More C-PTSD Characteristics:——Low Self-Worth!!!

Jan Breughel the Elder

Low Self-Esteem is the common term used to describe a group of negatively-distorted self-views which are inconsistent with reality.

Description:  Low self-esteem affects all kinds of people – not just those who suffer from personality disorders. However, people who suffer from personality disorders are often prone to an acute, consistent or pervasive form of low self-esteem that makes them behave in ways that are self-destructive or destructive to those around them.

People who have low self-esteem often see themselves as unworthy of being successful in personal and professional settings and in social relationships. They may view their successes and their strengths in a negative light and believe that others see them in the same way.  As a result, they may develop an avoidance strategy to protect themselves from criticism.

People who suffer from low self-esteem, may entertain a belief that they are unworthy of normal pleasures, such as successful problem solving, achieving career goals, financial security, being liked by peers and family members, being attractive to potential romantic partners, being respected by co-workers and acquaintances. These feelings often make them behave in self-destructive, defensive or aggressive ways that can cause their fears to become self-fulfilling prophecies. For those who have personality disorders, these feelings can be accepted as facts and all potential competing positive thoughts be disregarded or suppressed. This can lead to erratic emotional mood swings from high to low.

Downward spirals of negative self-thought can be self-perpetuating. The emotional human mind often uses a form of shorthand which helps us to sort through the overwhelming clutter of data and competing thoughts which compete for our attention at any given time. Hence, we have the ability to broadly judge people and circumstances, political positions and religious views as “right” or “wrong” “good” or “bad”, “positive or “negative”, “safe” or “dangerous”, etc. even when there is only partial data or when the data we have is conflicted or compromised. Taken to extremes, this type of judging can lead to Splitting, where a person views other people or circumstances as “all good” or “all bad”. Splitting is particularly common among people who suffer from personality disorders, but can also affect those of us who have relationships with people with personality disorders. Beaten down by a history of negative experiences and failures to bring about change in our loved-ones, we may begin to see our situation as hopeless and see ourselves as helpless and powerless. This is often not an accurate self-view, but an emotional exaggeration of our circumstances.

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