- 6 years ago
My SO and I have been together for around a year now. We’ve known each other for 6 years, and we’ve been best friends for 4 years. I’m 32, he’s 30. We obviously know each other well, have been there through all our past relationships etc. We probably know too much about some things!
The issue is that my SO has very low self esteem. I’ve always known, but he had some trouble with depression about 18 months ago and I thought he had professionals help him through it. It turns out, they didn’t, and it’s recently come out that his feelings are deeper and so much worse than I ever realised.
I am returning to work after some time at home, and I know that’s bringing his insecurity out. He’s worried I’ll meet someone better than him. It’s making this a particularly tough time for us, and it’s what started the conversation which made me realise the extent of his unhappiness.
This man is kind, gentle, funny and loving. But not to himself. He is vicious, cruel, demanding and demeaning to himself. He apologises every second breath he takes. I have trouble addressing any relationship or domestic concerns with him as he takes it to heart. And being around him can sometimes be intolerable, it breaks my heart to see him be so mean to himself.
Without question, I know that he loves me and that I love him. He’d never hurt me, physically or otherwise (I’ve been there, done that). We were considering marriage, but this was prior to me finding out how tormented he is. Now, I’m scared of spending the rest of my life watching him hate on himself.
It doesn’t matter what I say or do to bolster his confidence, it’s like he literally cannot hear me. The good things he does and the validating things that I say roll off his back, and what he sees as his mistakes repeat in his head and loom like a toxic cloud. He feels like he’s not good enough for me, and tries to do more and more to compensate. It’s exhausting for him. And it’s hard to watch. I feel powerless to help him. I’m worried that if we had kids, they’ll learn his self hatred.
I’ve been seeing a counsellor for years and I have finally convinced him to see someone himself.
I don’t want to lose my best friend. I don’t want to abandon him. I don’t want to be that woman who expects a man to change. But I want him to see himself the way that I see him. I want him to value himself, the way I value him. I don’t expect him to be perfect or never be insecure. Gosh, I have plenty of my own issues. But to have enough value in himself that I’m not afraid he might make a really, really bad decision in a dark moment.
I’ll see how we go once I’ve settled in at work and as his counselling progresses. If you’ve suffered from severe, ongoing insecurity I would LOVE to hear what you’d like from your partner, what did (or would) help you. Does anyone have any other suggestions for me?