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15 Signs of Low Self-Esteem in a Woman that Can Sabotage Your Life

Struggling with self-confidence is something we all go through, but sometimes we don’t even realize it. These are the signs of low self-esteem in a woman.

signs of low self-esteem in a woman

It is important to know the signs of low self-esteem in a woman, both personally and for those who are important to us, so that we can help in any way we can.

No matter if you are a teenager, young adult, or in your forties or fifties, we all face issues with self-esteem. Often we recognize it. We have a bad hair day, we wake up with a zit, or just have a blah day.

But sometimes we fool ourselves into believing our self-esteem is at its peak when in fact we show signs of low self-esteem. It is important to be self-aware, so that we can fight back and regain our confidence. [Read: How to build your self-esteem and love your life]

What is low self-esteem in a woman?

Low self-esteem is a lack of belief in yourself. And that can be for one aspect of your life or everyone. Someone may be full of confidence at work but second guess themselves when it comes to relationships or vice versa.

Think back to your awkward years, perhaps in grade school. Maybe you had braces, bad skin, wore your sibling’s old clothes. That time period may be something you look back on and see your low self-esteem waving like a flag. But as you mature, low self-esteem becomes a bit more difficult to spot.

We grow in certain aspects of our lives and build up faith that we will be successful. And if we don’t, we at least act as if we do in order to get through the work week.

That is why identifying low self-esteem in a woman can be difficult. We are taught not to show it, and it can actually come off as if we are conceited rather than struggling with our self-confidence. [Read: How to be happy in life and live it to the fullest]

Why do women get low self-esteem?

Just like teenagers, women get low self-esteem from both internal and external factors. Bullying, family drama, a dysfunctional relationship, and of course mental illness like anxiety and depression surge low self-esteem as well.

You may struggle with thinking you are unlovable if you have had nothing but bad relationships. You may have low self-esteem if you had a strained relationship with your parents. And childhood bullying can bring up a lot of confidence issues, even for a strong and independent career woman.

The signs of low self-esteem in a woman

But, what does low self-esteem look like? Sure, it can be obvious. A woman may be down and question herself in every aspect of life. She may hate shopping, not put effort into her appearance, or try to set goals in her career.

Often, signs of low self-esteem in a woman are quite a bit more subtle.

#1 A need for attention. Many women with low self-esteem crave attention in any way they can. That can be through the affection of men, stealing someone’s ideas at work, or crying at every office party.

I know it sounds bad. Low self-esteem can lead to very neurotic behavior that is hard to describe. You may think someone who doesn’t think highly of themselves would simply change. It is not so easy. [Read: The 12 signs you’re an attention seeker and don’t even know it]

#2 A pessimistic attitude. Yes, some women with low self-esteem will crave attention. Others will dwell on the negatives of every situation. Instead of looking at the bright side they will always consider the worst possible outcome.

They will go into a date thinking it will end badly. Or they have a negative attitude towards an interviewer because they doubt they have a chance at the job they want, and they will likely try to bring you down with them. If you are going on a date, instead of saying “I’m excited for you,” they may say, “Good luck, hope you don’t have to sneak out of the bathroom window.” [Read: How to deal with the Negative Nancy in your life]

#3 A lack of drive. Many women with high self-esteem always have new goals to reach. They graduate college, head to grad school, land a great job, but in a few years, their eyes are on a better one.

Someone with low self-esteem may stay in a low-paying job beneath their abilities simply because they don’t have the guts or belief that they can do more.

#4 A follower’s attitude. A sign of low self-esteem in a woman is following. A woman with low self-esteem may struggle to make her own choices. She will shop based on what someone she looks up to is wearing.

She will mimic others to try to better herself rather than owning who she is.

#5 Self-sabotage. Low self-esteem is a tricky thing. It sounds easy to follow the direction your life is headed and appreciate any good things that come along. But someone with low self-esteem may unintentionally sabotage their own happiness.

Say a woman with low self-esteem is in a healthy relationship, she may subconsciously be afraid that her partner will leave her. So instead of talking to him about it or even looking at the facts, she may cause a fight or break up with him before he can hurt her. [Read: 12 ways people sabotage their happiness and ruin their own lives]

#6 Blame. Those with low self-esteem do not always realize that that is what they are struggling with. In fact, they may be in denial. Instead, they blame others for any struggles in their life.

They may blame their parents for not having a better education, their spouse for their happiness, their kids for their career, etc.

#7 Low standards. Remember that movie He’s Just Not That Into You? The lead character in that movie put up with a bunch of crappy boyfriends because she didn’t realize she deserved a guy who would respect her and appreciate her.

Her self-esteem was low so she put up with crumbs when she deserves a stack of freshly baked cookies. [Read: Why lowering your standards will only bring you crappy relationships]

#8 Bullying. Ahhh… the sucker of all signs of low self-esteem in a woman, bullying. Sometimes high school never ends. Some women struggling with self-esteem issues take it out on others.

It could be women they are jealous of, women they see themselves in, or really anyone they feel they can get away with putting down. This is nothing new. We always hear that bullies put others down to make themselves feel better. Of course, it is immature, childish, and not at all effective, but like it or not, it still happens.

#9 Laziness. Some people assume that women who put effort into their appearance must be struggling with low self-esteem. But, that is not always the case. Many women who wear makeup, are interested in fashion, etc., have a fair amount of confidence and let these interests show that off.

However, a sign of low self-esteem in a woman is laziness about her appearance. Of course, some women just don’t care or simply don’t have the time to, but low self-esteem can make you question why you should bother with things like makeup or fancy clothes.

#10 Guilt. Saying I’m sorry is a common thing a lot of women need to learn to let go of, but especially women with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can make you feel unwanted and unneeded.

If you interrupt a meeting to ask a question and apologize, you may be struggling with low self-esteem. Your question was likely very insightful, but for some reason, you felt the need to apologize for your place in that meeting. [Read: 20 signs of insecurity people can’t hide when they feel insecure]

#11 A desire for sympathy. Who has it worse? I remember playing this game with friends in high school. You may say, “I have two AP classes and a job and play soccer and have two tests Friday,” while your friend counters with, “I have three AP classes, an SAT seminar, play soccer, am in the band, and babysit.”

Competing over who has it worse in order to gain sympathy is not just about discussing who is more stressed, but about gaining attention through sorrow and pity.

#12 Spoiling. I had a friend in high school who was the sweetest girl. However, a lot of people found her annoying because she would involve herself in other people’s lives, ask loads of questions, and even go out of her way to buy people gifts that she barely knew.

But, being the person I am, I saw her behavior for what it was; low self-esteem. She didn’t think anyone would accept her for who she was so she bought people gifts, baked people treats, and went over the top to do things for other people, even those that didn’t appreciate it. [Read: Why am I so insecure? 20 reasons why you care much more than others

#13 Withdrawal. Yes, sometimes at a party, you just feels like chilling in the corner with the host’s puppy, but if you or a friend consistently withdraw from socializing, you may have low self-esteem.

One of the signs of low self-esteem in a woman is the feeling of not fitting in and instead of trying, you  just stay back on your own. You may even tell yourself that if you deserve attention or if these people want to hang out with you, they will seek you out.

#14 Bragging. Much like bullying, bragging is a way people with low self-esteem temporarily boost their ego. They brag about their new car, cool stereo system, or gorgeous baby, but they are likely struggling with a lot you don’t know about.

People who are happy with their lives and themselves don’t feel the need to brag. [Read: Your guide to not giving a fuck and having more laughs]

#15 Agreeable. Being a pushover is a sign of low self-esteem in a woman. Going along with the group and never speaking up or sharing your opinion is a way those struggling with their confidence remain unseen.

Someone with low self-esteem doesn’t want to make a big deal, they don’t want to ruffle feathers, or break from the status quo. So by agreeing with where everyone wants to go to dinner, where your partner wants to move, or that your boss promoted your less qualified coworker, you put yourself down.

Remember if you do struggle with low self-esteem, your feelings are valid. We all have crappy days. And no one is 100% confident all the time. But you deserve to believe in yourself. You deserve to try your hardest. You deserve to be treated better and have friends that truly care.

If you do struggle with depression, anxiety, or severely low self-esteem, reach out to a trained professional for guidance and therapy. You can live your life to the fullest and truly have faith in yourself.

[Read: How to empower and take care of yourself as a woman]

If you display these signs of low self-esteem in a woman, you can grow and gain more confidence. Or if you recognize these signs in a woman you know, a kind gesture or just a simple compliment will help.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...

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