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How Do I Deal with Feeling Inadequate Around My Partner?

This week in the Coping newsletter: dealing with insecurities in a relationship.

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Welcome to Coping, Episode 24.

Ask the therapist

Q: How do I cope with feeling inadequate around my significant other?

A: When you’re feeling inadequate around anyone, especially someone who’s important to you, it’s helpful to first figure out where your feelings are coming from. And then dealing with it will be a lot easier.


For instance, is there something about the way your significant other talks to you or treats you that might be causing your negative feelings? If you think that’s what’s going on, it’s important to let them know how their behavior is affecting you. You can say, “I don’t think you’re doing this on purpose, but when you say, or do, this thing, it makes me feel bad about myself.” It can be a challenging conversation, but talking can help to overcome those feelings. Hopefully your partner is willing to make some changes in their behavior.

Another, and perhaps even more important method of coping, is self-reflection. his is relevant if your feelings of inadequacy aren’t because of anything your partner is doing. Ask yourself: “Is this a familiar feeling, one I’ve had before?” If so, feelings of inadequacy may occur because you’re often hard on yourself. Negative internal talk affects your self-esteem and breaks down your confidence.

Begin by paying attention to how you talk to yourself. If you hear negative or judgmental self-talk, try to catch yourself and stop because it’s not serving you. Make a conscious effort to support yourself with a reminder that you’re doing the best you can and you are a good person. If you keep making an effort and use more encouraging words, even when feeling inadequate, your confidence will begin to grow.

This week's answer is from Debra Roberts, therapist and author of The Relationship Protocol: How to Talk, Defuse and Build Healthier Relationships.

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