both known since we first met as teens… Anyhow, I began to feel insecure after KNOWING this man had loved me so much and I ended it.. Theres SO MUCH MORE to it all and Many Painful things etc.. but ultimately, I Pushed him away to protect my own heart, But instead I broke my own heart.. I made him leave… I CRUSHED MY OWN HEART… He’s Literally the ONLY GUY I’VE EVER LOVED.. EVER…. Of course No one wanted us Happy either… We were best friends, So happy together. WE NEVER fought .. had so much in common… his mom hated me.. she wanted him all to herself, She is 10000% Narcissistic… Did EVERYTHING in her Power to make us Miserable after I met her… She ONLY wanted our Child.. Long story short, DO NOT CHASE YOUR MAN AWAY IF YOU LOVE HIM.. AND DO NOT LET HIM CHASE YOU AWAY… Fight.. and Keep fighting.. I waited 1/2 my life to Find him again… Only to ruin everything I had dreamed of… Its been since roughly 2012-13 off an on until then and now just sharing our son.. The pain NEBER EVER STOPS… EVER ? I HATE MYSELF for making him leave… ((all bc I was afraid he would hurt me 1s))) I ruined my OWN FOREVER, And Now my Precious Son will never know how Amazing his daddy & I are together??? I’ll BE WAITING FOREVER IF NEED BE, FOR A 3RD CHANCE.. Bc as *They say* 3 Times is the Charm❤

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Jen

Forgot to add, I TOO had done Many stupid Little things to HURT him as well, But even Little things ADD up or To another person May seem So very Monumental…. Point is, Neither of us were Perfect and did many little things to hurt one another…
Truth is, we could be “Noah & Ally” from the Notebook* I KNOW that for a Fact l, and In fact MANY More… But we would either need HELP to maintain, Or those who sought to Destroy us.. If its truly Meant to be, ((As I will ALWAYS believe that it is)) Then It Will Be❤

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Jane C

Hope yourevdoing better. Our brains mess with us. As time goes on all the bad memories fade…leaving only ths good memories in our minds. This is how the brain protects itself so it doesn’t fall apart. Really stinks. Leaves you over time with only the good memories of a bad situation.

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Marie

My son is a young adult of 22. His depression, anxiety and low self-esteem are a heartbreak. And the strain of powerlessly watching him struggle daily is starting to take its toll. Reading this has been amazing, only because it has felt like being able to look inside his brain and appease frustrations. I am off to get the book. Thank you

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Star

My bf broke up with me recently because he felt he wasn’t good enough for me. We were in a relationship for 4 years. I am more qualified than he is. He feels he would never be able to reach my level. Our families are also very well educated which makes him feel he hasn’t done anything in life and that our families would never accept our relationship. He says he cannot make me struggle with him. He wants to be friends now.
He’s totally messed up right now wrt his career cos nothing’s going right. But I’m sure something great will come up soon. But he doesn’t believe in himself.
Should I be friends with him even after the break up and help him get out of this mess? Or is it time for me to move on? Will he come back to me and is this just a phase? Cos I know for sure he still loves me. I didn’t want to break up but he said he doesn’t want all this right now as he feels he’s using me and that he doesn’t want me stuck with him as I deserve better.

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M

I cut off all form of communication with him after I started having feelings for him. I’m aware that he overthinks a lot and that he has trouble to express himself. However, he didn’t make any effort to fight back and that’s when I realized that that I didn’t deserve this. Sure I’m not perfect, but I’m not going to destroy myself emotionally for someone who can muster up some courage to express themselves (he went into a hopeless romantic era after we stopped talking). I don’t know if he would ever find this, but if he does then all I can say is that I wanted you to be honest with me and that I loved you. At the time, I felt that you didn’t deserve hearing that (I had panic attacks at the time which I rarely get) but I just need to liberate myself from that sentence. I did wait for you, but you never come back. Therefore, I need to go move forward. As I said before good luck lemon.

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Faith

This is a very good article. Wish I would have read it before I left my emotionally abusive bf of 7 years. It totally makes sense that he has low self esteem. I tried everything I could think of to make the relationship work, but I was losing myself in the process. It was a terribly painful decision to leave, but he made it very clear he was not interested in changing. Since I left, he has even sent me messages that he is the one ending the relationship because I did the same thing to him that his ex-wife did (leaving) and he is doing great. I am so sad that the relationship ended because he was so good to me at the beginning and he has a lot of wonderful qualities, but I couldn’t cope with the emotional abuse.

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Jen

Ditto..
No one has ever made me feel LOVE the way he did, DESPITE Satans grip on our Minds.. God has our Hearts.. and I WISH I had been able to be STRONGER for the Both of us.. What we had was truly Beautiful and So many envied us.. bc it was REAL!! No One had the Power to make me feel the way he did.. I felt so beautiful and Loved with him.. without I am like a Limp Flower just losing Petals day after day… I’m so very sad and would give ANYTHING to step back in time… I pray you make the right decisions and not mess up your heart the way I have… I wish we would NOT read into everything little thing in life, the way that we do… I PRAY for healing and reconnection one day?

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Janine

I agree. I just ended a relationship for a similar reason. I don’t like that this article is telling the girl to stay. It is harmful and he needs to heal on his own. GO! It will hurt more to stay than to leave. He will always hold you in his heart and mind but go. . You will never know how damaged a person is until you try to love them.

For me he ended up cheating with someone else then saying he loved her when she left him. He used me to comfort his heartbreak over another girl. He only thought he loved her because she was a worse mess than he was. It all made me feel quite horrible, as I am sure based off of our 5 years together that I showed him more love and positivity than anyone else in his life.

Don’t grow flowers for someone else to pick. Refer him and heal yourself of the emotional abuse. It is NOT healthy to stay in a relationship with a man with low self-worth.

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Colette

I 100% agree with Janine. I’m in the process of leaving an emotionally abusive relationship and either way it’s so incredibly painful. But since we were together I felt so unloved many times and my mental health plummeted to a dangerous level. I know I’ll always miss him but I need to get healthier for my own life.

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Susan

My ex and I had eight years together. The first four he says were wonderful, the next two fighting about nothing. He talked about his old girlfriends. How he couldn’t have sex any more. He is 69. That he used to have sex three times a day.

I mentioned I didn’t particularly like him going naked all day. It was distracting. Hid old gf committed suicide. He criticized me a lot. Would record the fights he started. I started losing myself and said some mean things. It was a lot about sex. I am older than he is. He wanted me to wear a dog collar. Wear corsets like the sluts he went out with basically whores.

The first six or so years I took him to parties and we basically had a good time. He helped me move out of my house. I sold the house and want to move closer to my son. It’s a very pretty place.

He smokes cigarettes, huge amounts of weed and closes his door now to his office and watches porn. He kicked me out six months ago. I thought he was loyal but he called his ex wife. Then he saw a stripper who lived in his house. We are together the whole time except he sleeps until four or five every day.

He fights with everyone sooner or later. He massages himself with viagara almost every night. He stays up until seven in the morning and sleeps all day. He sits in front of the computer for hours and eats a lot. He has gained about 25 lbs.

I am trying to find a condo and I hurt so much because I really love him and have no one else. I am a widow and my family is scattered all over.

He told my son he wants me to leave. The virus has made it difficult and the inventory is low on condos.

He says he is going to rent an apartment and leave his house until I leave.

I don’t know what I did that was so awful but he adds up everything and keeps copious records. He says I really don’t like him.

He used to ride motorcycles. Has a fast car. Broke up with everyone or everyone broke up with him.

I am flabbergasted. If he loved me so much the honeymoon wore off and it ended. We were engaged and he asked me to marry him five or six times.

I couldn’t do it. Because my life was going to be controlled.

Any suggestions?

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Deedee

Wow.. thank you for this insightful details. I can now almost understand what happened to my man, we have been married for 18 years now. And this year is the most painful. We did not even celebrate our anniversary this year, for the first time ever. He just admitted he still have feelings to another woman. They met during our earlier year of marriage, but at that time he cut the relationship short when she asked him to marry her. And now, he just reconnect with her last year, but she is happily married with 4 kids. And he said he wished our marriage is as happy as hers.

All these years he kept his feelings, and now he admit that, and even said he actually loathed saying I love you, as he felt forced all these while. We fought, as I was so hurting to know that. he said I am a good wife, he did managed to bring out every negative things I did like missing a point during discussion, leaving the house messy, not socialising so much..

I didn’t see that coming, I thought we have a happy marriage, I always there for him. Through ups and down, and I almost quit my job to support the household, but decided not to after some consideration.

He said he had his time of depression, which I wasn’t aware since all I saw is he being strong and capable. Only this recent weeks after he admitted he had feelings for other woman, perhaps since she is no longer available to him, somehow he become more depressed, and I am no longer enough for him, even he still loves me, he wanted to have her too, but he can’t. He even acknowledged that he is being selfish, but he doesn’t want to change that.

I am working hard now to forgive him, but he never apologize for having feelings to other woman. I love this marriage, as I love him truly, and I wanted to make him sees that I accepted him the way he is, and perhaps it’s my fault too for making him saying the word ‘i love you’ so much. I am learning to speak his love language, he prefers action than words, which I didn’t notice since he was showing himself very happy with the affirmations all these years.

This insight somehow helped me to see from a different perspective. He do need help.

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Lucy

I´m going through this right now. He always said he loved me so much, how intelligent I was and beautiful and a lot of other compliments. However, despite his great love he repeatedly said that he never wanted anything formal with me because there always was some minor defect or attitude from the that did not make him sure about having something formal. Despite I always told him that I loved him, he never believed me, he said that it was a lie and always asked to prove him that I really love him.
At some point he started to explode from some minor things, like when he went nuts because at some point I wanted a second opinion for a health issue of mine, he started to say that I was a very negative person and that action of mine was a sign the he could never rely on me in the future (until today I can´t understand this). He started to be very jealous, even of my dog, yes my DOG!!! how could someone be jealous from a dog?, he was getting mad if I touched her o rub her belly saying that it was unhealthy and that I showed more love to a dog than to him.
Everything ended really bad, mainly because I started to feel tired and anxious about all this and afraid of his reactions. Of course everything ended with him saying that I was a horrible person and that I have ruined his life.

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Louise

Sounds tough, Lucy. I feel for you. Just don’t ever believe his words. It sounds like you’ve made a lot of rational sense of what has happened. Just keep remembering the thoughts from your rational brain, not your emotional brain, when the going gets tough. Your instincts are right and you know it.

Much love.

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Nirmala

But what if we start feeling further trusting is only going to put me in further trouble and not get any love of his again or even if he tries to show the love his previous behaviours have made me skeptical.rather than getting tied up with a low esteem guy who will drown me i prefer staying alone

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Karena

This is my husband Ian to a Tee. We have been married one year and we won’t make it to two, sadly I can’t deal with the anger and insults and blame even though I realize this must be an Illness or mental issue but I just can’t wait and go through more years of this. I love him but I love myself more and I am the only one on this relationship now that does.
I am glad the man who wrote this article got some help. Perhaps ian will see me as his Mary one day and realize how awful he has been to me, I hope so honestly.

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.

Thank you for being honest, it’s a true insight into ones mind. Now, it seems like the other side is in boats bobbing away in between the storms that come and go. Going through the motions. I understand that it’s pretty much a waiting game, and in reality, all we can do is help them see they are worthy. Saying this, some success stories would really be uplifting at this point. I think we can all agree that we are in the same cluster of boats… but how the fuck do we get to land. How do you handle storms, what’s been effective on your part? We now have the opportunity to see into the heart of someone’s who struggles just like our loved ones. And I need cross information because I fucking refuse to let him lose to himself. I need to know what’s been done before and in honest answers, if it works. How can we help in the most effective ways, and not chase shiny balls that we think could be the answers. When your drowning, we’re drowning, except we don’t care if we drown just as long and your safe and breathing. I know my story, it’s the same as everyone else’s. What I don’t know is how to help him in a way that actually helps him. And I mean truly helping him, what’s where your come in, what actually works, what breathes life back into a dark mind. I’m not chasing an fantasy where there’s an exact answer, but how were some situations handled successfully, what did you do, what didn’t you do? please. How do I help teach him without hurting or pushing him away.

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Lei Lei

First let me address that Paul is fine as hell!!!
Damn, it’s always the gorgeous ones.
My asshole is suffering from a mental disorder but I did get an apology. I’m leaving to start a whole new life in California and this asshole doesn’t even want to see me. I’m not sure if he’s married, sleeping with my daughter or had his penis chopped off by another woman. I also know he has a problem with jealousy. I broke up with him years ago and he’s been doing his best to make me pay for years. He’s spiteful, jealous and an all around asshole. He has addictions and he’s reall not a good guy at all in the surface. On the other hand he’s always been a gentleman to me. He’s two different people most definitely.
I believe he met someone after me and fell deep. She hurt in so much he’s given up on life.
That’s an ego buster because he’s always made me feel as if I was the special one. Reality check!!!
I’m clearly not. Got it. Point taken. Asshole!!!
He may have a disease he can’t get rid of because he couldn’t keep it in his pants is probably the only reason why I finally got an apology from him. He was always the type to never admit his wrongs. He’s 47 so there’s clearly no time for change. I’m looking forward to my new life without him in it. He crushed my soul but the apology finally gave me closure. He’s pretty intuitive as well so he knew why I reached out before my journey. Thanks asshole!!!
Kanye was right…let’s here it for the douchbags and the assholes!!!
Am I bitter? Just a little. I will soon get over it when I’m taking a nice walk down the California beaches and my business is booming.

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yoga

exactly him.. i tried for 3 yrs to stick by him bec i saw this issue in him already.. now i am just so tired.. thinking what else can i do to make him feel he’s worthy also. now i feel unworthy when i saw him with his family and the lifestyle they have compared to me and the other women part of it, thats what i said to myself maybe he cant be proud of what i am now bec he doesnt want to look the loser of the group.. i love him and ill love him from here, im stepping back though cos im also saving myself ?

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“Karen Young - Hey Sigmund has such a wonderful way with words especially around anxiety. This is her latest beautiful picture book that explains anxiety through the lens of the Polyvagal theory using the metaphor of a house. This shows how sometimes anxiety can be hard to notice. I think this book can help kids and teens better understand stress and anxiety. I loved it! This would be great for homes, schools and in libraries.
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Of course we love them, no matter what - but they need to feel us loving them, no matter what. Especially when they are acting in unlovable ways, or saying unlovable things. Especially then.

This is not ‘rewarding bad behaviour’. To think this assumes that they want to behave badly. They don’t. What they want is to feel calm and safe again, but in that moment they don’t have the skills to do that themselves, so they need us to help them. 

It’s leading with love. It’s showing up, even when it’s hard. The more connected they feel to us, the more capacity we will have to lead them - back to calm, into better choices, towards claiming their space in the world kindly, respectfully, and with strength. 

This is not about dropping the boundary, but about holding it lovingly, ‘I can see you’re doing it tough right now. I’m right here. No, I won’t let you [name the boundary]. I’m right here. You’re not in trouble. We’ll get through this together.’

If you’re not sure what they need, ask them (when they are calm), ‘When you get upset/ angry/ anxious, what could I do that would help you feel loved and cared for in that moment? And this doesn’t mean saying ‘yes’ to a ‘no’ situation. What can I do to make the no easier to handle? What do I do that makes it harder?’♥️
Believe them AND believe in them. 

‘Yes this is hard. I know how much you don’t want to do this. It feels big doesn’t it. And I know you can do big things, even when it feels like you can’t. How can I help?’

They won’t believe in themselves until we show them what they are capable of. For this, we’ll have to believe in their ‘can’ more than they believe in their ‘can’t’.♥️
Sometimes it feels as though how we feel directs what we do, but it also works the other way: What we do will direct how we feel. 

When we avoid, we feel more anxious, and a bigger need to avoid. But when we do brave - and it only needs to be a teeny brave step - we feel brave. The braver we do, the braver we feel, and the braver we do… This is how we build brave - with tiny, tiny uncertain steps. 

So, tell me how you feel. All feelings are okay to be there. Now tell me what you like to do if your brave felt a little bigger. What tiny step can we take towards that. Because that brave is always in you. Always. And when you take the first step, your brave will rise bigger to meet you.♥️
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#anxietyinkids #consciousparenting #parentingtips #gentleparent #parentinglife #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #heywarrior
If anxiety has had extra big teeth lately, I know how brutal this feels. I really do. Think of it as the invitation to strengthen your young ones against anxiety. It’s not the disappearance of brave, or the retreat of brave. It’s the invitation to build their brave.

This is because the strengthening against anxiety happens only with experience. When the experience is in front of you, it can feel like bloodshed. I know that. I really do. But this is when we fight for them and with them - to show them they can do this.

The need to support their avoidance can feel relentless. But as long as they are safe, we don’t need to hold them back. We’ll want to, and they’ll want us to, but we don’t need to. 

Handling the distress of anxiety IS the work. Anxiety isn’t the disruption to building brave, it’s the invitation to build brave. As their important adult who knows they are capable, strong, and brave, you are the one to help them do that.

The amygdala only learns from experience - for better or worse. So the more they avoid, the more the amygdala learns that the thing they are avoiding is ‘unsafe’, and it will continue to drive a big fight (anger, distress) or flight (avoidance) response. 

On the other hand, when they stay with the discomfort of anxiety - and they only need to stay with it for a little longer each time (tiny steps count as big steps with anxiety) - the amygdala learns that it’s okay to move forward. It’s safe enough.

This learning won’t happen quickly or easily though. In fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better. This is part of the process of strengthening them against anxiety, not a disruption to it. 

As long as they are safe, their anxiety and the discomfort of that anxiety won’t hurt them. 
What’s important making sure they don’t feel alone in their distress. We can do this with validation, which shows our emotional availability. 

They also need to feel us holding the boundary, by not supporting their avoidance. This sends the message that we trust their capacity to handle this.

‘I know this feels big, and I know you can do this. What would feel brave right now?’♥️

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