Aside from the fact that I don’t know you well enough to call you dear and probably shouldn’t use use such a term, I have a question regarding a girl. That should be obvious, considering I’m a guy and your blog and… Well, I’m rambling, so let me ask the actual question.
I’ve been in a relationship with a great girl almost half a year now, and she was miss insecurity when I met her. She was fed a lot of lies throughout school, and thanks to a lot of people feeding her a lot more truth in the last year or so, she’s no longer carrying the weight of the world around. She’s great now, and vastly improved. She has a sense of self worth, respects herself, and even smiles.
It’s not really that I have an issue with her because things are good – don’t get me wrong on that. She just lacks self confidence. It comes across as her constantly apologizing for little things like telling me she had a rough day (she calls it a rant, but it’s just a mild, three sentence retelling really), constantly worrying that she’s a bother, or that she gets in the way, that she’s being controlling, and such. None of it’s true, and I always tell her so, but she keeps coming back to it, and I think it’s a lack of self confidence. She doesn’t believe in herself really…
I’m not being driven up the wall by any means, and I know enough about the opposite sex to know that they’re not like a machine where I can sit down and just fix something that’s not working right, so what would be your advice on boosting her confidence? I compliment her, encourage her, tell her how awesome she is, and it’s all the truth, but she’s still expecting to fail a lot. I tell her that she doesn’t need to apologize so profusely and that if she honestly is a bother, that I’ll tell her and not just be mad, but it’s not helping.
So, knowing that I can’t just magically fix this, how do I help her towards being confident? Have my friends kidnap me and have her come charging in with an airsoft gun?
Just Trying To Help Her Out
i dig the airsoft gun idea. however, it might be important to note that bravery and self-confidence are two different things. for girls like this, it’s easier to put themselves in harm’s way in defense of another than to take a compliment. sounds weird, but it’s true.
as to how to help her, you’re going to have to hit her where it hurts. hang with me because i know that sounds counter productive.
every time she apologizes for something she didn’t actually do, stop her. don’t let her do it. tell her “apology not accepted” because an apology is not necessary. of course, she will apologize for apologizing and you’re going to have to shut that down too.
it’s going to be hard to get her to stop, but it’s going to be even harder to take the next step that will have to come right on the heels of making her shut up.
give her a minute to calm down because her stress level at being apology blocked is going to freak her right out. you’ll need to breathe, too, because what you have to say next won’t be easy for either of you.
you’re going to have to expose her behavior for what it is.
a lack of trust in you.
ouch. i know. but i’ve been this girl and without some straight up truth, you’re not going to get anywhere with her.
by constantly obsessing about disappointing you in some way, she is telling you that she doesn’t believe you when say she’s not doing that. of course, she doesn’t see it that way. at all. which is why you have to be gentle but direct in how you say that to her. you are also going to have to explain it to her by telling her that if she believed you when you say she’s not ranting/getting in the way/being a bother/controlling, she wouldn’t feel so compelled to apologize all the time.
she believes those things about herself because someone else made her believe them. if she’s going to get better, she’s going to have to put her trust in the people who know that none of those things are true.
and obviously, when you say these things to her, she’s going to try and apologize and maybe cry and definitely freak out because you are telling her she has hurt you.
do. not. let. her. apologize.
take her hand or put your arm around her and let her know in no uncertain terms, that it’s okay to not be perfect and with you, even if she has moments when she is ranting/getting in the way/being a bother/controlling, she is safe.
ask her to trust you to tell her if there’s something she actually needs to be sorry for.
and last, but not even close to least, make sure she knows that you will stand between her and anyone would try to take advantage of her or make her feel like she has to make unnecessary apologies. even if, or maybe especially if, it’s her own family.
she is going to have to ride in the wake of your confidence until she finds her own.
hope that helps.
oh so sincerely,
any other suggestions for JTTHHO?
have you been the one trying to help with confidence or the one who needed the help?