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Break Ups and The Fear of Not-Enough-Ness



One of my biggest fears in life is that people are better off without me. I worry that the room becomes more awesome when I leave it; the air becomes lighter when I’m not breathing it; Things magically become better because I’m not there.

When I was little, I was always sent to bed before my older brother, so while the OTHER Braithwaite’s watched 90′s sitcoms, I’d be exiled to my bedroom. I’d be so upset, begging for a few more minutes because I was certain that, when I went to bed, the real fun would start (it probably didn’t help that Brother periodically told me I was adopted). I don’t know what I was imagining: strippers? Clowns? A live pony and cocaine? I was certain that when I left the room, things would immediately get better.

It never dawned on me that, sometimes, I was actually pretty tired.

I think that’s why break ups are so hard for me. No matter how dysfunctional or disillusioned, I’m always afraid that I’m the reason things sucked. I’m always focused on how I can be better, brighter, happier and more accommodating. I’m always terrified that, while I’m sad or upset, they’re happier and freer without me. I give away all my power and joy when I imagine that I’m the sole reason things are (or aren’t) good. I simultaneously make myself more important and less important than I truly am.

See Also:  Your Boyfriend Won't Replace Your Father

This elaborate scenario boils down to something pretty common: “fear of not being enough” (Google it. It’s actually a thing.)

I read a quote on BFF-Bri’s blog that said “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.” I think this is the same for not-enough-ness.

Here’s the truth: WE must only be enough for ourselves.

When we can look at ourselves and say, “I’m enough for me.” Everything else is sort of foolish. Why? Because NO ONE… (no coach, saint, sinner, rock star, lover, best friend, counselor, therapist, poet, preacher, guru, shaman, spirit) NO ONE is enough to cure someone else’s not-enough-ness. And on some level, most of us are suffering from this affliction.There is a special kind of narcissism involved in thinking that your presence has a permanent impact on someone else. People, generally speaking, are happy/miserable independently of you. Yes. You can totally brighten up someone’s day, and, yes, an unkind word might make someone miserable for the moment…but NO ONE is the sole reason for another’s content (or discontent). You can only make someone happy (or miserable) if they let you. I’m using the word “make” here loosely, ya’ll. We are all responsible for our own emotions. [Read the rest at Men, Myself and God]


  1. Dope post, I wish all my exes well and hope they find some accountanility someone who makes them happy. My issue has always been I never wanted to be a regret, you dont have to love me, but never lose your respect for me as a man.

      1. Aww cmon dude.. like I was the only one thinking that. I only have a mild case of thinking I'm the sh*t. Besides being cocky isnt a good look with me.

  2. “fear of not being enough”

    I'm gonna google it…and think about it. Cause I'm feeling some kind of way after reading this post so it clearly touched a nerve but I'm not sure why. :-/

  3. I usually feel after a break up that I will be missed. It's always been the case, even with jobs. Wherever I am, I know that I bring a certain presence that can't be duplicated or replaced. I've been told that people still speak of me after I'm gone and said things were different. This is not tooting my own horn, it just is what it is. I never fear that people are having more fun if I'm not around, I always think they're not having as much fun because I'm not around.

    But, for some reason, I still do possess the fear of not being enough, so I think these are two different concepts. Great post though. The fear is called Atelophobia. I Googled it lol.
    My recent post I’m Forever Single…I Live in L.A.

  4. Wow. This was a fantastic post through and through. Its interesting to read something like this only to realize that something you felt was unique to you, is actually shared by others. There is so much commonality between us as people as we experience many of the same exact angst in the same exact way. It really is fascinating when one really sits and thinks about that.

    This was a wonderful write up. Got me thinking over here. Kudos.

    Mr. SoBo

    My recent post SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Listen To Us LIVE!

  5. I have to admit I struggle with this because of my heightened sense of self. I dwell on the things I did or didn't do to contribute to the situation not working. I never want to be "that dude" that makes a woman hate men. I tend to punish myself as well subconsciously. After my last relationship, I feel like I pulled a Davy Jones, cut out my heart, and buried it away from the world. *shrugs as to why I'm sharing*


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