July 27, 2015 at 7:46 pm #80610HaveLipsWillSmileParticipant
Hi all, hoping you may be able to provide me with some advice.
To get to the point, I suppose I see myself as having come a long way in my happiness journey. I’ve learnt to deal with negative thoughts, no longer let what others think get to me and always look to the positive in every situation. Basically I don’t get down very often and not much bothers me anymore. In saying that I do empathise with people when they are affected by someone or something but I try not to let their actions, words or mood get me down.
But, I am really struggling to do this with my boyfriend of 6 months. He is lovely in every way and treats me so wonderfully. I really can’t fault much about him except his moodiness, insecurity, jealousy and self-criticism.
I sometimes don’t want to tell him certain things that I think might upset him because instantly his mood changes. He tells me he think I don’t matter to him and that he’s not good enough for me. And this all might be because I didn’t get two tickets to an event and its now sold out so he can’t go. That’s just me being disorganised but he sees it as me not wanting to go with him. I try to explain this to him and his response is that he is always wrong and can never do anything right.
I feel like I have a lot of knowledge now about how to deal with feelings and thoughts so that negative self-talk doesn’t affect me and I want to impart some of this information on him to help him deal with his emotions and when I try to he tells me I am condescending and I talk down to him all the time. He’s not the first person who’s said that to me either and truly, this is never my intention, I just want to help him. I don’t know how to help him without sounding like I’m a know-it-all or making him feel stupid. I really have the best intention when I try to help him with this stuff.
Please can you help with some advice on:
1. How to help me deal with his emotional personality and moodiness; and
2. Help me find a way to impart my knowledge on him without being condescending or ‘talking down’ to him.
Thanks so much in advance.
KristyJuly 27, 2015 at 8:23 pm #80616anitaParticipant
Regarding # 2: when it comes to an intimate relationship there is no knowledge to impart or taught. The only knowledge that matters, that can make any difference is that which is experienced. When he experience condescension than the only thing you taught him is that he is stupid, somethng he already believes he is (so your really didn’t teach him that, only reinforced). No matter what you said, how much sense it made, how intelligent, how enlightened, if what you said to him or how you said it to him makes him FEEL stupid than what you taught him is that you agree with him that he is stupid.
It is not your knowledge that he needs, at least not at this stage. There is something else that he needs.. what do you think it is and can you give him that?
anitaJuly 27, 2015 at 9:05 pm #80620HaveLipsWillSmileParticipant
Thank you so much Anita, and you are so right.
I myself found that I learnt through experience rather than being told, for I resisted quite strongly whenever someone would tell me what to do.
I think it is best for me to show him through my actions, behaviour and the way I care for him. I think more than anything he needs to be nurtured gently as in previous relationships he really had a hard time with being made to feel inadequate and stupid.
I love him and just want him to be happy so I suppose all I can do is be there for him and encourage him.July 27, 2015 at 9:58 pm #80622AnnieParticipant
I think you are doing a wonderful thing asking what you can do to support your partner. It seems as if you deeply care about him. Have you expressed these feelings to him? Usually, in these situations when a person is insecure,jealous, and self-critical they have been hurt a lot in the past. Maybe they had abusive parents or siblings or another figure in his life.
Personally, I don’t think you should jump around the topic and try to cover it up. What i’ve learned is that covering up the real issue can lead to miscommunication and even greater issues. For example, you try to tell him you weren’t being condescending and he feels like he’s the one who can’t do anything right. He may feel victimized or even attacked. If you care about someone and are willing to work on the relationship, then you have to give them constructive criticism. Instead of getting worked up time and time again and eventually becoming tired, you should let him know the truth. Tell him how you feel you are afraid of the way he will react when you speak and that you feel he is acting insecurely. It seems as if you’ve done your fair share of work to not let negative comments get to you, maybe you can share your experience. Usually, when people behave insecurely, out of jealously, or are overly self-critical they aren’t even aware that they are doing it. Their entire livelihood is spent being the helpless victim so how could they see a difference in what they’re doing? Ask your partner what it is that you can do to help him feel more supported, secure, and appreciated? What do you think?
On the opposite side, try not to make it your goal to “fix him” or get rid of his moodiness. Bring up the issue and there is work that he has to do on his own. What is this “knowledge” you wish to teach him?
AnnieJuly 28, 2015 at 8:26 am #80635anitaParticipant
You would like to encourage him, you write, to believe positive things about himself, I gather? To believe he is smart enough, capable enough and so forth. I think it all starts, this kind of changigng core beliefs about oneself, I think it starts with accepting the hurt involved in the creation of those core beliefs. If you SEE his hurt and make it visible, you make him visible. No teaching or lecturing here, just I See your pain moment here and there. To unleash the hold these negative core beliefs have on him, the hurt and anger tied in with those beliefs needs to be unleashed, freed, expressed…. but first seen, acknowledged. How does it feel? There is a question and encourage him to tell you how it feels without your judgment and without you rushing to change how he feels (a backfiring approach)- just listening and accepting that this is how he feels and it is okay for him to feel this way adn it is understandable why he feels this way, taking his childhood and other past experience into consideration.
Not: “ou shouldn’t feel stupid, look how smart you are (examples)” But “You are feeling stupid and it hurts a lot, doesn’t it?” and as he tells you how it hurts, you just listen empathetically. Nothing else.