(Closed) How do I love him when he hates himself?

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
368 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I think going to counseling TOGETHER could be a huge benefit to you both and your relationship. 

I have bouts of insecurity, though nothing to the extreme you’ve mentioned with your SO. But sometimes I just need my Darling Husband to remind me why he thinks I’m wonderful and why he loves me (I also do the same for him when he’s having his moments). When we were in an LDR, I had made myself a list of all the wonderful things he does that shows me he loves me and kept it in my wallet, and would pull it out to read it when I was feeling blue. It really, really helped! Maybe you can make a list of all the things you love about your SO, and make a fun night of reading it to him and just gushing over him. And then afterwards, give it to him and ask him to keep it in his wallet, so that anytime he’s feeling low, he can pull it out and be reminded why you KNOW he’s amazing, and he can be reminded too.

Little steps like that help get through the day-to-day, but ultimately it will be his responsibility to rebuild his inner-strength, and counseling is a good way to start that. But if it gets too much for you, and he’s not making an effort, don’t guilt yourself into staying out of pity. That does neither of you any good. 

Post # 5
Member
368 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

@shhhbee:  Sure thing!

Also, perhaps appeal to his sense of concern for you. If he’s not willing to do joint counseling because he doesn’t value himself, ask him if he values YOU, and that it would mean a lot to you to give it a go. Getting him there is really the battle, it sounds like, especially if he’s had bad experiences in the past!

Maybe you can ‘test run’ relationship counselors and find one you feel would be a good fit for you both before you bring him.

Post # 6
Member
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Hi,

You must have a big heart to want to help him so much! You sound like his biggest cheerleader and sounds like he could use it.

Just remember that no one can change anyone except that person. If you keep pushing you’ll just get exhausted, then frustrated, then possibly resentful that he isn’t making the progress you want him to make. All you can do is support him when he asks for it and love AS HE IS. If you can’t handle him staying this way the rest of his life, then he’s not the one for you – but maybe best left as a friend.

I wish you the best!

Post # 7
Member
120 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Also, I should mention that my SO also has low self esteem. I’ve learned to just be there for him when he needs me to be, and accept and love him for who he is. He’s working through it in his own way.

Post # 8
Member
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I think you are doing your best. Allowing him to seek couseling for his issues alone first is important. I think it something you guys should work towards together. However if he isn’t able to progress maybe you should make plans for that.

 What you desribe is heartbreaking but also draining and how long can you live with him behaving like that until you crack?

Post # 11
Member
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think therapy is really the best thing for both of you.  You can tell him you love him a million times, but if he doesn’t have the self esteem enough to believe it, it won’t get through.  Hopefully he’ll be able to get to the bottom of it with some help and learn that he IS worth something much more than he realizes.  

Post # 12
Member
3368 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

@shhhbee:  I struggle with major insecurity.  The strength of my relationship has really helped.  Simply knowing that he accepted me no matter what and he saw me as worthwhile allowed me to begin accepting myself with the same kindness and patience.  I tried counseling here and there for years before meeting him, but nothing really worked.  I finally had to speak about abuse that had taken place in my childhood to get the root of the self-loathing.  I don’t know if he lived with abuse of any kind, but that was the obstacle for me.

I also couldn’t accept good things about myself (not just compliments, more like the foundation for my perspective was that I was automatically at fault), so I practiced simply thinking positive words.  Sounds ridiculous, but I had to retrain my brain to accept positivity.  When I went to sleep or when I would normally be going over and over “what I had done wrong”, “how embarrassed I was” instead I would make myself think positive words repeatedly.  For example, “good, kind, calm, patient, loving, happy” and what ever other words he can think of.  It changes the atmosphere in the brain. 

I also had to refuse to insult myself.  Even jokingly, he can’t call himself stupid, dork… whatever it is that he might say.  I used to say, “Oh, I’m such an idiot!”  But that keeps the brain in the negative pattern, joking or not.  That, along with the constant support of my husband and focused counseling, has changed my life. 

 

Post # 14
Member
1961 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I was in a similar situation several years ago, with someone who had very low self-esteem and struggled with depression. He tried medication, therapy (both solo, and with me present), but it didn’t help. My approach was to gently guide him toward activities he enjoyed doing, and constantly reassure him that I loved and cared about him.

It was exhausting, unfulfilling, and frustrating. I finally ended the relationship after 3 years. It was difficult reaching that decision, but I felt 300 lbs lighter after we broke up. Although he was a wonderful, funny, interesting, and loving person whom I cared about very deeply, I finally had to put my health and well-being first (instead of always worrying about and catering to him, walking on eggshells around him, and completely abandoning our social lives) and do what was best for me.

I’m not saying that you should do the same, I’m just sharing my story. Sometimes, there’s only so much you can do before you start to lose yourself in caring for someone else. Its difficult to build a healthy partnership/relationship when both parties are confined to such limited roles (him constantly being negative and you being his cheerleader). Start with individual therapy and maybe build up to couples counseling. *Hugs* to you and I’m sorry you’re dealing with this difficult situation. Be strong and remember to take care of yourself too. 

Post # 16
Member
3368 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

@shhhbee:  The problem with most cognitive therapy is that it is talk centric and basically I could go on all day about what was bugging me, but never really conclude and move past it.  I was stuck on one thing or the next and would just go over and over it, feeling shame and guilt each time.  It was like wearing the opposite of rose-colored glasses.  So talking about myself or my life only reinforced the negativity.  I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which eventually led to a treatment called EMDR.  It was years leading up to the correct diagnosis and then only a matter of months to see and feel improvement with EMDR. 

The sessions seemed so ridiculous at first that I told my husband I wasn’t going to waste our money on that crock… but I could not deny the results.  I started remembering what it felt like to feel hopeful and I was able to forgive myself for being imperfect.  I have struggled with confidence my entire life, so it wasn’t like I remembered when I felt good about myself… it was more like being able to let myself trust it. 

PM me if you want to! 

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