Many otherwise highly functioning men and women experience some level of insecurity in their love relationships. Most of us know at some level that there is no current reason to feel insecure and yet we feel insecure. This can be maddening and often results in depression, anxiety, conflict, and failed relationships.
If you experience insecurity in your love relationships, you are probably familiar with some, if not most of the following strategies for managing your insecurity.
- You are suspicious about who your partner is communicating with and check their phone and computer.
- You watch for evidence that they are unhappy with you.
- You read their journal/diary.
- You react to what you think they mean rather than what they actually say.
- You look for proof that they don’t love you or are about to leave you.
- You try to control them and get them to change so you will feel better.
- You begin to feel anger and fear when they are a few minutes late.
- You don’t trust them so you second guess and accuse them.
- You feel remorse, promise to change, but relapse into these behaviors.
Some of the negative consequences of your insecurity are…
- You fantasize that your partner will leave you or cheat on you.
- You fear they will find someone better than you.
- You feel jealous of the attention they give others including their children, their family of origin, and their friends.
- You feel needy and ashamed of your neediness.
- You want to change your insecure feelings and behaviors but are unable to do so.
- Your partner is hurt or offended by your insecurity and pulls away from you.
- Your partner resists your efforts to control them.
- You hate yourself for your insecurity.
- You judge yourself as weak and childish.
- You are highly sensitive and moody.
What is the cause of this insecurity?
Children feel secure when they know that their caretakers are present and capable of meeting their needs. But when caretakers are absent or inconsistent in providing care, a child feels fear (insecurity) until they are reassured and feel safe.
If that reassurance is delayed or fails to be provided, the child gets in the habit of feeling insecure.
In a safe, secure, and stable environment the energy of an emotion (fear in this case) freely moves through the body until fully expressed and released. But if it isn’t safe to feel that emotion or if the emotional need isn’t met, the movement of that emotional energy gets blocked. Feeling this discomfort without relief becomes unbearable.
Energy cannot be destroyed. It can only be transferred or stored. To store energy, an equal amount of energy is required. To block the energy of an emotion, an equal amount of energy must be used, creating a perpetual expenditure of these two energetic expressions. In other words, energy that would otherwise be available to live freely is committed to managing the unresolved emotion. An unresolved emotion is an unhealed wound.
Managing unhealed wounds from childhood or from painful events we experience as adults means doing all that we can to avoid feeling the pain of them again. But strategies for avoiding this pain limit what is possible in life.
What is the solution?
I have been a life coach since 2011. I’ve always helped my clients by offering them what has helped me. Like many of my clients, I emerged from childhood with a full deck of unhealed wounds. What seemed like a normal life had become a cycle of reactions to triggering events. I didn’t know life could be any other way for me. Happy lives were either a myth or only for a fortunate few.
When I was in my forties, I was introduced to The Work of Byron Katie (https://thework.com). By using Katie’s method of self inquiry, I began to heal and recover a sense of my True Self. Then, about five years ago, my therapist introduced me to Internal Family Systems (https://IFS-Institute.com). In 2020 I completed two levels of training and am now an IFS Practitioner.
Internal Family Systems Practitioners help their clients restore internal balance and wholeness. IFS is a therapy model that recognizes a central Self in each of us capable of providing leadership to our internal worlds. This model teaches that we have subpersonalities, inner influences or parts of us that can sometimes have conflicting missions. In the case of an unhealed wound such as insecurity, there is a part that is holding the energy of the painful emotion that was never allowed to be released. And there are other parts whose mission it is to make sure that the pain is never felt or released.
Using the IFS therapy model, I help my clients to resolve this inner polarity, heal emotional wounds, and restore internal balance and wholeness. The lens of insecurity is dropped, enabling clients to see their partners as they are for the first time. Love partners are no longer seen as rescuers or persecutors.
The list of strategies in this article come from personal experience. When I was 30 years old, I was in therapy to try to get over my insecurity. The therapy model that helped me was called Bio-Energetics, a body-based therapy designed to release the energy of locked up emotional wounds. It worked. So, I know that healing is possible. After a few months of beating pillows, twisting towels, and throwing tantrums, my insecurity disappeared, never to return. That was over 35 years ago.
Like Bio-Energetics, IFS focuses on the body and emotions. My clients don’t throw tantrums and beat pillows. But, using the IFS model, I help them to work with the parts of themselves that influence the thoughts, feelings, and behavior that are behind insecurity.
IFS has helped me to offer far more than planning, strategy, and accountability to my coaching clients. Internal Family Systems provides permanent healing and transformation for those who are ready to do this work.
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