Possessiveness in relationships is more common than most people realize. One of the reasons it can be so hard to recognize is that we tend to mislabel it. If you get scared when your spouse talks to your attractive neighbor, or if they get angry when you have to travel for work, you might think that’s normal.
Unfortunately, those are two clear examples of possessiveness, and they can do a lot of damage to your relationship.
Possessiveness can occur in relationships for many reasons. One (or both) of you might have baggage from previous relationships that have skewed the way you see commitment. You might have trust issues stemming from trauma.
More often than not, however, possessiveness in relationships stems from insecurities.
Insecurity From Your Past
People struggle with insecurities for different reasons. Again, it could have a lot to do with your past. Maybe you had a partner who cheated. Maybe you’ve been called names or have been criticized for your looks before.
Whatever the case, bringing lifelong insecurity into a relationship isn’t fair to yourself or your partner. You might project your worries onto everything they do and create situations in your mind that simply aren’t true.
Your husband talking to your attractive neighbor, for example, doesn’t mean they’re having an affair or flirting. But, it’s easy for insecurity to whisper such things in your ear.
Struggling With Self-Abandonment
Your possessiveness might also stem from self-abandonment, or not taking responsibility for your own mental well-being.
If you have self-abandonment issues, you might rely on your partner for making you feel valued and lovable. People who deal with self-abandonment are often their own worst enemies. You’ll always feel inadequate or like you’re not good enough to be with your partner, no matter how much they reassure you.
That puts a lot of stress and pressure on the person you love. It might often seem that no matter what they do to protect you and prove their love, it’s never enough to convince you. They might start to feel restricted in the relationship because of your needs.
What Can You Do?
If you’re struggling with possessiveness in your relationship, the best thing you can do is to work on your insecurities.
Yes, that might seem easier said than done, but it’s not impossible once you’re willing to acknowledge the problem.
Fighting back against insecurities requires learning how to love yourself. You might have to learn how to redefine your self-worth, especially if other people have tried to crush it over the years.
While a romantic partner should help to build you up and support you, they aren’t responsible for your feelings. By learning how to take control of those feelings yourself, you’ll find inner peace and won’t find it as necessary to be possessive of your partner.
What If Your Partner is the Possessive One?
If the shoe is on the other foot and it seems like your partner’s happiness and security depend on you, talk to them about their insecurities. They may not even realize what they’re doing or how it’s impacting your relationship.
Encourage them to acknowledge their insecurities and offer to help them work through those issues. It can even be helpful to suggest therapy or counseling. Some issues of self-abandonment are deeply rooted. No one should have to go through those issues alone, and a therapist can help.
Whether it’s you or your partner causing possessiveness in your relationship, it’s crucial to acknowledge the insecurities behind it. The sooner you do, the easier it will be to get the help you need, so your relationship can find a healthy balance without either of you having to hold on so tightly.