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+1 vote

I am struggling with an insecure partner and I feel like I can’t do anything. I find myself packing up my awards and trophies, hiding my success even if its a little. I am shutting down advancing and bettering myself because of him.  He always makes condescending comments about me. When something good happens for me he will put my fire out by crying and says he’s dealing with some things but won’t talk to me about them. I have tried reassuring him about how Great he is and that my love is unconditional. If I am rising up so is he. But he just says hes not good enough. Then, I will cancel things and not accomplish anything to not over shine him THEN he would go around and treat me like I am useless and acts like I am lazy. He then makes me feel like everyone else is better than me. For example, if we talk to a mutual friend and they are sharing their accomplishments he would genuinely listen to them and elaborate in responses on how great they are doing. But if I share something to the group he will roll his eyes at me and just bluntly ignore me. I then end up feeling like crap around him about 95 percent of the time. 

I can’t win with him and he clearly doesn’t like to see me win. I don’t know what to do. I want to leave but I am not ready to undo 12 years of life together. It takes time to untie our lives together so leaving right away is not an option.  How should I cope? What steps should I be taking? I feel like I am walking on eggshells. 

in Married Life by (10,700 points)

6 Answers

+4 votes

Reading this made me sad. Love is believing all things, which means that when you love, you unconditionally accept things as they are. But to what extent is what I'm hearing from you? That's the million dollar question. I often wonder how many people actually look back on their lives, and wonder why they wasted so much time with people who thought so little of them? Love should make you both want to be the best you can be for each other. You stated you're not ready to undo 12 years of your life together, therefore, you haven't had enough yet.  It's hard to give direction to people who go back for more of the same thing they are trying to get away from.  I think you need to have an honest conversation with him on how you feel. If you've already expressed your feelings to him before, then try again. Everyone is capable of change, to be better, if they really want it. Also, it's OK to feel free to treat yourself better whenever you're ready. I understand your situation is not easy, these things never are. 

by (464,620 points)
+3 votes
Your title is so true, your s/o is very insecure. The question is, why you put up with it, and how long you are willing to continue to do so. He really should be rooting for you when you accomplish anything big or small, for that matter. That’s what someone who loves you will do. He obviously has mixed emotions for you if he feels he cannot praise you for what you do, and dwells on his woes to drown out any good feelings you have about yourself. He himself has learned that this has that effect on you— it makes you have guilt over your own accomplishments. 
   My feeling is you shouldn’t put up with any of it, and that the time you have spent putting up with it has eroded your self esteem enough to think you can’t do much about it now. For your own sake you must put that thinking aside and the sooner you leave this relationship, the sooner you’ll be able to heal from it. It will be tough at first,but you’ll get through it, and you’ll thank yourself for it later. 
by (1,251,850 points)

I also meant to write that therapy for you, or counseling for you both, as someone else mentioned here, would be great. That would allow another independent party to look at the situation from their view, and allow you to come to a decision on what is best for you. IF he is unwilling to go to counseling with you (or alone) then I think that would give you more clarity on what you need to do. Also excuse the font--I had typed my answer on another screen and it wont allow me to resize the font here. 

+2 votes

Oof, this is difficult to read especially on top of your previous post. This sounds like a very difficult partnership. I'm curious as to how long this current state has been going on for? You've been together for 12 years, so I'm guessing there must have been good times before when he was not mean, condescending, feeling like he's not good enough. Or, have there always been elements of this in him showing up in the relationship and now you are at a point where you don't think you can take much more of it? 12 years is a long time, but also it does not justify or give him a pass for this behavior. And if you treat him like it does, it shows him that you are okay with having a partner who will treat you like this. Leaving is absolutely an option, but staying and working through it is another option. In my response on your other post I mentioned maybe therapy, and after reading this I do see how therapy could be beneficial. Whether that's for both of you as a couple, or you individually. Of course, you could recommend he also individually see a counselor, but those kinds of conversations don't usually go over very well. People need to want to change/do the work on their own, vs being convinced by someone else that they should. I think there are multiple potential benefits of you going to therapy (whether with him or on your own):

1. You get a better understanding if this is the right relationship for you, how to work through it to get to a better place or find a good way to end it.

2. You have a trusted person to consult with the things your partner does/says that bother you, and you can work through for yourself what you want to do about it (ex: your partner makes you feel bad about your successes, but you don't want to let that dictate the way you live your life, so how do you shake off the comments/not internalize them, and continue to be true to yourself)

3. You will learn how your actions/thoughts/triggers have contributed to the relationship dynamic you currently find yourself in. While it's easy to point the finger and say that one's partner is not doing things right, relationships take two people, and there are possibly things you do or don't do that have enabled the dynamic. Please know in saying this I am not blaming you for your partner being condescending - his actions/words are his own responsibility - but you're staying in the relationship despite this continued behavior, so there is likely something you could be doing differently to change the dynamic? It could be as simple as leaving. Or it could be more complicated such as certain patterns that occur in your life/relationships that could be examined and shifted.

by (79,390 points)

Sorry, I sent the answer before finishing. In my recommendation of therapy I'm not trying to convince you to stay in the relationship necessarily. It does sound like your partner has a LOT of internal work to do, and it is not your responsibility to be his number 1 cheerleader. HE should be his number 1 cheerleader. He needs to love himself. And if you don't want to stick around and do all the emotional labor of supporting him while he maybe (or maybe doesn't!) go on that journey, that is an absolutely valid choice. I for one am just so tired of a lot of these emotionally stunted men leaning on the women in their lives to do all the emotional work for them. That is not at all my idea of a happy relationship.

+3 votes

I guess I'm losing my "empathy gene."  Or I'm getting too old for this kind of thing.  You and your partner are not really "partners."  A true "partner relationship" is when two people SUPPORT EACH OTHER.  If there is LOVE involved in the partnership, then one partner will put the other above himself/herself.  YOU obviously do that because you are doing everything  you can to support him in his time of "weakness."  HE supports YOU by... uh.. well, by... um... well, it's complicated... (yeah, right).  YOUR relationship is "all about US."  HIS relationship is "all about ME."  

When I see stories about abuse, whether it's physical or emotional, I just wish I could somehow say in a way that is actually convincing, "Get OUT of there!!!!"  It does YOU no good to suffer from his abuse.  The only way he is surviving, it seems, is to lift himself up by putting you down.  That's not a partnership.  That's abuse.  

You can turn the other cheek.  But it seems you've turned the other cheek so many times, you're bleeding from the cheeks, nose, mouth, and brain.  What good are you to him if you are someone who is feeling "beaten down" all the time?  What good are you to YOU if you are living in fear of your own success because the "almighty HE" will have a "sadness owwle?"  ::shaking my head::  It must be true: Sometimes, you can't see the forest for the trees.

Get some counseling. If he won't go with you (he won't unless he thinks he can manipulate the counselor to be on "his side"), then go alone and learn how to live without fear of your own success, without thinking your success is somehow "bad."  Find a way to see your relationship with unbiased eyes.  Then do what you need to do to allow yourself to be happy.

That's the bottom line.  Are you HAPPY?  Read your posts.  You don't SOUND happy.  Don't you deserve happiness?  Of COURSE you do.  So find a way to live your life in a way that allows you to be happy!

by (969,400 points)
+2 votes

You sound stuck. I hope writing about it helps. I'm not one who believe in the counseling method unless the person or parties involved are ready to admit wrong, or really thinks this third party method will work. Only then. I think you already know what you need to do, but maybe have problems financially making it tough to move on. In my opinion, in the meantime, I would go on with my life as if he's not a deciding factor. He may see then you don't see him anymore. A forest through the trees type thing.. this may or may not change his tune. All I know is that we all need support, with out all supporting pillars to hold us up, we will fall. Good luck to you as you ponder your way. Hopefully that way will be forward.

by (125,260 points)
+1 vote

Thank you all so much for your genuine responses. Sorry it took me awhile to log back in and see all this. Since my post, I am learning to slowly pull away silently around him in order to garner enough strength to make a move. I’m scared to make quick decisions at this point because it will shake my whole world like a kick in the beehive. So by slowly making changes towards a new direction and life I can gradually pull away without causing chaos. :/ fingers crossed.  At least its a tactic i am hoping will work. I hope maybe he will come around to be better and maybe notice me but if not, i am trying to piece myself back together. Some days goes well, other days i find a room all to myself and curse at the walls. I am also scared to be alone. I mean i do feel alone now but to leave and be completely alone is scary to me at this point in time. Only time will tell. I hope my next update to this post will be a good one. Thanks again for the responses 

by (10,700 points)

You're welcome. 

I see that you still haven't had enough. You'll definitely know when you had enough, because no obstacle, or excuse, good or bad will stand in your way. 

Good luck to you!

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