7 Things Your Partner May Say If They're Projecting Their Insecurities Onto Your Relationship
Many people go into a relationship with their share of baggage and insecurities, and some know how to deal with it much better than others. But if your partner isn't one of them, experts say, they may say or do things to project their insecurities onto your relationship.
"Insecurities affect your relationship by adding an element of negativity that wasn’t there," psychologist and relationship counselor, Dr. Paulette Sherman, tells Bustle. For example, you may feel like your partner is the most attractive person you've ever seen. But if they don't see themselves as attractive, they may accuse you of not finding them desirable, because they are projecting their insecurities onto you. According to Sherman, insecurities can also lead to trust issues. For instance, if someone has been cheated on in the past, they might be insecure over their partner's loyalty.
Most of us have insecurities that we bring into every relationship. But if it's not dealt with properly, relationship expert and spiritual counselor, Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle, "It can really undermine your relationship in some unexpected ways."
So if your partner says any of the following things and you have no idea where it's are coming from, experts say they may be projecting their insecurities onto your relationship.
1. "I Don't Deserve You"
A person's past can affect how they act currently, whether they realize it or not. If your partner experienced any type of harassment or abuse in the past, Rappaport says this can impact their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. Because of that, there may be times where they feel like they really don't deserve you. When this happens, just know that this has nothing to do with you or how you treat them. If your partner is feeling unworthy of love, try to be patient with them, and to talk with them about where that feeling is coming from.
2. "You Should Be With Someone Who's More Like ..."
There are many different things that can cause someone to feel insecure. When someone's insecurities are triggered by comparisons, Rappaport says, "They may be too hard on themselves and beat themselves up because they have unrealistic expectations." If they're constantly comparing themselves to other people, they may make comments about how you'd be better off being with someone who they deem "better" than them. If this is the case, offering assurances and communicating openly may help to assuage some of your partner's fears.
3. "I Saw You Flirting"
If your partner is insecure and projecting, they may throw accusations at you out of nowhere. According to Sherman, this comes from them thinking that you're "enacting their greatest fears of beliefs" even though you're not. For instance, if your partner is scared of losing you to someone who they feel is more attractive, they may accuse you of flirting or cheating even if that's far from the truth.
4. "Stop Being So Needy"
Insecurities can play out in may different ways within a relationship. For instance, if your partner is insecure about their career, they may work longer hours in order to help them feel better. If you ask to spend some time together, they may lash out and call you "needy." As licensed and marriage family therapit, Heidi McBain, MA, tells Bustle, "Your partner may project their insecurities on you in a way so you feel like you’re not doing things right." They may put the blame on you when things aren't going right in their life (i.e. calling you needy) because it's a lot easier than taking responsibility (i.e. failing to balance work and the relationship). While talking this through with your partner can help, if it happens more often than not, it may be a red flag for greater issues.
5. "It's All Your Fault"
Insecurity comes from a place of negativity and will usually show in your relationship in that way. "If someone is projecting their insecurities onto you, you can feel like everything is fine one minute and then suddenly your parter is mad at you about everything under the sun," McBain says. The problem with this is, you can end up feeling blamed for things that have nothing to do with you. "You'll have a very negative vibe thrown your way, even when your intentions within your relationship were good," she says. If this happens constantly, you may want to consider if this relationship is the healthiest situation for you.
6. "Don't Be Offended, I'm Just Saying This Because I Care"
In relationships, we can project how we feel about ourselves onto certain people in our lives, relationship coach, Vikki Louise, tells Bustle. For instance, if your partner hates the fact that they're introverted, they may find your ability to charm anyone you meet annoying. Because of this, they may say things that put you down or even "suggest" ways for you to change. If your partner does this, always remember that it's never about you. If you want to wear something they don't approve of, wear it. If you're naturally charming when you first meet people, don't hold. "You can’t make people stop projecting," Louise says. "They have to work on themselves." And if your partner's seem overly controlling, these can also be markers of emotional abuse, and it may be best to leave the situation altogether.
7. "I'm Never Going To Be Good Enough For You"
One common thing insecure partners usually say is that they're never going to be good enough. "Partners often unknowingly project these insecurities onto their partner by assuming the fulfillment of this insecurity," couples therapist Amy Bishop, M.S., tells Bustle. This means they may never put in the effort to make the relationship work because they feel like it's doomed to fail. They may isolate themselves when things get tough and will just assume anything they do wrong is going to cause you to break up with them.
Open communication and reassurance of your love can help your partner. Sometimes your partner may not even realize that they're doing anything wrong to you because they're so hyper-focused on themselves. In other cases, your partner may need to seek professional help in order to figure out where these insecurities come. Either way, it's important to remember that none of this is your fault, and it is up to you to decide if the relationship is still healthy for you.
Editor's Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.