Speaking truthfully, we humans, are afraid of only two things in life: 1) that someone or something can hurt us physically; and 2) that someone will reject us emotionally. Let me focus on #2 because herein lies the seed to many problematic relationships.
In reviewing my case load for the coming week, I noted many similarities with a number of my male clients booked in to see me. These men have highly successful careers and yet they have issues of low self-esteem. Sounds paradoxical, eh?
Let me elaborate a little on their collective profiles: they range in age from 28 – 54; married, partnered or just out of a relationship. The triggering incidents that catapulted them into my office were: escalation in anger with an uncharacteristic outburst at work; first panic attack; affair; increased alcohol use upsetting children; road rage incident. All these men reported to be unhappy. They conducted themselves one way at work and a different way at home. Safe in my office, they could show their vulnerabillity.
At work, these men were respected and listened to. They executed decisions, they sought out opportunities, they were leaders in their field and they mentored subordinates. Yet at home, they had no voice. They feared conflict, they feared an angry reaction from their partner and mostly they feared rejection. So they avoided conflict at all cost. They learned not to challenge. They gave in to keep the peace. Yes, these men suffered from low self-esteem. They were hurting. They were co-dependents.
Simply put a co-dependent relationship is one where we place other people’s ( in this case their partners/spouses) needs/wants almost always ahead of our own. We give when we really don’t want to. We give to keep the peace. We say ‘yes’ to others and ‘no’ to ourselves.
‘Heal thyself first’ is what must happen before any relationship has a chance of working out. Once individual clients can focus on re-building their own self-esteem by learning to value themselves first, finding their voice and acknowldeging their own needs – then and only then can work on the couple relationship can begin.
Go ahead, begin to say ” YES” to yourself – you deserve to feel good about you.
Photo courtesy: Mic 445