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Symptoms and Consequences of
Low Self-Esteem

Cognitive Symptoms & Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Praise for Dr. Sorensen's Work

The last two years have been a massive journey for me and I just wanted to thank you for all your help in getting me to where I am today - I wouldn't have believed if you'd told me I would ever feel this good again.

Two years ago, I had more than 40 physical Symptoms of Anxiety, all of the mental ones, had severe de-realisation and de-personalisation and was considering suicide. [Read more]

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Emotional Symptoms & Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

phone therapy

Behavioral Symptoms & consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Signs of Confidence & Healthy Self-Esteem:

Comments from a reader

As a former superintendent of schools, I am aware that self-esteem is a critical element in the emotional and intellectual development of young people and I wish that all parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators understood what young people with low self-esteem experience — what they think and feel on a daily basis... so they would be able to recognize the signs that a child is struggling with this problem... A step toward that end is the book, Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem, by Portland clinical psychologist, Marilyn J. Sorensen, Ph.D. Probably the best book ever written on this issue for the general public, Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem thoroughly explores this complex subject in clear, succinct, and easily understandable language. It provides steps to understanding and working on the problem ... and is a fascinating read. This is a book everyone should read—including teenagers.

Zan Freeburn

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book cover breaking the chain of low self esteemBreaking The Chain of Low Self Esteem: Second Edition

Questions and Answers about Low Self-Esteem (LSE)

1. What is Low Self-Esteem?

Low self-esteem is actually a thinking disorder in which an individual views (thinks of) himself as inadequate, unacceptable, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent—thinking that permeates every aspect of a person’s life.

Watch The Video: From Suicide to a Second Chance at Life (in 3 parts)


2. How and when does low self-esteem develop?

Low Self-Esteem ALWAYS forms in childhood when the individual is developing an initial view of how he or she, as a person, fits into the world. This process begins at birth and may continue to be cemented up to age 8 or 10.

"...Since I Read the Book, My Life is Much Better..."

I read Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem some years ago and felt totally identified with situations and examples described there. I found the answer of a lot of questions that I have had all my life and, without any doubt, that book and your therapy have deeply changed my life.
The book is amazing, after reading it, one changes his self-perception by working on the practical and helpful exercises to start the way of improvement and growth and as a result, a happier life.
I am very thankful because since I read the book, my life is much better and I have a different and better concept of myself.

Francisco Bracamonte

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3. Why do therapists have so little understanding of what low self-esteem is or how to treat low self-esteem?

Unfortunately, therapists are not taught to be open to other ideas or conclusions. They have spent years and thousands of dollars in school learning one way of doing things and the suggestion they change to something that is completely new is very discouraging and too heavy to encourage change. Secondly, the Diagnostic Manual is primarily written by psychiatrists and by people who would be greatly negatively affected, it this were to be established. So, they are unwilling to consider that low self-esteem may well be the primary foundation of a great many diagnosis in the manual. Not all psychiatrists agree with the manual, however and this must be remembered. The consequences of changing the manual would be that thousands or even millions of people would not be on medication, but could work with someone familiar with my Recovery Program and could fully recover.

4. Can one recover from this issue? Even, if he or she is older? What is the process and how long does it take?

Most definitely!! Anyone motivated to get over this problem can do so, if the person is determined, persevering, and has patience. Dr. Sorensen has developed the Sorensen Self-Esteem Recovery Program that has proven to be high effective in altering the thinking and ultimately the lives of those who suffer from LSE. Those who work with Dr. Sorensen are amazed at the progress they make and how quickly it goes. After the first session, most are able to recognize the possibilities of the path they are on with her program.

5. How would I know if I have low self-esteem?

Take the Sorensen (Interactive) Self-Esteem Test on this page and other pages on this website. No one can see your answers.

These are but some of the symptoms of low self-esteem.

6. Who suffers from low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem is a serious disorder that affects millions of people, destroying relationships, paralyzing people with fear and creating lives that will never reach their full potential, and leaving them off balance, needy, and unfilled.

7. Can a person tell if others have low self-esteem?

You can not necessarily tell that a person has low self-esteem because many who have low self esteem become experts at hiding their feelings and maintaining the appearance of control, even though this is not what they feel on the inside. In fact, many very successful people in high level careers actually suffer from low self-esteem, though only those close to them are aware of they have low self esteem.

Dr. Sorensen believes the following about low self-esteem:

  1. Low self-esteem is actually a thinking disorder in which an individual views himself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior.
  2. Low self-esteem should be included in the diagnostic manual (that is utilized by all therapists to determine diagnoses). Instead, it is frequently mentioned as a symptom of many other disorders, which is backwards: low self-esteem is the disorder, not merely the symptom.
  3. Low self-esteem always forms in childhood, when an individual is developing his initial view of himself and his attributes. Once formed, low self esteem cannot be overcome without going through a recovery process.
  4. A person cannot merely "raise" one's low self-esteem and transform it into healthy self-esteem. Instead a person has to learn to alter his basic view of self and transform his thinking and attitudes, which is not a simple process or a quick fix.
  5. Low self-esteem is a serious disorder that affects millions of people--both men and women--destroying their relationships, paralyzing them with fear, and creating lives that will never reach their full potential, leaving them off balance, needy, and unfulfilled.
  6. Unfortunately, like the general public, most therapists are misinformed about low self-esteem and it's consequences and therefore, don't know how to treat it. Many people go to therapy for this issue and leave feeling hopeless about their lives and disillusioned about therapy.

Books by Dr. Marilyn J Sorensen:
Available in either paperback, PDFs, or eReaders.

Order PDFs now. Order books in paperback now. Order eReaders now. New 3rd Edition of Breaking The Chain of Low Self-Esteem, 2011, only available for eReaders.

Want to start reading today? Download your copy of the new e-book versions of:

Do you have questions about your Download Version order? click here

self-esteem questionnaireWonder if you have low self esteem?




Click on the graphic at the left to take the interactive Sorensen Self Esteem Test and learn your score! (Adobe Acrobat Reader necessary to view PDF.)



Once low self-esteem is formed, it can only be overcome through a process of recovery. Dr. Sorensen has developed the only known program to do that--one that is extremely effective and is spelled out through the three books above.

Dr. Sorensen has made it her life's goal to observe and study low self-esteem. As a result, she has been able to recognize the causes, the symptoms, and the self-defeating patterns common to all low self esteem sufferers.

Reading her books will enable you to understand:

Self-Esteem, Misunderstood and Trivialized by Society


The Impact of Low Self-Esteem In an Individual's Personal Life

Low Self-Esteem is a contributing factor in most cases involving:

The Impact of Low Self-Esteem In an Individual's Relationships

LSE in the BedroomRelationships are greatly affected by low self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem tend to become either aggressive, passive, or passive-aggressive when threatened. They become defensive and argumentative or they withdraw and isolate, behaviors which do not contribute to healthy communication. Additionally, those with low self-esteem tend to be confused about who and when to trust and often make poor choices in partners. Intimacy becomes difficult to achieve and maintain due to these and other factors.

Preventing Low Self-Esteem In Children

Low Self-Esteem can form in childhood as the result of:

LSE in childrenLow self-esteem begins in childhood. The major contributors to low self-esteem are parents, teachers, child-care workers, grandparents, siblings, peers, and other relatives and authorities in the child's life. Parents, however, have the best and most consistent opportunity to influence the view a child has of himself.

Most parents try to be good parents. Unfortunately, however, most parents rely on their own childhood, their intuition, and their own sense of what works to determine how to treat their children; many simply repeat the mistakes their own parents made.

For this very reason and due to many requests for guidance in building healthy self-esteem in children, Dr. Sorensen has written The Handbook for Building Healthy Self-Esteem in Children. This book is a resource that you will use again and again in considering if you are doing the best you can to instill healthy self-esteem in your child.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Sorensen with any questions concerning low self-esteem, her books, and her recovery program.