I love my boyfriend very much. But he's been putting himself down all the time. He complains about how fat he is or how weak he is, ect. He doesn't feel like a man. He isn't fat, and he is very strong but he just doesn't see it.
I know this is all because of our society and I know women deal with this too but I really don't know how to be more supportive.
He goes to the gym more often, he doesn't want to have a little snack like a cookie or something. If he does, he puts himself down.
I love him and I don't want him to feel this way and feel the need to do this to himself. I tell him that he's amazing but he obviously doesn't believe it.
Is there anything I can do?
Thanks for the help.
Awful truth is that you're correct, he seems to have fallen into society's self-esteem vacuum/trap, and is judging himself based on other people. But it's not their view of him, it's HIS view of himself.
To remedy this does take a conscious effort. He may not need to go so far as to go to therapy, but that isn't a bad idea either. As his girlfriend, there's even less you can do because you're "biased."
What he needs to do is decide that he wants to feel better about himself. Once he's done that - REALLY decided - he can start taking steps to be aware of when he's beating himself up unnecessarily. Once he's aware, he can catch himself, and stop himself from doing it. Eventually, it'll become a habit not to beat himself up, and he'll be okay.
But the problem is that he's content in his misery right now. He'd rather hate himself and down-talk himself than work at actually feeling good about himself, for whatever reason. This is probably deeper than just the way he looks to himself.
The best thing you can do is try to show him that you understand, and be there for him if and when he wants to make the change. He may not. And you can't make him. Frankly it sucks. You can try explaining to him what we've told you about cognitive behavioral therapy. You're a better judge than we are as far as if it would make him worse.
Keep up what you're doing and try to hang in there. If you have any further CBT questions feel free to inbox me and I'll do my best to help.
Dragonflymagic answered Sunday May 5 2013, 5:21 am: Wow, this sounds like females who treat themselves rigidly in exercise and diet even when they don;t need it. Some of the females go to extremes and end up anorexic. His thinking seems to echo that of the thinking of the females who had serious problems because of how their mind see's themselves. It's something that a counselor will have to deal with. If you see it get worse so it looks like he's looking sickly and losing too much weight, if you know his parents, alert them to this and see if all of you can talk him into seeing a counselor. He is of legal age at 18 if he's your age or older, to be making his own decisions.
What is happening is that he has stinking thinking, a cognitive therapy is needed to get him to recognize and catch his destructive thinking. Author and psychologist David Burns is someone whose books address the distorted thinking that causes many negative patterns such as anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem, and these are addressed in "Feeling Good: the new Mood therapy". Although even if someone got him the book, and even if he did read it, if he truly hasn't got to a place where he realizes he needs help, he may not respond to what he reads. I wish you the best and hope he comes around soon to realizing he need to make some serious changes in his thinking patterns [ Dragonflymagic's advice column | Ask Dragonflymagic A Question ]
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