Low self-esteem can result from various factors, including genetic factors, physical appearance or weight, socio-economic status, or peer pressure or bullying.
Low self-esteem occasionally leads to suicidal ideation and behaviour. These can include self-imposed isolation, feelings of rejection, dejection, insignificance, and detachment, and increased dissatisfaction with current social relationships. A lack of social support from peers or family tends to create or exacerbate stress on an individual, which can lead to an inability to adjust to current circumstances. Drug abuse and forms of delinquency are common side effects of low self-esteem.
A person with low self-esteem may show some of the following characteristics:
- Heavy self-criticism and dissatisfaction.
- Hypersensitivity to criticism with resentment against critics and feelings of being attacked.
- Chronic indecision and an exaggerated fear of mistakes.
- Excessive will to please and unwillingness to displease any petitioner.
- Perfectionism, which can lead to frustration when perfection is not achieved.
- Neurotic guilt, dwelling on and exaggerating the magnitude of past mistakes.
- Floating hostility and general defensiveness and irritability without any proximate cause.
- Pessimism and a general negative outlook.
- Envy, invidiousness, or general resentment.
27. Judith Johnson, Alex M. Wood, Patricia Gooding, Peter J. Taylor, Nicholas Tarrier, (2011) Resilience to suicidality: The buffering hypothesis. Clinical Psychology Review 31:4, pages 563-591.
29. Adapted from J. Gill, “Indispensable Self-Esteem”, in Human Development, vol. 1, 1980.