Everyone has insecurities in relationships. Sometimes such feelings are understandable—for instance, if your partner still hangs a picture or card from an ex on the wall after many years. Or if you realized your partner has lied about several things.
However, these feelings of insecurities in normal people are different from those who have chronic low self-esteem. Their insecurities are often deeply rooted and a result of feelings of rejection from family members or one’s peers.
This type of person is not always easy to spot. Besides family history, you could also look at some of these signs:
• They might try to overcompensate for what they lack. For instance, a guy could post a lot of photos of himself on Facebook with mostly women. This is to make up for insecurities about his masculinity or unpopularity with women.
• They could also try to draw comfort and assurance from others constantly. For example, they constantly post updates about how sad they feel. They constantly put themselves down while contrasting these self-deprecating captions with a hot photo of themselves.
• Many also admire those who have control in life and can manipulate others, since that is what they lack. For instance, they could be fans of Nazism or admire unscrupulous businesspeople that would harm others to achieve their ends.
Here are five reasons why you should avoid dating these people:
1) They don’t truly love you.
I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.
No matter what they say, they don’t truly love you. They love what you represent and what you can give—a better future, a higher status in society, a trophy to show off to their friends, or simply someone to assure them of their self-worth and attractiveness.
2) Their idealism is dangerous.
At the start, they will see you as a solution to all their sadness and misery. This may make you feel flattered initially. However, in reality, you are a human being with needs and your own character, not an object of perfection in their fantasies.
When the honeymoon period is over and you start to have expectations and conflicts, resentment and disillusionment will set in. They will start to dislike you for their chronic dissatisfaction and unrealistic expectations, and you will increasingly seem flawed to them.
Some of these people never get out of this idealism stage. They continue to neglect and lose their close friends, parents, and lovers in their lives. They only admire those whom they barely know or who just entered their lives because these individuals are being idealized.
These people are often naturally drawn to fiction, be it games, books, or dramas. They live in a fantasy world that is better than their actual life. This unhealthy idealism and these fantasies may extend to their real lives. For instance, they may lie to others and themselves about how good they are. When questioned, they may get defensive and angry about not being trusted; worse, they may blame others for causing them to lie.
3) They tend to have poor conflict-management skills.
Any relationship expert will tell you that conflict management is the key indicator of most relationships’ long-term success.
However, most of these people with chronic low self-esteem do not have a good track record of long-lasting close friendships and are unable to learn how to deal with conflicts from there.
Thus when they enter relationships, they are equally bad and may resort to aggression, passive-aggression, or escapism and avoidance when dealing with conflicts. Some could even get very defensive, making it hard for you to settle problems with them.
4) People with low self-esteem can be irritating.
Many of these individuals feel rejected by others and have never received proper love. As such, their self-esteem doesn’t come from inside and they tend to seek external validation.
If the only thing they are good at is, say, school, they naturally would base their self-worth on that.
They may also value others heavily on these factors because they like to believe that is what everyone else should value strongly as well.
This can result in them being irritatingly critical of everyone else. For instance, they could be intellectual snobs who despise all who don’t fit into their narrow definition of intellect. Of course, this definition is often tailored to suit their personal strengths.
5) They are not helping you.
You probably were attracted to them at the beginning because of their circumstances and how you felt as if you could be a savior, a light in their life of darkness or mediocrity. They made you feel special by telling you that you are the one person they could depend on, and this made you feel special and in control of things. You wanted to step in and reverse all the damage of their childhood experiences.
However, you need to realize you can’t change people. A lot of these childhood problems are complex and hard for anyone to understand and resolve no matter how smart they are. Their wounds happened when they were young and vulnerable and are hard to repair.
Only they can do it themselves.
If most people around them don’t want them as a close friend or lover, it probably means that they are faulty. Those who were once close to him or her may have realized that this person caused more harm than good in their lives.
It is not your responsibility to help someone if they hurt you constantly. It is not about being selfish; it’s about learning to love yourself and take care of your own interests.