Originally Posted Laura Richer, Seattle Therapist Jul 30, 2021
Everyone wants to be their most confident, attractive, positive self when they enter into a relationship with someone that interests them as a partner. However, a new relationship can shine a spotlight on all of our deepest insecurities. These insecurities can be rooted in past failed relationships or even our relationship with our parents or unresolved childhood trauma.
One way to to stop feeling insecure your relationship is to explore your attachment style and learn ways to heal and cope with attachment wounds. Individual or couples therapy can help you identify your triggers. It can give you the tools to increase your confidence and recognize when insecurity is sabotaging your relationship.
5 signs of insecurity in a relationship
Anxiety and avoidance are both signs that you might be feeling insecure in your relationship. If you feel like your relationship leaves you feeling out of control, or with a sense that you can not be yourself, it may be time to address your insecurities. A few things that might indicate you are feeling insecure in your relationship:
You are consumed by the relationship and hyper-focused on your partner
You focus on negative thoughts and respond to your anxieties with impulsive action
You experience retroactive jealousy and fixate on your partners social media
You avoid addressing conflict assuming it would mean the end of the relationship
You feel disconnected from your personal power and that your happiness is completely dependent on your partner
1. You are hyper-focused on your partner
When this happens you might feel like someone else is in control. You may start to feel as though you must manage your partner’s behavior in order to feel secure. When you are dealing with this type of anxious hyper-vigilance it is a good time to focus on how you can process your own anxious thoughts and feelings without projecting your fear onto your partner. Practice self-compassion and recognize that while your anxious response maybe automatic based on your past history you don’t have to act on it.
2. You focus on negative thoughts and act on them
Insecurities can cause you to focus on the negative. The mind is always searching for proof that what it believes is true. When you believe that something negative will happen in your relationship and focus on that you will find it whether it is there or not.
3. You experience retroactive jealousy
Searching for information about your partner’s past relationships can be a sign that you are feeling insecure about yourself or your relationship. Ask yourself what you are searching for when you fixate on your significant others past flings. If you are searching for validation or reassurance to sooth your insecurities be direct in your communication and share your feelings. Discuss your concerns with your partner and know that insecurity about previous relationship only increases when you obsess about it. Explore what need that behavior is attempting to address and seek out better ways to meet that need.
4. You avoid addressing conflict
When you sweep your feelings under the rug or avoid difficult communication with your significant other it may indicate you are insecure in the relationship. Conflict is a normal part of life and avoiding addressing negative feelings will only create resentment in the future. Talk to your partner when you have concerns avoid addressing issues head on
5. Your happiness is dependent on your partner
You can not experience joy unless you feel have your partners approval or attention. This can cause individuals to feel out of control, leading to manipulating their significant other so that they can feel comfortable. When you are secure in yourself you do not need the approval of others in order to feel safe or loved.
Causes of insecurity in relationships
There are several causes for relationship insecurities. However, you can stop being insecure if you pay attention to the things that are holding you back and causing you to feel insecure. If you notice you have the following traits or behaviors you may be unintentionally sabotaging your relationship. Couples and individual therapy can help you address and resolve your insecurities and focus on yourself so that you can enjoy your partner and create the relationship you want and deserve.
Unresolved trauma from previous relationships or childhood.
Lack of self-confidence or self-esteem.
Limiting beliefs about romantic relationships.
Fear of failure.
Looking for proof that your negative self-talk is true.
1. Unresolved trauma from the past
Trauma prevents us from leaving the past in the past. When we suffer from trauma that has never been addressed or resolved we are guaranteed to bring it into our current life circumstances. You may begin to project fears and insecurities onto your current partner and often times this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy where you unconsciously continue to recreate the situations that you fear the most. Individual psychotherapy or trauma informed therapies like EMDR can help you work through trauma and heal attachment wounds.
2. Lack of self-esteem or confidence
It is hard to show up for a healthy relationship when you are unsure of your value as a partner. Often times people believe a healthy relationship will resolve their insecurities. A supportive partner can increase your sense of self-worth. However you will not attract that person unless you believe you are worth it. If you do, your insecurities may quickly sabotage the connection. When you are confident in who you are you won’t settle for anything less than what you truly desire.
3. Limiting beliefs about romantic relationships
Relationship’s can’t last
All men are selfish and entitled
All women are gold diggers
People will always hurt you or let you down
No one will love me if they really know me
These are all examples of limiting beliefs that can trigger insecurities and unconsciously sabotage your relationships. Hypnotherapy can help you explore what subconscious beliefs that may be perpetuating your insecurities and replace them with a positive belief system. That will support you in releasing limiting beliefs that are driving your insecurities.
4. Fear of failure
The mind is always looking for proof that what it believes is true. If you believe failure is inevitable your behavior will follow. Success depends on focusing on the positive possibilities available to you. Addressing your fears and increasing your positive belief in your ability to be successful will take your focus away from failure will help reduce insecurities in general.
5. Looking for proof that your negative self-talk is true
The Reticular Activating System is a bundle of nerves in the brainstem that filters out useless information so that the important things come through and get your attention. You determine what is important and the RAS seeks information to validate your belief system. If you train your mind to constantly validate your negative beliefs about yourself or life feeling insecure is inevitable. However, if you train your brain to focus on why you are a worthwhile person, the RAS helps you see the proof of that and influences your behavior towards acting confident instead of insecure.
Ways to stop feeling insecure
Feeling insecure is not a trait we are born with like blue eyes or curly hair. Insecurity is cultivated over time through negative experiences and feedback. Generational trauma that is passed down from our ancestors or toxic family patterns can also cause us to develop insecurities overtime. Just as insecurities can be created they can also be resolved. Here are a few things you can do to release your insecurities and feel confident in your relationships:
Address past trauma
Heal attachment wounds
Question Limiting Beliefs
Surround yourself with supportive people who build you up
Intentionally practice self-love, self-care, and self-compassion
1. Address past trauma Trauma keeps us stuck. The world can be a scary place when we continue to relive traumatic events over and over again. When you are guarding against the worst case scenario you can develop maladaptive coping skills like being critical, defensive, and closed off which are all behaviors that will leave you feeling insecure. Trauma informed therapy can help you let go of the past so that you can start to move forward in your life and focus your energy and thoughts on the life you want to create.
2. Heal attachment wounds If you identify with having and anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attachment style you are not doomed to be insecure or unsuccessful in your relationships. While secure behaviors may not come naturally to you, you can learn how to identify your triggers, question your relationship fears, and move towards more secure behaviors.
3. Question your Limiting Beliefs
What is the story you tell yourself about your life and relationships? If it is the different than the life you want, ask yourself why you are invested in a negative outcome.
Are your beliefs even yours?
Who would you be if you no longer believed these thoughts?
Can you find any example of the opposite or that what you believe actually isn’t true?
Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and other types of Psychotherapy can support you in questioning your beliefs and focusing on a new belief system that will support you in resolving your insecurities.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people Critical, reactive, and negative people will bring you down. You will leave those interactions feeling judged, criticized, and emotionally destabilized. You want to surround yourself with your biggest fans! The people who support you even when you they are challenging you to grow. There is no shame, blame, or manipulation in these relationships. You know you have found yourself when you feel like a better version of you when you interact with them.
5. Practice self-care, self-love, and self-compassion Investing in your own physical, mental, and emotional health are all examples of practicing self-care. Taking care of your physical body, giving yourself a break, and challenging your negative self-talk in whatever way feels good to you will help. There is no set example of what defines self-love. This can come in the form of a healthy diet, therapy, spa treatments, time in nature, and doing the things that nurture you.
"Its time to look at ourselves more deeply. Are we making it all about the other? I didnt realize how much courage it takes to see that change all starts with me"....-MH
"Generational trauma that is passed down from our ancestors or toxic family patterns can also cause us to develop insecurities overtime. Just as insecurities can be created they can also be resolved."-LR
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FEATURED BLOGGER, Laura Richer, Seattle Therapist Laura Richer is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and coach. Located in the Uptown neighborhood of Seattle, she is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been practicing in the state of Washington since 2011.