Similar to emotional abuse an adult can dismantle an otherwise healthy self-image and lead to a distortion of one’s beliefs and thoughts. Trauma at any stage of life can cause large shifts in the way we view ourselves and our self-esteem. Here are some of the most common.
Self-sacrifice- Since they can’t drum up any feelings of pride for themselves, they try to appear noble in action so others will take pity on them and value them for their martyrdom. In their suffering, they gain a measure of self-worth, even if the actions they take are destroying them and everyone around them.
Defeatism- “Why bother trying, I’m going to fail at this.” “This isn’t going to work.” Negative self-talk like that sets a person up for failure, which reinforces their sense of self-loathing and shame. It also prevents them from taking part in anything that might bring them joy or fulfillment, since they’ve convinced themselves ahead of time that they’ll suck at anything they try.