The way you have been brought up by your parents and the kind of family you come from can determine your level of self-esteem. Dysfunctional families and the wrong kind of parents are just some of the sources that cause low self-esteem in people.
Previously, I wrote about the ways that low self-esteem manifests in female relationships. This week I will do a brief overview of the infinite places from which low self-esteem originates – how your history and primary caregiver relationships shaped your opinion of yourself and how other external factors contribute. This is a brief inventory of the sources of low self-esteem and how these feelings manifest.
Here Are 10 Sources Of Low Self-Esteem
1. Disapproving Authority Figures.
If you grew up hearing that whatever you did wasn’t good enough, how are you supposed to grow into an adult with a positive self-image? If you were criticized no matter what you did or how hard you tried, it becomes difficult to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin later. The shame forced on you for perpetually “failing” can feel blindingly painful.
2. Uninvolved/Preoccupied Caregivers.
It’s difficult to motivate yourself to want more, strive for more, and imagine that you deserve more when your parents or other primary caregivers didn’t pay attention – as if your greatest achievements weren’t worth noticing. This scenario often results in feeling forgotten, unacknowledged, and unimportant later.
It can also leave you feeling that you are not accountable to anyone, or you may believe that no one in the here and now is concerned about your whereabouts when that’s actually a carry-over feeling from the past. Feeling unrecognized can result in the belief that you are supposed to apologize for your existence.
3. Authority Figures in Conflict.
If parents or other caregivers fight or make each other feel bad, children absorb the negative emotions and distrustful situations that have been modeled for them. It’s scary, overwhelming, and disorganizing. This experience can also occur when one parent is deeply distraught or acts unpredictably around the child.
When you were subjected to excessive conflicts between authority figures, it can feel as if you contributed to the fights or to a parent’s painful circumstance. Intense conflicts are experienced as extremely threatening, fear driving, and you may believe you caused it. This feeling of being “tainted” can be carried into adulthood.
4. Bullying (with Unsupportive Parents).
If you had the support of a relatively safe, responsive, aware family you may have had a better chance of recovering and salvaging your self-esteem after having been taunted and bullied as a child. If you already felt unsafe at home and the torture continued outside home, the overwhelming sense of being lost, abandoned, hopeless, and filled with self-loathing pervaded your everyday life.
It can also feel like anyone who befriends you is doing you a favor because you see yourself as so damaged. Or you may think that anyone involved in your life must be predatory and not to be trusted. Without a supportive home life, the effects of bullying can be magnified and miserably erode the quality of life.
5. Bullying (with Over-Supportive Parents).
Conversely, if your parents were overly and indiscriminately supportive, it can leave you feeling unprepared for the cruel world. Without an initial cause to develop a thick outer layer, it can feel challenging and even shameful to view yourself as unable to withstand the challenges of life outside the home.
From this perspective, you may feel ill-prepared and deeply ashamed to admit this dirty ugly secret about you, even to your parents, because you need to protect them from the pain they would endure if they knew. Instead, you hid the painful secret of what’s happened to you. Shame can cloud your perspective.