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Thread: Men with low self-esteem

  1. #1
    missklew
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    Men with low self-esteem

    How do I deal with a man with low self-esteem? Should I even bother?

    My bf seems to have pretty low self-esteem. He is very negative about himself. I don't think it affected me at first but now it is really starting to bring me down.

    I'm more successful than he is and I didn't think it was a problem before but now I think he is jealous and resentful that I do well.

    He had an incident where he is doing something on his job that he is very unhappy with and he gives me the silent treatment. Of course it took 2 days for him to tell me what was up and now I haven't heard from him anymore.

    I am ticked off that he is taking stuff out on me and that is what he is doing with his mood swings and silent treatment. He seems to thrive on negative attention too.

    Before I really knew him he always said that no girl would ever give him a chance and that he would never have a girlfriend. This is a frequent thing I hear on forums from very shy men and those with low self-esteem. I also hear that because he doesn't think anyone could like him there must be something wrong with anyone who does like him.

    Well I gave him a chance and now this is what I get?

    I suspect he will be silent for a few days to a week or whatever and then contact me like nothing's wrong and I am just supposed to accept that?

    I feel like saying what am I supposed to do hop up and down because you feel like speaking to me again?

  2. #2
    Batya33
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    No - you're not "supposed to" accept anything - you accept what is compatible with your values and consistent with your boundaries. Sounds like you knew about his negativity from the beginning so the thing to do is, think about what attracted you to him in the first place and see if those attributes make up for the negativity.

  3. #3
    missklew
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    Batya33, I think you give wonderful advice on here for many different situations.

    Do you think I should just wait until he contacts me to say something or do you think I should say something to him now? What would you say?

    Yes I did realize his negative thinking but he hadn't taken things out on me before. He would come to me and gripe about bad things that happened to him. I would rather hear him gripe about stuff than him taking it out on me with the silent treatment.

    Another thing I didn't mention was I had some cosmetic surgery and I am wondering if he is insecure about that? He was very very sweet before and after the surgery.

  4. #4
    Batya33
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    I would simply tell him that it's fine to be disappointed/upset/negative but it's not fine to take it out on you by giving you the silent treatment. If he tells you respectfully that he needs some space that is fine unless of course it is a weekly thing (or monthly, or whatever would be "too much") and unless you had specific plans, etc - then it's fine once in a blue moon but not as a steady diet. He can't use the "negativity/low self esteem" excuse to treat you badly. Then, if he still continues to behave that way you can decide at that time whether it's going to work.

    As far as the cosmetic surgery - he is an adult and part of being in a relationship is to try to avoid the other person having to guess "why" you are acting in a certain way. You can ask him if that is the reason.

    Thanks for your compliment! I try.

  5. #5
    missklew
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    Thank you. That is what I will do then.

    I suspect he will deny he is taking it out on me. He will say he doesn't have a problem.

    Well if he doesn't have a problem then why is he sulking and not speaking to me for days?

  6. #6
    Samedy
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    It sounds like he's issues are more than just self-esteem/self-confidence. To me, it sounds like he dislikes himself so much, he won't give the outside a chance to get in. This might be the result of low self-esteem, but there seems to be something else going on there. There are plenty of nice/happy shy people out there....

  7. #7
    edjuvreason
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    I dated a guy who was SO backward he could not even conceive of me being nice to him ... and when I was, he automatically assumed I was being fake and interpreted everything I said as a lie.

    It can be extremely hard to accept that, especially considering that people can be reached ... some of them don't WANT to be reached.
    Some of them WANT to be miserable and WANT to have people be mean to them. They enjoy being mistreated ... but only because then they have more excuse to be miserable.
    (That might seem mean and unkind, but I grew up in a family of people like that, and have known a few -- and dated a few! -- since.)

    I hope your boyfriend is not one of them. But if you find he is, you absolutely must get out of the situation before you get sucked into the same cycle of misery.
    Keep us posted ... ! Good luck.

  8. #8
    missklew
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    I suppose some people do want to be mistreated, the whole dominant submissive thing.

    I think he feels he gets a lot more sympathy and attention from talking about how bad things are plus it is a good excuse not to do things or be held accountable for things. If you are a pathetic loser then people feel sorry for you and you don't have to live up to any expectations.

    It may work at first but after awhile people get tired of it and think geez just get up off your lazy butt and do something.

    I think he tends to exaggerate too. His problems are the absolute worst of anyone. If someone says they are poor then he is 10 times as poor as they are.

    He seems to forget or not mention all the good things he does have going on in his life.

  9. #9
    MissIndigo
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    I know people like this as well as dated someone with the characteristics you've described here.

    In the case of a particular friend of mine, her low self-esteem manifests itself as aggression and blame towards others when she cannot mesh well with her team at work. Miscommunication abounds, because the work is all about her and oh my god it's so tragic when she can't get what she wants. (You know the tone of how people express their discord in circumstances like these.) Then she'll try to compensate for her feelings by making jokes, when honestly don't come accross as all that funny. I'm looking for my distance from said friend; it should happen soon naturally.

    When I first read your post I wondered if perhaps your BF came accross at first as a confident, sociable person (the friend I'm describing above also did). An old BF of mine acted this way as we were getting to know each other, and once he had me hooked, then his neediness and low opinions of himself came out, also aggressively in the way he would word his concerns to me. Eventually I got fatigued and left the relationship as what attracted him to me no longer held up.

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