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Boyfriend obsessed with self image.


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I've been noticing lately that my boyfriend is very concerned about the way others' see him. He's almost obsessed with projecting an image of professionalism, to the extent where he deleted pictures of himself dressed as Dr. Frank N. Furter a couple Halloweens on facebook because they might be construed as inappropriate. He talks very often about his SATs and AP tests, which he took many years ago, citing his high scores as if to try to impress people. He constantly worries about whether or not he is on the exact right path in life as though there is only one path to happiness. He isn't happy with his [elite private] school, but doesn't want to transfer elsewhere because he's worried what people will say about him downgrading to a less elite school. It might just be me, but that seems like a really unhealthy attitude, and frankly, it's starting to irritate me. I don't want to just approach him and say "Look, here's this flaw I think you have," because that would be tactless and would not end well, but I do think I need to do something eventually. So here are my questions: Is this something I should really be worried about, and how do I talk to him about it?

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Having at least some awareness of how you appear to others is fine, but I would agree that he's probably going overboard with it.

 

I'd say it'd be worth asking him why he feels he needs to take it to the level that he is. :)

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Posted Image ...................I had a 'new' Captain once in the Marines before I transferred out, he was smallish in size and never passed up an opportunity to pass a mirror. I called it the Napoleonic complex, he resented anyone taller then himself, and it showed, I wonder to this day if he wasn't washed out eventually. He was a narcissistic person, self-imploded and full of himself, luckily I didn't have to be around him for very long maybe two months before I got shipped out.
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The point is how to let him know he is overcompensating... Try to find out what is the source of this problem. What is making him so anxious to maintain an impeccable exterior? Is it a peer influence? Parental/Authority pressure? Or is he jealous of someone and is trying to best that person? Who is his ideal and why? Try to be as non-judgemental as possible. It may be that he is suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder. The more you will scrutiny him, the more distant he will become. So, try to get under the surface and find out the core of the problem. If possible talk to his family and friends and teachers and co-workers. This will give you an objective assessment of the problem. Maybe it's not him but you who is reading too much into apparently normal behaviour. Also, observe his body language and choice of words. Is he becoming more 'closed' than before? Talk to him. But, don't pressurize. Do not raise your voice, no matter how frustrated you feel. Talking after sex or a full meal is a good timing. Do not push just guide the conversation. Allow him to come clean to you on his own. Last and foremost show him that he is loved no matter whatever he appears like to others.

 

I know all the stuff I said above is easier said than done and, more often than not, requires professional training. If the whole position radically deteriorates or if he starts showing manic/depressive features or if he tries to harm himself or others including you, immediately seek professional help.

We are here for you. Hope this helps. God Bless. Hugs and Chocolates.

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Nate, does he seem competitive about it, or just insecure? Does he do this when you're not around? If he's competing with you, maybe you can love him through it. Reassure him. If it's insecurity in general, you have to get to the root of it.

 

Honestly, most folks don't give a rat's ass how elite your school was, or how good your grades were. But they care how easy you are to be around. Maybe he could spend some time with some old hippie, earth-mother types, and learn something they don't put in books, or teach in class.

 

Good luck to you both. You deserve good things in life.

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Having been at elite private schools i know the type, it usualy comes down to their perspective on life. They simply have been raised to beilve that they are only as good as their slot in life. Talk to him about his end goal, what it will really talk to acomplish it and how once he is there how much will what he has gone through matter. You can take a lot of wind out of his braging about test scores subtly by mentioning how he worked really hard for them and they helped get him here but now they dont matter.

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Posted Image ...................I had a 'new' Captain once in the Marines before I transferred out, he was smallish in size and never passed up an opportunity to pass a mirror. I called it the Napoleonic complex, he resented anyone taller then himself, and it showed, I wonder to this day if he wasn't washed out eventually. He was a narcissistic person, self-imploded and full of himself, luckily I didn't have to be around him for very long maybe two months before I got shipped out.

 

Actually he made it to Brigadeer General before President Bush (pick one Posted Image ) Fired him for preening himself in front of the president Posted Image

 

to AberSloth, at least he's not obsessed with self-scaring (like I thought this subject was going to be about) or self-satisfaction...

you could break every mirror in the house except the bathroom one...

and distract him when he's preening in the bathroom Posted Image

Edited by Celethiel
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Abersloth,

 

the difficulty seems to be a basic insecurity in your boyfriend, either about his current circumstances, or about his future circumstances. I suspect, from what you say, it is the latter, and I wonder whether he is insecure about his ability to find an 'appropriate' job when he leaves school, given the economic situation.

 

There's nothing going to do anything about this which doesn't include communication. However, you're probably going to have to do a bit of subtle communication before you broach the subject more directly. Try to guage what he is feeling about himself in general, and what is important to him for his future. Try to guage whether he thinks he is going go be able to achieve it. Also, try to find out if he is being pressurised at school by somebody or something which is causing his insecurity or causing him to doubt his ability to fulfil the future he had in mind for himself.

 

It's a really tricky one, to be honest. However, it may be that an oblique approach will not succeed, especially if he is already guarded and sensitive. In the end you may have to approach it all a bit more aggressively if he won't engage.

 

You should also try to engage his family to see if there is anything they can suggest is bothering him. That, of course, will definitely need to be subtle! Good luck.

Edited by NotNoNever
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