It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Mental Health Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-17-2008, 02:11 PM   #1
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California
Posts: 651
negot HB Usernegot HB User
No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

I have always suffered from very low self esteem and feelings of worthlessness. This is due to my childhood and the way I was treated by my parents. In spite of years of therapy this problem is the same as it always was. As I am getting older, it is more embarrassing to have no self confidence compared with when I was in my twenties. Then I could blame it on age, what do I blame it on now? On the outside I have no reason to have zero self esteem. I am fairly smart, have a masters degree. I am fairly attractive, tall and thin and although I am not young, a lot of people compliment me on my appearance. I am not a bad person, I am generous and help people if I can. Because of low self esteem, I feel inferior to a lot of people. It can be any reason. I also have a hard time connecting with other people. No matter what group I find myself in, I end up as the outsider many times. In other words, I am not popular and never have been and that is very painful, as painful today as when I was a unpopular child and teenager. Because of my low self esteem I married a man I wasn't in love with and needless to say, our marriage is bad. Due to my lack of self confidence I have very few friends. I don't have any trouble making friends, but can't keep them. Usually I don't say what is on my mind and let people take advantage of me until I finally feel that I've had it. I've been in therapy for ever and have read hundreds of self help book, but nothing has helped.
Can anybody relate?

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 07-20-2008, 03:05 PM   #2
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: North England, UK
Posts: 2
Rezi HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Hi Nelli

Yes I can relate to what you say, quite a lot. The difference with me is that I haven't gone to seek any help with my low self-esteem. I've always been very reclusive and found it very hard to socialise with people to great lengths. As a child I wasn't encouraged to go out and make friends and my parents were very reserved themselves, which I'm sure can be why I am the way I am. I've a sensitive personality and am quite emotional but try hard to hide this in order to blend in more with people, but of course it isn't easy. This prevents me from making close friends and I'm yet to get into a serious relationship, something I can't see happening whenever I try to put my mind to it.

I think it's good that you've faced it and found some help even if you say it's not done much good so far. I think that a simple book or lecture couldn't help enough but even so it would encourage a different way of looking at the problem. For me I find that it's really deep into my personality, and to change would be extremely difficult however it is treated. I haven't found anyone who I can discuss this with on a personal level.
Would you say that your experiences come from high levels of anxiety when you are around other people or places? My lack of social experiences and high sensitivity is what causes that anxiety, so I find myself shying away from long social interactions.

I've only ever thought that if I got into a relationship that was with someone I truly loved that this problem may at least improve as self-confidence is something that would naturally improve, and of course may change the way people perceive you once you're happier about yourself.
Sorry that I haven't provided much for you to work on but hopefully my relation to this has given you some support. I only found this message board today after wanting to seek similar advice.

 
Old 07-23-2008, 09:14 AM   #3
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California
Posts: 651
negot HB Usernegot HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Hi Rezi, my problems stem back from my childhood. No therapy has been able to change much. My parents were very abusive, would put me down etc. My mother would do this until I was well in my twenties. Since I was a child I've wished my mother would die, so that I could get some peace, but she is still alive. Being controlled, called stupid and other derogatory names started a snowball that is still rolling. I never knew how to pick friends, never had many friends and have always felt inferior to a lot of people. I am married now and this is just another prison that I've created for myself. I so badly want to get out of this marriage and finally get peace, but don't know how.
My husband is one of those people that seems like a perfect husband, but our marriage has been a nightmare. I am sure some of it is my fault. I married him without being in love with him and he wasn't in love with me either so the marriage had nowhere to go but downhill. Now I just want to get away from him but we have 2 kids and I have no means to support myself. I don't see a way out from this mess I have created.
Maybe it would help you to go to a counselor and at least verbalize your problems. At least you'll then be more clear what you are feeling.

 
Old 07-25-2008, 10:30 AM   #4
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: North England, UK
Posts: 2
Rezi HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

My parents were never abusive towards me, instead it was too much to the other extreme. They never spoke to me much and kept themselves to themselves, which is why I think back to my childhood for some clues to my very reclusive nature.
I'm sorry to hear about your past and how long it carried on for, it must have been very hard for you. I had a few friends when I was younger but eventually they seemed to go away to the more eccentric crowd, probably in fear they would stand out in the way I often did - quiet and mysterious. However hard I tried I couldn't fit in.
In what way did you feel inferior? I don't remember blaming myself much for what I experienced, instead it was the stress and anxiety of making sense of it all and feeling that I had little or no support in trying to get through it.

I'm sure you've probably tried speaking to your husband about how you feel. Is he aware of how you feel about the relationship? Is there anyone you can discuss it with where you are based? If you both feel similarly about the relationship then maybe he is willing to work towards a solution aswell?

I'll try finding a counselor about the social anxiety. I've been thinking about it a lot lately but always figured they wouldn't tell me anything I haven't thought about already. When the feelings are deep inside it's hard to imagine any rules or practice would help overcome something that comes so naturally to me.

 
Old 08-07-2008, 06:11 AM   #5
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Midlands,UK
Posts: 7
EmmaLou89 HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Hi, Im 18 and am the same. No matter what people tell me.. 'Your Pretty' ect i still cant get it into my head that people may actually think that about me. I always think they are lying. and no matter how many nice clothes i buy or how much make up i wear things still dont change. Chin up x

 
Old 08-12-2008, 09:47 AM   #6
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 127
ICFK1 HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

If you've never done anything with your time/talent/abilities/intelligence that you defined as a success - you won't have self-esteem (positive self image). Self-esteem is you respect, like, love, and appreciate and trust you - to be in charge of yourself, to be master and commander of your destiny.

self-confidence is what you have when other people applaud your efforts or assets.....it makes you "feel" more liked, more included........it's the turbo boost that lets self-esteem take you to new hieights of success and achievement. Otherwise, it's the afterburner flame that takes you nowhere.

If you never earn your self-respect and trust - you can't have self-esteem. It's not something your parents took away or didn't give you - it's something they never taught you that you had to earn for and from yourself.

 
Old 08-28-2008, 11:13 PM   #7
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California
Posts: 651
negot HB Usernegot HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

ICFK, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Although I have repressed most of my own childhood, I have a sister who is much younger than me and remember very clearly how she was treated by our parents. They not only didn't give her any self esteem, they took away the self esteem other people gave her. They did this by abusing her physically, berating her, criticizing her constantly, comparing her to others, telling her she is stupid and doing and saying other things that I won't mention here. Are you saying they didn't take away her self esteem? My sister has in spite of all the above achieved a lot, both professionally in in her private life. She is "famous" in her line of work and her opinions are written about in the newspapers. She is also happily married and has a great child. She also has great friends. On top of that she is very good looking, but her self esteem is very low. It is certainly not because of lack of personal achievements, but because of what was done to her, or rather taken away from her which was her self esteem.

 
Old 08-29-2008, 12:27 AM   #8
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 212
waratah HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelli View Post
ICFK, I have to respectfully disagree with you. They not only didn't give her any self esteem, they took away the self esteem other people gave her. They did this by abusing her physically, berating her, criticizing her constantly, comparing her to others, telling her she is stupid and doing and saying other things.
My sister has in spite of all the above achieved a lot, both professionally in in her private life. She is "famous" in her line of work and her opinions are written about in the newspapers. She is also happily married and has a great child. She also has great friends. On top of that she is very good looking, but her self esteem is very low. It is certainly not because of lack of personal achievements, but because of what was done to her, or rather taken away from her which was her self esteem.

Hi Nelli,
I completely understand you here too. I guess that people base their opionions about self-esteem or lack of it on their own experiences of growing up. If ICFK had good parenting that validated his expereinces and achievements no mater haow small or insignificant, then ICFK probably has a good sense of himself through the mirroring provided by his parents.

Those of us who were 'mirrored' negatively come to think of ourselves via the same mechainism of mirorring as ICFK received, but the outcome is very very different. We were given messages of negativity, of belittling, or insignificance, of inferiority, and possibly even blamed for our shortcomings and those of our parents and compared to siblings and others. I know that this was my experince.
Like you Nelli and your sister, I too have acheived great things in my life, and I have achieved these things IN SPITE of the Horrid childhood I had.
In fact I sometimes wonder if my childhood, whilst just ridicullosly disruptive, might have created the condions in me to strive, achieve and persistently puruse my aspirations, no matter what they are. I've rarely ever thought "oh! I can't do that course!" I only ever think, what I would like to do, not about what I can not pursue. I guess this is what has saved me and served me well along the way too. Perhaps I'm deluded in my thinking . . .lol.

But I must say Nelli, that perhaps we (if I may be so bold) are the lucky ones, because we survived and survived well. We're professional women, with university degrees. Well OK, you've got a masters, but I'm thinking about beginning my masters in 2009 in Applied Economics. So we have this incredible intellectual capacity that has the ability to transport us, to elevate us from our current circumsances. This may not occur immediatley, but the raw materials and personal capacities are evident nevertheless.

These are the building blocks to a good life. Good health, good friends, compassion, warmth, respect, dignity, integrity, justice, the rest is just window dressing. Great jobs, nice husbands (mine is currently 'free to good home' lol), nice houses, cars, holidays, clothes, furnishings, all just window dressing, buty they do make life more comfortable too. Anyway, I'm getting totally off topic here, very sorry.

The self-esteem issue is a tough one indeed. It forms the core of our being, and is difficult to ammend in my opinion. But as an adult, it can be worked on too. Firstly think of all the good things you do for others, kids, hubby, the environment, the school etcetc. You are a really really nice person. . . . . got it? - good!
Now here's something, part of a conversation with my psychologist who I've not seen for quite a while. Whilst, talking about my childhood, came to discussing current parenting, and found that raising children whilst exhausting and all consuming can be a very cathartic expereince for those of us with difficult childhoods, as It gives us an opportunity to have another childhood, a second chance on the one we missed out on, though living and being with our own children. It's a little like but not exactly, providing your children the childhood you never had. But as the facilitator of this process, you're in the driving seat, you have control, what you do matters, how you choose to be a parent to your kids matters, how you are the person you are today matters, choosing to focus on the positive is not always easy, but at least superficially this is amenable to change too.

There's a fabulous and well respected book on this one writen by a fundamental depressive (like myself). The book's called 'Learned Optimism' by Martin Seligman. He's writen an awful lot on positive pshychology, and some of his later works I found a bit trashy and commercial, but this one book, and an earlier on called 'The Optimistic Child' (??? I think) are quite good.
Basically, we can change how we view the world and our place in it, by chaning our thought patterns. Doesn't happen overnight, takes years in my belief. But it certainly helps.
I recall walking around the park whilst my kids did their soccer coaching, with a heavy elatic band aound my wrist. Walking is great exercise and thiniking time, and every time I had a negative thought about myself, I'd do the seligman reframing A.D.C.D, (you'll get this if you read the book), then I'd snap the elastic band heavily against my wrist at least once, sometimes more that once, and continue with my walking. Well I did start to focus less on those negative inner voice messges we tell ourselves, and I did feel better, but I do not think it changed my underlying belief in myself, because when I start to feel awful, the old patterns of self-reproach still occur.

But it's well worth a try, I believe. Martin Seligman is not the inventor of Positive Psychology, but has writen extsinsively about it in an understandable fashion. I hope you may try this too, as it does help self-esteem.
Nelli, You know you're a good person, now go and give yourself permission to tell yourself so, and others around you too.

Sorry for this very very long rant and rave, but so much of what I read of yours makes me feel like your'e in my head, and writing from my hand.

Best wishes Nelli, regards waratah x x x

 
Old 08-29-2008, 05:29 AM   #9
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: somewhere NY USA
Posts: 192
tigerlilyx61 HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Nelli...there is always a way out. Always.

If I may so bold to ask...how do you not have the means to support yourself with a masters degree? Maybe you are not working currently but could you not get a job with your degree? I know it is scary to think about all that leaving the marriage will entail but, I feel you must consider this if you are to find happiness. You say you feel like a prisoner in the marriage? These feelings will not go away . They will continually get stronger until either you find the courage to leave or you have a mental breakdown. You have to do what is best for you. Good luck to you.

 
Old 08-29-2008, 11:34 PM   #10
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California
Posts: 651
negot HB Usernegot HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Waratah, I can relate to a lot of what you say. Yes, when you have kids, you get a second chance. You can do things differently. I am going to look for the books you mention when I am in the library next time. I love to read books that can give me insight in my own issues and more understanding for myself.
Tigerlilyx, the reason I have no means to support myself at the moment is that my law degree is from Europe and basically useless in the US. I have not worked for the last 9 years and before that I had a fairly simple job. So now I am 48 with no skills and no work experience. But, I just enrolled in a couple of classes and am trying to get my feet wet. One thing will hopefully lead to another. The main thing is to start somewhere, be out there among people who are willing to learn something and who knows? My goal is to within a year leave my abusive marriage and support myself.

 
Old 08-30-2008, 07:57 AM   #11
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 212
waratah HB User
Talking Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelli View Post
I just enrolled in a couple of classes and am trying to get my feet wet. One thing will hopefully lead to another. The main thing is to start somewhere, be out there among people who are willing to learn something and who knows?
Hi Nelli,

This is a great idea, and I just feel that this is such a positive step for you.

'Starting somewhere' . . . . . . . . . .Yes! Anywhere is good.

'Being amongst people' . . . . . . . . .Yes! There are good people to be found.

Oh! . and 'who knows' where this will take you. . . . . YES! Somewhere other than where you are now!

All sounds good to me. Take it slowly, just do as much as you feel you can to avoid over stretching your physical and psycholgical resources - and enjoy the scenery. It's nice outside.

Waratah x x x

 
Old 08-31-2008, 12:20 AM   #12
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: California
Posts: 651
negot HB Usernegot HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Thank you, Waratah. Just to take one step is a big thing for me right now. I have stagnated for too long now and it is time that I change that. I can't wait for my classes to start. I can't wait to be in a group with other adults. For years I have basically had contact only with other moms and talked about children. That is ok, but I feel that I now need to develop new interests and expand my horizon. Thank you for your support. I wish you the best. Your posts are inspiring to me as we seem to have a lot in common. It sounds fun that you've bought a sail boat and are going to sail with your kids. I'll keep reading your posts on this and other boards.

 
Old 08-31-2008, 10:48 AM   #13
Senior Veteran
(male)
 
pendulum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Florianópolis, Brazil
Posts: 3,713
pendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB Userpendulum HB User
Re: No self confidence and low self esteem for no apparent reason

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelli View Post
Thank you, Waratah. Just to take one step is a big thing for me right now. I have stagnated for too long now and it is time that I change that. I can't wait for my classes to start. I can't wait to be in a group with other adults. For years I have basically had contact only with other moms and talked about children. That is ok, but I feel that I now need to develop new interests and expand my horizon. Thank you for your support. I wish you the best. Your posts are inspiring to me as we seem to have a lot in common. It sounds fun that you've bought a sail boat and are going to sail with your kids. I'll keep reading your posts on this and other boards.
Your parents may have said bad things about you and to you. As a matter of fact, all parents do so, some more, some less. What matters is how you process it. As a child, because a child is often very impressionable, you may have a hard time processing this negative feedback. Of course, it leaves an imprint on your mind, but as an adult, you can begin to realistically look through what they were telling you and put it (or most of it) on the backburner. You no longer have to entirely live by their assessment of you, although paradoxically you can often find out there was some truth in what they were telling you, but they probably used the wrong phrasing. As a rule, what they said to you and even what they did to you belongs to the past, may need to be dismissed and in a few cases forgiven, but never should remain the only standard for you to measure yourself.

Self-esteem can be "easily" acquired when you start to do things and doing them well. It is the same kind of elation you experience when you are able to speak your first intelligible sentences in a foreign language. You certainly know what I am talking about.

You don't need self-confidence to start doing things. You do them first, and self-confidence comes afterwards.

Macte!
(Good luck in Latin)

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
What role does self.... evy38 Relationship Health 12 06-20-2010 12:16 PM
I have extremely low self esteem (and depression). MrZeely Relationship Health 13 08-11-2009 12:33 PM
My boyfriend's low self esteem is affecting our sex life blondy08 Sexual Health - General 12 07-29-2008 01:02 AM
Are my parents to blame that I have a low self-esteem? Peter19 Relationship Health 13 01-01-2008 04:19 AM
Anxiety and Self-Esteem...Is anyone else dealing with this? jaccc97 Anxiety 2 02-28-2007 02:59 PM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:20 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.com™
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.com™ All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!