4 symptoms associated with low self-esteem
Several behavior patterns linked to low self-esteem problems, with examples.
In essence, self-esteem is (avoiding complicated definitions) the opinion we have of our own person.
One more opinion, neither more nor less, not the only one, but perhaps the most important one, since a bad concept of who we are and what we are worth can severely can seriously affect our emotional life, our behavior, and the way we relate to others.
And in this last point is where I want to concentrate, since although we are owners of a solid self-esteem, the low self-esteem of other people with whom eventually we must link to us can be the germ for a complicated relationship and marked by the conflict.
Symptoms linked to a low self-esteem
Here are some simple key ideas (taken directly from my clinical experience) for identifying impaired self-esteem when we are introduced to someone, start a new job, or plan a romantic relationship. The possibilities are many and directly applicable in everyday life.
1. Tendency to be defensive
People with low self-esteem tend to go through life with a submissive and defeatist attitude, or the opposite: they behave in a fussy and belligerent manner. Because they believe they are worth little, they live in a permanent war with themselves and with the world..
As an example, I once witnessed a situation. I saw how a man moved to the side of the access door to the bus I was about to board in order to let a girl who was running in a hurry pass.
Far from taking the gesture as something positive, she said to him, with her best disgusted face: -Are you letting me pass because I am a woman? What...? Does being a woman make me inferior? He gave a sympathetic smile and replied: -No. I let you pass because I'm nice.
- You might be interested in: "Low self-esteem? When you become your own worst enemy".
2. Tendency to fundamentalism
Those with low self-esteem adhere to rigid and fundamentalist ideas. Feeling part of a group or a greater cause helps sustain their fragile sense of self-worth..
They tend to identify with strong political ideologies or impermeable religious beliefs, which they defend to the hilt. This makes them feel powerful as they replace their poor sense of self-worth with the stronger collective self-esteem of the group to which they belong. They adopt the point of view of others as their own, have little critical judgment and succumb to herd thinking..
Recently, a journalist who was covering a demonstration demanding the legalization of abortion, approached a girl with his microphone and asked her about the reasons that had led her to attend the march.
Taken by surprise, hesitant and hesitant, the girl only managed to stammer something that was unintelligible, and then proclaimed triumphantly: "Sex education to decide, contraceptives to avoid abortion and legal abortion to avoid death".
A catch phrase that had been repeated in the media for several weeks.
3. Tendency to distrust
As they feel inferior to others, many of these people seek to balance this unpleasant feeling by minimizing the capabilities of others, or disqualifying their achievements, or questioning other people's prestige or credentials..
Because they feel they cannot measure up to others, they seek to bring others down to their own height. They are terrified at the possibility of competition or that someone might invade the small amount of floor space they inhabit.
On one occasion, a psychiatrist with whom I was talking on the phone about a report I had sent her on a patient we had in common, interrupted me abruptly to ask me something about my professional seal, which appeared at the end of the document I was holding in my hands.
-It says "doctor" on it," she said, noticeably annoyed. And the comment was not even remotely related to what we were talking about. Why does it say "doctor" if you are not a doctor? -Of course I am a doctor," I replied slowly, though surprised. "Doctor" is someone who has a doctorate. Let me guess: You call yourself "doctor" without being one?
Uncomfortable with the predicament she had gotten herself into, she mumbled a few more words, said a quick goodbye and cut off the communication, leaving our exchange unfinished.
They tend to be controlling and jealous individuals. Not only do they fear competition from others, whom they perceive as a threat, but they are also possessive, in a desperate attempt to secure the loyalty of others, whom they feel they could lose at any moment.
I recall the case of a patient who during the week had become extremely angry with his partner, because she had posted on instagram a profile picture in which she was posing in a bikini on the beach.
-Why are you posting that picture? -Who is that picture for? Who do you want to like you? Why don't you ever post pictures of us together?
It was such a scandal that the girlfriend ended up agreeing to replace the "controversial" photo with another one in accordance with my patient's insecurities.