An Ounce Of Introspection: 4 Ways Your Inner Demons Are Affecting Your Relationships


Whether you always date the wrong person or trade in one bad relationship for another, analyzing your behavior can improve the way you interact with prospective partners. Although introspection may not land you the person of your dreams, you may identify problematic behavioral patterns and make changes.

Poor Self-Esteem

The concept of self-esteem is multidimensional and many people equate high levels of self-esteem with benign characteristics. Self-esteem is how you value yourself, and can be different from how you feel about your looks, body image or other components of your life. If you do not believe you have high value, it is likely that you will seek out a partner who does not meet your expectations. You may focus more on who is likely to accept you, not necessarily who is a good match.

Poor self-esteem can make you more vulnerable to people who are manipulative. You may date someone who you think is out of your league, and wonder why he or she is with you. This low evaluation of your worth can lead you to tolerate different forms of abuse, because you may feel grateful to be with this person. A negative view of yourself can be stressful for a partner who genuinely cares about you. They will eventually grow tired of your constant need for reassurance.

Secretly Testing People

Some people may wonder if their partner would go out with another person or act in a way they might find objectionable, if given the opportunity. Going as far as testing your suspicions can cause problems. Testing your partner does not have to be elaborate, such as making a fake dating profile. You may find yourself testing your partner by doing or saying things they might find objectionable or offensive, just to see how they would react.

Sometimes this behavior can come from a place of distrust, but you may be testing your partner to see how much they care about you or to test their limits. This type of behavior is often seen in people with borderline personality disorder. Their behavior becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of being afraid of abandonment, but inevitably running their partners away.

Emotional Baggage

Everyone has some type of emotional baggage. The way you deal with past events and how they affect future relationships can inadvertently cause problems. One common problem is projecting a past relationship onto a new person. If you have experienced a previous relationship where there was deception or cheating, it is easy to bring that same distrust into the next relationship, or you may avoid relationships altogether.

Finding a balance between addressing genuine suspicions and creating problems is vital. If you are dating someone and you have obvious reasons to be suspicious about their behavior, do not ignore your concerns. However, if you are constantly on-edge in your relationship, or even paranoid for no logical reason, it is likely your fear is creating a problem.

Insecure Attachment Styles

Having an insecure attachment style comes in two forms, being clingy or distant. If you often expect the new person in your life to talk for hours on end and spend all their time with you, your attachment style probably comes from a fear of abandonment. Reflect on your past experiences with others and you may find a significant event in your life, such as the loss of a loved one, the divorce of your parents or moving frequently throughout childhood, that makes you feel the need to latch on to people.

Being unnecessarily distant with a partner can be mistaken for disinterest. You may rationalize your distance by saying you do not know the person well enough to talk about certain subjects. There is a fine line between an appropriate level of protecting your privacy or feelings, and being completely avoidant. If you find yourself longing for a relationship, but quickly distance yourself, you probably expect disappointment. You may find multiple instances of being disappointed in the past, which shapes your current behavior.

Introspection is an excellent tool to help you determine which behavior patterns may not be working for you, and their underlying cause. The combination of introspection and adult counseling can help you change maladaptive behaviors, and potentially have better relationships with others.


17 April 2015

Counseling is Important Even if You Are Taking Depression Medication

I suffered depression for much of my life, and I lived with it for years before seeking help. I visited a psychiatrist and received an antidepressant prescription along with a referral to a counselor. I filled my prescription, but I put off making an appointment with the counselor. The medication began to help, so I decided that I didn't need to see a counselor after all -- or so I thought at the time. After a couple of months of medication, a close friend of mine died of an illness. I then learned that even though the medication helped my depression, I still had not learned the coping skills I needed to deal with traumatic life experiences. That even motivated me to seek counseling, and it helped me immensely. I created this blog to remind others that medication can help when suffering with depression, but counseling is also extremely important.