Strong personality & dating someone with low self esteem

  • Star_Xd

    Posts: 2

    Mar 07, 2009 12:48 PM GMT
    Throughout my line of careers I have acquired this annoying, commanding personality. You know where you are expected to come across like you know what you are talking about and to leave no doubt or room for questions.

    Some of my friends have described me as well rounded in my knowledge. I love to read and learn anything I can. I have a short attention span so I love to find things I don't know about and learn about them. If someone asks me a question and I know the answer, I'll tell them. If I don't know the answer, I am very quick to research the answer and get back to them. I admit that I am a jack of all trades, but an expert in none.

    The problem is all the training I have received has somehow made that work personality bleed into my personal life. I didn't even notice this until I started dating someone with low self esteem. Something about the tone of my voice, how I answer questions and that I could answer most questions off the top of my head, was very intimidating to him. I wasn't even aware I was doing this...

    I decided to talk to one friend of mine who told me that he has never had a problem with me or my personality but he can see how someone with low self esteem would have problems with it. Another, a co-worker (which is about 30 years older than me, and also dealing with low self esteem) told me that when he first met me, he didn't like me. He though I was just full of hot air and a know it all. He also said since he was forced to work with me that he came to realize that I usually don't speak or volunteer information unless I know what it is I'm talking about. He said "You don't like being wrong, so if you don't know, you don't say anything." Lastly he said that once he came to realize this he started to listen to me more and said he has learned so much from me and has come to trust what I have to say. He has become a good friend.

    All this has made me realize I may not be the easiest person to get along with when I am dealing with some people. Has anybody else dealt with something like this? What has worked for you to correct, change, or at least tone this down? I've been trying to make myself more aware of my tone, how I word things, and how often I speak.... But it's so difficult to keep track of it all the time. Any advice, comments or direction would be greatly appreciated. I really want to make this work.
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    Mar 07, 2009 4:01 PM GMT
    I have noticed a few things in what you wrote. You almost seem to describe yourself as someone with ADD which has it's own set of issues when it comes to dealing with people. But also you seem to be having inner conflict and use euphemisms when it comes to describing possible "flaws" your own personality .. "Strong personality" and "commanding personality"

    At the same time you say
    "I admit that I am a jack of all trades, but an expert in none."
    and someone else
    "You don't like being wrong, so if you don't know, you don't say anything."

    If you are not an expert in something you can't always be right. You seem to have control issues and don't like to be wrong. This is a hard way to go through life because life is not about being right and there is too much gray area in life anyway. Friendships and relationships are one big grey area. Being right or wrong with facts and trivia simply won't make you a better human being. This is something you will have to think about.

    Everyone has the innate capability to have boundless love and compassion .. it is in that space you learn what you need to learn about other people. It is better not to blind yourself to others needs by your own desire to "be right" Cold facts won't lead to a warm heart. When your life draws to an end, the number of facts you had correct will not comfort you as much as the knowing how much you have loved and been loved by others.
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    Mar 07, 2009 5:14 PM GMT
    If you want to change yourself, you have to look at yourself objectively and step into the other person's shoes.

    Buy a recorder and record yourself speaking the way you would if you were giving an answer, then play it back.

    Are you sure it's low self esteem? I'd be very careful about throwing that around too much because it can be a symptom of a larger problem such as a reaction to trauma, or an illness like depression.
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    Mar 07, 2009 6:26 PM GMT
    I find that people that people with your personality who tend to "know it all" aren't patient enough to let me learn things on my own, make my own mistakes and learn as individual. However, compliments from a person like this has a huge impact (as does criticism so be careful).
  • imperator

    Posts: 626

    Mar 07, 2009 6:30 PM GMT
    Star_Xd, if it makes you feel any better about it, at least there are those of us who are 'worse' icon_neutral.gif I'm the same in that I don't like to speak to a given topic unless I've given it enough research and thought that whatever I say will be useful, and if I don't know about it I'd rather keep my mouth shut, listen, and learn rather than say something ignorant. Where we differ is that you appear to care about the opinions of those who might find your personality off-putting and would like to placate them somehow, and... well, some of us don't. After all, why pander to other people's neurotic 'issues?' That'll just drag you down. If someone in a personal relationship with you doesn't like the kind of person you are, they're free to go; unless you have a gun to their head or something, it's their choice of whether to look for someone else more compatible with their insecurities or to stay with you and bitch and moan about "how you make them feel." It's like standing inside a greenhouse-- right next to the open door-- and whining about the heat. Waah waah.

    It's not like in order to be a good person you have to be able to make everybody happy. I mean popularity can be 'nice' but what is it really worth? Would you rather be yourself and turn off a few easily-turned-off people, or change to constantly accommodate the lowest common denominator-- dumb yourself down every time you meet someone who knows or thinks less than you do-- until you're grunting monosyllabic answers and burning books "so's ya don't git too overly ambitious-like wit'chall yer dirty learnin.'" To riff off Franklin, if everyone is thinking alike (and getting along swimmingly because of it) then no one is thinking. Einstein is staring at me from the wall above my bookshelf with "great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"
    written under him. I think these guys are on to something. Trying to improve yourself-- to learn new things, to be a cultivator of information and ideas, to be the best 'you' that you can be-- will always bother or offend or upset somebody, but look at who that 'somebody' is before you're deterred; if they're some miserable soul who will never be happy as long as anyone else is more satisfied than they are, or who would bully or emotionally blackmail others into mediocrity to assuage their fragile egos, then maybe they aren't people about whose opinions you should care. Let their feelings be hurt-- if it weren't you, they'd have found some other excuse or scapegoat for their unhappiness. Not everyone can be pleased, so don't beat yourself up or knock yourself out trying. Don't 'follow' (by giving in to pressure to debase yourself appeasing others) and don't 'lead' (which could give you some kind of martyr complex), just go your way and let others decide whether to go alongside you for a while.

    So, I'll see your "seemingly overconfident know-it-all" and raise you an "unsympathetic misanthropic grump."
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    Mar 07, 2009 6:58 PM GMT
    Public persona vs private persona...I hear you there. Except that my private persona is that of an insecure, bitchy know-it-all.

    The two personalities in my head are so diametrically opposed that I usually need a cooling down period (and warming up period) to get into the right mode. Usually on a long drive or flight.

    The public persona is full of tact, an expert with just enough humility so as not to get trapped by hubris, loud, funny and generous--and is a well-developed, manufactured creation of mine (I feel as though it's a CGI actor that I've spent years writing the code for). The private persona is my complete being as I grew up, and is so flawed (from a maturity standpoint) that I have to pull back from people who I know would threaten my self-esteem. I'm not completely sure how much I like that private persona, which probably explains why I've been writing the code for CGI Guy so frantically.

    You may have the benefit of having a private persona that's completely likable. Not much advice to give here, but I think you may need to infuse some of your private persona into your stage persona, or develop better compartmentalization to keep them from bleeding too much into each other. I have a few scripts I could send your way, ha ha.
  • gsh1964

    Posts: 388

    Mar 07, 2009 7:03 PM GMT
    For you to say that you are over confident and don't have a low self esteem reeks with the fact that you obviously do have some insecurities.

    Everyone has some insecurities in some form or another.

    I dated a guy for 3 years that sounds like you. I had a great self esteem and very secure at the begining of the relationship. But by year 3, he had beat me down and badgered me to a point where I had to get out of the relationship. He had the same excuse about having his work bleed over into his personal life. After 2 years of being away from this guy, I'm finally back on track.

    Loosen up, realize people are people and you can't change them.
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    Mar 07, 2009 7:16 PM GMT
    Gsh: Unless they're yourself, right? People are totally changeable, as evidenced by the behaviors you exhibited after being brow-beaten by your overbearing ex. Then you changed back.

    I've been changed by people so many times I cannot count. The ones I care to keep are the ones who changed me positively. The ones who changed me negatively got squeezed out--but they still linger in me a little bit. Sometimes I wish I had more fortitude to prevent some of that, but the forceful people give me enough challenge that I wonder if the experience may in fact be worth it.
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    Mar 07, 2009 7:50 PM GMT
    Jesus Christo! .. I know the feeling..

    I've been told on more than one occasion that I have a commanding personality. Most people enjoy it, very much. And it's helped me engineer a lot of success in my professional life. But it's easy to get carried away with..

    The guy I'm dating has the lowest self esteem I've ever seen. It's been really difficult moving forward with him because of the way he views himself. One of our largest problems? You guessed it... communication!! It's hard for him to communicate with me, because of my confident personality. Most of the time, when he has issues in his life, he just doesn't say anything about it. Mostly out of fear that I'll think he's stupid for not being able to deal with it. I find myself doing that annoying thing where I try to swoop in and fix everything for him, even though he's barely asked for my opinion, much less my help.

    I've tried to force myself to a distance with a lot of the major problems he has.. like his parents.. I just don't get involved anymore, unless he asks me to. Other than being mindful of it, I really don't know how to "solve" it.

    Just do your best! icon_razz.gif
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    Mar 07, 2009 8:07 PM GMT
    KentuckyTuss: I read your response to both this topic and the one on PDA's and find that you sound just like my bf and I sound a lot like yours.
    My advice for those with a strong expressive personality is just what you said, stop talking and just listen. If those around you want your opinion or help, let them directly ask for it. Most of us (if we're lucky enough) have our own set of parents and don't need that from our partners.
    Those of us w/ these ''weaker personalities" don't need direction we need understanding. Besides, compared to my bf, in the past I was always told I had a strong personality--only 'cuz his is so big does mine look small. So personalities are relative.
    And remember, nobody likes a Know-It-All.
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    Mar 07, 2009 9:03 PM GMT
    jprichva saidI'd say don't sweat it.

    I have been told a million times that I exert a "natural authority", which I take to mean that, like you, I know what I'm talking about, and if I don't know anything about the subject I either 1) admit it honestly and don't comment or 2) just shut up. So that when I do speak to something, I don't sound like I have any doubts---because by the time I'm willing to address something, I don't have any.

    People who are intimidated by this are, generally speaking, not the sort of people you're going to have patience with in life. So if you were to somehow alter yourself (which would be, at best, temporary and a strain), you'd find after a time that it wasn't worth it.

    In short, be who you are, which is fine, and simply accept that some people will find you a little scary. That's in their minds. You can't help that.


    I don't agree with you on this matter. Personally being someone who is fighting low self-esteem but at the same time being someone with a "natural authority". Being an ass when you know you're one isn't a reason to be one and you can help the matter. For who knows you very well one could be working for them.
    You are always going to come across people with low self-esteem adapting yourself to them in the long run won't in any way shape or form hurt nor hinder you but will in fact help you...Ah I see where I was going was addressed by ActiveAndFit.

    Fishfriend is pretty right, most "know it alls" i've come across don't even have patience in their vocabulary much less use it. The whole point in socializing is making connections. And lets face it you can't make anything if your ignorant of others.

    It's obvious imperator doesn't have very many friends or been in very many relationships, for apathic people are often crude and lonely.

    When you got into this relationship with said "someone with low self-esteem" what made you attracted to him? Certainly it wasn't the low self-esteem part, but low self-esteems are a trivial matter because they can be overcome...in time. Not everyone goes through the same shit or else we wouldn't have the saying, "what would you do if you were in his shoes?". Just being their for him will mean more than anything you could ever possible do for him. Knowing that someone cares and will stay by you while you are attempting to overcome low self-esteem is a great feeling.
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    Mar 07, 2009 9:24 PM GMT
    Yes. Last year I met a guy (after years and years of trying to meet someone who has at least something in common). After a couple weeks of online chat, I met him in person (he lives in the same city; again that seemed like a miracle to me because I had never heard of him nor had I met someone I liked who lives here). My personality is one where I know what I know (my background is psychology and health education) but I also wear my heart on my sleeve. I am also very passionate about my beliefs and sometimes say things that I probably should have bit my tongue. But this crossed the line.

    This guy, at 27, is one of 10 kids by a mother who slept with 8 different men. This guy lived through hell and saw his own mother having sex with men who he didn't know - she would just get pregnant. Her way of 'earning a living' was to get these kids to act up in school, get them diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder, and get them on Social Security. Ten kids times $622 a month isn't a bad living. But she ruined their lives - they all believed they were 'disabled', living with the label that they couldn't do or amount to anything from a very early age. I wanted to wring her neck. How could a mother ruin her child's life and be that selfish? This guy had nothing wrong with him but he was conned into believing that he could never do anything. Suffice to say, he never went to high school. Never had a job (at 27! - never worked one hour in his life or even volunteered). His excuse is that he is disabled, yet he can exercise, he can go play computer games and dick around on myspace, etc. For a long time I tried to convince him that he wasn't the one with a disability, that his mother did this to him and that he really needed to get going with his life. This is where my extremely strong personality took over and I didn't see that his self-esteem was so shot that I don't think any amount of therapy would be of any help. I had to cut my losses. I think he is a terrific person but I had entered someone's life that was so messed up that I hadn't even seen a case like this in all my studying. When Social Security/SSI goes broke and all these people who are on it for non-physical disabilities are cut off and forced to work, I really wonder what he will do when he no longer has a choice (I would hate it when he would say he 'got paid' at the end of the month - for what? Doing nothing? Thats our money!). I guess going hungry and living at the Gospel Mission are good incentives to doing something productive. But I definitely didn't want to be the one who was around when this happens!
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    Mar 07, 2009 10:26 PM GMT
    Star_Xd saidThroughout my line of careers I have acquired this annoying, commanding personality. You know where you are expected to come across like you know what you are talking about and to leave no doubt or room for questions.

    Some of my friends have described me as well rounded in my knowledge. I love to read and learn anything I can. I have a short attention span so I love to find things I don't know about and learn about them. If someone asks me a question and I know the answer, I'll tell them. If I don't know the answer, I am very quick to research the answer and get back to them. I admit that I am a jack of all trades, but an expert in none.

    The problem is all the training I have received has somehow made that work personality bleed into my personal life. I didn't even notice this until I started dating someone with low self esteem. Something about the tone of my voice, how I answer questions and that I could answer most questions off the top of my head, was very intimidating to him. I wasn't even aware I was doing this...

    I decided to talk to one friend of mine who told me that he has never had a problem with me or my personality but he can see how someone with low self esteem would have problems with it. Another, a co-worker (which is about 30 years older than me, and also dealing with low self esteem) told me that when he first met me, he didn't like me. He though I was just full of hot air and a know it all. He also said since he was forced to work with me that he came to realize that I usually don't speak or volunteer information unless I know what it is I'm talking about. He said "You don't like being wrong, so if you don't know, you don't say anything." Lastly he said that once he came to realize this he started to listen to me more and said he has learned so much from me and has come to trust what I have to say. He has become a good friend.

    All this has made me realize I may not be the easiest person to get along with when I am dealing with some people. Has anybody else dealt with something like this? What has worked for you to correct, change, or at least tone this down? I've been trying to make myself more aware of my tone, how I word things, and how often I speak.... But it's so difficult to keep track of it all the time. Any advice, comments or direction would be greatly appreciated. I really want to make this work.


    Cut yourself a break. Often, folks of low esteem are resentful of those who do conduct themselves with confidence, even if you don't rub it in their faces. Some of the folks with low esteem are extremely fragile and difficult to deal with. The World has 7 BILLION folks. If you find someone with a fragile ego / fragile id, it's almost certainly not a good fit for you. Cut them loose, and move on.

    In my experience, those egos are often so fragile that it's work to deal with them. You don't need those folks in your personal life. They aren't good for you.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Mar 08, 2009 7:41 PM GMT
    What I find strange about this is ....
    That you tag this guy you dated with Low Self Esteem
    as if Already there is something wrong with HIM because he was intimidated by you
    Are you overly intimidating?
    Is it possible that you are one of those people who use your overbearing personality as a weapon?

    Just a thought...
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    Mar 08, 2009 7:57 PM GMT
    Star_Xd saidThroughout my line of careers I have acquired this annoying, commanding personality.

    Try being a former Army Colonel, like me. Since retiring & coming out gay, I thought I had put all that commanding crap behind me, nowadays being the most easy-going guy you could imagine. Not so, according to others.

    I'm told I'm intimidating, always trying to be in charge, always the Alpha Male. And it's cost me some relationships. I've tried to change, and I truly believe I'm not half the commanding guy I was 15 years ago when I took off my uniform for the last time. But I can't totally change my stripes.

    So what I've learned to do is to pair myself with other strong gay guys, never with the low self-esteem & weak types. We simply aren't a good match. It's bad for them, and it's bad for me.

    I WANT a guy who can stand up to me, tell me I'm full of shit, not be afraid of me, not buckle under. A low self-esteem guy who caves-in to me is the worst thing I can have. It lets the ugliest aspects of my personality have free reign.

    I don't plan to act that way, but little by little it just happens, without my being aware of it. No, the best counter to a commanding personality is another commanding personality. Clashes, yes, but if you & he are enlightened, and attuned to each other, it works out for the best.
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    Mar 09, 2009 5:48 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    Star_Xd saidThroughout my line of careers I have acquired this annoying, commanding personality.

    Try being a former Army Colonel, like me. Since retiring & coming out gay, I thought I had put all that commanding crap behind me, nowadays being the most easy-going guy you could imagine. Not so, according to others.

    I'm told I'm intimidating, always trying to be in charge, always the Alpha Male. And it's cost me some relationships. I've tried to change, and I truly believe I'm not half the commanding guy I was 15 years ago when I took off my uniform for the last time. But I can't totally change my stripes.

    So what I've learned to do is to pair myself with other strong gay guys, never with the low self-esteem & weak types. We simply aren't a good match. It's bad for them, and it's bad for me.

    I WANT a guy who can stand up to me, tell me I'm full of shit, not be afraid of me, not buckle under. A low self-esteem guy who caves-in to me is the worst thing I can have. It lets the ugliest aspects of my personality have free reign.

    I don't plan to act that way, but little by little it just happens, without my being aware of it. No, the best counter to a commanding personality is another commanding personality. Clashes, yes, but if you & he are enlightened, and attuned to each other, it works out for the best.


    Yeah.
  • gsh1964

    Posts: 388

    Mar 29, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidGsh: Unless they're yourself, right? People are totally changeable, as evidenced by the behaviors you exhibited after being brow-beaten by your overbearing ex. Then you changed back.

    I've been changed by people so many times I cannot count. The ones I care to keep are the ones who changed me positively. The ones who changed me negatively got squeezed out--but they still linger in me a little bit. Sometimes I wish I had more fortitude to prevent some of that, but the forceful people give me enough challenge that I wonder if the experience may in fact be worth it.


    You have a point... to an extent.

    Thank God that some of us can see the negativity in our lives, then change back.

    What about people, like my ex, who has been changed by other people's behavior, then become the person they are.. but don't change back.

    It's a crazy cycle.