Dear Annie: My girlfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We are both divorced.
I have a few insecurities. She is the greatest thing to ever happen to me, and I’m happier than I have ever been. She is my true love. I will do anything for her, which is why I’m reaching out for advice. I trust her completely, yet one of my insecurities is that I’m always asking if she is happy and if she is OK or sad.
These questions drive her nuts. I want to stop this behavior but want to understand why I do this. My kids say I do it to them, too.
Please help me. I don’t want to bury my feelings, but I don’t want to say things that drive her crazy. I do not want to lose her because of my stupidity. — Help My Insecurities
Dear Insecurities: Not to worry. Help is on the way. The first step to change is the desire to change, and you have already demonstrated that by writing this letter. The second thing to know is that what you are doing is projecting your own feelings of sadness and feeling not OK onto everyone around you who you love.
Try a morning check-in with yourself. Sit quietly for a few minutes and ask yourself, am I OK or do I feel sad? Then write down how you feel. It’s fine to feel sad, and by writing down what is making you sad, you can start to work through it. Remember that these feelings won’t last forever. Below is a poem by Jalaluddin Rumi, written more than 800 years ago, with some eternal truths.
“The Guest House”
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
As the poem says, picture your feelings as little guests in your house. If we are kind to those feelings and hospitable, they are glad to be acknowledged and appreciated. Seeking the help of a professional therapist will also help greatly. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Oh my gosh. How did Annie Lane come up with this:
What you are doing is projecting your own feelings of sadness and feeling not OK onto everyone around you who you love.
And the poem… oh my.
What I’m thinking is that this guy worries about whether he’s giving a good fathering and boyfriending experience. So he constantly asks everyone if they’re happy in order to feel affirmed that he’s a good dad/boyfriend. He’s that insecure. But he can’t quit doing it, and it’s driving everyone nuts.
So many thoughts. First of all, you can be the greatest dad/boyfriend in the world, and people will still get sad. Not your fault.
Second of all, yeah, the insecurity is a major issue that this guy needs to address. I can think of a few easy fixes off the top of my head. He should say, “Okay, I’m going to quit asking, so promise you’ll let me know if anything’s ever wrong, okay?” And then he needs to trust his loved ones to indeed let him know if something’s wrong. Because what he’s seeking out is constant reassurance that he’s not doing anything wrong, that there are no communication breakdowns, and so forth. But at some point, you’ve got to trust the other person to speak up if something’s wrong. We’re not mindreaders.
I’m wondering if this guy was ever blindsided by a breakup or sudden abandonment. Like, maybe his mom just took off for no rhyme or reason when he was a kid, and it was completely unexpected; or maybe he was in a great relationship that ended for reasons that weren’t even fathomable–there one day, gone the next, no explanation.
I think Annie Lane really went off the rails with this advice. I don’t sense he’s projecting feelings of not being okay. Rather, he’s projecting insecurities about himself.
My sense is that he’ll need professional help to overcome this. If nothing else, he should try to explain what he’s working through to his girlfriend so she can be supportive and not get fed up over it while he’s working on fixing it.
It might put his girlfriend’s mind at ease, because from her perspective, she’s having a great day, and he asks, “Are you okay? You seem sad,” and she immediately worries that she has a bad case of resting bitch face, or something. Um. Ouch.