When your distrust, jealousy issues, and controlling nature actively debilitate your relationship, the realization may hit you like a truck. Chances are, a few nasty fights with your partner have made you realize that you act irrationally, leaving you with the question, “Why do I feel insecure in my relationship?”
If you do suffer from jealousy and insecurity in relationships, you’ll end up trying to control what your partner does, constantly seek reassurance of their love and always suspect that they don’t tell you the whole truth. Such damaging notions can eat away at any bond.
Before you can understand how to overcome it, it’s important to know what causes it. With the help of psychotherapist Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, let’s understand what causes feelings of insecurity in a relationship.
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“My partner told me I was being controlling because of my jealous behavior. She felt suffocated and told me that it can’t go on much longer. With a bit of introspection and research, I found out I get so jealous because I compare myself to every person she spends time with,” Richard told us.
“Though I tried to work on my reactions and behavior when I’m jealous, none of it would make much of a difference the next time she told me about a new friend she was spending time with. Why do I feel insecure in my relationship?” he asked.
Without even realizing it, the signs you’re insecure in a relationship can destabilize your bond. Jealousy leads to controlling and manipulation, and insecurities lead to clingy and needy behavior.
However, it’s also important to note that emotions like jealousy and insecurities are natural. Healthy jealousy doesn’t usually indicate trouble, and is the natural response when your partner starts spending more time with someone else than you. In most scenarios, a bit of jealousy and insecurity in relationships is easily dealt with.
It’s normal for anyone to think, “I feel insecure in my relationship sometimes”, when your partner flirts with someone else, or when they achieve a goal you’ve been aiming at. However, if these emotions are something you feel on a daily basis and you see them chipping away at the foundation, it’s important to understand the causes behind them.
Struggling to answer, “Why do I feel insecure in my relationship?” Shazia suggests 9 possible reasons why you keep thinking your partner is going to replace you any second now.
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1. The common culprit: Low self-esteem
“Any person with low self-esteem will be insecure in every aspect of their life, which includes romantic relationships. As a result of the negative outlook they have on themselves, they may assume their partner thinks the same way about them,” explains Shazia.
She adds, “Such people may start to get extremely controlling in a relationship after a point of time. There won’t be much banter in such relationships since the insecure person feels attacked every time his/her partner makes a comment. They may overreact to trivial things as well, since their fear of rejection leads them to not want anything to go wrong.”
If you’re asking yourself, “Why do I feel insecure in my relationship?” over and over again, think about whether you feel that way in other aspects of your life as well. Do you feel like you’re not good enough at work? Are you overly critical of your shortcomings that apparently only you see?
2. Negative past experiences
All perception is based on memory. The way you perceive things that happen around you may be based on how you felt when you had similar experiences in the past. For example, if a past relationship ended in infidelity, it’s easy to see why you’re always worried about the strength of your new relationships.
“A negative past experience is what causes feelings of insecurity in a relationship. A person always relates current circumstances to the past. They’ll judge any current situation based on what happened before,” says Shazia.
“A person has to heal from any traumatic past experiences to be stable with anyone in the future. When the trauma is left unchecked, they’re always going to be insecure, act in an aggressive manner over trivial things and always be worried about history repeating itself,” she adds.
3. You find it hard to trust people
A fear of relationships, a bout with infidelity in the past, or a history of abuse can all lead to a person developing trust issues. As a result, you’re always left feeling your partner is leaving out important details in their story, and you’re always assuming that the worst-case scenario is true.
You’ll find it difficult to let yourself open up to them, or believe what they’re telling you. You’re always out to verify what they tell you, and the lack of trust makes itself obvious when you ask your partner’s friends if they’re actually where they say they are.
Shazia explains how a lack of trust stems from low-self esteem and signals insecurity. “Anyone with low self-esteem has trust issues. They’re not able to trust themselves, how are they going to trust another person in the relationship? Until you’re healed from your past baggage, the signs you’re insecure in a relationship will always find a way to manifest themselves.”
Related Reading: Expert Suggests 7 Ways To Help Someone With Trust Issues
4. Negative experience in childhood and your attachment style
Psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle previously told Bonobology, “Whatever you were denied as a child, you hanker after for all your adult life. It affects the way you approach new relationships without even understanding what you long for. It’s either because you were denied it and wish for it back, or circumstances have led you in places where you have not had access to it.”
Attachment is the emotional bond you formed as a child with your primary caregiver. The attachment theory says that this bond determines how you deal with intimacy and relate to people all your life.
When you grow up with ambivalent parents who were inconsistent in their approach toward parenting, you’re left believing as a child that you cannot rely on your primary caregivers. As a result, an insecure attachment style may take hold. In effect, you grow up without trust and love, and you may start to look for it in an insecure fashion.
Shazia explains why our experiences in our formative years can shape our romantic relationships. “If you ask yourself, “Why do I feel insecure in my relationships?”, the answer may lie in the things you went through as a child.
“A traumatic event like the loss of a parent or going through abuse inadvertently affects their adult life. A troubled childhood can lead to insecurity, a fear of relationships, or other mental health issues.”
Studies claim that the family dynamics a person experiences while growing up not only affect their future interpersonal relationships but also their own physical and mental health. It’s never good to feel insecure in a relationship, especially when you don’t even know the cause. In some cases, the roots may have been embedded all the way back in your childhood. It’s hard to identify it, and you deserve to seek help from a professional if it comes to that.
5. A fear of rejection
“All humans have a fear of rejection,” explains Shazia, adding, “However, those who are able to control their emotions or take charge of them respond to situations in a better manner.
“People who are not capable of managing their own thoughts or expressing their fears easily may end up with thoughts like, “I feel insecure in my relationship sometimes”. They always have a fear of being replaced, and they’re constantly worried about their partner leaving them.”
If you struggle from a fear of rejection, it’s clear to see how insecurity can take over your dynamic. Constantly fearing being replaced, profusely apologizing for minute things or accepting abusive behavior are all manifestations of it. If you think you’re in your relationship solely because you fear being alone too much, it’s time to introspect.
6. Unattainable expectations and beliefs from the relationship
Your questions about, “Why do I feel insecure in my relationship?” may not even be valid if your expectations of what a relationship is supposed to be like are askew.
Do you expect your partner to always be joined at the hip with you? Do you believe that personal space is a death sentence for your bond? Do you think that your partner shouldn’t have confidants outside of you?
If you do, the grandiose expectations you have are to blame for the insecurity you feel. If you assume you’re the only person who your partner is going to share secrets with, you’re in for a difficult ride. Make sure you’re on the same page as your partner with expectations.
7. A distorted self-image
When a person has a distorted self-image, they continually see themselves in a negative light and find it impossible to appreciate the positive aspects of their personality. They’re hyper-critical of their own self and assume that their identity is tied to their shortcomings. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that self-hatred ruins their relationships.
When a person is constantly thinking about their shortcomings, it’s easy to see how their self-confidence can plummet. As a result of that, feelings like “Why do I feel insecure in my relationship?” are bound to follow.
8. A lack of empathy
“Another aspect that causes feelings of insecurity in a relationship is a lack of empathy. When they lack the emotional awareness to look at the situation from their partner’s perspective, they’re always going to end up assuming the worst,” says Shazia.
“Any kind of emotional disturbance or turbulence usually leads to insecurity in a relationship,” she adds. A lack of empathy will make it impossible for a person to consider or understand their partner’s point of view.
As a result, no amount of reassurance or apologies are going to be enough. Once they’ve assumed the words or cooked up a story of possible infidelity in their head, it’s going to be extremely difficult to change their opinion.
Related Reading: How To Deal With A Partner Who Makes You Feel Insecure
9. A lack of communication
As a relationship progresses, the intense feeling of passion is subdued, and a more stable sense of compassion takes its place. In those cases, when a pang of jealousy or insecurity hits, it may get embarrassing to admit “I feel insecure in my relationship sometimes” after you’ve been dating for a decade.
The longer a person puts off being vulnerable with their partner and doesn’t talk about what’s actually bothering them, the more those unaddressed feelings of insecurity are going to grow.
We can all unanimously agree that it’s not good to feel insecure in a relationship. The doubts that stem from questions about yourself can slowly turn into doubting the strength of the bond, which leads to more complications down the road.
If you struggle with questions like “Why do I feel insecurity in my relationship?”, the best way to get to the bottom of it is through therapy. Now that you’ve seen the common causes, you’ve already taken your first step toward a secure attachment style. If it’s help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you manage your insecurities.
During the initial stages of a relationship, it’s extremely normal to feel insecure when your partner is affectionate toward people you don’t know. It may be jarring to see them act the same way with others the way they do with you, but the feeling should subside eventually.
To stop feeling insecure in your relationship, the most important thing to work on is your self-confidence. In other instances, you may need to tackle the unaddressed childhood trauma that shapes the way you act in relationships. Therapy for insecurity in a relationship is always a great option.
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