Dear D: My boyfriend makes me feel insecure (Advice from a love coach)

My boyfriend makes me feel insecure & worthless

Today’s post is my response, as a relationship coach, to a reader’s question regarding shame and insecurity during and after a relationship. Though it speaks directly to a romantic relationship, the same principles apply to any relationship and any situation where you’re holding on to feelings of worthlessness.

Any who hasn’t experienced those?

Dear D,

I was in a relationship with a man for three years that ended just over a year ago. It was a fun, healthy relationship for the first two years but we really grew apart in the third year and stayed together six months longer than we should have. In the end, instead of getting out of the relationship, he just stopped including me in his life. I’m almost certain he started dating his current girlfriend before our relationship ended.

I’m struggling with the fact that he was so lazy and cowardly about getting out of the relationship. We had several conversations that it wasn’t working, but he said he cared about me, he wanted to try, we could make it work. But nothing he did reflected that he meant that. Finally I told him it was done. He moved some things out, and then it took him six weeks to get the rest of his things out of our house.

In the intelligent place in my mind, I know that he is ashamed of how he treated me at the end of the relationship and that he started a new relationship before he got out of ours. But in that dark place in my heart that spent three years with this man, I can’t conquer this feeling of worthlessness. It was so easy for him to stop including me in his life and he didn’t care enough about me just as a person to say it’s over. Why am I experiencing shame and how can I move through this insecurity?

I know I am worthy of love.


Hey girl.

You are experiencing shame because his actions made you feel shameful.
Not because you are wired wrong or weak.

You feel worthless because you were disrespected + marginalized by someone you cared deeply about and most likely never expected this behavior from.  Feels a little like having the rug pulled out from underneath you, eh? (I’ve been there too.)

It hurts to be disappointed by and in someone you have made yourself vulnerable to. In the ideal world you would tell him what you need and want + he would comply.  He really would try to make the relationship work, respect your boundaries + move his belongings out in a reasonable amount of time. He certainly wouldn’t pursue a new relationship with someone else before properly exiting the existing one with you!

Wouldn’t it be fab if it did just always work that way? A lot of the time–it does.
And some of the time it doesn’t. This, unfortunately, was one of those times.
He did not live up to your expectations.

He disappointed you on many levels + the end result has become shame and insecurity.

And that is shitty.
And I am sorry for your pain.

This pain, however, is the very real, sometimes-cost of dating. Because the truth is: it’s more likely that things won’t work out. So pain + love are bedfellows.

You can’t embrace the hope and possibility of love without acknowledging the despair + distraught of pain. If you want love, you, upfront, accept the chance of pain.

Sometimes relationships don’t work out neatly + your inner world is set ablaze. When the shit hits the fan and the pain materializes, you have a right to be upset, unnerved + rattled.  You get to pout, mope, be pissed + feel worthless.

BUT…because you know that love sometimes means pain….
the time comes when this pain must be fully managed for fear of it overtaking your emotional well-being.  And now is that time.

You continue to feel worthless because you allow it.
Not because he continues to actively disappoint you.

In fact, it’s probably a good thing you are no longer in communication. Why do you need to be? What do you gain by having a friendship? By keeping your connection alive? Seems to me it would only keep the pain alive.

It has been a year and the problem is that you just can’t let aspects of this one go. It’s over. And it shook you up a bit. It has broken your heart open so new light could get in.

I think where you are emotionally is at a precipice. The ledge between your past wants + dreams and your uncharted, potentially big, love-drenched future. You’re about to write the next chapter of your story, if you will.

This precipice, naturally is a transition. I think you may want to adopt the concept of Actively Letting Go.

Actively Letting Go is awake. It is proactive.

I say proactive, I encourage proactive, because you seem to be at the point where you decide. You decide it’s either YOU or him (+ your disappointment in him).
Which matters more to you?

Make a dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past. When the shame comes up, acknowledge it + then gently let it go.

Say, “I see you but I am letting you go now because I am sexy, sassy + totally worthy of love.” And then DON’T let yourself rehash memories. When a stinging memory comes up, repeat your mantra.

Half the battle is rewiring your brain. More than 50% of it is actually biology. (Which is a whole other convo!)

Dedicate Yourself to Done.
Devote to Decided.

Sometimes loved ones are disappointing.
You didn’t deserve it.
But it can’t be undone.

Say your goodbyes to that relationship with him. Say goodbye to your disappointment. Your shame and insecurity. Your very false feelings of worthlessness.
Then actively let go.

Wait patiently for love to wrap back around.
because she will.


Get started today on finding your perfect partner.

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  1. Just went through this myself. Truthfully, what made it worse was he then refused to acknowledge me in public or even respond to any of my questions via email. As if ditching me for another woman wasn’t disrespectful enough, he had to continue the b.s. publically. And I knew that I would occasionally see him, as he works and lives within blocks of my workplace.

    And while yes, if I knew I wouldn’t have to see him again – I would completely cut contact. But the other day, when he once again tried to pretend he didn’t see me, I decided to approach him and engage in a short conversation. Weirdly, he suggested we get together (although I doubt he really meant that). But I wasn’t about to allow him to continue treating me like a non-entity. I didn’t do anything to him.

    Anyways, I’ll be maintaining a safe distance from him, because now the trust is shot. There was a lot that I liked and still like about him, but I’m glad I approached him. The best thing you can do, is take the shame he’s handed to you and deliver it right back where it belongs.

    I’m worthy of respect and certainly deserved better. So do you.

  2. Sorry but I actually don’t agree with this advice at all. I’ve gone through this (who hasn’t really) and the worthlessness, etc. doesn’t end from “making a decision” to not feel that way. It stems from an underlying root issue and feeling the feeling is the byproduct of it. Without addressing the deeper issue you can’t just “will” it away, because at the end of the day it wasn’t about this man or what he did in the first place. It was that it hit an issue within yourself. Everyone has issues, and sometimes things in life unearths them like this. It’s very normal. Suggesting that this reader just “make the choice” to “not feel this way” is like telling a gardener to remove the leaves of weeds in a garden without ripping out or killing them under the soil. It doesn’t mean having intensive therapy (though it could in some instances) but simply asking yourself, what is the single word I’d name the way I feel, then what is really causing it and why. Keep digging until whatever underlying issue arises. At the end of the day, someone leaving our lives is not usually something we can’t get over or even how they do it. It’s how it affects us on the inside and why because we know life is not over when something happens, we recover, move on, are happy again in the future, find other love. When it leaves a mark there is usually something else going on.

    • Hi, I like your reflections on this. I am going through a similar situation with an ex. With the following added twists: we only went out for 9 months, we work together and I see him on a daily basis (it is not a big workplace 40-50 people), he is 12 years younger than me (I am 39, he is 27), I don’t have children which adds to my feeling of panic (in the beginning he was all too eager in telling me he wanted to have kids and was ready). Even though I was the one who ended it, and he was the one who persued me, I feel like the looser and he already has a new girlfriend and is very clear about showing everyone that we were nothing. He has an amazing ability to play the role of the arrogant and indifferent asshole – or maybe it was never really a role, but who he is – at least this is the experience I have of him after we broke up. I never got what he wanted with me, maybe he just saw me as someone intensly vulnerable that he could easily manipulate and feel superior too – and as the co-dependent asshole I am, I was only to happy to play the submissive part. To be honest I felt like shit throughout the relationship, which is why I ended it -the problem is I still feel like shit every time I see him, and it is causing great anxiety. I know that this comes from deep abandonment issues and childhood trauma, but I feel locked in an endless wortex of the same bullshit, I know it is my own bullshit, I take full responsibility for it, but after 7 years of therapy on and off I have to ask when will I stop torturing myself, trying to connect with people who deep down are incapable of connecting with me and who end up reaffirming the sense of insignificance I have struggled with my whole life. People always talk about owning your feelings, well what if what you own makes you experience a constant sense of deep insecurity, neglect and pain – and what if I have created a monster (in this case an ex who couldn’t care less and flaunts his indifference in front of me and everyone) in my everyday life, that triggers immense fear, because it forces me to face the truth, that someone I deeply cared about and still deeply care about didn’t really give a shit about me. Not because I am worthless, to be honest I am a pretty interesting person, but because he was simply incapable of giving a shit…or maybe he did give a shit, but I was to insecure to receive the love that he was offering in the beginning. Either way I am trapped in an anxiety filled hell, and if it is of my own making, then please fucking tell me how to make something else….

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