So, you like someone with low self-esteem, huh? Good luck with that, you’re going to need it.
It sounds harsh, but trust me, I get it. I spent years dating people with low self-esteem and I learned a lot along the way.
Many of us have been there. You’re convinced you’re the one who can finally help/fix/change them. You’ll feel this way especially if you’re a highly sensitive, giving and emphatic person.
But you can’t change them. Not because you don’t know how to or because you’re not good enough – it’s because you really, really can’t.
Experiencing insecurity is normal – it can even be healthy if it leads to self-improvement. A man may be unhappy with his body, so he joins the gym and changes his diet. A woman may feel like she’s not achieving her goals, so she works a little harder and creates a realistic action plan.
However, when a person suffers from chronic low self-esteem, it can be incredibly damaging to you and affect your own self-esteem.
Here’s why you should think twice about dating somebody with low self-esteem:
1. They don’t love you.
Let’s start with this. Sure, they can tell you they love you one hundred times a day, but do they? How can they if they don’t know how to love themselves? Maybe they love the attention and ego boost you supply them – but is that the kind of love you want?
2. They will seek attention elsewhere.
No matter how much love and care you display, it will never be enough. The person you’re dealing with needs the approval and validation of others because their love doesn’t come from the inside, it comes from external sources.
Do you really want to date someone who needs to flirt and pursue attention from others to feel good about themselves?
3. They can be extremely jealous.
Maybe they want to snoop through your phone or make you delete your ex from Facebook. Maybe they’ll resent you for spending time with your family and friends.
If an individual with low self-esteem feels threatened by somebody else, they will lose their shit. They’ll constantly check up on you and accuse you of doing things you haven’t done, and the only way it will stop is if you cut yourself off from everyone and live in a box.
4. They don’t feel worthy, so they will drag you down to their level.
I hate the whole ‘rating out of 10’ system, but for the purpose of this article – the individual may think your personality is a 10/10, but if they feel they are only a 5/10, that’s not fair now, is it?
Sure, they could improve themselves to reach the same level as you, but it’d be a lot easier to tear you down rather than work on themselves which requires a lot of energy they don’t possess.
5. They enjoy other people’s failures way too much.
This is similar to the above point. It’s not fun for a person with low self-esteem to see others doing well, especially when they feel so rubbish about themselves. Because this person doesn’t have the motivation, ambition or belief that they can improve themselves, it’s easier to sit back and delight in someone else’s shortcomings.
6. They may enjoy seeing you suffer over them.
Messed up, right? But it’s true. Seeing you go through hell for them can make them feel temporary worthiness.
‘Oh, they’re bending over backward for me, I must be worth it.’
‘Look at how crazy I’m making them, they must really care about me.’
It’s cruel and pointless.
7. They’ll see criticism and rejection even when there isn’t any.
You could simply ask this person to remember to put their clothes in the laundry basket – it’s a reasonable request, but to them, you’ve just called them lazy, irresponsible and useless. You could rearrange plans with the individual because you’ve had an exhausting day, but in their mind, you’ve just told them you hate them and never want to see them again.
Defensiveness is this person’s natural coping mechanism and it will be alert at all times.
8. They have terrible communication skills.
Many experts say good communication is the key to a long-lasting relationship. People with low self-esteem aren’t so good with the communicating, mainly because as said above, they view the smallest things as criticisms. The moment expectations or conflicts arise, they will either fight or flight through anger, passive-aggressiveness, withdrawal and/or silent treatment.
9. Their negativity will drain you.
We all have bad days, and we’re allowed to complain, but ask yourself – does this person complain constantly about every little thing? Do they take action to fix their problems? Do they find the root causes of these problems to stop them arising again?
Also, be wary of someone who doesn’t ask how you’re doing once in a while. It’s likely the more issues the individual possesses, the less likely you’ll mention yours because you won’t want to ‘burden them’.
10. You deserve someone who can make you happy.
A person with low self-esteem can cause a huge amount of distress and harm to you. Sometimes you have to ask yourself if I stay with this person for another year, where will my self-esteem be in a year’s time? Will I be happy? Is this person really worth it?
I really do understand. You want to step in and reverse all the damage this person has endured. However, you need to realize that you can’t change people. Self-esteem issues are complicated and are there for all kinds of reasons. Only someone going through the problem can resolve these issues.
If you really feel the need to help, do so at a distance. Suggest they see a doctor or a therapist, or they take up mindfulness and practice positive affirmations in the mirror, whatever it is, you can’t do it for them.
It’s hard not to help someone when they so desperately need it, but it is not fair on you to constantly end up hurt and drained.
You are not being selfish. You are simply loving yourself and protecting your own well-being.