4 minute read

My Journey Overcoming Insecurity

Last Updated: April 16, 2015

Ashley Weis
Ashley Weis

Ashley Weis is a wife and mother who has a pain-filled past that no longer haunts her. After discovering her husband’s pornography addiction she thought she’d never heal, much less have a “good” marriage again. God has shown her that without rain, beauty never grows. Now, with a beautiful marriage and a heart that knows the radiance of hope, Ashley reaches out to other women through books about recovering from pornography.

Your insecurities will be a struggle for you for the rest of your life. That’s encouraging, isn’t it? It gets better, but it takes time and changes in your own life. I don’t normally tell the world (through blog land) what I’ve done to get to the place I have because most people think I’m crazy and are turned off by it. But…I’ll share with you.

In the beginning of our struggle to get through the effects of George’s porn addiction I was intensely insecure: always comparing myself. When I was given the two people he thought were more beautiful than me (that I begged him to tell me) I literally searched them online every day and compared myself, knowing that the only way I’d ever be good enough to him (physically) was through surgery. I hated that. I hated myself. And I compared myself constantly.

As George changed, his view of beauty changed (very similar to what Luke describes here). I know, now, he would rather have a modest, humble wife who loves God than a wife with the physical qualities his perversions once admired. That helped a tiny bit, but most of the changes in my insecurities happened through my own willingness to stop seeking a sensual kind of beauty.

What did I do? Well, first, I recognized my own pride. I realized that my husband’s porn/lust issues were not the source of my insecurities (only another arrow in the same wound). And I realized that insecurity is just wounded pride. Insecurity is nothing more than my prideful expectations or desires not being met. I wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world to my husband. Literally. I didn’t want him to even think another woman was attractive in any way. I didn’t want to be the standard for his view of beauty, I wanted to be the only beauty to him. It’s impossible, but I wanted it. I didn’t even care about inner beauty at that point. I was purely focused on being outwardly alluring in the ways “the other women” were. Even his appreciation for the beauty of nature bothered me when I was at this point. I truly wanted to be the only physical thing he thought was beautiful.

So…I got rid of makeup. I knew it was a mask in my life. I knew it was an idol. Something I needed to feel good about myself. I didn’t intend to get rid of it forever, just long enough to no longer need it. But when I stopped wearing it my heart started to change. I realized how beautiful inner beauty is and how fake the beauty of this world is. I wanted more inner beauty. I haven’t worn makeup since. I don’t write much about this on my blog because I don’t want other women to feel they need to do the same thing. I know it’s extreme. But it’s what I, personally, needed to do in my own life to get over this.

But, even with makeup out the window, I still had issues. So, being the extreme person that I am, I said, “Lord, I don’t want to be focused on outward beauty at all. I want to be beautiful inside and never be noticed or admired for what I look like.” I got rid of my entire wardrobe so that fashion could no longer be something I used to “feel good about myself.” I have one skirt that I wear every single day. I literally wear (mostly) the same thing every day of my life. (Now, I don’t recommend this to anyone. This is just an inside glimpse into the extreme measures I took to get over my own issues. Please, search your own heart and don’t ever feel like you need to follow in my footsteps.)

Do you know how much this has changed me? When I go out I don’t think about other men or women looking at me, because I don’t spend time trying to look like something worth staring at. I don’t stare at other women anymore, wishing I could be like them, because I’m not focused on my outward beauty anymore. I know God made me beautiful. He makes all women beautiful. But I no longer focus on it. We have very few mirrors in our house and one thing I want to do (when time and $$ allows), is make all the mirrors have an image of Jesus on them so that I can only see my reflection by looking through Jesus.

I don’t want to be a woman who spends her life searching for a physical beauty that’s never going to last. I want to enjoy aging and love every gray hair that comes my way. I don’t want to focus on diets and losing weight and fearing what another pregnancy might do to me. Instead, I want to devote my life to others and never be concerned about what I look like. Now, I don’t walk around looking like a homeless person. My hair is brushed, my skirt is beautiful and feminine, and my shirts are not George’s old t-shirts. I dress like a woman — I just happen to dress like a woman who has only one outfit. :) Saves a lot of money too!

So, this has changed me immensely as far as insecurities go. I don’t watch TV or movies. I don’t stare at magazine covers in the grocery store line. I don’t allow tons of images to be put into my head that will make me jealous. So when these things do come into my path, they don’t make me insecure anymore. My battle with insecurities is just as much of a battle as his battle with lust. We will always have temptations to be jealous or lust (both are coveting another woman in some way), but we can choose not to give into those things and we can choose to do things that will prevent those temptations from happening as often.

That’s what I’ve one. As extreme as it is to some … it works for me. I’ve finally come to a place where I am content to be ME. And I love the freedom in it.

Now, who knows what path you need to take to get to this point. God will lead you. Be willing to let go of your pride in ways you just don’t want to. Humility does not come without a little humiliation. Seek humility and rid your masks. You’ll find great freedom in being less concerned with your outward beauty and more concerned with being beauty in everything you do.

  • Comments on: My Journey Overcoming Insecurity
    1. Penny Gonzalez

      WOW!!! I have had a rough week with insecurities, and I know all women have them who are struggling, healing from husbands who have been involved in pornography, BUT, I never would have imagined someone else felt the EXACT same way I felt. I would have been afraid to tell anyone how I felt for fear they would think I was truly off the charts insane. I have been married for 25 years.I discovered my husband’s porn issues about 5 years after we were married. But I was insecure a long time before that. I remember when we were dating and first married how I would be watching to see if he looked the way of a beautiful women who happen to be sitting near us in a restaurant, etc. After the porn, everything escalated, of course. Here I am, 25 years later, wishing and wanting my husband to be only attracted to ME. I don’t even want him to think another soul on the face of the earth is not just less attractive than me, but downright ugly. Yes, this is crazy behavior and thinking. I totally see how your plan of attack would help you to focus on your true beauty. (by the way, my husband has repented and come a long, long way, seeking God for vicotry and strength – and wanting and becoming to see me differently, looking at my true beauty) Do you think this is enough for me? NO! I still have the feelings of wanting him to desire me above anyone else. And to truely not have any reaction to worldly beauty. I know this is not possible. Why do we want what we know is not possible>?? I think it’s because we actually want to inflict more pain on ourselves by wanting something we know is impossible. That way, we can stay angry at our husbands because they are not delivering what we demand, and we can cut ourselves over and over again in the same wound to make sure we don’t forget the hurt. Why do we do that??? Thank you for sharing your story. It helped me sooo much to read I was not alone. -Penny

      • Penny, those are some good thoughts! I think you’re right. And I also think we just have this “competition” spirit as women. I think men have it too, but ours comes out in our desire to please men, to please the world, to be pleased with ourselves by pleasing the world. Our desire to be this unattainable beauty is a lust as well. Lust to be beauty. I’m sure a huge part of our lust for beauty comes from the lust men have for the same beauty. It pleases them, so we lust after the beauty that pleases them.

        I think it’s so important for us to remember that the beauty we lust over is not a desirable beauty to angels, to Jesus, to our Heavenly Father. It’s a beauty this world has fashioned. An unattainable perfection. A scheme to get every woman on earth to search for this unreachable beauty. A scheme to get women to compare, covet, hate each other. A scheme to get men to desire something they cannot have, so that they are never fully desiring their wives.

        If the devil can keep us all reaching for something that doesn’t exist, last, or is completely unattainable, then he knows he will get us trapped. We will listen to the lies. We will desire things that are not ours. And we will never, ever be satisfied because our goal can never be reached. This goes for men who lust and women who lust over being lusted over.

        There is satisfaction, rest, and real beauty in God’s arms. There is satisfaction for men who desire purity and love, for women who desire purity and love. For people who desire God. He is the only thing that can fill us, complete us, and allow us to find a state of complete and pure rest. Contentment exists in God. And being the beauty YOU are created to be is the only way you will ever be content in who God made you to be. When you recognize who you are, accept you are, and decide to stop trying to compete with something that your soul doesn’t thirst for.

        Our souls thirst for God. It’s only when we try to drink something else that we end up never fully quenched.

    2. Jan

      Hi, Ashley,
      I, too, had such insecurities in the beginning of my relationship with my husband. He assured me he was looking for a REAL woman.
      When he met me, I didn’t wear make up at all. He was impressed then with my views about fashion, which I was never ’into’. He knew I never spent money on clothes or trying to have ‘the look’. I just didn’t care what people thought of my appearance as I was always comfortable with what God gave me. I was clean and kept and that’s it.
      I was never out to impress anyone with my choices of who I am or what I look like. I never wanted the attention of men or women, I never had the desire to fit in with those who think that looks are something to glorify.
      And through our marriage, my clothes were more skirts and dresses that were modest and made me feel more feminine.
      I thought my husband was proud of this, as he always told me that ‘the look’ of most women never impressed him, either. He told me how much he admired me because I was not pretentious with these things.
      Discovering his porn addiction shattered all of that, and the insecurities that were of old set in with a new vengeance!
      All the bunk of my grey hairs being a sign of wisdom to him!
      My husband WAS impressed with the clothes, the makeup, the hairstyles, the walk and actions of imitation beauty. Can you imagine what that did to my self esteem? The faith I had in myself , and in my husband’s views in that he was satisfied with having an ‘ordinary’ looking wife?
      From the day I discovered all the lies, I wondered what I could do to change.
      He suggested makeup, he suggested hair coloring, he suggested clothes that would ‘appeal’ to his perversions! He even said a breast enhancement would be fine if it weren’t so dangerous to my health…imagine that!
      The man who was so proud of having a ‘natural’ woman was not satisfied to begin with.
      I did the makeup part, but made sure it was barely noticeable…
      I bought a push up bra….
      I cut my hair into a ‘style’…..
      WHAT WAS I DOING???? I was playing into his fantasies, his perversion, and trying to be someone I am not!
      I looked at my grey hairs, and figured I earned them, and decided not to dye my hair, no matter how ‘natural’ the coloring formula sounds…
      I would only wear a natural powder on special occasions…
      I stopped wearing bras altogether for health reasons…

      I went back to being ME!!!!
      My husband lives a BIG LIE! He covered his addiction for most of our marriage, and when I caught him in his ’diversions’ of staring or flirting eyes, he would fill me with talk of me being jealous or insecure, but if I was ever really that insecure, I would’ve been wearing and dressing and looking for the ‘look’all through our marriage. I was always happy being ME!
      And him blaming me for being insecure was just a cover…
      Sure I was very insecure once the truth came out…what woman wouldn’t be?
      But he used that, too, to cause more strife and division instead of being a man who still loved his wife. He played it to the hilt! (or the Hilton?)
      Yes, I wanted to be the only one who caught his eye, I wanted to be the only woman he desired, I wanted him to just love me…just love me for me…and for years I thought this was true. I really thought my virtues and values were what he admired most…honesty loyalty devotion…and a God centered life…
      I am still the REAL me today…and he has followed his own lusts and desires.
      I am real, and being this real is really too much for him!

    3. Stacie

      Reading all these stories is incredible. I am married for 12 almost 13 years. I have to admit I ahve always been a little insecure, I had a boyfriend cheat on me once and will never get over it. My husband is a wonderful guy, at least that is what the world thinks. He puts on quite a show, always friendly and smiling. But through the years I have heard from friends the remarks he makes about other women. My friends husbands have told me the sexual remarks he has made about pretty girls. He even started smoking so he could go on a smoke break at work with a good looking women. Now I found that he is looking at porn. How can I compare, I have given birth to four children and my body will never be the same, stretch marks and extra skin, not pretty, definetly not porn star material. Every time I approach the subject he turns it around on me and somehow finds a way to blame me for it. It is so painful. So here I sit another sleepless night and I decided to do some internet searching of my own, while he sleeps peacefully away dreaming of God only knows what. How do I regain my self-esteem and let this go. I feel sick about it, and just plain ugly.

      • Hey love, I understand that horrible feeling you have inside. I know the pain, the insecurities, the crying. The doubts of what he’s looking at, dreaming of, etc. It’s tiring, isn’t it? You aren’t ugly. Only when a human sees another human through the eyes of the devil does he see “ugly.” Through God’s eyes we are all beautiful. You are beautiful. This world wants you to think otherwise, and the devil will even use your husband’s addiction to lust to center your thoughts on your own “ugliness,” that way you feel this insatiable need to strive for something you cannot attain. Our bodies are decaying. They are getting more wrinkles and grays by the day. The devil wants you so consumed with these things that you lose focus of God. But God just wants you. Just the way you are. Look to Him, not to the world, not to your husband’s (or your own) view of you. Look to HIm and there you will find peace.

      • lianett

        Hi Stacie, I know its been 5 years since your post but I was reading through all the comments and just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you and all the women here. There are so many insecurities that women have…that I have. No human can understand the depths of your pain as much as God. He sees your heart and the scars and He wants to heal you. He is a Healer. Unlike the devil, who loves to destroy marriages, He loves to heal marriages. I dont know how you are today but pray you are well in Christ. Hold on with confidence to the Truth that God’s love for you is NEVERENDING. And that you are beautiful indeed. That ‘beauty’ doesnt come from cultural beliefs, society, what your husband or what everyone around you says is beautiful.. all these things change so fast. your beauty comes from Someone who is the most beautiful Being in the universe. Your Maker.

    4. Jordy

      I am so encouraged by this post, and the comments everyone has shared. While I am not married, I am engaged, and am facing some of the very same issues. My fiance Daniel has been struggling with pornography for many years, after discovering it at about age 14. Now at 27, he really feels like he is getting a hold of his addiction with God’s help. He is part of a mens group specifically for men struggling with pornography, and also leads a guys Bible study where the university students hold one another accountable.
      I jump back and forth between being so thankful that he is working so hard to stop, and being so deeply hurt that he still falls down a few times a month. He is so humble, and always tells me within a few days of looking at porn, seeking my forgiveness. Perhaps if this was the only thing, I could face it more easily.
      But the other issue is this: Daniel is six years older than I, and has had only one other girlfriend. He dated her for four years, from the time he was about 16 until he was 20. Near the end of their relationship, they started sleeping together. My relationship history is a little different. For two years in high school, I desperately tried to hold together an very emotionally abusive relationship, until finally breaking it off. After that, disillusioned with relationships and the church, I fell into two empty relationships within a month of each other, both of which ended with me getting pretty emotionally scarred. But by God’s grace, I never slept with any of the boys, and none of them ever pressured me to. I did things I regretted, and still do regret, but was always certain I wanted to save myself for my future husband.
      When I met Daniel, and we started dating, I was ashamed of my past, knowing he has only dated one other girl, and it had been six years ago. When the truth came out that he and she had slept together, it didn’t really bother me at first. It was in the past, something God had forgiven and washed clean. But as our relationship progressed, I got more and more insecure. I started attending Daniel’s home church with him, and now I see her ever Sunday. She is married now. After they broke up, she went a little haywire and ended up pregnant by an older divorcee. They got married after she got pregnant with their second child, and seem to be really happy together with their little family. Which leaves me wondering WHY I am so fearful and insecure of their past relationship?
      To add insult to injury, Daniel and I have had our own troubles with purity in our relationship. Things are finally looking up (because we learning to look UP more, up to our Lord), but some scars have already formed. The day after we got engaged, we were alone and things got out of hand. Then, right in the middle of it, he called me by the name of his ex-girlfriend. I froze, left the room, and couldn’t even cry for hours, I was so in shock.
      So now I am trying to learn to forgive him, everyday, because everyday I think of the two of them together, or I think about him lusting after images on computer screens. My fears seem to have gone into overdrive now, after his Mom walked out on his Dad just this past week. Is it ever going to get any easier? Sometimes I wonder if I had it right in middle school, when I was determined to be a single woman missionary….

    5. Yvonne

      Tired of hearing women blame themselves for their husband’s sin!

    6. Hi Ashley, I am only 22 and my husband is 27 I have read a few of your articles and they really make me see things a little differently. My husband and I have been together for 3 years but not even been married a year yet and I knew when we started dating that he looked at porn but he said he had stopped and recently I saw on his phone that he had been looking at other women and he told me he has looked at that stuff sense he was about 10 or 11 and he said he doesnt look at it all the time. I already was very insecure before we got together and before i found out about this and now I am even more insecure and I see some people that have been married for a long time after they find out and i am curious how you make it work afterwards because I am having a very hard time with all of this. Your articles are very helpful.

      • Kay Bruner

        Hi Ashlee, I’m so glad you found us, and I hope the blog and resources will be an ongoing source of help for you and your husband. I think two very important things need to happen to successfully manage the porn issue in marriage: he has to take responsibility for himself, and you have to take responsibility for yourself.

        It’s not your fault he looks at porn–after all, he was 10 or 11 when he started! So clearly, it’s not you! But, this does have implications for your life, and it will be up to you to take responsibility for yourself in this particular circumstance, and make choices that will lead to good health for you. That might not feel fair, but it is what it is.

        He needs to make a plan to deal with his behavior, and continue to execute that plan, and go back to it when he fails. Usually that looks like honesty, accountability, group attendance, and perhaps personal counseling as well. He’s had this habit for years now, and it will take time and persistence on his part to manage it well. I don’t think there is a magic wand, but I do think that men can deal with this when they work at it over time.

        Your part will be to educate yourself, have good boundaries, and process through your emotions in a safe place, like a group for spouses and/or personal counseling for yourself.

        Let me give you a few more links to resources you might find helpful. Here’s a listing of some of our top articles for women. You might also like our free downloads, Porn and Your Husband and Hope After Porn. And if you haven’t got a copy of Boundaries in Marriage, that’s a book I highly recommend.

        Have a look at those things, let me know what you think, and always feel free to ask questions! Blessings, Kay

    7. mal

      Lust and insecurity are not in the same vein. That’s a ridiculous thing to say.

      • Ashley isn’t equating lust and insecurity. He’s talking about her own insecurities in light of her husband’s lusts.

    8. Patti

      I too have insecurities, we all do. However, I know where mine came from. I had a mother that never told me she loved me and then because her and my father has relationship issues and divorced, she would tell me about them (things a child should never hear). My mom’s relationship with my father became mine and I never got to have my own relationship with my father. She would tell me how terrible he was and things much worse and when I would mess up like all teenagers did, she would tell me I was just like my father. So of course I thought I was a piece of S*. I had so much low self esteem growing up and in high school and I resented her so much, I never wanted to be home.
      I am married (for the 3rd time) and am currently separated. Unsure if we will ever get back together though we are going to try. He has anger issues from being abused by his father and verbally lashes out when he feels hurt or unappreciated to myself and my 13 year old son who is his step son.
      My husband would look at porn and not want to be with me. I feel I am a very attractive 50 year old woman who works out and is in shape. But here I was feeling like my husband desired porn or other younger women. He is older too so unsure why he would even think they would have anything to do with a man his age unless he had major money, which he does not.
      He also used to never touch me when we were intimate, most of our marriage and I looked at that as maybe something happened to him when he was younger or he just wasnt into that, but with that, the porn, the way he would speak to me and lash out and say terrible things to me and constantly looking at other women when we were out, I too would look around to see who he was looking at. It took me over.
      When I am alone and by myself, I think I am a pretty awesome person, but feel I have to have someone else validate me and tell me THEY think I’m awesome or beautiful or sexy or desirable. Heck.. I cant desire myself.. :)
      My husband and I just today, decided we were going to try to give it a solid go. He has already paid for the divorce, but just holding the papers to fill them out and sign. My foot is down regarding him going to individual therapy as well as couples therapy where I feel we need to discuss my insecurities and now not trusting that my husband will stop porn, going to those bars where these young pretty girls where little of anything or if he will ever want to touch me and please me or if intimacy will continue to be about him. I am certainly wounded by my husband in many ways. I dont know if I can do it. I dont know if I can get over it and be confident enough to where those things dont bother me or if things dont work with us, if I could ever feel I could trust someone again.
      Right now I am working on creating a life that I want and if things with my husband get better and he starts to fit into that, GREAT. But if not, then at least I am happy being on my own and taking care of my own life. I have to.

      • Kay Bruner

        Hey Patti. I am so sorry for all the pain that you’ve described here. I’m glad you’ve already decided to go to counseling, and that you’ve been able to choose some healthy boundaries for yourself. I hope that does help you address the pain you’re carrying from your childhood as well as your marriages. One of the things I’ve seen happen in couples therapy, though, is that the marriage gets the bulk of the attention, and sometimes the individual needs are not adequately addressed. So make sure you’re getting the care and attention that you need in the therapy process, to heal from all these wounds. Blessings, Kay

    9. Karrie

      After 20 years, I caught my husbands online porn addiction. He told me he fantisized other women while we we being intimate. I am in good shape, attractive but not beautiful. He since “repented” but 5 years down the road, I still don’t trust him. He gravitates to women, pretty young ones mostly, says he loves me, but we don’t have sex, he says due to his age. I ask him to be friendly, but don’t dwell in long conversations or stay on his phone too long. He won’t quit those behaviors, and although he seems faithful, it tears me up. I wish he was gone sometimes, so I could be myself. But I need him like he needs me. How do I end this insanity?

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