Your self esteem and how you perceive yourself has a huge, huge impact on your relationships.
I highly recommend this post if you:
- Have difficulties in keeping a loving relationship
- Have a pattern of ending up with jerks
It’s key knowledge that is not nearly as widespread as it should be.
If it’s too much, skip the links-heavy “the theory” part.
Humans like people who build them up and makes them feel good.
This is a well known phenomenon called self enhancement.
Many social success books revolve fully around self enhancement, one example above all is How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Women with low self esteem abide to the self enhancement theory only at the beginning of dating though.
But in long term relationships a new beast emerges which goes fully against self enhancement. It’s called Self-verification. It’s highly correlated with marriage, possibly because in dating women still feel they’re in “assessment mode” (Psychology Today).
But nobody can exactly say when that shift happens.
But when it does happen, women with a low self-esteem grow apart from men who love them and treat them well.
Why? Because they revert back to their low self-appraisal and their mind goes:
Why does he love me if I’m such a mess?
Why does he think I’m great If I’m terrible?
When that happens cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) takes over. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort in the presence of two opposing views.
The tendency in the presence of cognitive dissonance is that of eliminating it (also read the commitment and consistency principle in Cialdini).
A way of eliminating it, of course, is breaking up.
Also, equally damaging for women with low self-esteem and loving partners, is that they feel like their loving partners don’t really get them. So they lose emotional connection with their spouses and distrust can also set in.
The final result?
The relationship between low self esteem woman and loving man slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) crashes and burns.
- Understanding the marriage shift
- The original Swann paper on self verification
- The Tao of Dating also touches upon this concept
Low Self Esteem Inhibits Loving Relationships
Low self esteem women seek consistency through their men’s action.
Any men who treats them well is not consistent with their own self belief. They cannot trust loving men and cannot feel a connection with loving men.
How could they? Loving men see them as lovable, but they see themselves as unworthy!
Low self esteem women sadly cannot hold a happy relationship with loving men over the long haul.
Low Self Esteem Serves You Jerks
A jerk, or any abusive kind of man, behaves in a way that is consistent with a woman’s negative self image.
This is what she tells herself after the abuse:
He’s right… I am terrible. I deserve it
Yes it does hurt her, but it’s consistent with her own self image.
Those guys treating her well? They’re fake and never really understood her.
Unluckily, some weak bastards prey on women with low self esteem. They get the power feeling of having a woman and controlling her, and she cannot easily escape.
How to Fix Low Self Esteem
The solution to an internal problem starts, of course, with an internal solution (deep change always starts from within, say Covey).
How do you that?
I can recommend a few great ways:
1. Accept positive feedback
Chronic low self esteem women reject positive feedback. You will do the opposite and willingly allow it to sink in. As a matter of fact: SEEK positive feedback.
Do something you’re good at. Or even better, start getting good at something. Join a Toastmasters club, pick up an hobby… Start showing yourself how you can improve at whatever you choose.
2. Make yourself useful
We base much of our self esteem on how useful (and needed) we are to others.
Here’s a win-win then: join an organization, engage in service, focus on helping people. Being useful to the world will lift your spirit like few other things will.
3. Build antifragile ego
It’s easy to break our spirit when our ego is built around “being good” or “making jerk happy”.
Being good is easy to destroy: just make a mistake. Making jerk happy is not gonna happen because he’s a weak d*ck who needs to control you.
Build your self esteem around concepts that are not assailable instead.
- The only way for me to be bad, is when I willingly hurt others
- I’m a learner: mistakes don’t define me but help move forward
4. Change your beliefs
The shallower are the beliefs that lead to your self esteem, the easier it easy to change them.
But no matter how deeply rooted they are, with enough work you can make it.
5. Be authentic during courtship
The “faker” you are during courtship, the bigger the marriage shift will be when you revert to being yourself.
Here it is then another great reason for ditching dating games and being genuine.
6. Get good… At something
You probably repeat to yourself a patter of failures.
You need to feed your brain something that you can use to tell yourself “see? I’m not that bad, I learned and improved on this one thing”.
Then get good at something.
It can be something elaborate like joining a Toastmasters and getting good at public speaking. Or something simpler, like cooking an awesome dish.
Pick one thing and show yourself that you can learn to be good.
Besides Low Self Esteem
We touched on abusive relationships here. As a last note, I wanted to add that abusive relationships are complex and this post only covers the self esteem part.
Some other aspects keeping women in abusive relationships:
- Sunk costs
I already spent 1 year with him..
- Fear of the unknown
What will be of me if i leave him?
I’s surprising how many people suffer under devil they know because they’re scared of the unknown.
- Masochistic streaks
Just today I was reading some bio excerpts of the wonderful Claudia Cardinale, who willfully kept seeing her rapist as she plunged deeper and deeper into the abyss of pity and self disgust.
Unluckily she’s not alone.
- Up and downs are addictive
The power of giving lots of pain and then suddenly giving a shimmer of pleasure can be more addictive than only giving pleasure. As we’ve also seen in how to drive him crazy.
However, even considering all other factors, don’t discount self esteem. As a matter of fact, self esteem DOES have a major impact.
Very low self esteem DOES prevent you from having a happy relationship with a loving and great man.
And it also DOES contribute to women ending up and sticking with abusive men.
It’s not true that jerks attract women.
Jerks attract a certain type of women, and very rarely it’s the highest quality.
It might sound judgmental, and I say it on purpose to spur you. You’re better than that and you have it in you.
This post explained how low self esteem:
- Inhibits great relationships
- Attracts jerks and keeps women in abusive relationships
Finally, we talked about:
- How you can increase your self esteem
Use the information here to make the positive changes in your life.
You’re not alone, I for one, I am cheering for you!