Dealing with men who have low self-esteem is no small feat. Being around a person with compromised self-worth and needing constant validation can take a toll on the toughest person.
If so, then you’re dealing with a man who has severe signs of low self-esteem. This type of person has a completely twisted sense of self, and being with him cannot lead to a healthy relationship.
Unfortunately, women are known to put up with such behavior too often.
But, having your every day ruined by your partner’s lack of self-confidence, which is chipping away at your healthy self-esteem is wrong!
Being in a long-term relationship with a man who has low self-esteem can hinder your growth and affect your mental health.
It’s important to pay attention to the red flags your partner exhibits and break up before things go too far.
Men with low self-esteem can seem harmless, but with time, their behavior can be borderline abusive and controlling.
If you’re unsure whether he has self-esteem issues, I’ll shed some light on the matter. It’s time to put your own life first.
If you realize that you’re in a toxic relationship, leave. On the off-chance that your man can be helped, keep reading for advice on how to carefully do just that.
Whatever your next step is, please make sure that it’s in your favor.
Alarming Signs Of Men With Low Self-Esteem
Let’s examine how a human being with self-esteem issues behaves in (and outside) his relationship.
If you recognize your partner through these signs, then carefully consider your next course of action.
He reacts poorly to constructive criticism.
One of the biggest signs of low self-esteem is his inability to take any type of criticism. Every time you try to point out something that he might not like, he takes it personally.
Everything is an attack and there is no reasoning with him. Even if you’re attempting to talk about these precise issues, he’ll accuse you of constantly picking fights.
When someone struggles internally, they tend to project their fears of inadequacy and insecurities onto their loved ones.
I understand that it stings, but you should never take it personally. His behavior stems from issues that most likely precede your relationship.
He often “jokingly” puts you down.
Oftentimes, this happens in front of your female friends. He insists that it’s a mere joke and you shouldn’t take it personally.
But, how could you not? He’s the man you love and the main cause of your stress and anxiety, but remember, when he puts you down, it’s not really about you. He’s just making up for his lack of self-confidence.
When a person with low self-esteem puts you down, it’s because of their feelings of not being good enough.
He’s emotionally very needy, which often becomes draining.
This one shouldn’t come as a surprise. As someone with severe self-esteem issues, it would be surprising if this wasn’t the case. Let me guess. He constantly craves attention.
You probably have to be extra mindful of feelings, which is something you never had to do before.
Things you’d normally say or do with someone else, you can’t dream of saying to him as he’d be crushed under the tiniest criticism.
To say that being with him is draining is the understatement of the century. Tell me I’m wrong?
He can’t keep anyone’s attention.
Furthermore, he’s jealous of his male friends for being able to hold conversations without anyone rolling eyes at them.
The poor guy starts a conversation and halfway through, he just forgets his train of thought. This, in turn, results in people not wanting to engage in any sort of communication with him.
How could they? It always ends up being awkward, uncomfortable, and deeply unnecessary. Who wants that anyway?
He needs constant validation about everything he does.
This is one of my least favorite qualities in a person. It’s fine if, sometimes, you’re unsure about doing something and seek a loved one’s validation.
But, constantly depending on others to tell you that you’re doing okay and steer you in the right direction is just annoying.
Wo(man) up! Make a decision and stick to it. Start a conversation and end it on a meaningful note.
Needing constant confirmation is a quality of a sad, insecure man who doesn’t even want to get better.
He throws his accomplishments and abilities in your face.
Now, we’re getting to some of the nastiest qualities of men with low self-esteem. They are exceedingly self-important, which makes them gloat over any accomplishment.
Even if you’re experiencing a particularly rough period, instead of consoling you and being sensitive to your feelings, he’ll blatantly blurt out how great things have been going for him.
I know, total prick. They feast on your low points, especially when they coincide with his high points. That makes his year.
He is a sore loser.
Oh, yeah. Have I mentioned what a sore, sore loser he is? He can’t stand the idea of someone being better than him.
Whether it’s a board game, real-life, or a work event, if he’s not the center of attention for being the best, he’ll be furious.
I bet that’s not a pretty picture (to say the least). I’ve been with a man of this sort, and I fully get how emotionally immature and self-absorbed they are.
They take everything way too seriously, almost as if it’s all a matter of life or death. (Fun, right?)
When you don’t give him attention, he demands it anyway.
He’s a jerk like that. It doesn’t matter that you have a job, responsibilities, and days when you don’t feel your best.
If he wants your attention, he has to get it. It’s almost as if your purpose is to be his constant cheerleader. Now, don’t get me wrong.
It’s super important to push each other in relationships, but never at the cost of your partner’s feelings.
You must have some boundaries; otherwise, it’s a one-man show, and that’s the opposite of what a healthy relationship is.
He is jealous, possessive, and controlling.
If he doesn’t hear from you for a short bit, he stalks your social media to find out where you are.
He demands to know your whereabouts at all times and tries to forbid you from going somewhere.
If you have male friends, he’s likely beyond jealous and suspicious, even though you’ve never given him a reason to be.
He accuses you of all kinds of things when you’ve done nothing wrong, and oftentimes, you’re the one apologizing for his mess-ups.
His controlling nature is getting out of hand.
He pressures you into things you’re not comfortable with.
If you’re not in the mood for some fun under the sheets, he emotionally blackmails you into doing it. I mean, who does that?
You’re perfectly within your right to say no, but the thing is, he doesn’t believe that’s the case. He probably hits you with something like: “If you truly loved me, you wouldn’t be denying me this.”
Now, let me tell you something about guys like that. They’re self-entitled pricks who don’t care about you one bit.
All your man cares about is having his needs met without giving a rat’s ass about how that might affect you.
He is always going on about being unworthy of you.
This might sound innocent, but let me assure you that it’s not. He only goes on about you being “too good” for him in order to soften you up for when he acts the way he shouldn’t.
With this in mind, you’ll be more inclined to look through his BS, knowing how much he supposedly cherishes you.
Hopefully, now, you won’t fall for that. He emotionally manipulates you in order to always get what he wants. To him, love is a game, and he’s a really good player.
He might have low self-esteem, but that doesn’t stop him from taking you down with him. Here’s an idea, don’t let him!
He relishes other people’s failures.
Oh, how he enjoys other people’s failures. He might pretend that he doesn’t, but trust me, it makes him feel empowered.
Since he struggles with feelings of being inadequate, he feels instant relief when someone fails at something. Instead of being a normal human being and supporting his loved ones through hardships, he feeds on them.
This is a twisted man who’ll never be able to be happy for your success. The more you advance in all areas of life, the less it’ll make him feel like a man.
In that sense, he’s an old-fashioned man. According to him, your place is probably in the kitchen and taking care of the family while he brings home the bacon.
Please, remind him that it’s 2020 and that sort of thinking is extremely dated and unwelcome!
He’s a lousy support system during critical moments.
When a man feels that his self-inflicted issues trump your well-deserved happiness, that’s your sign of trouble.
Yes, relationships are 50:50, but you’re supposed to lift each other, NOT tear each other down. When you need a good support system, he doesn’t get a free pass for being overly self-deprecating.
His requirement as your partner is to love you, support you, and put you first. If you cannot depend on your life partner for that, how well do you think that bodes for your relationship?
Honestly, I’m certain that you’ve started to put two and two together. While having high self-esteem at all times is challenging, the bad days should never outnumber the good ones.
Go get yourself a guy who’ll treat you like the queen that you are. We all have our issues and that’s perfectly fine.
But, having to constantly worry about walking on eggshells around the person you love is hard work. Ask yourself this: Is he TRULY worth it?
See also: 5 Signs Of Toxic Masculinity In Your Man
8 Ways His Self-Esteem Issues Damage YOUR Well-Being
This is how men with low self-esteem affect their loved ones. You get so used to being in a toxic environment that you don’t stop to consider these damaging effects.
It makes you wary of getting close to someone.
Being with a man who struggles internally can leave a mark on a woman. For one, it slowly starts making you fear getting close to anyone new.
You may have been an open, genuine, wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve type of person, but with time, you’ll realize how much being with him has changed you.
His constant negativity and self-deprecation rub off on you every day and turn you into someone you don’t recognize.
The experience you’ve had with him makes you wary of encountering someone like him again, which is why you stay away from any new meaningful relationship.
You develop a pessimistic outlook on life.
Similar to the sign above, your happy-go-lucky personality before knowing him has turned into dust. Have you noticed it yet?
You no longer smile as much as you used to and it’s becoming harder and harder to find a glimmer of hope in negative situations.
You used to be a ray of sunshine, but now, all that has changed.
You’re used to being around someone who can be best described as an energy vampire, and that chips away at your happiness one day at a time.
It never happens overnight. You just wake up one day and realize that you’re just a shell of the woman you used to be.
You forget what it’s like to be genuinely happy.
I don’t like to be cheesy, but I’m guessing that you feel as if a dark rain cloud follows you wherever you go. Am I close?
This isn’t surprising, as you become like the company you keep (in this case, toxic and unhealthy). Your positivity cannot survive constant negativity.
As much as you try to change this person, over time, you realize that he has changed you… unfortunately for the worst.
There’s good news, though. It doesn’t have to stay that way. You can go back to being the woman you used to be. All you have to do is do what’s right for YOU.
It ruins your self-esteem.
Suddenly, your self-esteem is out the door. The woman who could conquer the world (or at least believed she could) no longer feels she can conquer the day.
Believe me, I’ve been there. I’m usually as happy as they come. Even when I bite off more than I can chew, I never let it overwhelm me.
I know I’ll always find a way.
But, being constantly plagued by a man’s lack of self-confidence, bordering with toxicity, really takes a toll on you. What used to feel like a welcomed challenge now is a burdensome task.
There’s no room for you to grow.
In this type of environment, you’re never able to put yourself first. Your well-being is always on the back burner.
Being with him is all about him and his needs. In all that chaos, you neglect to take care of yourself.
You neglect to ask yourself how you are. And, the worst thing is, you don’t even stop to think how messed up that is.
This is why it’s so important to distance yourself from anyone who takes so much more than they give. Your well-being isn’t something to be taken lightly.
When you’re suffocated by his constant dysfunction, ask yourself how long it will be before it completely consumes you.
You become emotionally drained.
Getting up from your bed becomes a chore. You no longer make breakfast with a smile on your face. Listening to your best friend’s relationship drama becomes too much.
It’s kind of scary how incapable you start to feel after having been with him for so long. It’s like you’re no longer you.
What used to be breezy and relaxing is now very burdensome. And, I’m guessing you’re starting to understand why.
The company you keep is rubbing off on you, and one day at a time, you’re becoming more and more drained.
You start confusing toxic behavior as normal.
You have to be careful about this one. After some time, being surrounded by toxicity will become the new norm.
You never see these things coming. You always believe that you’d never allow such a thing to happen until one day, you realize that it already has.
You start tolerating things you’d never normally put up with. Him being a jerk no longer irks you, as he’s rarely the guy you met all those years ago, which is very sad.
Now, you brush it off, perhaps even smile, thinking it could be much worse, and continue with your day.
Your mental and physical health is affected.
You’re probably aware that toxic relationships can harm your mental health. But, what you probably don’t know is that they can also be harmful to your physical health.
It’s widely believed that toxic relationships can lead to serious heart issues, significantly increase your blood-sugar levels and take a toll on your entire immune system.
Have you been experiencing fatigue lately? How about low energy levels combined with feelings of anxiety? If so, this is likely connected to your unhealthy relationship… more precisely, your partner.
How To Support A Man With Crippling Self-Esteem Issues
If you believe that your partner is worth the fight, then here’s how you can support him on his road to recovery. These steps might
help him stop sabotaging your relationship.
Temper your anger before confronting him about it.
After carefully having gone through my above points, I genuinely hope that you’ve given your situation some serious thought.
I don’t want you to take this lightly or feel as if you’re forced to look the other way while he’s off the hook for basically being a brat.
BUT, if you genuinely believe that he’s a good person, and there’s hope for him, I’m rooting for you.
The first thing you should do before confronting him is this: Temper your anger. Never go into it with malicious intent.
If you’re adamant about talking things through, then you have to approach it with a cool head and a hope of meeting him halfway. If you don’t think you’re ready for this, wait it out.
Not until you’re calm and collected should you have this type of conversation with him. You should be aware that this won’t be an easy task, and that’s why being in a good headspace is vital.
Remember that you’re trying to point out his flaws, and people are generally not receptive to this. Luckily, you know him best, so figuring out the best approach should be fairly simple.
Keep your compliments realistic and genuine.
He will sense any fake words of encouragement coming his way, so always remain sincere when talking to him.
Don’t throw compliments his way that you don’t mean. That’s just wrong. My mantra has always been: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.
I encourage you to find a positive side to him and compliment him on it. For example, maybe he brings you breakfast in bed every morning.
Or, maybe he makes sure to take the kids to school so you can get to work on time.
Whichever kind thing he does regularly, thank him for it. Why? Because it’ll make him feel seen, and most importantly, appreciated.
Also, it’ll soften him up for the tough conversation.
You don’t want to go into the whole thing with guns blazing. When he hears a real compliment that he knows is from the heart, he’ll be more likely to level with you and consider what you’re saying.
Validate his feelings and make him feel heard.
On occasion, he will have a point. At the end of the day, it’s not like he chose to be like this, so when you sense that he’s struggling, don’t dismiss it right off the bat.
Instead, sit down with him and ask him to tell you how he’s feeling. It might be interesting to hear what triggers his anxiety in the sense that you might be able to help him get through it.
As long as he feels heard, that’s a step in the right direction. His feelings matter, too, and if you’re certain that there’s hope for your relationship, then you have to validate them.
He’ll struggle just like you will. He’ll have bad days, and he’ll need to know that you’re in his corner.
While there’s no one forcing you to stay around, if you do choose to, then you might as well play the part.
Try to understand where he’s coming from even when it’s hard.
Why is he acting a certain way? Why is he particularly nasty today when yesterday, he was the sweetest man alive?
There’s a reason behind his actions. You just have to dig deep enough to get to the bottom of it. He doesn’t just wake up and decide to be an asshole.
Something (internally or externally) takes place that makes him clam up, which results in him projecting it onto you.
Now, if you’re sure that you want to go through this, then it’s on you to uncover what that is.
Sometimes, it might be something as innocent as a negative comment from a family member or a best friend. They might have hurt his feelings (accidentally) and he took it hard.
Maybe there was an incident at work for which he felt personally responsible, and it stayed with him throughout the day. Men with low self-esteem don’t handle criticism well.
Try to be understanding toward it and possibly even help him get over it. It’s going to be hard, but if he’s worth the struggle, then give it your best shot and try to make it work.
Help him find a new (positive) perspective.
Having a negative perspective is no way to start the day, but that’s pretty much your man’s reality. For him, things are always bleak, and he rarely sees the positive side to anything.
He goes through the day expecting the worst, and most likely, living it. But, the thing is, so often, all it takes to feel better is changing your mindset. I’m sure you know that this is true.
I’ve been through so many situations where my negative mindset made me believe that things were MUCH worse than they were.
Now, I’m in no way diminishing your (or my) issues.
All I’m trying to point out is that finding a positive perspective to particular situations does make a difference!
Help your man get his groove back by showing him the bright side of his gloomy thoughts. Prove to him that he has something to live for when a tiny misfortune overwhelms him.
It’s anything but uncommon that we all get lost in our negativity sometimes. But, that’s where our loved ones come in. They’re here to show us that it’s not that bad.
And, in all seriousness, that’s the beauty of relationships… showing each other the good side of life when negativity prevails.
Prepare yourself for his defensiveness.
Try to tell him that as a twenty-something-year-old (especially if he’s older), it’s time to start acting according to his age.
You don’t expect him to be magically cured overnight, but it’s time for him to start acting his age.
In what can be described as a final attempt to salvage your relationship, offer him help, being fully prepared for his defensiveness.
At first, he’ll be unwilling to admit that what you’re saying is true. Even though you’ve recognized him in all of the above signs of low self-esteem, he’ll try to make it sound like you’re exaggerating.
In a way, it’s understandable. As I’ve already mentioned, people are not exactly receptive to criticism. Defensiveness comes naturally, but if he cares about your relationship, he’ll hear you out.
What matters here is that you know what to expect… denial and defensiveness. Try to work through it and get past it.
If this turns out to be a battle that you just can’t seem to win, then consider my final advice below before cutting ties.
It would be sad to end things on a sour note, but after trying so hard, what else is there to do?
Rationally explain how his behavior is affecting you.
While you can try to help him all you want, if he’s not ready to receive any help, the fight might be futile.
Try to reasonably explain in which ways his behavior is affecting you and your relationship. Make him feel what you feel when amid his self-esteem issues.
This is not about putting him in his place or victimizing yourself. It’s about trying to explain to him that if he’s unwilling to change, then you’re unwilling to stay there and put up with it.
You will no longer tolerate his self-deprecating behavior and the way he projects it on you. You deserve to be with someone who encourages self-worth, not diminishes it.
The last thing he could try is professional help. This is beyond a dating coach’s expertise. Let him work on his issues with a licensed professional and see what happens.
It’s time for you to focus on self-care and put your needs first. When you give it your best, but it’s still not enough, then consider throwing in the towel.
What If Your Support Doesn’t Seem To Be Enough?
Unfortunately, men with low self-esteem struggle with deeply rooted issues that sometimes can’t be helped.
It could be anything from a difficult upbringing, toxic relationships, or any type of verbal or emotional abuse that has left them scarred (possibly for life).
As a romantic partner, it’s difficult and challenging to deal with such a thing every day. This is why it’s important to reevaluate your relationships and see whether the cons outweigh the pros.
No matter how much you want to help your man, if it’s at your expense, it’s just not worth it.
You’ve tried and tried, given it your all, and spent a significant portion of your life in an attempt to revive the self-esteem of a man who doesn’t want to be helped.
I’ve shared some of the best tips on how to approach this type of behavior in the hopes of getting through to him. But, if that doesn’t help, then it’s time to start looking out for yourself.
Put self-love over everything. The moment you put your needs first, then leaving a toxic environment is a piece of cake.