8 Surprising Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Understand The Origins Of Low Self-Esteem

Do you suffer from low self-esteem? If so, to truly work towards building a stronger self-esteem it’s important to understand the origins of your problems.

Many times a low self-esteem comes from situations in the childhood period. A period where you have a lot of “older” more “authoritative figures” surrounding you. Obviously your parents have an important influencing part, because you have a daily direct contact with them, and they are the parties that are having certain expectancies of you. Then the rest of the family, can have an effect on you too. Especially if you are the younger child, and have older brothers and sisters that instead of being supportive to you, have been dominating you.

But the other party that can cause a lot of damage to your self-esteem are your teachers. Obviously, we get influenced by religion, politics, location, culture, and where we grow up too, but if you had a teacher that made you feel inadequate or even worse, made you feel “stupid,” that can have a big impact on how you see yourself too.

Although, a low self-esteem often stems from a root-cause during the childhood period, a low self-esteem can also occur later in life, generally, when things are going wrong in an unexpected way. But what you will find, is that there is typically a defining factor. Sometimes a combination of many that are responsible for the beginnings of low self-esteem, and some of these contributing factors might surprise you.

Here are 8 Causes of Low Self-Esteem

Childhood Influences

Growing up around someone who struggled with low self-esteem can often cause a child to develop similar issues. It is a learned behavior that follows you into adulthood and throughout your life.

Authority Figures

Whether you had a parent or other person that struggled with low self-esteem, at the opposite of these category of people you find the authority figures in your life, and they too can often contribute to feelings of inadequacy.

This can happen in many ways. In some cases, a parent or other authority figure can be unsupportive of your accomplishments, decisions, and learning abilities, which makes you feel like you were not good enough no matter how hard you tried. They often had unrealistic expectations, and these often unrealistic expectations can bring out the worst in anyone.

In other cases, there is such a thing as being too involved. Parents or other authority figures that are over protective, so you can’t develop yourself enough, or they put too much responsibility or stress to be perfect on a child… Often, they do so out of love, but are in fact causing pain and anguish that comes in the form of low self-esteem. Again, no one can live up to unrealistic expectations, nor can we develop ourselves properly if we are over protected.

Unstable Childhood

An unstable or chaotic childhood can often make a child feel insecure, and those feelings can reflect on a child’s feelings of self-worth. Very authoritarian or overly permissive households, lots of arguing or yelling, split families, and moving around a lot can all create chaotic childhoods like this.

Past Abuse

Traumatic events in any form can cause low self-esteem. This can be past emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, especially when the abuse occurred during childhood or at the hand of a trusted family member or authority figure.

Bad Relationships

A bad relationship – especially one that is emotionally abusive or bereft, can bring on feelings of inadequacy and contribute to low self-esteem. A bad break-up or being left by a loved one can cause you to focus on your own faults as a partner, eventually leading to self-esteem issues.

Influential Friends

There are some people who, perhaps without realizing it, project their own self-esteem issues on others by making them feel bad about themselves. To build themselves up, they tend to pick on the people around them. Being close to someone like this can tend to have a toxic effect on your own self-esteem.


Competition can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Whether it is at work, at school, or even at home in some situations, too much competition can sometimes cause feelings of inadequacy. This can happen in childhood and even in adulthood.

Pressures of Society

The overall pressures of society are probably one of the number one causes of low self-esteem. Trying to make your way in the world is hard enough without worrying about the expectations of everyone around you. Giving in too much to the pressure can often lead to low self-esteem.

Where do you think your self-esteem issues began? If you can pinpoint even a few of the contributing factors, it can go a long way towards overcoming low self-esteem and becoming a stronger, healthier person.

Stay tuned for more information on what you can do to overcome self-esteem issues and how to break free from destructive beliefs that are holding you back!

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