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My destructive behaviour is going to ruin my relationship


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Hi guys,

I guess I kinda want your opinions on this, and if you've been in a similar situation to me I'd love to hear from you...

Basically I've been with my boyfriend for about 9 months, I'm 20, he's 23. Before I met him I was single for 3 years to try and work on being happy alone as I believe you can't make someone else happy until you're happy within yourself, and to make sure that the next person I was with was good for me. he's the most incredible person I've ever met and I love him so deeply and I know he feels the same and on the whole things are great with us.


However I have a bad habit of getting very over emotional and over analysing everything, worrying constantly, and as a result, I end up picking and nagging him over little things or getting into arguments over nothing, or being really short with him and questioning things, or crying for no apparent reason on the phone, or overreacting to things. I think it might be some form of anxiety, but I'm not sure...

I'm not like it all the time, it tends to happen in phases, and he's been incredibly patient and supportive with me.


But recently in the past couple of weeks it seems like it's gotten worse, I think maybe because we've both moved into new houses for our second year of university, so now I feel like I have to share him with other people and I'm not getting the attention I feel I need from him... a few days ago we went out, drinks were flowing, and i was particularly bad that night with picking at little things, and we ended up arguing, he basically said he hates it when I get like this, that i've been getting worse and worse and that if it carries on then we're probrably not going to work out, though he loves me and doesn't want to break up with me.


The thought of that really shocked and horrified me. I actually thought that I had gotten better with my behaviour over the summer, only occasionally getting upset and emotional, so to hear that he thought I'd gotten worse really upset me because I felt like things were going really well, but in fact in his eyes, they weren't, so that's made me feel even more insecure...

I also genuinely can't imagine being with anybody else, I don't really think anyone else could deal with me the way he does, so the thought of us not being together absolutely terrifies me.


I appreciate him every day for putting up with me and I know he loves me very very much. I just don't know what to do to stop myself being like this. I don't know why I do it in the first place, I don't know what triggers it, I just know that whenever it happens I get this overwhelming feeling of anxiety, insecurity and I feel very needy. I feel like I'm not good enough for him. I have no need to be anxious or insecure because I trust him 100%. This behaviour is so destructive to me, him, and our relationship, I don't want to lose him, I'm at a loss of what to do, and he feels bad because he feels like he doesn't make me happy.

If I don't sort myself out now I know I'm going to lose him, and that thought tears me to pieces.

I just don't know what to do

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genki, what makes him an incredible person and just right for you? can you explain that some more? before anyone starts honing in on your insecurities as pathological, make sure that they aren't little signals and wisdoms coming from within. Ya know?


it's never a bad idea, when you are going through this kind of uncertainty, to really delve into it and see exactly where it's coming from. i think this is a great forum - and very useful - but it may not get as detailed as necessary if there are, in fact, some deeply rooted insecurities that are negatively affecting your relationship without reason.


keep your chin up and smile. no matter what happens, you will be ok. abuse aside (and it doesn't sound like you've gone there): if he loves you, he will stick by you through this. and if he doesn't love you, then heck with him!

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Arg my reply was just erased.


I can relate to what you're saying as it was a major force in destroying my last relationship. It's difficult because you wanna appear normal, but the insecurities will always show through


Do these moments of over analyzing and worrying only happen when you're thinking about your relationship with him? Or do they happen commonly with other things in your life too? I think that would be a broad place for you to start, to begin narrowing things down a bit.

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I think lapse brings up a really good point and that is, perhaps there is something in him that creates these feelings? I know my ex would say little things, or get annoyed quickly, and it made me really insecure and miserable. I loved him but I now think the relationship was not great for me. However your partner sounds more accommodating than my ex who would just tell me I was being irrational and crazy...

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lapse you do make a very good point and I can see where you're coming from.

I don't know really I guess the way he makes me feel in general, we can have fun together, we enjoy being together in eachothers company, I know I can trust him (I've been cheated on many times before, so to be able to trust him is a big deal for me), I know he loves me and I think to find someone that you 'just know' they love you is difficult! for me anyway. Though saying that when I get this anxiety i question everything, 'am i good enough?' 'does he really love me?' etc.

Sometimes he can be quite short with things but maybe that's just when I get like this, I think anybody would get frustrated and I know it upsets him because it makes him feel like I'm not happy with him and that he's not doing a good job as a boyfriend, when in fact it's all just in my head and he doesn't do anything wrong!


I think right now I need to identify the root of the cause, and I need his support and affection, but I feel he's kind of taken a bit of a step back, like he's not entirely sure how to act around me right now, and that's making me feel worse! I ask him if things are okay, if he still loves me, and he tells me everythings fine and that he does love me, but then it makes me sad that I have to ask him these things, and when he answers those questions he doesn't exactly sound enthusiastic, but I think maybe that's just because he's tired of all this. When I get like this I feel like I need reassurance, but I think he feels insulted that I need to ask.

It's a bit of a vicious cycle going on


wheelerdealer, thanks for sharing, I've also been in the situation where this has ruined a relationship, but I was quite young and couldn't really identify at the time that it was actually me getting this anxiety that ruined it. It's only now I'm looking back and I'm seeing similarities in my behaviour...

I don't really get like this in other situations very often or about other things in my life, although I'm currently going through an issue regarding a travel irregularity which has been going on for months (over something really silly) and almost resulted in court action, and that caused me a lot of anxiety and I had trouble sleeping and eating properly, if my relationship isn't on my mind, then that is!

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genki, I have done the same thing with my bf during our relationship. I have had to take deep steps back and talk myself down from the cliffs on numerous occasions. Its not easy. The below article has also helped me, maybe it can help you too. I actually emailed it to myself where I can read it whenever I am starting to feel really insecure about things in my relationship.


Good Luck!


"Use these 7 tips to stop feeling insecure about your relationship"


“I’m driving him away, I just know I am,” she sniffed. “It’s just that I love him so much and I can’t bear the thought of losing him!” Emma had been badly hurt before by her former cheating fiancé. Once bitten, twice shy. Part of her knew that her new man was decent, caring, and honest, but the emotional bit of Emma felt that it was “just a matter of time” before things went wrong.


“If he’s quiet I actually start panicking! I’m thinking: What’s he planning? Is he going to finish with me? Has he met someone else? If I don’t know exactly where he is I get suspicious. He constantly has to reassure me. What can I do?”


Insecurity spoils relationships. Insecurity drives people to become too ‘clingy’ or needy and this creates problems.


Feeling insecure in a relationship is natural up to a point, at least until the relationship “settles”. Let’s look at this in more depth:

Relationships: A security issue


When we enter an intimate relationship we can feel very emotionally vulnerable; especially if we have felt let down or hurt in previous relationships.


Will they reject me?

Have I done something to upset them?

This is just too good to last!


These are the typical thoughts and feelings of the chronically insecure partner. Being insecure is a whole lot of hard work. So what does it involve?

Seeing problems where none exist


When we become anxious about anything, we start looking for signs of things ‘going wrong’ (nervous flyers look out for signs that the aircraft is in trouble). And, of course, we usually find what we’re looking for, even if it isn’t really there at all.


We perform constant monitoring: “Do they look fed up? Why did they say that? Who’s this other person they’ve mentioned? Should I feel threatened? Are they less attentive? Why did they pause after I suggested we meet up?” All this is exhausting.


Emma said she had often felt inadequate and “not good enough” to be with her current partner. She couldn’t possibly understand what he could see in her.


She also told me she had ended many previous relationships because of her insecurity. “It felt easier for me to end it before they did!” Walking away rather than risk the pain of feeling abandoned can seem the easiest thing to do. But we all need the comforts and support that intimacy can bring us. So what can you do if insecurity is blighting your relationships?


Tip 1: Stop confusing imagination with reality


Making stuff up and then believing it is a sure-fire way to self-torment.


The insecure flyer will hear the normal mechanism of the air conditioning and twist it within their imagination to signify impending doom via crash and burn. They’ll imagine the bored look on an air steward’s face to be barely concealed terror because, “He must know something we don’t!” The over-imaginative flyer may even fantasize the sound of the landing gear coming down is an engine falling from the plane. They scare themselves by assuming what they imagine represents reality.


There are normal ‘mechanisms’ to any relationship. There are ebbs and flows and mood changes, moments of intimacy and closeness and comfortable spaces. These ebbs and flows are normal. Wanting to be absolutely close and intimate all the time is like wanting an aeroplane to never make a sound or a movement.


Next time you feel insecure, ask yourself what it is you are imagining. Write it down on paper under, ‘Stuff I am making up in my head.’ Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening is a massive step toward self-assurance. Which neatly links to…


Tip 2: Avoid the Certainty Trap


Overcoming relationship insecurity is partly about becoming less controlling. This may sound strange, but feeling that: “This relationship must be exactly as I think it should be!” is a form of over-control. A sign of insecurity in relationships is when the desire for certainty becomes too strong.


Having to know whether your partner really loves you, having to know this or having to know that puts a lot of unnecessary strain and tension into the relationship. The fact is, we all have to live with uncertainty. Insecure people can still feel insecure even when they are told they are loved. Wanting what is not possible (complete and utter certainty in all and everything forever) is not possible because imagination can still make up doubts. So stop looking for certainty where it doesn’t apply.


Self-assurance comes from starting to relax with uncertainty. Wanting to know for certain that someone will be with you forever prevents you enjoying the here and now. Nothing in life is certain.


Tip 3: Give the relationship room to breathe


When you plant a seed in the ground, you need to give it access to sunlight, water, and air; you need to give it space to develop. Your relationship needs room to breathe. Schedule in some ‘separate time’ and just see it for what it is. The developing flower needing space to grow isn’t a sign that it is heading for collapse.


Tip 4: Stop ‘mind reading’


Constantly wondering what your partner is thinking is a quick route to anxiety. If they say one thing don’t assume they mean another. If they say nothing don’t assume that their silence is significant, either.


Many men relax by not talking. Constantly wondering and asking what someone is thinking is a dead end because even if they do tell, will you believe them anyway?


‘Mind reading’ happens when we assume we know what someone is thinking when we don’t. When you stop doing it, you really begin to respect someone’s privacy because everyone deserves the right to have space to think their own thoughts. Constantly asking, “What are you thinking?” can make someone want to withdraw further.


Tip 5: Stop comparing current relationships to past ones


Have you ever taken an instant disliking/liking to someone merely because they reminded you of someone else who you disliked/liked? Some people do this with whole relationships. Because they were in a relationship with someone who was abusive, very critical or dishonest, or who left them, they respond to a new partner defensively or angrily when, in fact, the new partner is not really like the old one at all.


The extreme form of this ‘sloppy comparison’ can lead to destructive over-generalizations such as, “All men are lying bastards!” or “All women are promiscuous money grabbers!”


If you suspect you have been making faulty unfair comparisons between your current partner and a former one, then write a list of all the destructive traits of your former partner. Write next to this list all the ways your current partner is different and review this list regularly. This will help you to stop assuming that the future has to be like the past.


Tip 6: For security: Seek self-assurance


Rather than always looking to the other person to make you feel secure in your relationship, get into the habit of reassuring yourself. Start to challenge your own fears and imaginings rather than just accepting them. Ask yourself: “Hold on a second. What real evidence is there for this fear?” At the same time you can focus on the thought: “Okay, nothing in this life is certain and I can live with that. And even if this relationship did end, I’m strong enough to go through it and ride it and will have learnt things from it.” We all need to go with the flow in relationships. What we fear will be ‘the end of the world’ if it happens never really is.


Sit down, close your eyes, and strongly imagine feeling relaxed and secure around your partner. This will train your brain to feel that “whatever happens, I’ll be okay.” Or let me do this exercise for you by clicking on this free audio session below:


And finally…


Tip 7: Focus on the good


Relationships are meant to be fun (at least some of the time). Insecure people look for signs of what’s not working. I want you to look for signs of what is.


Doing this will get you and your partner feeling naturally more positive.


No meaningful relationship will always totally work all the time. Being too black or white about relationships spells trouble. There are always some difficulties, but keep focusing on what is good.


This doesn’t mean that you have to accept anyone who will accept you, even if they are obviously not right for you. But it does mean that if there are occasional problems, you don’t have to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ and become so destructive that the relationship ends or so clingy that your partner ends it for you.


Emma learned to relax and enjoy her relationship. She stopped feeling she had to control what her partner thought or did and her new laidback attitude made it easier for their love to genuinely blossom.


A good relationship is there for you to enjoy together, to share resources and develop together in healthy ways. If someone really does treat you badly or lies and cheats, then feeling insecure is a natural and justified response. However, if you’re actually in a generally good relationship, then follow these tips because what you have is precious.


But possibly not as precious as the knowledge that whatever happens, you can relax because you’ll be okay."

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@flaminghair81, those points are incredible, i can really really relate to pretty much all of them except for the comparing current relationships to past ones, other than that, that sounds exactly like how i'm feeling, hopefully this will help me to calm down. Do you mind me asking you if you and your boyfriend are still together? I only ask because I'm curious to know how easy it was for you to get back to like a normal 'routine' i guess? because it kind of feels like even if i do sort it out, it might take a while for things to return to normal and for things to not be awkward or overly conscious of how we are... does that make sense? haha

thanks again, you've been really helpful to me

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Yes, we still are together. We've had a very rough road in our 9 months together, you can go through my past posts to see. This is my first relationship, he got really sick early on in our relationship and he has 2 kids and a spiteful ex wife that adds to the stress. I am 30, he is 39.


The one great thing about our relationship is that we've always been 100% honest with each other up front. I had my first really big freak out moment about 3 weeks into it. We've been inseparable since the 2nd day we met, staying at one or the others house each night. That first spaz moment was about how close we were getting so fast. I told him then that I would have many more moments like that. He has always told me to take it one day at a time. He has been so patient with me.


I bought Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, which has helped calm me down some. It explains how men perceive and think about things and why they react the way they do, which has helped me learn how to react properly instead of over-reacting. The first day after one of my melt-downs, it was always awkward, but I've now realized that it was me being awkward, not him.


The last time I freaked out, the next day is when I found the article I posted and got a sense of calmness after reading it. I went home that night and still felt awkward. We were talking, but I felt weird, wondering what he was really thinking. I stopped and told myself that this was me doing it, not him. So I asked if we were OK. He said that we are always OK in his book, its just me that decides we are not. Instead of apologizing like I usually do, I told him that I know that I have things that I need to work on and I am working on them. That I love him more than anything. We kissed, hugged and then played a game of Scrabble like normal. lol


Don't let your mind get the best of you, that's what I am still learning.

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OP you really need to figure out why you act that way. I dont doubt that he loves you but noone wants to be with someone who is unpleasant a large amount of time. There needs to be an open dialogue in a relationship but if you bombard him with your insecurities he will become sick of it eventually.

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