What Are the Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 30 January 2019
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Symptoms of low self-esteem range from a faulty self-image and the inability to discern who and when to trust, to making irrational and distorted self statements. Other symptoms include the lack of self-confidence and obsessive compulsive and addictive behaviors. People suffering from low self-esteem will also make overly critical comments about themselves and others, as well as display very reactionary behavior patterns. Rigidity, self-focused behavior and storytelling are common traits of the struggle with low self-esteem in adults and children. One symptom of the truly low self-esteem sufferer is the unreasonable expectations placed upon others.

People suffering from low self-esteem typically tend to display a common set of behaviors associated with the illness. These symptoms are commonly believed to be derived from negative comments made to the person when he or she was a child, typically made by someone who should have been a person of trust. The symptoms of low self-esteem first show in the inability to properly discern who and when to trust. People with low self-esteem do not trust people to be kind, polite or trustworthy. This often leads to low self-esteem, such as making negative comments about oneself and expecting to hear the statements repeated by others.


While lacking any type of self-confidence, low self-esteem leads to the perceived mind reading of those the low self-esteem holder comes into contact with. The person projects their own feelings of lack of confidence into the perceived mind of the other person and thinks that everyone involved in their world also feels this lack of confidence in them. The lack of self-confidence often leads to other actions indicating low self-esteem, such as drug abuse, overeating or sexual addiction, which are often performed in an attempt to gain approval of those the person interacts with.

Perhaps one of the most indicative behaviors of those with low self-esteem is the practice of storytelling. This behavior causes the person to create a fantasy world where he or she believes that he or she knows what others are saying about him or her. This often leads to a person placing unreasonable expectations on other people. This leads to broken relationships as the low self-esteemed partner sets up test after test for the partner to prove how he feels about the relationship. The tests are commonly arranged in a manner so that the partner is incapable of ever winning or positively meeting the proposed criteria to prove his love.


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Post 3

@donasmrs-- I agree with you. The problem is that her view of herself is so distorted that she doesn't believe me when I highlight her good characteristics and her accomplishments. She thinks I am lying to make her feel better. She suspects me and doesn't trust my opinion at all. Her way of thinking is so rigid. I feel like nothing that anyone can say to her will make a difference because she has convinced herself that she is a failure. She is the only one who can help herself.

Post 2

@ysmina-- That is certainly a sign of low self esteem.

Those with low self esteem tend to put themselves down. Their opinion of themselves is not accurate. They belittle themselves, dwell on negatives, generalize and jump to conclusions.

If your sister has low self esteem, despite achieving so much, she will dwell on her mistakes and feel that she is a failure because of them. She might not be seeing herself objectively. Her mind might be filtering all the good things about herself and generalizing the minor negative things.

Low self esteem is so detrimental to one's psychology. Perhaps you should speak to her about this. Remind her of all the things she has achieved. She might benefit from speaking a professional. A psychologist can put things into perspective for us in a way that others can't.

Post 1

I think my sister has low self esteem. She is a very accomplished person. She helps direct and academic program and also teaches classes at a very reputable college. Despite this, she keeps saying things like "I am nothing," "I have done nothing."

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