Healthy relationships – romantic and otherwise – are built upon mutual respect, open communication, fairness, and acceptance. When these attributes are compromised or eroded, relationships founder and fall apart. Unfortunately, when one or both partners refuse to recognize trouble signs or issues that cause friction and negativity, these unhealthy relationships can become toxic and go from bad to worse.
We all know toxic individuals. They’re the people who never have a good thing to say about anything. The ones who belittle others, nitpick, and find fault with everything. If your self-esteem is intact, toxic people can be nothing more than a nuisance to avoid. But if you have low self-esteem, getting involved with a toxic friend or partner can be damaging and even destructive as they lower your self-esteem even further and create problems that would not have been there otherwise. It can even turn you into a toxic person.
If you’re suffering from low self-esteem, it’s important to recognize the situation you’re in and all the ramifications associated with it. For example, individuals with low self-esteem tend to gravitate toward people who also have low self-esteem, which further reinforces the negative energy. This negativity can trigger old bad behavior patterns and any psychological burdens you may be carrying around in response to, say, negative childhood experiences or other issues in your life.
Since you may not have dealt with these psychological issues in any meaningful fashion, it’s vital to do some inner exploration. Journaling can help you get in touch with your inner and physical self to begin understanding how your low self-esteem may be affecting you and your relationships.
Low self-esteem can manifest itself in many ways in a relationship, such as:
You have trouble communicating
As we noted above, open communication is one of the foundations of a healthy relationship. If you don’t communicate you might start resenting your partner because you assume they can read you mind and you can’t understand why they aren’t responding in the right way.
You feel oppressed
Low self-esteem breeds insecurity which can trigger feelings that your partner is always attacking you and finding fault with everything you do. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and being bashed. If you’re dealing with low self-esteem, it can be hard to identify what’s innocent critiquing and what’s malicious nitpicking.
You become possessive
Individuals with low self-worth can become clingy when they find someone interested and even in love with them. You feel the need to hang on tightly because you don’t want to lose what you believe is the one good thing in your life.
Your relationship stays superficial
Low self-esteem can cause an unjustified fear that being totally open, forthright, and honest is going to push your partner away. However, if you’re afraid to open up and be your true self, you’ll never get to know your partner on a deeper and more intimate level because you’re not being the real you.
Your relationship becomes negatively self-perpetuating
If you don’t think you deserve a happy, healthy, and long-lasting relationship then you’ll wind up with an unhappy, unhealthy, short-lived relationship. Negativity generates more negativity – if you think your relationship will fail, it will.
Stop blaming others and start helping yourself.
It’s easy to become used to blaming others for your situation, and in doing so, you can forget you have the ability to make choices to address it. Some people continue to blame their upbringing and their current situation for their problems, which simply perpetuates their low self-esteem.
It’s crucial to understand that you are in control of your life. Not your partner, not other people, not some other thing. Journaling can help you safely delve into the issues that confront you, find positive solutions, and break the cycle of negativity. Writing about the things that seem to be plaguing you and holding you back goes a long way in diminishing their power over you and making those problems much more manageable.
When you’re suffering from a lack of positive self-esteem, you can't be whole -- on your own or with someone else. Self-esteem can become a positive force in a relationship or it can break it. Journaling will help you get to the root cause of what’s troubling you and help you find freedom as a person and as a partner in a healthy relationship.
Do you want to learn more about how low self-esteem affects personal relationships? Learn strategies to improve your self-esteem – their influence and impact on our lives and ways to encourage feeling better about ourselves by downloading the eBook titled "How to Improve Your Self Esteem Through Journaling."