I used to envy people who could jump from one relationship to another, while I hung out, looking for ‘the one’. But I learnt that neither is the best way to be. The serial relationship mentality is often a clear sign that you need to get more comfortable with who you are, to like yourself a little more, and to be OK on your own. Low self confidence is usually at the core of this one. Searching for the elusive ‘one’ is also a sign that you may be too picky, unrealistic, trying to avoid new experiences or harboring a fear of commitment. That’s not to say that you should settle, or that you can’t meet someone who feels perfect for you, but people are complex and often you can’t see the full picture at first, unless you take a risk.
But let’s talk about low self confidence and serial relationships… I’ve seen many clients who have felt emotionally and/or physically abused who follow this pattern. They fear rejection, intensely! They will do anything and put up with anything in order to remain ‘off the shelf’, even if their partner makes them feel even worse about themselves. In fact they often pick partners who do. They feel insecure on their own. Usually, that low self confidence has started way before the relationships ever did, from childhood. And sometimes it’s hard to pick the original source when there is no-one to blame.
Where Did I Get Low Self Confidence?
When you have a mother or father who tells you that you’re fat, implies that nothing you do is ever good enough or openly favouritises your sibling over you, there’s a good chance you can develop low self confidence that can lead to relationship trouble, such as picking partners who put you down, rather than elevate your sense of self. That’s a pretty clear source of the issue.
Other times the parents are great – loving, caring, inclusive – but it’s your own child brain that saw your competition, such as a particularly attractive sibling, or one who is smarter, or perhaps a friend at school, and you drew conclusions about yourself in comparison. This can happen to you very young. In fact, by the time you are three years old, you have already made up many of your personal beliefs, simply from watching and absorbing information. In these cases, there is no-one to blame. Typically I’ve noticed in my clinic that these beliefs start from baby through to late teens, but it can also happen to you in adulthood.
When low self confidence starts later in life, perhaps after a few emotional batterings at work, with relationships, illness or trauma, you are less impressionable and you have better logical reasoning to talk yourself out of developing a negative belief. So even if you are highly competitive, you have a better chance of escaping the wrath of an “i’m not good enough” belief. But it can still happen if the battering was bad enough. However the scars to your emotional development from childhood tend to stick around, in the unconscious mind, until you resolve them. I have had many clients march into the clinic full of dash and vigor, only to crumble when we get to the heart of the issue. Low self confidence is quite easy to mask, but it’s your behaviour that gives it away, and pursuing serial relationships is one such behaviour.
Why Am I Afraid to Be Alone?
Usually it’s because you feel rejected, at a core level, and being alone only amplifies this uncomfortable feeling. There are many good men and women stuck in very unhappy relationships because they are afraid to make a change. And it’s understandable – financial problems increase, the children can become traumatised, friendships divide, and you have to let go of a whole way of life that, even though it was not happy, was at least safe, in most cases.
I never advise anyone to split, or to stay – it’s none of my business, but I do guide you towards communication with your own unconscious mind. This is where change happens. And therapy can bring decision-making to a head, as you become more self-respecting and less willing to be used or emotionally abused. As you become more self-accepting and positive about yourself, you begin to be able to see a better future, one worth fighting for – living your life, rather than merely existing.
It can also work to help you to see your relationship in a more positive light, if perhaps your partner is not to blame and you had simply ‘thrown the baby out with the bath water’, so to speak. In other words, it can bring understanding to your responsibility in cleaning up your own emotional baggage, rather than blaming the relationship for feeling stuck in low self confidence. Every situation is different.
If you are interested in addressing low self confidence you can be sure of one thing… saying goodbye to that old version of you means saying hello to your true self, and a whole new life, whether the parameters change, or not. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Noosa.