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Stressed out from family issues and feel like my low self esteem/insecurity could wreck my relationship

Community Member

I've always struggled with low self esteem/self worth, but last year i had significant struggles due to uni stress and a really toxic work environment where my new boss corroded my confidence and every shift made me anxious. It was an extremely stressful year and i spent many times having meltdowns to my boyfriend and feeling unmotivated, anxious and unconfident. Since then i've been seeing a counsellor to try and rebuild my confidence... and it had been going well for a few months now.

I've now reverted back to feeling insecure and unsure of myself, in uni and with my boyfriend. I know it's probably due to my deep worry and stress for my mum, whose life seems to be spiralling out of control and i really fear for her, and also the fact that my boyfriend is working away a lot lately when i really need support. I've tried speaking to my friends for support but i dont want to constantly talk about myself. i feel so helpless and its been making me extra sensitive to my boyfriend. I dont want to constantly burden my friends and boyfriend with my family problems but they're really taking a toll on me.

I haven't been getting as much communication/contact as i'd like from my bf, and i know he's busy but it just hurts not being able to talk much because hes tired or hanging out with his work mates. I dont know how to get over my insecurities about him not wanting me when he's away and i've tried so hard to reason with myself that he works all day and needs to look after himself too, but its so hard when im on uni break and havent got enough activities to consume me and take my mind of everything. We talk via text when he's away and there have been times where i know my insecurities are coming through my msgs but i just can't seem to hold back, and then he becomes frustrated because hes working hard and annoyed that i dont understand.

Does anyone have any advice? I can't get into a counselling session anytime soon, and i can just feel myself wanting to withdraw from my relationship to give him 'space' because i feel like i'm being too needy, but i know that will frustrate him. I know websites say to 'love yourself and that'll improve your self esteem and relationships' but i feel like i can't. any positive self talk i try and use feels fake and i dont feel better. I dont know how to feel more worth it and its making me upset typing it but i'm just so disappointed in myself because i really did feel like i was getting better and now im back where i started 😞

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear EmptySpaces,

Well done for reaching out and sharing with us about how you are feeling. I am sorry to hear that you are feeling so overwhelmed and lonely at the minute.

I too had a horrible boss a few years ago, and was also going through the meltdown of my marriage .... from which I am now divorced, and he has cince remarried.

Sometimes when men and women communicate with each other about the challenges in life, we tend to forget that we (men and women) deal with things in different ways. For example, when a man hears a 'problem' he tends to want to fix it. And if he can't fix it, he gets frustrated and hence throws himself all the more into the things that he can indeed 'fix' or do well, like work. And other men understand this, and will quite possibly even suggest it to each other.

Women, on the other hand, will listen without the need to necessarily 'fix' everything. Women understand that sometimes, a good 'venting' session helps to ease the load which then frees them up to pursue the other things in their lives that are already working .....like the fact that you are seeing a counselor, like your boyfriend who you describe as hard working (not a lay-about), and the fact that you are attending Uni in pursuit of your career goals.

You mentioned also that you don't want to 'burden' your friends .... but my thoughts on that are that unless they have actually said, point blank, that you are a 'burden' then I would like to suggest that you lean on them as much as you can. Friends and understanding family members can be so much more helpful than we realise. And often too, people want to help us ..... they may not always know how to, but they're often more willing to try than we give them credit for.

Anyway, I don't know if that helps or not. I hope it does, at least a little? In the meantime, feel free to come here and share with us, or 'vent' about stuff, and we will be here to help out if we can.

Take care. I'll be thinking of you. xo

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Emptyspaces

Boy, how I wish the ins and outs of healthy self-esteem were taught to all of us when we were growing up. We'd see a whole different lot of people walking around if it was.

I cannot recommend highly enough a great book called 'The Six Pillars of Self-esteem', by Nathaniel Branden. As he mentions, the foundations of healthy self-esteem are self-respect and self-efficacy (faith in our ability to handle any situation no matter what). With these foundations we can place 'The practice of...' ahead of each of the following:

  1. Living consciously
  2. Self-acceptance
  3. Self-responsibility
  4. Self-assertiveness
  5. Living purposefully
  6. Personal integrity

In this case, practice does make perfect and such practices have the potential to change the way we interact with life. I'll give you an example in regard to all of the above fitting into a particular scenario. Say you've decided to volunteer for a local charity or community support program and everyone around you tells you how 'stupid' the idea is. You can either let them change your mind or you can remain conscious of your purpose in this case (your soul purpose may involve supporting others). You accept yourself as a compassionate soulful supporter and you assert yourself by telling others that this is who you are. Your personal integrity is strong in relation to this cause. You commit to being responsible for your decisions, your actions and your passion. You follow through with your commitment based on your ability to handle the critics (self-efficacy) and the knowledge that you are capable and worthy of helping (self-respect).

Healthy self-esteem definitely requires management and practice. If you can think of situations where you can apply the 6 pillars all together or individually, you will find you're a better manager than you give yourself credit for. The practice of living consciously is perhaps most important when it comes to how we evolve. In conscious personal evolution, self-love is a natural result.

When it comes to stress, there are a lot of healthy self-responsible ways of coping. Whether it involves joining a meditation group and expanding your mind, knowledge of your self and friendship circle or finding other ways which help you become less reliant on others for stress relief/venting, discovering your own power becomes a powerful exercise.

Take care