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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My partner has extremely low self esteem, he has deep rooted

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My partner has extremely low self esteem, he has deep rooted issues from his childhood. He has a very addictive personality and has had problems with marijuana (skunk) and pornography. I have tried everything but I can't really help him.
He lies all the time, to get out of trouble, to make himself seem more interesting, etc. He's very devious and sneaky, I'm wondering if he is a pathological liar. He seems so sorry and ashamed when caught out but he never stops lying or changing his ways.
I have asked him to move out of the family home as we have two young children and his behavious is spiralling out of control. He has been seeing a counsellor for 3 years but it doesn't seem to be making any difference.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your partner might have been hurt so much from his childhood that he has adapted harmful behavior. Sometimes when a person is abused or neglected as a child, they cannot get the attention and love they need. In order to cope with the overwhelming environment they live in, they develop manipulative ways to get the attention they need. As they grow up, they continue these harmful behaviors and are not aware they are hurting anyone.

It sounds like your partner might have a personality disorder, maybe anti social personality disorder. If he is pathological liar, knows it yet won't change, and is also sneaky in his behavior, he may have this disorder.

People who have a personality disorder often lack the insight to understand that their behavior is harmful. They tend to blame others for what occurs rather than see that they are acting out.

If your partner is talking to a counselor but it is not helping, it could be that he may need to see another one. Sometimes, it takes a few tries before you can find a counselor that helps. Suggest that he try to work with someone else. It could be also that he is resisting therapy or being manipulative in his sessions, refusing to change. In that case, you may need to choose how you want to react since he most likely will not change. Asking him to move out is a good choice. It allows him to see that there are boundaries to his behavior with you and that you will not tolerate his actions.

You may also want to talk to a counselor yourself. Dealing with someone who carries a lot of hurt into a relationship and causes difficulties can be very hard to cope with. Talking to someone for support and to help you decide what you want to do about this situation can help.

Here are some resources that may help:

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Kate. That makes sense about a personality disorder. He is very destructive and he admits to sabotaging things when we get close. I find the pornography very hard to deal with, I walk in on him masturbating, find it all over the computer, in the garage, on his phone. Every time I am upset, angry, pleading with him as this behaviour really hurts me. He always promises to change and recently he swore on our daughter's life to say he had stopped looking when I knew he was lying.

He sometimes gets so angry he punches himself in the face, breaks things, etc. I know I'm making him sound like a complete monster. I'm not trying to paint him in a bad light... he has some lovely qualities but the lies and addictions are destroying our relationship and our family.

Does he need to see a psychiatrist instead of a counsellor?

He's out of the house and I wish I could stop caring about him . I wonder if he can really change, he's 44 now and some of his behaviour is so extreme and worrying. Can I ever really trust him?

I don't get the impression from your description that medication would help him, though an evaluation by a psychiatrist might be beneficial. Psychiatrists mostly prescribe medications and do some therapy. A Master's level therapist or Psychologist is probably going to be more effective with helping him with these issues.

Trusting him is going to take him admitting he needs help and getting that help. Once he is able to do that, you can both work on rebuilding trust.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Kate, that's really helpful. I wasn't sure which therapy he should be receiving. I can't give up on him, even just for our daughters' sake.

He is saying he desperately wants to change, I think him being out of the house has made him realise he could stand to lose everything if he doesn't seek help and make changes.

He says he feels like two different people sometimes which is really worrying. Not sure what that could mean ?? Should I worry about this ?

I really am trying my best to support him or help him as much as I can without it destroying me, very painful.


The best way to tell what might be going on with him is to have him get an evaluation by a therapist. There is no way to know what he means by anything he says unless he has a face to face evaluation. The link above can give you more information about which therapist might help him.


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or more stars? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer.
Thank you so much!

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Kate. I am going to research clinical psychologists and try to find a suitable person for him.

I really appreciate your advice.

Many thanks,