Vulnerable self-esteem can occur in both high or low self-esteem.
Beyond the normal variations in self-esteem, there may also be enduring patterns or habitual styles that turn into personality traits.
Vulnerable self-esteem profiles can be either low, or high but fragile. Self-esteem can be low with a conscious sense of vulnerability characterized by inaction, or high but fragile with less conscious vulnerability in those with fragile high self-esteem, characterized by lording it over others.
Read on to learn more about the so-called vulnerable self-esteem.
Vulnerable self-esteem: Introduction
There are cases where the regular fluctuations of self-esteem are no longer transient and reactionary. Instead, they have become personality traits that sometimes depend on specific events to reveal themselves, which can also provoke them.
Whether these events are failures, withdrawing from or engaging in conflict, they will thus punctuate their daily life.
These people are pretty stable in their evolution but are not inaccessible to change.
They will have to make personal efforts. Indeed, the passage of time alone will not be enough to reassure this worried self-esteem.
The fragility of self-esteem and the reflexes to defend it
Many people suffer from a strong sense of vulnerability. Indeed, we can feel threatened by the simple course of daily life and its changes.
The small risks that life exposes us to (such as making a mistake, failing, being wrong, or getting caught up in a competitive situation…) will evoke significant threats for these people.
However, this feeling of fragility can lead us to many mistakes:
- The first is to place the image and esteem of oneself in the center of our concerns and efforts, which would correspond to this secret obsession with oneself.
- The second is the temptation to defend one’s self-esteem and to have recourse systematically (and thus not very adapted) to an offensive attitude or a defensive mindset to protect it.
These two strategies are different on the outside, but in reality, they are based on the same principles:
- People with low self-esteem will have a sense of conscious vulnerability.
- Whereas for people with high fragile self-esteem, this feeling of vulnerability will be less conscious and sometimes even totally unconscious.
High fragile, or low, these two profiles of self-esteem are so close that sometimes we observe a passage from one to the other according to the periods of life.
Let’s take the example of a person who was a shy and self-effacing teenager for a long time but who has done well in school. This person went on to find a high management position in a company.
In this job, he no longer remained the self-effacing teenager. Instead, he became the brittle, haughty boss at meetings and public outings. In fact, to age, he thought he had to harden himself. But, to be convincing, it seemed to him that he had to be threatening.
It should also be noted that these two profiles can coexist at the same time in the same person depending on the area of life:
- One can behave with high self-esteem with those close to him (by boasting or giving arguments).
- But adopting the reflexes of low self-esteem with strangers or impressive people, etc.
Another surprising example is generally shy people, in whom behaviors of low self-esteem in social situations will coexist with high self-esteem in daydreaming.
Indeed, these shy people sometimes present “bursts of revolt or unconsciousness,” which push them to act. We will then speak of the “audacity of the shy,” which is rare and unpredictable.
Vulnerable self-esteem: Conclusion
There are two types of self-esteem profiles: low self-esteem, with a conscious sense of vulnerability, and high self-esteem, with an unconscious sense of vulnerability.
Concerning low self-esteem, they have chosen to give up and prefer not to act to avoid failure. As a result, these people can become frustrated and bitter as they watch others succeed and enjoy their success.
Fragile high self-esteemers are people who over-position themselves. Indeed, they engage in several social comparisons: upwards, they envy or devalue; downwards, they despise. They want to build a strong and dominant image.
These two self-esteem profiles are so close that it is possible to observe a shift from one to the other depending on the period of a person’s life.
They can also coexist simultaneously in the same person, depending on specific areas of life.