Controlling behaviour and self-esteem

sex, abstinence, celibate

Today, the topic on Baggage Reclaim, my favourite relationship blog, was controlling behaviour. Being controlling is trying to manipulate the actions of the people around you to make you feel better about yourself. It’s done by people who look to others to validate them, whose self-esteem is affected by the behaviour of others toward them. For instance, if a guy calls you your self-esteem rises; when he ignores you it plummets. You’re not built on a solid foundation when your self-worth can be so influenced by what someone else thinks of you.

I used to look to men to validate me. When I first became celibate, I thought I would disappear without the attention of men. I didn’t know if I would physically die (although I thought that was possible) but I did not see how I would exist if I didn’t have a man to tell me I was pretty and dote on me, etc. Now that I’ve been on my own for ten months and I’ve had a chance to develop a little bit of self-worth and recognize that I certainly don’t need men to validate me, I can’t believe I used to be so reliant on what men thought of me.

My happiness and self-esteem did rise and fall according to how often some random man called me. I didn’t like that feeling but I didn’t know any other way. I simply couldn’t believe that I was enough on my own. If he went cold, I would try to figure out what I did wrong, beat myself up about it, and of course never think “it wasn’t meant to be” or “poor guy, he doesn’t know what he missed”. There was a sense of me forcing (controlling) every situation and there wasn’t much fun in it.

As I approach the one-year mark of this journey of sexual abstinence, I’m getting closer to feeling truly whole on my own, closer to the feeling that a man would add something nice but is not a necessary ingredient to my life. I feel as though I need to be in the position where I could “take it or leave it” when it comes to a man because I am so satisfied with my life as it is. I’m almost there.


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