Of partners picking one’s insecurities during tough times
In relationships, the negativity effect magnifies your partner’s faults, real or imagined.
Sandra Wekesa @wekesa_sandra
Since Covid-19 hit the country in mid-March this year, it has been business unusual. It is without doubt that life has been hard for many.
And when going through tough times, you need your partner to be your support system.
But sometimes these people who are supposed to have your back push you to the wall.
Benson Matheka, for example, has been having it rough staying without a job since the pandemic began.
With his wife constantly reminding him that he has to look for something to do instead of just waiting for her to get back home from her hustles, he has resorted to being a helper at a nearby shop.
“It started with a polite ‘what are we going to do now that you have no income?’. I thought that it was for a short while.
But the moment she realised that things weren’t getting any better and I was running out of my savings, the constant nagging persisted,” he says.
“I was losing it. She would constantly make me feel inferior, especially because she was the one who brought home the bacon. I wasn’t important to her. I developed low self-esteem,” he adds.
As for Isabella Anyango, uncertainties combined with stress-eating saw her pile on more weight.
This created a lot of misunderstanding between her and her partner of five years, making her feel like she lost her worth.
“Trust me, there is nothing as bad as hearing someone you love constantly reminding you of how plump you are,” says Anyango.
Though this kind of fussy fault-finding usually involves petty, inconsequential issues or tasks, if done on a regular basis, the ramifications to your union can be serious—ultimately tearing away at the bond in your relationship.
Our thoughts and feelings are skewed by what researchers call the negativity effect, which is our tendency to respond more strongly to negative events and emotions than to positive ones.
In relationships, the negativity effect magnifies your partner’s faults, real or imagined
Ken Munyua, a counselling psychologist, says picking out your partner’s insecurities is both uncalled for and unhealthy.
He says that although you might feel the need to address certain things in your relationship, it is best to look for the right way to go about it.
In his opinion, a human heart is like glass, once broken it’s hard to put it together.
“The constant nagging and picking out of insecurities by a partner are some of the things that make some men long to leave their wives, and vice versa,” he says.
It’s easy to see flaws
On his part, Raymond Mwaura, a counselling psychologist says in relationships, it’s easy to develop habitual, frustrated responses to your partner’s flaws.
“It’s easy to see everything through your own perspective. You might see all the ways your partner is irritating, but conveniently forget about all the small ways you are difficult to live with,” he says.
Also, when one of your partner’s weaknesses irks you, it can be mostly because of something extra you are reading into it.
All long-term relationships, Mwaura says have issues that involve personality traits or temperamental qualities and can cause perpetual conflict.
These unsolvable problems are things you simply need to learn to live with. Instead of nit-picking, do your best to be supportive of your spouse.
Take the time to listen about your partner’s day, feelings, hobby, or whatever they want to talk about.
And if your spouse nitpicks at you, puts you down, or demeans you, it’s important that you talk about this issue. It may be a difficult discussion, but it’s necessary.