Men only love themselves. We all have come across that statement, but sometimes what may seem like love is self-hate. In this month's edition of Sative magazine, we try to point out things to keep in mind if you find yourself in love with a man with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is easy to explain yet hard to understand for some. Low self-esteem is feeling shameful about who you are. Feeling guilty or embarrassed about who you are. You don't love yourself. It's a subjective evaluation of one's worth.
So you love a guy with low self-esteem. I know how hard your relationship must be. He must be a lot to deal with sometimes. I used to be that guy. Men only heal when we surround ourselves with compassionate people. People who are affectionate, kind, open with their emotions and forgiving; For me, that source of unconditional love has been my girlfriend whom I love so much. She is so pure and such a beautiful soul. Looking into her eyes fills me with comfort, and all my fears disappear. It was never like that from the beginning. Even though I loved her from the start, I hated myself, even more. I would run away from her love. I felt unworthy. Instead, I sought validation and distraction in women, alcohol and other dark ways I'm not going to mention.
All of us bring back our childhood into our adult lives. We have internalised a lot of stuff that may inhibit us from realising our true worth. I honestly don't have a memory of my dad hugging me except, when I graduated from university and got my degree. I rarely got the male affection I'd have wanted as a kid, and the sad thing is I'm not the exception either.
I point this out not to indict my father (he's a good, hard-working man, he was a father to me, the best way he knew how). Many boys grow up devoid of affection, seeing affection as inherently sexual behaviour, not social because their fathers never modelled affection to them.
Children are impressionable, in the early development ages the task to equip the child with the two aspects of esteem; self-confidence and self-respect lie with the adults. When a child acquires the sense of being a person and the powers to choose his actions, he experiences the need to feel that he is right as a person; right in his characteristics and manner of acting. He needs to feel understood. When the child tries and fails to understand the world around him, he gives up. The tragedy with that is, he then takes the blame for his feeling of helplessness. He may react with anger or hostility or anxiety or depression or withdrawal, but consciously or subconsciously, he takes his failure to understand as a reflection of himself. He concludes that there is something wrong with him, that he is intellectually or morally deficient in some nameless way. A child is vulnerable because he is not yet able to recognise clearly and unequivocally that his elders are irrational. What he feels is, I'm not going to be able to understand people; not going to be able to do what they expect of me. I don't know what's right or wrong and I'm never going to know. That's how we end up with men with low self-esteem.
Here are things you need to keep in mind when you love someone who's battling with esteem issues.
Understand that he will make mistakes.
A man dealing with low self-esteem will make a lot of mistakes; he will hurt you. His need to escape his nonsensical feelings will lead him to make reckless choices. It can get confusing at times because it will seem like he goes out of his way to hurt you. You have to remember that he loves you and doesn't intentionally want to hurt you (he hurts enough being himself).
Ask him why he does the things he does and if he needs help learning how to love himself. If he can't handle those questions, he's not yet ready to heal; consider what's best for you.
He has a constant need to prove his worthiness.
I had a pathological need to prove that I was worthy. I wanted to be able to 'earn someone' who everyone wanted to prove to myself that I was a valuable man. It's pathetic, I know.
At first, he cherished you and showed you off to everyone but after a while the high that you gave him faded (he needs another dose of the 'I'm worthy' drug) so, he goes back to look for another supply. He goes in search of new intense and intoxicating experience so he can feel good about himself again.
He always has something to prove.
He has the 'when I'm somebody' syndrome. What may seem like ambition or hustle can be a cover-up for the void that he feels inside. There's nothing wrong with having aspirations (it's great to have aspirations) problem lies when it's a distraction from the voices in his head that tells him he's not enough. He dreams of a day when he can be happy. All he cares about is acquiring a lot of money, accomplishments and fame. He's trying to create a life that will prove his deserving.
Remind him of how much of life and joy there is in the present. Happiness doesn't begin after you have achieved a high level of success.
He can be extremely jealous and insecure.
A man with low self-esteem has a very fragile ego; you have to make him feel that he's your world at all times. Any attempt to threaten that will have him lose his mind. It can get exhausting since most of that will be irrational fears.
He regularly starts fights.
Since he has a constant need to feel needed, he may experience pleasure in seeing you in pain cause of him. As sick as that sounds, watching you fight for him reassures him of his worthiness.
In conclusion, not only is your man suffering, so are you. You may choose to draw the line and end the relationship or if you love him, try to help him see the light. The decision to heal must come from him and doesn't rest over your shoulders. Help him seek professional help if that's what he needs. The bottom line is, he will never forget the girl who helped him find the best love of his life (falling in love with himself).