Category: blog

Fear of abandonment

Having a fear of abandonment is a common pattern within unhealthy relationships. This could stem from childhood loss, a traumatic event such as a loss of a parent through death, divorce/separation, emotionally unavailable parents, or the physical absence of one or both parent/s.

A child’s early years are highly significant since this is a period when children learn patterns of behaviour that could shape their adulthood. As result, a child that has experienced some form of loss in their early years is likely to have the following attachment when choosing their spouse:

  • Avoidant attachment.
  • Ambivalent attachment.
  • Disorganised attachment.

When a person has lost a loved one, they are always in fear of being abandoned, while no evidence confirms their suspicions.

Although fear of abandonment is very common, it is also difficult to recognise since the learnt behaviour is subconscious, so you may be unaware of it until it becomes out control.

Often, people who suffer from fear of abandonment experience anxiety, they become so afraid that their partner will leave them. This creates significant trust issues within relationships because you find yourself over-thinking or analysing what your partner says or does – to the extent that you can’t stop thinking whether he or she is cheating, speaking to other people outside the relationship or exploring their whereabouts. This level of insecurity can be very unsettling and addictive, even when there is nothing to worry about you, look for signs or things to worry about.

Stop trying to control your partner

When you feel highly insecure in a relationship, you often have a strong tendency to control your partner as you are so afraid of losing them. Consequently, you do everything to please them, secretly hoping that they will not leave you. As a result of this, you give too much and over compromise. Though it seems that you have the power to control your partner. The truth is that it would make you powerless within the relationship, as you cannot control anyone. The only person that you can control is yourself. It is highly essential to comprise within a relationship, however, over-comprising and doing things to keep another person will never work. This will only make you a doormat and deflate your self-esteem.

Rather than trying to control your partner, learn help to manage your insecurities. There many support groups and counsellors for most emotional issues.

Identity where the trust issues stem from

Although you may feel insecure within your relationship, it’s essential to identify how and when these emotions manifested. For instance, did something happen during your early years which led you not trusting people? It’s essential to begin to trust yourself. After all, how can you trust anyone if you don’t trust yourself? Begin to develop a relationship within yourself. By engaging in more activities with friends and family so you’re not fixated on your spouse.

Avoid searching through your spouse’s phone

When two individuals are within a relationship, each individual has to respect one’s privacy. Searching through your spouse phone or trying to track him/her will only cause you to feel more insecure and create further trust issues, so it’s imperative to stop this behaviour because it’s not going to help you.

Unfortunately, if a person wants to cheat on you there is nothing that you can do to stop it. So it’s best to use your energy to make yourself happy instead of making yourself miserable. Even God has given us free will. Accusing or continually assuming your spouse is cheating can also be emotionally draining for them and could push them away (mainly if there is evidence to support your negative assumptions), instead try and enjoy the relationship as best as you can.

Stop acting out

Often, people with a fear of abandonment create unnecessary negative drama by creating situations that could cause them to want to end the relationship with no valid reason. They fear that their partner could leave them, so they want to hurt or leave their spouse before they leave. This is a form of self-sabotaging behaviour and could cause you to look silly as you always say you will leave but don’t. It would make your partner not take you seriously when say you want to end the relationship.

Identity behaviours that could push others away.

Calling or texting your partner too much or asking them to spend their free time with you because you are afraid, only creates further anxiety and could make people not want to spend time with you.

Examine the types of relationship you attract.

People with issues of fear of abandonment habitually attract spouses that are emotionally unavailable or emotionally unbalanced. Begin to seek partners that are emotionally available to enable you to break the cycle of the anxiety of abandonment.

Have you lost your self identity?

Did you know that there are so many people who lack self-identity, particularly in this day and age where so many individuals are so consumed with being liked by other people? People even use Facebook and Instagram to seek validation. These individuals are so busy comparing themselves to others through their friendship circles or social media. The truth is, you will never be fulfilled when you compare yourself to others. This pattern of behaviour only creates indecisiveness, self-doubt, trust issues and low esteem. When you are unaware of your real identity, when you consciously or subconsciously look for constant validation from others, you will feel unfilled and insecure.

This pattern of behaviour can become almost addictive if it’s not managed. You will never really be sure of who you are if you consistently want others to confirm that for you. I am conscious that it may seem odd to know who you are, but how can someone truly love or like or treat you the way you deserved to be addressed if you don’t know yourself? How can you live life to your full potential if you lack self-identity or awareness? Try not defining yourself by who people think you are. Individuals who lack self-identity often identify themselves by their past, status, career or self-image.

Here are some simple ways to reclaim your identity if you believe that you have lost it.

When did you lose your identity?

It’s compulsory to identify when you lost a sense of yourself. This process will enable you to know how to reclaim your identity. For instance, if you grow up in an environment where you were not allowed to feel your emotions or no one spoke about their feelings, then it’s hard to connect with your inner child. It means that you may have a wounded child that is still playing up within the adult. It means you may have learnt not to be in tune with your emotions and often find ways or things to distract yourself, as feeling your emotions may be too painful, confusing or even uncomfortable. When you have identified the cause, then you can begin to start the journey of understanding who you are. In addition to accepting who you are (the good, bad and ugly) after all, no one is perfect.

Journal writing

Keeping a journal account of your emotions and awareness of yourself will help you to understand your thoughts and learnt behaviour that may be preventing you from your personal best such as, low self-esteem or self-sabotaging behaviour. For instance, if you believe that you are not good enough based on childhood experiences or past experiences, then you could transfer this learnt behaviour into all areas of your life, including work and personal relationships. Consequently, having people-pleasing tendencies or continually looking for validation prevents you from your inner power and you end up giving it away to others. Understanding yourself will contribute to a higher esteem, and you will became less emotionally dependent on others to make you happy, like or love you.

Understanding your personal qualities

It’s important to take time to understand, appreciate and value who you are, since you certainly can’t expect someone to understand or value you if you don’t. Conduct a self-assessment by creating a list of your natural gifts and talents to gain a deeper awareness of yourself. Ensure that you carry this exercise completely on your own instead of asking others, as the whole concept of this exercise is for you to understand yourself as opposed to what others think of you.

Breaking the negative cycle

When you are indecisive, it causes self-doubts. Self-doubt creates distrust, and this could contribute to low self-esteem. The more you understand yourself, the happier you will be and have less self-conflicting thoughts. When it comes to developing yourself, you are the only person that is responsible for your development. Any word that begins with “self” means that you’re accountable for that area of work, so getting others to build your esteem or identity would always be non-effective. So no matter how challenging this could be, you have to recognise that the results will be highly rewarding and it will help your decision making and help you take more control of your life.

Learn to enjoy your own company

If you don’t like or appreciate your company, how do you expect other people to like or enjoy your company? Start off by writing a list of things that you enjoy doing. Creating a list of hobbies will help you to be more fulfilled and enjoy your company. Having time with family and friends is highly essential and useful for your emotional wellbeing. However, it’s equally important to create time alone and enjoy your hobbies. You will never really appreciate how much you enjoy an activity on your own unless you try.

Avoid distractions

Too much distraction can be a hindrance to yourself, since continuously distracting yourself blinds you from developing areas such as your awareness and esteem, as you may be consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a relationship with yourself or numbing your emotions by:

  • Using drugs and alcohol.
  • Being overly busy, engaging in non-productive activities.
  • Working long hours.
  • Being too sexually active with multiple partners.
  • Overeating.
  • Oversleeping.
  • Choosing partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them.
  • Continuously having one relationship after another, and not having time to pause.

Learn to be emotionally available to yourself so that you understand and identify your emotions by frequently understanding the reasons why you feel the way you are feeling, such as “why do I feel sad, why do I feel vulnerable?”

What causes anxiety

Anxiety is when you feel afraid or overly worried, tensed that something is going to happen in the future.

Most people who suffer from anxiety have been anxious during the earlier part of their childhood. This could stem from living in an environment where one or both of the parents do not talk about their feelings or express their emotions, particularly negative emotions, and often deal with them in a negative way. In addition, early years of anxiety could be a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, drug addiction or alcoholism, parents that suffer from mental health issues and school-related issues like exams or bullying.

When you’re overly anxious it can affect any area of your life such as:

  • Work – you begin to lack concentration and you’re often not present as your mind is busy racing and thinking about other things.
  • Intimate relationships – you may begin to find it hard to be emotionally connected with your spouse as you feel anxious about the status or the future of the relationship.
  • Friendships – it’s important to socialise and have hobbies, but unfortunately, when an individual is highly anxious it affects their ability to be sociable, as they are often worried about different things which could begin to make them feel paranoid. As a result, they suffer from social anxiety.

Everyone can feel anxiety from time to time, however, anxiety is a mental health problem: if it affects your ability to live as fully as you would like to.

Do you often feel like this? Do you feel anxious very often with the feelings being very severe and lasting for a prolonged time? Do you worry constantly or are afraid that you feel out of control regards to a situation?

  • You avoid situations which might cause you to be anxious and your worrying makes you feel very distressed.
  • You experience panic attacks.
  • You find it hard to enjoy the day to day things. Anxiety could affect the way in which you look after yourself, work, enjoy leisure time, and form and develop relationships.

Self-care for anxiety

Time to pause

Avoid extreme build-up of stress by taking time to pause, relax and recharge yourself. It’s important to avoid over-working by doing long hours without breaks.

Control your breathing

Severe anxiety is often linked to poor breathing habits. It’s important to implement slow breathing techniques by breathing in slowly and gently through your nose for about 5-7 seconds.

Exercise

Exercise is good for your general health, including your mood, mental health and wellbeing. Engage in a regular weekly exercise which will help release the ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins. It will also help you relax and sleep well and it is a very healthy distraction.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Having a balanced diet will provide the right nutrients that your body needs, which will contribute to positive emotional wellbeing. 

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety. 

Get enough sleep

Improved sleeping patterns enable you to recharge yourself. Common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can often underpin sleep problems. Sleep helps you to feel better and boost your moods.

Acceptance

It’s essential to accept that you can’t control everything and it’s important to avoid being overly controlling. It’s important to have a vision or dreams and aspirations, but you can’t spend too much focus or time worrying about the future.

Know your triggers

Having an understanding of what triggers your anxiety will help you look for the patterns and keep your anxiety levels under control.

Talk about your issues 

Talking about issues that make you anxious will help you to think less and reduce over thinking which contributes to worrying and anxiety.

How to not lose yourself in your relationships

Being in love feels good, but always avoid losing yourself in another person. No one wants to be hurt within a relationship but every relationship we pursue is a risk, as you can never control another person’s behaviour or actions.

What is self-discovery? Most people would think that this is a strange question, as generally, people are more interested in learning about the behaviour of others rather than themselves. Unfortunately, many people lack self-identity and often build their esteem in their relationships, careers, financial status, or their appearance. Some of these individuals spend the majority or part of their lives looking for answers or acceptance but take very little time to understand themselves.

Learn to be more self-contained by following the tips below. Knowledge is power but always remember, knowledge without action is useless. Are you treating yourself in the same negative ways that your parents treated you when you were little? Are you punishing yourself the same way your parents did? If this is the case then it’s time to end the negative cycle. You are now the adult in your life so learn to comfort yourself, even if your parents didn’t know how to.

The past has no power over you and there is more power in the present moment.

How to rediscover your true self

Make a happy list

Make a list of things that you enjoy doing that makes you happy. It is essential to ensure that you participate in these hobbies on a regular basis. For instance, if you enjoy going to the gym, try and set aside regular days to go on a weekly basis to establish a regular routine.

Be honest with yourself

Write a list of all the different areas of your life including work, family, friends, hobbies, and relationships. Rate the amount of time that you invest in each area, from a scale of 0% to 100%. 100% is the most you could invest in each area and 0% is the least. Once you have established how much time you invest in each area, write down how much time you invest in your relationship with yourself. If you discover that the score is higher in other areas, then this is an indication that you have been giving very little to yourself. The main incentive is to ensure that you give the very best to yourself in order to give the best to others. For instance, it’s no point committing 100% to your job and committing just 10% to your self.

Make positive friends

It’s mandatory to have friends but more importantly, it’s more effective when your friends are positive friends. Positive people motivate, support and encourage you, particularly when you need emotional support or encouragement the most. On the other hand, negative people often celebrate the downfall of others. Consequently, they could project their negativity into you, which could make you feel worse about yourself or others. In addition, there are health benefits in relation to being positive or positive thinking; it could lower rates of depression, anxiety, and stress. The truth is, you attract people who are most like you. So the key is, if you want positive friends then you have to begin to be more positive yourself.

Become more self-reliant

It’s important to have a good support network of people in your life. However, it is also very important to draw strength from within and acknowledge your own personal power.

Here are 7 basic ways to become more self-reliant:

  • Accept responsibility for your own life choices
  • Make your own decisions – whether they’re good or bad. Indecisiveness is the root cause of low self-esteem
  • Learn more practical skills – the more practical skills you acquire, the more fulfilling your life would be
  • Look after your body
  • Recognise and accept your feelings
  • Find healthier ways to express negative emotions
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.

Get professional help when needed

Ensure that you get professional help if you have underlying issues that could be getting in the way of your best self. It is healthy to get help and support to deal with any negative issues with a professional, in a confidential and private space as opposed to trying to be emotionally dependent on someone to fix or save you. The only person that can help you be the best you can be is yourself, period.

 

 

Unforgiveness and your health

Unforgiveness is when you are unwilling or unable to forgive someone for hurting, betraying, breaking your trust or causing you intense emotional pain. Forgiving is highly recommended, as there are various researches that have been carried out which shows that unforgiveness causes health issues including:

  • Cancer – 61% of cancer patients have forgiveness issues
  • Suppressed anger – people often get angry for any reason have issues associated with forgiveness
  • Low self-esteem – lack of self-love stem from not forgiving your self or self-acceptance
  • Bitterness – increases the risk of depression
  • Constant worrying increases of the risk sleep deprivation and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

When someone has hurt or disappointed you, the logical response would be to think that you’re hurting them by not forgiving them and holding a grudge. The harsh truth is that you’re actually causing yourself more pain by holding on to the anger, and the person that you wish not to forgive has the subconscious power to control you. However, you can get disconnected from the power of control when you forgive.

How to learn to forgive

Decide

When you feel that you have been hurt intensely by someone close to you, it’s very hard to even begin to consider forgiving them, as you want them to feel the pain. However, the first step is to release the emotional pain by making a conscious decision to forgive and let go. This process may take time, due to different emotions that you have to process.

Letting go of the baggage

True forgiveness is when you forgive and forget. However, we are imperfect human beings and although we may forgive we may not always forget as there may be incidents where we are triggered or remaindered of past events. Even if it is a struggle to forget, it’s very important to forgive by letting go of the emotional pain that has been caused.

Take responsibility for that part that you played

You can never control anyone, the only person that you can control is yourself. Taking responsibility for how you allowed someone to hurt you, enables you to set boundaries so you don’t put yourself in the same situation again.

Forgive yourself

It’s easier to forgive others when you learn to forgive yourself. No one can truly hurt you deeply unless you allow them. Sometimes it’s easier to blame others for causing you pain. However, the depth of the pain depends on the boundaries that you set within all your relationships. Forgive yourself for allowing others to treat you with disrespect or emotional pain

Awareness

Be aware of the negative emotions that you feel towards the other person including anger, bitterness, hurt, hatred, and jealousy. Awareness will help you to acknowledge the need to forgive. Holding on to the negative emotions is highly toxic and not good for your health.

Acceptance

You don’t need to make excuses for the person that hurt you. Even if you don’t want them back in your life, it’s essential to accept how you feel and the fact that you can’t change the past.

Learn from the experience

Sometimes we have to go through negative and painful experiences to learn some life lessons, which helps to develop ourselves. In every negative experience, it’s very important to ask yourself, what lessons you have learnt? This will enable you to avoid repeating the same thing over and over again. If you keep doing the same thing and don’t learn from the painful experiences then you will experience the same thing (pain) in your life. Life is like a classroom and people are teachers, and they come into our lives to teach certain things about ourselves. So take the time to learn the lessons regardless of how painful it may be.

Talk about it

When you feel ready to forgive, make arrangements to contact the person that has hurt you and express yourself. Talking things over helps you to let go.

Closure

If you have decided that you no longer want to have the person that has hurt you back in your life, then that is fine. You can write a letter to that person and bin or burn the letter. Writing helps to get rid of any negative suppressed emotions.

Low self esteem and relationships – Part 3

Anyone can suffer from low self esteem. Regardless of how great your childhood may have been, there may be some experiences that could impact your esteem, such as:

  • Divorce/relationship issues
  • Death of a loved one,
  • Unemployment
  • Life threatening illnesses
  • Failing an exam
  • Financial crisis
  • Housing issues
  • Family break down
  • Stress or depression
  • Dealing with challenging issues within the work place.

All of the above issues could affect anyone. However, people that have ongoing issues associated with low self esteem are mostly individuals from dysfunctional homes, who have been emotionally deprived based on what these individuals have witnessed. These experiences include being sexually, emotionally or physically abused.

There are also incidents where one or both parents may have been polygamous, experienced poverty, suffered with drugs/alcohol abuse, been emotionally unavailable or have had mental health issues.

The sad thing about life is that when babies are born, they are not programmed to dislike themselves; they love everything about who they are, until negative things about them are brought to their attention, particularly when the reflections that their parents projects are negative. Consequently, they will have a negative view of themselves, as babies see themselves as their parents see them. Parents are like a mirror as babies are born with no self identity.

That is why it is very important for parents to love and help build their child’s esteem. If you often hear that you are bad, ugly, dumb, will amount to nothing or that you are useless, then that will be how you perceive yourself and you will surely believe what you have been told by your parents.

Unfortunately, low self esteem becomes more apparent within inter-mate relationships than any other area of a person’s life. People with low esteem can appear confident in their appearance, by the way they speak, class, position within their career and how well they carry out their duties at work. Deep down however, they have a negative view of themselves. 

When your esteem is low you choose partners that are mostly emotionally unavailable or dislike men or women that treat you well. As you are so used to being treated badly, you subconsciously attract partners that reinforce the negative emotions from your childhood. For example picking partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them; partners that are overly selfish so work hard for love by putting them as the main focus within the relationship; partners that continuously cause you emotional pain, to keep you more insecure, anxious and paranoid; partners that will abandon you if you have issues with fear of abandonment; partners that have fear of commitment or intimacy, so they can love you from a distance.

How to overcome low self esteem 

Love yourself 

Self love is important and is the most useful way that you can have more satisfying and fulfilling relationships. When you learn to love yourself, you’re more equipped to give and receive love. After all, you cannot give the best of yourself to others until you give your best to yourself first. This is called being self-nurturing, not selfish. Most people always put everyone else before themselves. When you act in this way, you will always be secondary within relationships, in addition to being drained and not having much to give to yourself. Make yourself a priority and create some ‘me time’ to recharge yourself.

Acceptance

It is essential to be aware and accept who you are as an individual (the good, the bad and the ugly). It is impossible to make the change that you want unless you know that have the problem in the first place. There is nothing worse than living in denial.

Take time to understand yourself 
 
The more you understand yourself, the more you will discover the root cause of the low self esteem. Once you realise the root cause, take responsibility to work on yourself and forgive people that have contributed to your low self concept, such as your parents. It’s not emotionally healthy to blame people – doing so can make you a victim and you could become emotionally bitter. Instead, learn to take control of your life and give yourself the love that you didn’t receive from your childhood

Evaluate your relationships 

Ensure that you are not giving too much within your relationships and receiving very little back. A relationship should be reciprocal. When you often give too much to another person, they lose respect for you, so if you want others to respect you then start by respecting yourself. If you don’t, then you can’t expect others to do the same. 

Learn to forgive

Forgiving others helps you to let go of the emotional pain which you may be carrying around. When you hold on to the pain that others have caused you, particularly your parents, you are more likely to be subconsciously drawn to a partner that has similar characteristics as your parents. Consequently, your negative experiences will be constantly repeated from an emotional level. If you find it difficult to speak to the person that has hurt you, you can always write a letter but don’t send it. Just bin it or burn once you have written it.

 

Are you a people pleaser?

A people pleaser is an individual that has developed a learnt behaviour of pleasing others in exchange for love, acceptance or approval. This learnt behaviour stems from childhood experiences, particularly if you didn’t receive the love that you deserved from your parent(s). As a result of this, you develop a strong desire to be loved.

This could leave you feeling empty, unloved, lonely or feeling like you are not good enough. The truth is that you can’t blame your parents for what they did or didn’t do. They may have tried to give you the best they could emotionally or, may have repeated what they knew. Whatever the case may be, the past is the past and there is nothing that you can do to change the past. The most important thing is what you do within the present moment.

People pleasers often have low self-esteem, codependency traits and often feel that they are not good enough. Consequently, they seek approval and acceptance from others. They give so much to others and very little to themselves. When a child’s emotional needs have been disregarded, they subconsciously repeat the cycle of being second best. Since they have not experienced being or made to feel special.

These individuals love others so much but, struggle to understand how to apply the same love that they give to others to themselves. It seems like everyone matters, never themselves. After all, you can’t give what you don’t know, which is self-love, approval and although you think that you are being overly loving or giving to another person, there is always an ulterior motive. You give because you need or want something back in return; “love and acceptance” consequently, a secret exchange takes place within these types of relationships.

A people pleaser struggles to say no to others, as they don’t want to let people down. The strangest thing is that these individuals must surely let themselves down by allowing people to use them.

Consequently, they are often left feeling highly resentful and dissatisfied.

It’s healthy to want to please others however, it can become highly unhealthy if your esteem is dependent on making people happy, including doing things so people like/love you. This behaviour can be highly addictive and difficult to break and you’re often left feeling like you have given so much but get very little back.

How to stop pleasing:

  • Give from your heart. When you do things for others, be sincere and ensure that it’s from the heart and expect nothing back. At least that way, you don’t feel let down when others don’t appreciate your gesture.
  • Learn to say no. If you are asked to do something that you know that could cause difficulties for you and know that you sincerely cannot commit to what is required, it’s best to say no. When you agree to do everything that other people want, then they always expect you to say yes. Then you became a “yes person”. The danger with being labelled is that when others get used to you always saying yes to their demands, they always find ways to manipulate you to have their own way. Remember, you have a choice.
  • Have clear boundaries. Having boundaries, helps people to understand what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you keep bottling up negative behaviour, you may become quite bitter and highly resentful. Which could cause suppressed anger. If you’re not happy about the way others treat you, then speak up.
  • Learn to be assertive. Being assertive helps you to have a “win win” outcome, when you don’t speak up and behave passive aggressively, you become the victim and people may not be able to meet your physical or emotional needs.
  • Begin to meet your emotional needs. If you are overly giving because you want other people to like or love you. It’s important to begin to love yourself. It’s worth asking yourself where that need to be loved stems from.
  • Recognise that you can’t make everyone happy.

No matter what you do to please others. They can never be always happy, and you could end up losing yourself in the process.

How self-sabotaging behaviour affects relationships

Self-sabotaging behaviour is when an individual is consciously or subconsciously doing things that are harmful to themselves. The root cause of self-sabotaging behaviour stems from childhood. When infants are born they have no self-identity, or awareness of themselves. They learn and develop their self-worth through their parents. Consequently, their parents represent a mirror of themselves, and children develop a sense of identity from as early as four years old. 

Children develop their sense of self and self-esteem slowly as they mature into adolescents. Identity is highly imposed and encouraged by environmental and cultural factors. 

Once a child incorporates a negative learnt behaviour, it is likely that they will transfer this behaviour into adulthood. 

People with self-sabotaging behaviour often do things that are harmful to themselves and their relationships. 

In most instances, they have a negative view of themselves and feel that they are not good enough. As a result, they enter relationships that are toxic and often do not value or appreciate healthy relationships. 

Signs of self-sabotaging behaviour 

Continuously finding negative ways to numb your emotions

You avoid feeling and dealing with negative emotions by overeating or comfort eating, particularly when you have weight concerns. When feeling vulnerable you tend to eat to numb your emotions. You feel guilty for eating so much,  then eat more again to overcome the guilt. This repeated cycle could be addictive and hard to break. In addition, you take recreational drugs, use sex, over spending, or dependent on alcohol to feel better.

Procrastination 

There are 24 hours in a day and it’s important to utilise your time productively and wisely. When you keep putting things off and spend a lot of time doing unproductive things, it hinders your self-esteem this includes; spending an excessive amount of time watching TV, playing computer games, or speaking on the telephone. Making excuses and putting things off affects your personal growth and development and could lead to fear of failure (starting things but never finishing).

Attracting dysfunctional partners

When you consciously choose men or women that are emotionally unstable. You are only going to make your life miserable. If someone is emotionally, physically or financially unstable they are unable to provide the security that you need to compliment you within the relationship. For instance, if you attract men/women who are emotionally or physically abusive, then your relationship will always be based on fear and as a result, you could lose your sense of your self and begin to believe that their behaviour is acceptable or “normal”. You may subconsciously attract partners that are a negative reminder of your childhood. Consequently, your potential mate will continuously reinforce the negative emotions from your childhood, which could be a hindrance to your self-worth.

Desire to have promiscuous relationships 

If you have strong desires to have promiscuous relationships, particularly if you often don’t use protection or have risky sexual encounters, then you are putting yourself and relationships at risk of STDs and impacting your emotional well being in a negative way. Sex addiction including, pornography, paying for sex, escorts or prostitutes can affect your self-esteem and your finances. These experiences could lead to fear of intimacy and cause difficulties in being fully committed to one person within a relationship. 

Fear of commitment 

People with self-sabotaging behaviour often have a fear of commitment as they struggle to be fully committed to themselves. They become afraid when their relationship is getting intense or when their spouses are becoming close as they have a negative belief from previous experiences or childhood that “people that love you will hurt you”. In order to manage with this belief system, they develop a coping strategy of loving from a distance or hurting people that love them before they get hurt. 

Fear of failure 

When you have a fear of failure, you continuously keep putting things off and often not accomplishing your goals. You start things but don’t finish it. If you don’t set goals or pursue them, you’re only making your life unfulfilling. As goals give you a vision, purpose and direction in life.

Self-esteem in relationships

What is the meaning of self-esteem? Self-esteem defines how you treat yourself, what you think of yourself and the relationship that you have with yourself. A person can be confident but still have low self-esteem, as they outwardly appear confident. This could be based on external factors including:
appearance, marital status, class, occupation, etc. But inwardly they feel terrible. We all wear a mask, as we have certain aspects of ourselves that we do not want others to see or know.

You can fool people, but you certainly can not fool yourself. When you begin to fool yourself, then you are living in denial. Living in denial can be a painful process as you struggle to accept the reality or truth about yourself or the situation that you are in.

Self-acceptance is the most powerful experience you can gain. To truly love yourself, it is important to accept everything about who you are as a person, including the good, the bad and the ugly. After all, no one is perfect. People with low self-esteem, often do not respect themselves and they consistently attract spouses that disrespect them. They put up with unreasonable behaviours including; cheating, domestic violence, serial liars, emotional abuse and highly selfish partners.

These individuals have a strong desire to be loved, so they often attract spouses that do not love them the way that they deserved to be loved. Consequently, reinforcing any negative experiences from their childhood. This makes a person live in constant fear of the worst outcome, which reinforces more negativity within intimate relationship experiences.

It is always best to have good relationships with yourself before committing to a serious relationship. After all, how will your potential spouse understand you if you do not understand yourself?

Building your esteem within relationships

  • Learn to respect yourself.

Self-respect is key within all your relationships. The reality in life is that you will meet people who genuinely do not like or respect you the way that you should be treated. However, you have a choice not to accept unreasonable behaviour. If you put up with people constantly disrespecting you, then these individuals may feel that it is OK. If you do not like how you are spoken to or treated, then speak up.

  • Avoid people pleasing.

Repeatedly pleasing others in order for them to like or love you is emotionally draining and never works. You subconsciously give your power away and this could make you feel worthless. People have to like or love you for who you are. If you feel that you need to please others for love then, it is time for you to give yourself what you want from others, (love, reassurance and happiness) so you can break the cycle.

  • Learn from previous mistakes.

Life is like a school and our experiences teach us a lot about ourselves. Always learn something positive from your mistakes, these mistakes help you to do things better next time. So, instead of being hard on yourself because of mistakes that you have made or living in regret, learn something valuable about yourself.

  • Never allow another person to control you.

When you allow people to control you, you are actually giving them your power. Set boundaries within all your relationships. Controlling people are normally not in control and only want to feel like they are in control.

  • Analyse the type of spouses you attract.

You often attract people that are very similar to your character and the type men or women that you attract is a reflection of where you are at emotionally. For instance, co-dependents attract narcissistic mates and victims always attract perpetrators. Find out the patterns of the type of spouses have been attracted to. Make a list of the characteristics and consciously try and make better decisions when choosing your potential mate.

  • Explore your relationships.

Are you often giving more to your relationships than what you always receive? If so, ask yourself why do you give so much and yet get so little back. It is good to give but if you are the only one always giving, you became a “doormat”, so learn to get the balance right.

  • Create a happy list.

Make a list of all the things that you enjoy doing, that makes you happy and ensure that you do them as often as possible to make yourself happy, whether or not you are in a relationship.

  • Learn to conquer your fears.

Everyone is afraid of something, that is the reality of life. However, living in constant fear could leave you feeling stuck, and allow life to pass you by. Life is a risk and the more you take healthy risks that are not self-sabotaging impacts your esteem. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Coping with Depression

Depression is a real illness and it can happen to anyone regardless of his or her age, gender, class, race,  sexuality or religion. 

It can affect people in different ways and can cause various symptoms including: low moods, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, tearfulness, restless, isolation and being unable to relate to others, finding no pleasure in things that you usually enjoy, low self-esteem, feeling hopeless, having memory difficulties or difficulties concentrating on things, sleeping differently or sleeping too much and feeling tired most of the time.

There are several things which can cause depression and it varies from person to person. Here are some common causes of depression:

  • Childhood experiences such as; physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
  • Bereavement.
  • Traumatic events.
  • Relationship breakdown.
  • Family problems.
  • Drugs/alcohol abuse.
  • Serious illness.
  • Life changing events, including losing a job, starting a new job, having a baby, extreme pressure from studying.
  • Genetics.
  • Social exclusion or anxiety.
  • Being bullied.

These experiences can have a huge impact on one’s emotional well-being and esteem.

Depression is often a low mood that lasts for a long time, which affects your everyday life. People experience depression in many ways including feeling:

  • Down, upset or tearful.
  • Restless, agitated or irritable.
  • Guilty, worthless and down on yourself.
  • Empty and numb.
  • Isolated and unable to relate to other people.
  • Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy, such as hobbies and interests.
  • A sense of unreality.
  • No self-confidence or self-esteem.
  • Hopeless and despairing.
  • Self-sabotaging behaviour.
  • Suicidal.

Severe depression can be life threatening because you may feel that you’re not good enough and your life is not worth living. As result of this, you could feel suicidal. Some people describe depression as being stuck, it’s like being in a dark place, isolated with no interest in things that usually makes them happy, others describe it as feeling sad.

Self-care for depression 

Visit your GP

It is advisable to always contact your GP for medical advice if you think that you are depressed. 

Seek professional help

There are many trained counsellors that you can seek to give you the support you need. You don’t have to go through the difficulties or challenges on your own. Talking about your problems can make a big difference. 

Get enough sleep  

Sleeping well can help to improve your mood and increase your energy levels. 

Eat well 

Having a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well, think clearly, increase your mood and energy levels. 

Exercise 

Keeping active helps increase your happy hormones, helps you to feel energised and helps you to sleep better.

Personal hygiene

Small things, like taking a shower/bath and getting fully dressed even if you are not going out of the house, can make a difference to how you feel. 

Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol

Using drugs or alcohol to cope with any difficult emotions could make you feel worse and numb your emotions. 

Avoid isolating yourself 

Speak to family and friends that you trust about what you are going through and how you feel. 

Keep a journal of your thoughts and feeling

Keeping a journal will help you to offload any negative emotions and enable you to be more self-reflective.