He tells you he loves you, yet you feel anxious and insecure. How do you overcome insecurity in a relationship with someone you love — and may even be married to? These five things to remember will help you feel more secure and grounded in your relationship.
This article was inspired by a comment from a reader who is struggling with deep feelings of anxiety and insecurity in her marriage. “I feel so lost within myself,” says Tee on When You Don’t Feel Good Enough for Your Husband. “My husband is so confident, it makes me feel different. Our relationship started out rocky and has grown, but I feel so scared when he leaves for work that he might confide in other women for things I might not have within myself. We used to talk about everything and now that we are married (2 months) things have become very lonely. He’s a truck driver and his ex has implanted a lot of horrible things about him in my head. They are stuck there and I don’t know how to let it go. Is he going to be honest with me? Is he going to get tired of me? Am I good enough? It is very hard. My anxiety is so high. My mom tells me to pray about it. Sometimes I fall asleep crying and don’t know why. I just want my husband to love me for who I am. I need help overcoming insecurity in my marriage.”
I hear Tee saying that she feels scared, insecure, and helpless in her marriage. She doesn’t have the power she needs to control her own thoughts or feelings. And – ironically – her thoughts and feelings ARE things she actually has control over!
The thing she can’t control is her husband, or what his ex says.
We all want to feel happy, joyful, peaceful, and authentic in our relationships. And it’s possible – but it does take a little time and effort. Overcoming insecurity in relationships just takes a little self-discipline, motivation, and an open mind.
How to Overcome Insecurity in Your Relationship
I struggled with deep insecurity all my life, and it had negative effects on my relationships. My insecurity destroyed friendships and put up walls in my love relationships.
I know I’m not alone. You, too, are struggling with feelings of insecurity in your relationships. You’re here for a reason.
Ironically, we feel insecure in relationships because we’re scared of being rejected and losing the person we love. But our insecurity is the very thing that can drive our loved one away. It’s important to learn the steps to overcoming insecurity in relationships, because staying the way we are could destroy what we value most.
1. Take your hands off the wheel – give yourself the gift of freedom
You can’t control your husband (or your friends, or your kids, or your job). You have no control over who he talks to during the day or even where he goes. You can’t even control how he feels about you today or what he’ll think of you tomorrow.
Sometimes marriages fall apart…and sometimes they don’t. Some relationships last for decades, and others barely make it through four seasons. We have control over our role in our relationships, but we have no control over what our loved ones decide to do or say.
This first step to overcoming insecurity in relationships is about taking control over the one thing you can control: your thoughts. Your thoughts have a direct effect on your feelings and actions. People can put negative or toxic thoughts in your head; you’re the only person who decides if you want to live in those thoughts – and the resulting feelings – or if you want to change how you think.
It’s easy to say “change your thoughts”, but it is more difficult in practice. It’s a daily process of unlearning how you’ve been thinking for years.
2. Dig up the root of your insecurity
This second step to overcoming insecurity in relationships will help you see why you’re so anxious and afraid. For Tee, it’s not just her husband’s ex who was “making” her feel insecure. It’s Tee’s own deep-rooted anxiety and insecurity that are forcing her to question her husband and marriage.
Figuring out why you’re struggling with insecurity will help you overcome it. Self-awareness won’t immediately erase your feelings or suddenly fill you with confidence, but it will help you see that your insecurity grew for specific reasons. For example, I struggled with deep-rooted insecurity in relationships because I grew up feeling inferior. I didn’t have a dad, my mom was really sick with schizophrenia, and I lived in foster homes.
Knowing why I felt so insecure helped me overcome those feelings. I still struggle with insecurity in relationships, though. I’m particularly freaked out when people like me! The more people like me, the more I pull away. I’m not used to receiving love, time, and attention, so I withdraw. But simply knowing this about myself helps me stop pushing people away.
Go a step further in overcoming insecurity, and read How to Ask for What You Need in Your Relationships.
3. Learn how insecurity affects your relationships
Psychologists say that we gravitate toward relationships that re-create what we’re familiar with. So, I grew up with lots of neglect, instability, and emotional distance in my childhood. Therefore I tend to create relationships that involve distance, the silent treatment, walls, and disconnection. I create what I know.
“Because you are familiar with situations that create low self-esteem – being left, being cheated on, etc. – you gravitate toward relationships in which you’re able to feel this familiar insecurity,” says Suzanne Lachman in 10 Ways Low Self-Esteem Affects Women in Relationships. “When it’s not there, you may even create it. If the relationship becomes too secure, you may become disinterested and bored and you may stray. You’re so used to having to work to save an insecure relationship that these types of relationships become the only ones you gravitate toward.”
She adds that a deeper part of you tries to push your relationship to the brink and then back again, so you can artificially create an experience of insecurity. So you actually create insecurity in your relationships because that’s what you know.
4. Don’t rely on relationships to help you feel secure
Who or what makes you feel secure in this world? Maybe it’s your parents, your memories of the past, your job, or even your appearance. Maybe money makes you feel secure, or food. Maybe you overeat to overcome feelings of insecurity…or maybe you starve yourself, or binge and purge. There are hundreds of ways we try to overcome insecurity in relationships.
I thought I’d be able to rely on my sister to be my family…but I couldn’t. I always thought she loved me and accepted me fully. She knew me better than anyone, and I thought she’d always be there for me. So when she told me she didn’t want me in her life anymore, I was devastated. It was worse than a breakup because she was family. I could deal with a guy leaving me…but my own sister? Devastating, but it led to me writing How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
People can be loving and kind, but they can also be thoughtless and self-centered. Everyone is wounded, everyone has been hurt in some way. If you rely on a person – whether it’s your husband, boyfriend, mom, sister, uncle, grandmother, or even your own self – to be your source of security in this world, you will be disappointed. We hurt each other by accident all the time. Sometimes we even hurt each other on purpose.
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth,” says Stacey Charter. “Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”
5. Find a source of healing, love, and flow
So here’s the fifth step and best tip for overcoming insecurity in relationships: get and stay connected with a life-giving, vibrant, strong force of love. It’s what saved me! Literally. I learned how to see myself the way God sees me, and I found a deep well of security, love, and peace that surpasses all understanding.
In I Need Your Love – Is That True? How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Katie teaches readers how to change the way they think, which will help anyone overcome insecurity in a relationship. This is the most helpful book I’ve ever read on noticing your thoughts and changing how you feel, act, and interact with people and the world.
I find heal and joy when I look up and meet God’s gaze. I simply sit still and allow my heart to soften in His presence. Then, all worries, insecurities, fears and relationship problems fade away. That’s how I find insecurity in all my relationships…and how you can, too.
If your relationship is missing something – or you need something you’re not getting – read How to Ask Your Boyfriend for What You Want.