Low Self-Esteem Patterns–Characteristics of Codependency
Low self-esteem patterns are characteristic in codependency. Since codependency is a form of helping others in a self-harming way, there are many patterns that develop over time that lead to poor physical and mental health. These patterns develop in relationships but become internalized and harmful to the person who attempts to help others. Of course, not all forms of helping are detrimental to the helper, but when they become so, there are many adverse effects.
What is Self-Esteem Anyway?
Self-esteem is one of those things that everybody has some understanding of, and we often use the term in common conversation. However, a closer look at its meaning and effects can be very helpful, especially if you are struggling in a relationship with someone who is addicted or otherwise impaired.
Self-esteem is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: a confidence and satisfaction in oneself, or self-respect. In psychology, self-esteem refers to how one evaluates his or her own worth. It involves a judgment and attitude, as well as emotions. For example, if you have high self-esteem, you feel positively toward yourself and consider yourself to have worth as a human being. On the other hand, if you have poor self-esteem, you feel negatively about yourself and consider yourself to have very little or no worth.
Low Self-esteem Patterns
Patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior develop around any type of self-esteem. For instance, someone with high self-esteem may feel happy and confident. He or she may interact well with others, engaging them socially, or may take risks to accomplish goals. On the other hand, people with low self-esteem have an entirely different experience in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Here are some common patterns of people who regard themselves negatively:
- Poor decision-making abilities–there is little confidence in one’s ability to make good decisions
- Self-criticism is harsh–there is a pervasive negative judgment about self, thoughts, opinions, feelings, behaviors…
- Dependency on others–feeling so poorly about oneself leads to a need for others to reassure, praise and approve
- Trouble with motivation, initiating, and following through
- Difficulty accepting attention and recognition, compliments or praise–even though these are desperately wanted, they feel odd, ingenuine or embarrassing
- Poor limits and boundaries–people with low self-esteem have difficulty asserting their own rights and needs
- Insecurity when not in a relationship–people with low self-esteem feel unsafe when alone and look to others to provide a sense of safety and security