Once you have become more self-aware about your personal insecurities by paying attention to when you take things personally in your relationship with your spouse, you can begin the process of managing these identified insecurities.

These insecurities are not set in stone, they are both manageable and modifiable with effort on your part.  One of the things you can try is by regularly taking a personal inventory (see TAKING THINGS PERSONALLY WORKSHEET) and keeping a journal of the kinds of insecurities that tend to show up in your inventories.  They will emerge under the inventory heading of “What is the threat?”

One way to begin to understand where the insecurity comes from is to ponder on how old is the particular feeling of not being enough (smart, responsible, lovable, valuable, important, etc.).  You can often trace such feelings back to some childhood experience(s).  What is your picture of yourself at this earlier age?  What are the circumstances when you felt this early threat?  What are you feeling in this situation, afraid, angry, hurt, or scared?   Can you see in this early situation that you were just being a child in some way that was not acknowledged or understood? Remember the little boy asking for time from his father when the father was doing something else.  The boy was perfectly right in asking form time; the father just failed to respond in an affirming way.

Can you remember or figure out how you interpreted the disturbing situation that you are examining?  Did you feel, not good enough? not smart enough? not fitting in? being a burden? powerless? not acceptable? not loveable, etc.

By examining the early experiences that give rise to felt insecurities/ vulnerabilities, you can begin to understand that that early experience of the situation is a child’s understanding; an understanding that typically believes he/she (the child) is in some way lacking.  From your adult perspective you can come to see that the child is being a child, even if he/she is misbehaving.  Misbehaving is something parents are expected to manage not react personally to by yelling, punishing, hitting, putting down, etc., etc.

One of the things that can happen through this self-awareness process is that you can become more self-accepting of yourself as a child.  It is as if you become a healing parent to that young child.

Remember, when you are reacting personally to current situations, the it is likely that the current situation is triggering a “young” (I don’t like calling the reaction childish, too critical sounding for me) feeling that is worthy of self- examination.

Be self-reflecting, not reactive when you recognize you are taking things personally.


Seltzer, Leon F., PH.D.  the “I Feel Like a child” Syndrome. (

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