Signs & symptoms of low self-esteem in women

Women with low self-esteem feel worthless, lack confidence and find it difficult to be assertive. They may feel victimised and may easily take things personally. Probably the most prominent sufferer of low self-esteem was Princess Diana, who was constantly criticised by her family as a child and grew up feeling inappropriate. At first the average-looking woman might not understand why a beautiful woman would feel so bad about herself, but self-esteem depends on emotional and psychological factors and not on physical traits. Identifying signs and symptoms of low self-esteem helps women take appropriate action to improve their lives.

Poor Self-Image

No matter how beautiful a woman may be, if she has low self-esteem she will feel unattractive. The woman might not take care of her appearance (not brush her hair or teeth for example) because she doesn't feel worthy of taking care of herself. In turn she might indeed become less attractive this way, resulting in a vicious cycle of feeling less and less self-worth.

Blaming Others for Negative Outcomes

Women with low self-esteem often believe that others are to blame for their mishaps, and they complain about their situation as though they have no control over their own lives. These women might feel as though they are victims, when in fact they have the power to change their situations.

Taking Blame for Partners' Unhappiness

Though women with low self-esteem may resist taking responsibility for their own mishaps, they might also blame themselves for their partners' unhappiness. It is not uncommon for these women to settle for partners who don't treat them well because that's all they believe they deserve; but regardless of whom they partner with, they'll believe that they're to blame for any shortcomings in the relationship. When the relationship fails they'll take the blame for that too, reinforcing their beliefs that they're not worthy of love, and continuing the cycle.

Eating Disorders

By definition, women with low self-esteem never feel "good enough." Some might try to improve themselves in ways that do not address their problems but give the women the idea that they're making an effort to improve their well-being. One way is by losing weight to fit into the supposedly perfect mould society has come up with. In short, women with low self-esteem may imagine that if they look like supermodels all their problems will be solved, as such they may develop eating disorders. The problem is that they will never feel good enough regardless of their physical appearance, because the problem is within.

On the other hand an obese woman with low self-esteem might in fact punish herself for being overweight by overeating, therefore gaining more weight and reinforcing her negative thoughts about herself.

Other Signs

Other signs and symptoms of low self-esteem are inability to accept compliments, depression, anxiety, negativity and setting standards that are impossibly high.


These are only a few signs of low self-esteem among many. Women who wish to improve their self-esteem should do further research with professional publications and counsellors, but they might also look for support from their loved ones.

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About the Author

Living in Paris, Meredith Morgan has been writing professionally since 1998. She writes and edits marketing copy, and holds a Master of Arts in communications.