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Anger Issue or Self-Esteem Issue?

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I dated someone normal and emotionally stable for over 5 years. We never fought, I was extremely bored (person did not have much education, not many friends) and felt unsatisfied emotionally and sexually. Now for the last 8 months I have been in relationship with someone just the opposite: very passionate, handsome, smart, charismatic, but emotionally unstable. We fight way too much for different reasons. I feel like I love him, but I am so tired of fighting. Recently I started feeling like I cause the fights, and that I am crazy. One recent thing that is a big issue now is jealousy. My bf is a photographer/artist, and he admires female beauty so much. He also teaches college, and all of his students are 20-22 years old! Maybe it would not be a problem, but he thinks that young females (17-22) are the most sexually desirable and beautiful, as they are young and haven’t gained any weight. At the same time, he compliments me all the time, telling me how beautiful and perfect I am, that I am the best woman he has ever met, how much he wants to marry me and so on. But I, maybe due to being insecure, can’t help but feel old at 29. I feel so depressed that I get angry even seeing tall model-looking teenage girls now. I never felt this way before. No wonder I lost 23 pounds without ANY dieting/exercising in less than a year with no intention, or at least no conscious intention of doing so. I am 5’7′ and now size 2 (used to be 4-6). I am a good-looking girl, very successful career-wise, but I still feel inadequate. I spend too much time thinking that 10 years from now, if we were to have family, I will be making good money with my stable job (he never has money), while he is flirting with his 20 year old students. Maybe taking pictures of females. Not because he wants them, as he said, but just because women are beautiful and the images are great. Maybe my problem is that I, being insecure, got into the relationship with a visual artist guy. Even though he says that I mean everything to him, I feel in so much pain on a regular basis. I get sad, angry, and don’t know what to do at all. Thank you for any advice. (age 29, from US)

Anger Issue or Self-Esteem Issue?

Answered by on -


Thank you for writing in with your question. From what you are saying here, it doesn’t sound like your boyfriend is necessarily doing anything wrong, except objectifying women’s bodies — (is it art or objectification?). You also describe him as emotionally unstable but I’m not sure what you mean by that exactly. So, the problem may be mostly yours and stemming from your self-described insecurity and jealousy.

I’m concerned that you lost so much weight while dating him and I’m concerned that you have found a partner who appears to be so focused on outward beauty. What you are describing is not a good combination.

I think it would be a good idea to see a therapist who specializes in body image/eating disorders just to make sure you make your decisions about this relationship from a healthy place. Once you do this, you may also benefit from some couple’s counseling to work on the fighting and emotional ups and down you both experience. Before you can work on the relationship’s future potential, you need to get a better handle on what is going on right now. Perhaps the ideal person for you is somewhere in between “boring” and “emotionally unstable,” but what is most important is loving yourself and knowing that you are worth it.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

Anger Issue or Self-Esteem Issue?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). Anger Issue or Self-Esteem Issue?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 4 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.