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Thread: Feeling threatened

  1. #1

    Feeling threatened

    Hi this looks like a great forum, thanks for everything in advance.

    My problem is that I feel threatened by any male that comes into contact with my girlfriend. If I think, or my perception is that she is attracted to him my behaviour changes and it creates uncomfortable situations and stress between us. I withdraw and sulk, hoping she will reassure me. If she doesn't reassure me, I project on to her and blame her for flirting, or quietly live with it until it goes away.

    I am aware of the events in my life that have led me to do this, and I'm tired of feeling this way, it's such a waste of time and energy.

    Thank you
    Bob

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  3. #2

    Feeling threatened

    I bet thats really common in all men. I often feel that way when it comes to my wife at times. I believe it stems from some low self esteem issues I have, but I bet that it is also to some extent natural to for males to be some what territorial.

    At best this is a guess on my part. I have a feeling its normal to feel the way you do but that maybe your obsessing over that feeling is more of the problem for you?

    Thats tough when your having these feelings do all these scenarios race around in your head. Then you tell yourself your being silly, and for a few moments you think about something else only to find yourself having the same scenarios slam back into your thoughts again?

    When I was younger and dating (not the same girlfriend) I used to have that going on a lot and I would literally drive my girlfriends away or more often break up with them so I wouldnt get hurt. Start finding flaws in them.

    I finally recognized that and have gotten past the jealousy thing. Now I am married and have a whole set of new problems. LOL

    I wish you the best and although I am no Doctor if you need an open ear from someone who has felt the ways I stated above I am the guy so dont hesitate to yell :)

  4. #3

    Feeling threatened

    This kind of jealousy generally reflects one of three things:

    1. fundamentally, you have insecurities about whether you are "good enough" or "attractive enough" or "something enough" to deserve to be loved by her -- it's a cliche, but if you don't love yourself, you make it hard for someone else to love you; or

    2. there is something you are reacting to in your girlfriend's or partner's behavior that is triggering some feeling of pending abandonment or betrayal or loss, or a memory of those feelings coming from past experience in one or more close relationships, including family relationships -- whatever the behavior is, it's triggering an internal message or script in your head that says, "you don't deserve her"; or

    3. something in your past experience with women has led you to believe that they are not trustworthy and that this woman, like other, will betray you or let you down in some way.

    Whichever of these may apply to you, it is important to recognize that they reflect problems within YOU and not problems in her or her behavior. Acknoweldging this allows you to focus more on what you are thinking and saying to yourself rather than what she is doing, because it's really that self-talk that needs to change, not her behavior.

    There is of course a fourth possibility: That something specific about her behavior is telling you that she is not committed to you and/or wishes to leave you. This is less likely than explanations 1 to 3 but it is of course possible. I suspect that in your case, Bob, you know it isn't #4, since you say that "I am aware of the events in my life that have led me to do this, and I'm tired of feeling this way".

    Have a look at this book on cognitive behavior therapy -- David Burns, The Feeling Good Handbook (Penguin, 1999).

    If you are able to, seeing a counsellor to explore some of the origins of these insecurities would probably also be beneficial.

  5. #4

    Feeling threatened

    Thank you David, that's good advice.
    I must just add that rationally, never for a moment do I think my girlfriend is at fault.

    I fall under #1, essentially I am "unlovable" and my relationship with my mother is the reason why I think this.

    To what extent is a condition like this treatable? I am very self-aware and very willing to be helped.

    Also, how do I go about choosing a counsellor, what qualifications do I look for? I'm in the UK, should I approach an association to point me in the right direction?

    Thanks again David

  6. #5

    Feeling threatened

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob
    fall under #1, essentially I am "unlovable" and my relationship with my mother is the reason why I think this.

    To what extent is a condition like this treatable? I am very self-aware and very willing to be helped.
    It's very much treatable -- probably using a combination of cognitive behavior therapy to identify and counter the distorted negative thoughts/self-talk, along with psychotherapy to help you look at the origins of your self-concept and how to break free from them and free from old scripts or "solutions" (well, that's how I would approach it, anyway).

    Also, how do I go about choosing a counsellor, what qualifications do I look for? I'm in the UK, should I approach an association to point me in the right direction?
    I'm not sure about the situation in the UK -- my advice here in North America is to start with the family doctor and see if he or she can recommend someone. Alternatively, they are probably listed in the phone book (Yellow Pages) or may have websites (Google with the phrase psychologists yourtown). I would suggest that you look for a Ph.D. psychologist because of the additonal training and generally licensing requirements -- that doesn't guarantee a fit or excellence but it's perhaps a bit of an edge over some of the unregulated/unlicensed therapists. Another source of information might be a nearby university or a UK association (sorry, I don't even know what they are called -- British Psycholgical Association maybe?).

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