I have come to realize that I sometimes become too sensitive to critisism in my relationships with women. With just about every girlfriend I have had, they have said something about me that would upset me, then I become cold and distant and really want nothing to do with them anymore. For the most part, its usually about my appearance, usually height and weight. I stand at 5' 5" and have always been muscular but with a little bit of fat accompanying it. So, hearing comments from a partner about height and weight is usually something that always gets under my skin, pretty deep too. Additionally, hearing comments like "you couldve done better," or telling me "its ok," with a smirk on their face feels belittiling. All of it feels emasculating and belittiling to me.
Am I being too sensitive? Comments and critisism never seem to bother me unless its from a woman I am seeing. And recently, my current lady friend has made a few comments about me to me that got under my skin a bit, making me feel like i want to go cold and distant and not really talk to her. It almost gets to the point that i want to drink myself away because it bothers me so much.
I feel as though I shouldn't feel like this, like I should just brush it off and move on. But it bothers me and I would like to know if anyone has any advice on how to overcome sensitivity and insecurity in a relationship?
Most Helpful Girl
Two issues here. 1 obviously being that you are taking it a bit too personally since only women you're seeing can affect you this way, and you feel like resorting to alcoholism just because of it. The second being that you won't even talk about what's bothering you. If you feel like they make inappropriate comments, just say something like "hey, that was really rude/I don't like hearing stuff like that/don't be so insensitive/I'm not ok with you saying that stuff". Otherwise they won't realize that they've done something that hurt you, and you get to release your feelings instead of bottling them up (which will help you deal with them and prohibit you from becoming distant).2
Most Helpful Guy
It sounds like you're an incredibly sensitive guy. I was the same in my 20s.
I had this odd paradoxical nature about me where I was physically tough but emotionally weak. I could do stupid daredevil adrenaline junky stunts but be emotionally hurt by a comment by someone teasing me and perhaps not even thinking twice about it for weeks. I was more afraid of a verbal conflict than a fist fight.
It's only now that I'm starting to graduate to the "don't give a damn stage". I think this kind of sensitivity is often attached to high ambitions but still a perception that your success is derived from how others think about you. It was only by foregoing some of my hopes and dreams that I started to develop that "don't give a damn" mindset gradually.
While the advice to try to develop this mindset is sound, I don't think you can do it in a short period of time. It takes a lot of years to go from this kind of sensitivity to where you want to grow cold and distant whenever your feelings are hurt, whenever you notice that reality and your expectations of it are starting to deviate.
What I recommend instead is to look at your relationships like boxing. When people throw a punch, you only lose your footing and back yourself into a corner if you step back. Instead, step to the side and counter-punch.
Try to do the most counter-intuitive thing possible. When someone hurts your feelings by teasing you about something, instead of stepping back, step to the side and forward. It's really awkward if a girl teases you and you return the gesture by hugging her and telling you how it makes you feel. You put her completely off-guard, to your advantage, and might even fill her with a sense of guilt. Act distant and cold and she'll wonder what the heck is wrong with you, maybe even think you're a jerk.
So I recommend trying this. It's easier to overcome your immediate instincts in response to what happens when your fragile ego is shattered. It's harder to get rid of that fragile ego outright (it'll happen over time eventually, but it'll probably take a number of years).1