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How To Deal With Personal Insecurities In Your Marriage

Deal With Personal Insecurities Marriage

Let’s look at what Lucas did in the interaction with Sara. He did not pay attention to Sara in a way that she expected and wanted him to. This description of what Lucas did goes in Column 1, “Describing My Spouse’s Action.”

By comparing Column 1 with Column 2, you can see the difference between describing something that happened and Sarah interpreting it as about herself. It is the difference between Sara accusing Lucas of “ignoring” her and her saying “you did not pay attention the way I wanted you to.”

The first response will put Lucas on the defensive; the second opens the opportunity for discussion.

Further self-reflection is needed to understand how this experience of feeling ignored is threatening. Feeling ignored suggests that Sara thinks Lucas is not interested in her enough to pay attention, she is not a priority for him, he isn’t enthusiastic about being with her, she is feeling discounted, etc. These are the fearful thoughts that behind feeling ignored that are the personal threats to Sara. Learn more about insecurities here.

One tool to use to discover the threat is the Downward Arrow Technique, which is a series of questions that lead to what is threatening in the situation. Here is an example of how the Downward Arrow would work in Sara’s situation:

Q: What does this mean about me?
A: It means Lucas doesn’t care about me.

Q: What does that mean about me?
A: It means he really isn’t a good husband to me.

Q: What does that mean about me?
A: It means I don’t have a husband who cares and respects me.

Q: What does that mean about me?
A: It must mean there is something wrong with me. Maybe I am not worth caring about.

Threat: I am not worth caring about.

You can see that this tool leads Sarah to figure out that she is worried that Lucas may not care enough about her to be attentive. And, this then suggests that she may have worries about being worthy of being cared about.

How To Deal With Personal Insecurities In Your Marriage
What Leads To Personal Insecurities In Your Marriage?

Taking Your Own Personal Inventory

Pick out an incident that occurred recently between you and your spouse that caused some difficulty between the two of you. You will want to write down the incident as you recall it. Using the event that you identified as causing you to be upset, angry, fearful, anxious, etc. you will go through the same process Sarah did.

  1. Fill our Columns 2, 3. And 4 first. How did you experience the event, what were you feeling, and how did you react.
  2. Fill in Column 1 by describing literally what your spouse did.
  3. Notice the difference between the way you characterized what your spouse did and how it would be described.
  4. Noting the difference between describing an event and how you experienced it (the distinction between the first two columns on the worksheet) is the difference between identifying problems you can work on with your spouse and reacting to him/her in an accusing way, which often leads to conflict.
  5. Finally, using your response in Column 2, how you experienced the event, to use the Downward Arrow Technique to figure out what is threatening to you.

Once your self-reflection process gives you a perspective on the situation, you can assess what the problem is, or is not. For example, if Lucas typically does pay attention, once Sarah has worked through her immediate reaction, she may not even perceive the lack of attentiveness in this situation as a problem. However, if lack of attentiveness is more typical of Lucas’s actions toward Sarah, she will want to address this with him as a problem.

If you make the effort, you can get good at this. You can learn about your own personal insecurities (threats). You can learn to interact better with your spouse. Good interpersonal interactions between you and your spouse require you both to be aware of your own insecurities and how they play out in your relationship.

Related: 50 Questions To Ask Yourself To Know Your Deepest Insecurities

When dealing with insecurity in relationships communicating with your partner is the best way out. Express how you feel without blaming or attacking them.

We hope you found this article dealing with personal insecurities insightful, share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


Written by: Catherine Aponte Psy.D.
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
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How To Deal With Personal Insecurities In Your Marriage
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Catherine Aponte

Catherine Aponte is a clinical psychologist who worked with couples for more than thirty years. She writes a Psychology Today blog and contributes posts to The Good Men Project. Throughout her career, she has been devoted to helping couples create and maintain a committed and equitable marriage. Her guide to achieving a committed, equitable, and vibrant family and work-life is in her book A Marriage of Equals (https://www.marriageofequals.com/). She trained at Duke and Spalding Universities and taught marital therapy courses at Spalding University as an Associate Adjunct Professor.View Author posts