Updated: Aug 23
Insecurity about did in my marriage. Other things killed it, but my insecurity was a big issue. I honestly thought I had conquered the painful self doubt and neediness that comes with it after six years of working on myself. But again, I find myself feeling insecure.
Confidence, cockiness, and being comfortable in your own skin is often associated with Dom(me)s. The idea of an insecure D-type is like imagining a tentative pimp. It seems incongruous. Submissives are not often portrayed as cocksure and confident, but they are also not supposed to be insecure. We are supposed to do what we are told, perform and care for our D-types, and be okay with that.
The thing is, an insecure partner can drive anyone crazy. The constant neediness, the demand to be reassured that you love someone, that they are worthy, can be maddening to a partner. And to the person who is insecure, not getting the reassurance can be painful, alienating, and down right demoralizing. So, what is a couple to do?
The first thing I learned is to actually put words to the feelings. I drove my ex-wife insane by asking things like, “But, do you really love me?” and “Do you still want to be with me?” and “Why would you want to be with me?” In the first year or two of a relationship those are normal questions. At year eight, nine and beyond they can be downright insulting.
I had to learn to say, “I am feeling really insecure. This makes me afraid and I automatically worry about loosing you.” I didn’t learn it fast enough to save my marriage, but I am working on it now. Rather than demand that your partner tell you for the 115th time that yes, they do love you and they want to be with you, expressing the reason you are asking is more important.
I have also had to learn that when I start to feel insecure I can project or over analyze actions. A lengthy delay in responding to a question on text goes from the reasonable, “Oh, he must be out and doing something because this is the time every Tuesday he is out and doing something,” to “OMG! He hasn’t responded in two hours. He must not want to talk to me. He must be trying to create distance.” It took a lot of time to learn to recognize the crazy self-narration to rather trivial events and then redirect it to rational thought. Even today, it is hard to shut down the feelings that come with the crazy self talk, but at least I know it is generated internally and may not have anything to do with reality.
Communicating that you need help shutting down that crazy loop (as I call mine) can be painfully embarrassing. I still find it hard to tell a partner that my brain is making up all sorts of insane stories about me being horrible and not lovable and I need to know things aren’t that bad. Honestly, I don’t think any sub wants to be the “needy, crazy chick.” However, if a simple conversation can shut that loop down it beats letting it fester and grow into something that becomes a major meltdown.
Learn Your Partner’s Languages
There is the book, The Five Languages of Love. The author discusses how people love and express love differently. Some people do it through gifts. Some people do it by spending time with you. Each type has a different way they express love and care. I know some relationship advice folks find this hokey, but I have found it immensely helpful.
It is helpful in several ways. First, when you can identify how you need love expressed, it is easier to ask for that in a relationship. Some people need a lot of verbal affirmation. Some people need gifts. You need to figure out what signifies love to you and let you partner(s) know.
It is helpful to identify your partner(s) ways of understanding love. If you express love by saying it but not necessarily through spending time together, there can be a disconnect. You may tell your partner over and over you love them. If they see time as the key element and you are not spending large amounts of time with them, your words might ring hollow in their ears.
Additionally, it is helpful in learning not to misinterpret things. If you believe love is most expressed when a partner spends time with you, it is easy to think that a partner spending a lot of time with you equates to love. However, if your partner has a lot of time to spend with you but it does not connect with their love language, you might misinterpret killing time at your place before they have to go home as a loving gesture rather than see it for just waiting on a bus schedule or traffic to clear.
You also need to learn the actual words they use. I grew up in a household where “Well, that wasn’t awful” was a compliment. I rarely heard, “That was fantastic!” It took me years to realize I automatically would say, “Wow, not horrible!” as a compliment. This, of course, came off like I was a giant dick to anyone outside my family. It took me a while to learn that some people used “good” to mean average and not that they were blown out of the water.
We can use the same words and they have very different meanings to us. If something is important, really important, you need to clarify that you are your partner mean the same thing.
Figure Out the Root of Your Insecurity
Most insecurity in a relationship isn’t initially based in a change in the relationship between two people. More often, your insecurity is triggered by something in you. Figuring out what you feel insecure about, beyond the relationship, can help clarify and calm the situation.
Ask yourself what is going on in your life? Has something changed? Did something happen to make you feel like you were lacking in some way? Did you start or stop doing something which affects the way you feel about yourself? The answers to these questions can help lend some clarity to what the real problem is. Sometimes it is the relationship or something that happened between you and a partner. Many times the root is something outside of your relationship.
Identifying the root of insecurity can help. Letting your partner know about the feelings of insecurity can help. Talking can help. However, you may just have to sit with the horribly uncomfortable feelings for a while. That can be the most difficult thing to do.
You have to keep in mind, if the root of the insecurity isn’t in the relationship, then having a partner say, “I love you” or “You are great” may not address the issue. Until you can figure out what the root of it is and effectively address is, your feelings of uneasiness and need to be reassured may actually lead to relationship problems and real reasons to fear the relationship may end.