A stable, positive feeling about oneself is to be cherished. For many people it is hard to come by, at least for an extended period of time.
How Would You Describe Your Low Self-Esteem?
- “For as long as I remember, I have had low-self esteem. I have always felt unhappy.”
- “I feel good about myself from time-to-time, yet can be plunged into the depths of despair and emotional vulnerability. My low self-esteem can be mild and short-lived – lasting a few hours to a day or two. Sometimes my low self-esteem is very severe and incapacitating, lasting for several weeks to a number of months.”
- "My feelings about myself are very unstable. At times I feel inadequate, helpless, hopeless and have difficulty getting out of bed and functioning. Other times I am filled with great energy, am immensely productive, and may come across as abrasive or aggressive to loved ones and colleagues.”
What Life Events Predispose A Person To Developing Low Self-Esteem?
- Being Raised By A Critical Or Unempathic Parent
- A parent who is excessively critical and demanding, and who lacks compassion and empathy can predispose the child to feel “not good enough,” even unlovable.
- Sibling Rivalry
- A sibling who is perceived as favored, or more talented and capable, can cause one to feel demoralized and stir up feelings of competitive envy and jealousy. The child may feel that no matter how hard they try, they simply can’t compete. This can undermine the development of self-confidence.
- Suffering From ADHD or Other Disability
- A disability such as ADHD may undermine the feeling of positive self worth. Chronic feelings of frustration and humiliation develop as a result of the struggle to absorb, retain, and effectively work with information presented in class or through reading and homework assignments. Increased conflicts at home may occur due to what is perceived as “not listening” to parents; along with messiness and procrastination. Because fellow students seem to “get it” faster and better, and the child with ADHD frequently misses important social cues, feelings of low self regard can intensify all the more.
- Parental Divorce, Death or Abuse
- Parental divorce or death, and various forms of abuse, can destroy the “protective envelope” of childhood. These events constitute losses of one form or another, which breach a child’s sense of stability and security, disrupt and disturb feelings of trust, and may lead to feelings of guilt and self-blame. Since the child is helpless to prevent these losses or abuses, they serve to undermine or erode the development of positive self regard.
- Social Factors
- Personally going through divorce, death of a child or spouse, severe setbacks in ones career, economic reversals, or having a child with a physical or mental illness can all contribute to feelings of despair and hopelessness.
- Existential Factors
- At significant transition points in an individual’s life, one may experience an “existential crisis.” An identity crisis in the adolescent or young adult, failure at achieving intimacy and commitment in early adulthood, a career that lacks a sense of accomplishment and social value in middle adulthood, or despair in late life when reminiscence brings regret and a sense of failure.
Is There Any Treatment For Low Self-Esteem?
Psychotherapy (with or without medication) can restore positive feelings of self-esteem and self worth, or in some instances enable the patient to experience healthy self-regard for the first time in their entire life. At Potomac Psychiatry, our doctors are trained to help patients achieve stable, positive feelings of self-regard.
What Are The Benefits of Seeking Treatment?
- Having the ability to enter into a committed relationship and feel safe
- Being able to look at yourself in the mirror and like what you see
- Having hopeful feelings about the future
- An end to comparing yourself to others, and coming up short
- Leaving behind self-sabotaging behaviors
- No longer being your own harshest critic
We Look Forward to Helping You
Contact us to discuss your needs or to schedule an appointment.