LOW SELF ESTEEM AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Perhaps the single-most prevalent condition and symptom that threads through most or all of the distress experienced by clients seeking assistance are feelings of low self-esteem. Any situation in which you might feel depressed or anxious also carries with it feelings of low self-worth on some level. The more distressing the issue, the greater the intropunitive mind chatter like “you’re not good enough,” “you’re a failure,” “you will never get it right” seems to rob you of your confidence, self-efficacy and feelings of control.
At the root of self-defeating messages like these are distorted conditions of worth (C.W.’s): irrational thoughts and attributions inherited from our early significant experiences and relationships. These have made your life feel unproductive or unmanageable. One of the goals of Dr. Paul Standal’s work in therapy is to assist you in identifying and resolving these destructive C.W.’s in order to raise your self-worth and to get life back under self-control so as to feel more productive and successful.
Self-esteem is learned through inherited attitudes, values and command messages creating conditions of worth from our family of origin. They can enhance our self-worth or damage it, depending on the environment. Families where C.W.’s give a sense of positive regard, secure attachments, nurturance, and certainty seem to enhance a congruent sense of self with a commensurate higher sense of self-worth. Conversely, physically and emotionally abusive environments with a sense of uncertainty, neglect or lack of warmth are fertile ground for developing low self-esteem. If you come from a family of origin where there were problems with alcohol, drugs, mental illness, no warmth and affection, overly critical or rigid religious beliefs, or workaholicism, then, in all likelihood, your self-esteem suffered. These sources helped to distort your thinking, emotions and actions, resulting in lowered self-esteem. The C.W.’s create negative results that, in turn, keep your self-esteem lowered and make you feel bad about yourself.
Low self-esteem has its origin in dysfunctional environments and other disastrous relationships. These negative situations distorted your thinking, feelings, and behaviors, which resulted in low self-esteem. As a result, you developed unhealthy personality traits which exacerbated your low self-esteem. You then experienced unresolved loss, grief, self-destructive behaviors, control issues, unresolved anger, faulty communications, personal adjustment problems, and interpersonal relationship problems. These problems not only resulted from low self-esteem, but also contributed to it. Low self-esteem has had a major impact on your life and stands as a barrier to your current personal health, serenity, and happiness.
In your work with Dr. Standal, you and he will explore the impact of these compulsive thoughts and behaviors driven by conditions of worth on a person’s self-worth and self-esteem. You will also find out how to unlearn these old self-scripts. Finally, you will see how you can reestablish healthy boundaries in your relationships with others.
Negative Consequences of Low Self-Esteem
1. Insecurity about who you are and lack of belief in yourself.
2. Inability to open yourself to others and inability to trust others.
3. Inability to make decisions because of confusion and fear of making a mistake or of disappointing others.
4. Anxiety in the face of the need to change and the fear of change.
5. Inability to have spontaneous fun or the inability to play for relaxation and pleasure.
6. Problems in establishing intimacy with others and problems in interpersonal relationships.
7. Lack of objectivity and openness to a variety of alternatives in decision-making, and a tendency to resort to “black and white” judgments.
8. Problems in handling anger, either by denying its impact on one’s life or by not being able to control it, thereby experiencing chronic hostility.
9. Chronically affected by the need for approval and acceptance by others; affected by the fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, and disapproval.
10. Excessive use of masks to hide true feelings; the use of exaggeration and lies in order to avoid conflict or disagreements.
11. Inability to take direction from or to be controlled by others, rather to seek to control self and manage or direct others.
12. Chronic seeking out of others for whom one can feel responsible.
13. Inability to feel like one has done “good enough” on the job or at home; a tendency to be a workaholic.
14. Inability to say one deserves “good things” in one’s life; a tendency to always place oneself last.
15. Chronic sense of depression, discomfort, or inadequacy.
16. Chronic sense of feeling different from others; keeping away and isolating oneself from others.
17. Inability to reward oneself for one’s own goodness and accomplishments.
18. Addiction to novelty, challenge, differences, risks, or thrills.
19. Addictive or compulsive behavior. e.g., alcoholism, chemical dependency, food, gambling, sex, excitement, money, shopping, or smoking.
20. Being overly serious; unable to see humor in one’s plight as a human being.
21. An overriding sense of guilt and inadequacy.
22. Inability to forgive and to forget past harms and hurts from others
23. Meeting others with similar problems and matching up with them in relationships.
24. Inability to let go of problems, such as fear, guilt, anger, or other negative aspects in one’s life.
25. Inability to tune into one’s own feelings, but usually able to identify and to be sensitive to the feelings of others.
26. Inability to face one’s problems and the need to change; a tendency to use denial.
27. Overreacting to things and acting impulsively; often getting oneself into problem situations which need lots of work to straighten out.
28. Can be meticulous, fastidious, over demanding, and a perfectionist; or can be slovenly, lackadaisical, and irresponsible.
29. Can become frustrated when realizing the magnitude of problems and the immensity of effort required to solve them.
30. Often looks quite successful, happy, content, healthy, and together to others; it comes as a shock to self and others that one actually has a problem and needs help.
No products in the cart.