What causes low self-esteem?

23 Aug

'It’s certainly something that can be repaired with help'

All of us have an opinion about who we are. We may think we are good at certain things and not at others. We might like ourselves or think there is room for improvement in certain areas. On the whole, most of us have a balanced view of where we fit into the world. People with low-esteem are generally very negative about themselves and their abilities.

The causes can be many and varied but they can have a huge impact on the individual and how they operate in the world at large.



Many people with low esteem grow up with parents or other authority figures who are disapproving. Things are always wrong or not quite good enough and these people let their charges know exactly what they think. Failing becomes the norm and you begin to accept it because that’s what you’ve always been told you are good at.



Almost as damaging can be caregivers who are not involved in your development as a child. They may be at best ambivalent to your greatest achievements and that teaches you not to try to move forward or makes you think what you do is somehow worthless.


Conflict in the Family

Another cause is when there is conflict in the family that goes on for a long time and becomes the norm. This can be a mum and dad who are continuously fighting or one parent being more authoritative than the other, perhaps even abusive.



Self-esteem issues can occur when you move from a highly supportive environment into the real world and find it’s a little harder than you first thought. This can come from parents who are always praising you and being uncritical and even giving a child a free run. Then you step outside and find that the world is a little more complex and a lot more frightening than you imagined.


Lack of Success

Failing can cause moments of low esteem but most of us get over it. If you have learning difficulties that are not addressed, you might grow up thinking that you are never going to amount to much when the exactly the opposite is true. If everyone around you seems to be finding success and forming great relationships, you may believe that there is just something wrong with you. There are plenty of ways that low self-esteem can develop.


Traumatic Experiences

Undergoing a traumatic experience such as physical or sexual abuse can leave a person feeling guilty, frightened and full of anxiety. They may believe that the event or events that happened were all their fault and they were deserving in some way. Low self-esteem is common in partners that have been in emotionally or physically abusive relationships and this can spill over into all aspects of their life.


Belief and the World Around You

Low self-esteem can be a result of religious or personal beliefs that reinforce that you are nothing and shouldn’t aspire to anything. Some people can be overwhelmed by the world they see in the media including, particularly nowadays, online with social media, where others seem to be much more successful and happy than they are.

Self-esteem is an opinion not a fact. Often low self-esteem is caused by multiple things that all go to reinforce a person’s opinion. Most of us have our good and bad points. Having a balanced view about who you are and where you sit in this often complex world can take a lot of hard work but is entirely possible even if you have come out of something like an abusive relationship.

It’s certainly something that can be repaired with the right help and support.

Posted by: Category: Advice

Post Comment