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Improving Self-Esteem: Online Hypnotherapy and Self-Esteem

When we observe our thoughts and feelings, we often rate ourselves and others too negatively or excessively positive. This depends on the situation. Both versions lead to a dead end. Because the clear view of ourselves and others is then usually overlaid by distorted beliefs. The causes of which can often be found in childhood and youth. Be it by adopting the views of the people who raised us, or by past emotional injuries and grievances. These lowerings or elevations negatively affect our perception and behavior.

The evaluation we have of ourselves has a significant influence on the love relationships and friendships we have, how we get along at work, how we deal with ourselves, with other people, especially with our partner, children, friends, and with handling conflicts in general.

Self-esteem problems lead to recurring similar destructive relationships or situations that can make you mentally and physically ill in the long term. An important starting point for our well-being is positive self-esteem. It forms the basis for trust in yourself and your own life.

Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Negative Beliefs

Signs of decreased self-esteem are mainly negative inner beliefs, attitudes, and opinions. The increased self-criticism and derogatory beliefs are central aspects.

Examples of beliefs that demean us:

  • I am not good enough.
  • I am not important.
  • I am worthless.
  • I must be sweet and well-behaved/conform.
  • I am not allowed to say „no.“
  • I am excluded.
  • I get the short end of the stick.
  • I am a burden.
  • I am inferior.

 

Examples of beliefs that make us feel overly responsible:

  • I am responsible for your mood.
  • I have to be the best.
  • I have to function.
  • I have to meet your expectations.
  • I have to make it on my own.
  • I have to be strong.
  • I must not make any mistakes.
  • I am superior to you.
  • I am to blame.

These limiting thoughts prevent a realistic view of our abilities, resources, achievements, and often also of our actual being. In this thicket of imprints, good feelings and a healthy self-perception can hardly be generated from within. For this reason, a positive self-assessment and inner support tend to be dependent on the acceptance and assessment of others.

The diminished self-esteem is often compensated by:

  • popularity, affection received, attention granted
  • achievement, intelligence or extraordinary abilities
  • possessions, strength, power
  • appearance or charisma
  • one’s own moral, political, spiritual or religious positioning

 

Defense strategies – programs to avoid painful feelings

If we feel attacked in our self-worth, we react insecurely, we doubt ourselves, we are depressed, ashamed, or offended. Everyone has defense strategies to protect their self-worth, set limits, and assert themselves. Depending on the situation, we react with defensive maneuvers if we feel threatened. First of all, this is a natural and healthy response. It becomes problematic when something is subjectively viewed as a danger that is not a danger.

Destructive beliefs take on a life of their own through damaged self-esteem and anchor themselves in the subconscious. So, depending on the trigger, we fall into emotional reactivation and defense programs. Other people and their actions are perceived in a distorted manner and behavioral patterns have formed to avoid painful feelings that are behind reduced self-esteem. The reactions are then often no longer appropriate to the situation and exceed a healthy level in their severity. This leads to increased conflicts in interpersonal relationships in professional and private life and a fundamental mental imbalance.

Psychological defense mechanisms and low self-esteem

Usually, we employ several defense mechanisms and vary them. A tendency towards one or the other variant goes back to early experiences and depends on the respective situation and the individual nature of the person. Everyone reacts from time to time destructively, for example when the stress is increased at times. The decisive factor is how often and how pronounced an unconscious emotional program runs and what is subjectively assessed as a danger.*

 

Defense program: Adapt and strive for harmony

Attempts are made to live up to other people’s expectations and to conform instead of going one’s own way, in extreme form to the point of self-sacrifice. People with a tendency to this program often do not say directly what they feel, think or want. Especially not if they suspect that they will meet with resistance. At the same time, there is often a silent expectation that others must know that a boundary has already been crossed. This program type often finds it difficult to define personal wishes because their own needs are put before others. In the long term, this carries the risk of developing depression.

Emotional pattern: feeling of having to conform, of not being enough, of being inferior, of having to be sweet and well-behaved.

Typical signs:

  • suppressing their own desires and feelings (including, above all, their own anger and aggression about the fact that they actually want things to be quite different)
  • setting little or no boundaries
  • resulting passive-aggressive behaviour (silent refusal, silent resistance, insulted withdrawal, silence)
  • making oneself small
  • self-reproach, self-accusation, self-punishment
  • subordinating one’s own opinion to the opinion of others
  • submissive behaviour
  • whining, complaining
  • conflict aversion
  • not being able to let go
  • excessive striving for deep connection, merging with others
  • yes-man

People who tend to be more inclined to this program are often empathetic and friendly. They need and desire (deep) contact with people. They tend to be consistent and loyal team players, and some have strong abilities to empathize deeply with others and sense each other’s needs. This makes them fantastic judges of character.

Closely related to this program is also the helper syndrome. People of this type tend to overestimate their influence on the other person, to become attached to and to spend themselves on people whom they cannot help, for example because the other person does not take any responsibility of his own and does not want to change anything about his situation himself.

 

Defense Program: Striving for perfection and control

There is always a higher, faster, further, better. In addition to the job, possessions, partner and friendships as well as hobbies are used to increase self-worth. In this program, there is a tendency to overdo and exhaust oneself. Mistakes are made unwillingly and are sometimes strongly devalued in oneself and others. High demands are made on oneself and the environment. Unfortunately, one’s own successes and the achievements of others are often not appreciated and valued.

Feeling patterns: feeling of not being enough, not being able to trust, having to have everything under control, being worthless, being at the mercy of others, not being allowed to make mistakes, being bad, being no good.

Typical signs:

  • Precision in work and action
  • function
  • impatient and intolerant
  • urge to optimize oneself as well as partners and friends
  • unable to appreciate own successes and achievements in oneself and others
  • meticulous
  • self-criticism and criticism of others
  • fear of new and unfamiliar things
  • high expectations and demands on life
  • fixed opinions and opinions that want to be fixed
  • thinking in terms of rules and laws (from which creative, lively and life-like thinking suffers)
  • resentful
  • constricting appearance and limiting thinking
  • problems with delegating tasks
  • suspicious
  • tendency to brood to brooding compulsion (a solution must be found)
  • Difficulty to let things happen and go with the flow

People with tendency to this program are often strong-willed and persistent. They act reliably, consistently and solution-oriented. They can provide great support and guidance. This type is often responsible, (self-)disciplined, controlled, correct and stands by his opinion. Pronounced skills in organizing and planning can also be.

 

Defense Program: Attack and Counterattack

In the case of supposed or actual criticism (even constructive criticism), counter-attacks and justifications quickly follow. Many objective statements of others are interpreted as a personal attack. This can cause tension, aggression and anger to build up internally, which are then discharged more or less uncontrollably. People of this type often lack awareness and insight for their own misconduct in an immature form. In this case, they act recklessly, dominantly and excessively self-centered.

Emotional patterns: feeling inferior, not being allowed to separate themselves, coming up short, not being important, not being able to trust.

Typical signs:

  • inappropriate rebellion
  • sudden hurtful sharpness
  • making oneself unapproachable
  • elevating oneself above others
  • setting limits excessively
  • arrogant, lofty, arrogant appearancel
  • lecturing, knowing better
  • judging from above
  • devaluing opinions, views of others, devaluing the whole person
  • gruffness
  • complaining excessively
  • quick change from affection to hostile rejection
  • cynical remarks
  • pretending to be stronger, more easy-going, more relaxed than one actually is
  • self-centered, egomaniacal behavior
  • excessive expectations and demands
  • querulousness
  • excessive striving for separation and autonomy
  • naysayers

People with this tendency often have a high intellectual alertness, a sharp mind. They are often more rational and factual than emotional. There can be a great difference in maturity between intellect and emotion, that is, between rationality and emotionality. If their emotional life is not impoverished but shyly withheld, then they are basically very differentiated and sensitive people. If this program type is egocentric, they live and emphasize the self-preserving sides and evaluate primarily according to what is appropriate for him/her.

 

Defense program: Striving for power

Active or passive resistance takes place in order to maintain the upper hand in interpersonal relationships and to demonstrate one’s own power. In this program, fellow human beings are unconsciously perceived as superior and dominant.

Emotional patterns: feeling at the mercy of others, being powerless, not being able to defend oneself, not being enough, not being allowed to make mistakes, not being able to trust, having to be in control of everything, falling short.

 

Typical signs:

  • active resistance
  • attack and assault
  • insisting on one’s own right
  • going into the argument again and again
  • shouting, hitting
  • everything must go according to one’s own will
  • demanding behavior (also demanding more than one gives)
  • charging and countercharging for favors
  • pseudo-intellectual analyses
  • passive resistance
  • offended silence*
  • stubbornly and uncompromisingly doing one’s own thing
  • dawdling
  • large and small acts of sabotage
  • silent refusal
  • not keeping promises or implementing them extremely slowly
  • stonewalling
  • sexual listlessness
  • subliminal manipulation
  • refusal to cooperate

*In many interpersonal problems, silence often fails to find solutions and can lead to final or years-long breaks in contact. Silence demonstrates to the other person how hurt one is and at the same time that one no longer considers it necessary to engage in conversation. Silence is both an insult and an insult. In the case of a person who remains silent because he or she is offended, this unfortunately prevents displeasure and grief from being processed well and natural interpersonal problems from being clarified. Many disputes are thus extremely complicated and made unsolvable. The offended silencer thus robs himself of any chance for change and reconciliation in interpersonal contacts.

Power people are inherently robust natures. They defend themselves and stand up to their counterparts. For their fellow human beings, however, they are often exhausting. Types with a pronounced tendency toward active resistance can have a frightening effect on others in a violent form, igniting feelings of helplessness or triggering great counteraggressions.

People who tend to passive resistance can make their fellow human beings extremely angry. The other person feels helpless as a result of these behaviors because, on the surface, there appears to be no conflict and the resister walks away from the communication. It can happen that the other person then suddenly stands there as „the guilty one“ because the latter, aware of the manipulation, explodes in helpless anger at a certain point. In both passive and active resistance, feelings of powerlessness are inflicted on the other person, which are actually intended to be prevented in oneself.

With all self-protection strategies, there is a danger of depression and stress&exhaustion if they are permanently exaggerated.

*All defence strategies mentioned here are according to Stefanie Stahl: The Child in You, Penguin Books Ltd. 2021.

 

What is the purpose of emotional defense mechanisms?

The obstructive behavior and emotional patterns ultimately stem from personal distress. All defense programs essentially go back to the well-known experience of rejection, devaluation, attack, and injury. The more intensely and frequently experiences of this kind are made, the more pronounced certain patterns appear.

All experiences that we have made are present in our cell memory and as imprints in our subconscious and „circle“ there. Every person carries his or her life history of injuries and insults with him. If we encounter certain people or situations, these can act as a trigger that pushes old painful feelings to the surface while they are still unresolved. To avoid these feelings, we unconsciously go into defense programs. This leads to misunderstandings and problems in interpersonal relationships.

What are the root causes of low self-esteem

The first relationships we have in our life are those with our caregivers, usually parents, but also with grandparents and other relatives, siblings, friends, educators, and teachers. In these relationships, injuries can occur in the course of life (physical, verbal, energetic), which leave their mark on the subconscious and then influence our behavior.

Hurtful behavior of caregivers

  • love withdrawal and love rejection (withdrawal of affection, attention, interest)
  • disrespect
  • devaluation
  • humiliation
  • isolatio
  • devaluation
  • hitting, shouting
  • Lack of presence (physical, emotional, energetic)
  • ignorance
  • envy of the child, envy of the child’s strengths
  • Wanting to change the child’s personality
  • showering with praise
  • constricting, limiting love
  • appropriation
  • Conveying to the child that he or she is terrific, that he or she only has to say what he or she wants and needs in order to survive in the world.
  • alcoholism, drug use
  • early separations and losses (divorce of parents, hospitalization, death of a caregiver)
  • excessive and age-inappropriate punishment
  • excessive instructions and prescriptions
  • excessive expectations and demands
  • taking other people for more important (other family members or strangers)
  • leaving the child alone, leaving the child to his own devices
  • rejection (including unconscious rejection, for example because there was no desire to have a child or the child was born the „wrong“ sex)
  • insults and shaming
  • excessive control
  • taking the child as a substitute for the partner
  • patriarchal upbringing
  • affection tied to conditions
  • not trusting the child, not letting him/her have his/her own experiences
  • overanxious behavior
  • not encouraging abilities and strengths
  • preventing the child’s own will
  • mental illness of one of the parents
  • alcoholism in the family
  • putting pressure on the child up to the point of coercion
  • demand excessive, not age-appropriate performance
  • constantly reproach mistakes
  • blaming the child

Now and then everyone loses his temper. Even parents who fulfill their role appropriately sometimes act emotionally and reactively as described above. Injuries and hurts are like human relationships. We continue to grow and develop based on these conditions. The decisive factor for the influence on self-esteem is to what extent, with what severity and frequency, harmful behaviors occurred and whether and how much love, care, and support from outside were there for the child. It is like the child to love their parents. The hurtful behavior is subconsciously coupled with love in the child. At the same time, it takes the wrongdoing personally. This constellation can lead to problems in adulthood.

What is a deep hurt for one does not mean great emotional hurt for another. This also depends on the nature of the child and their sensitivity. It is crucial that the caregiver(s) could not subjectively give the child what it would have needed individually for healthy self-esteem.

Parentified children

Children who have taken on the parental role themselves, either completely or temporarily, possess an enormous amount of power, strength and empathy and have taken on a high level of responsibility. They are often the „social workers of the family“, have (unconsciously) sensed the dysfunctional sides of their parents early on and have taken over the roles in the family system that were not occupied. For example, they are partner substitutes for a parent, take on parenting roles for themselves and younger siblings, are providers, counselors, therapists, mediators, arbiters for their own parents/one parent. The roles are not appropriate for the child and are extremely overwhelming for the child. These dysfunctional relationship dynamics of the formative childhood years are very often key to unhealthy relationship patterns as an adult.

If we have experiences like that we are forced to suppress our own feelings and needs as a child and learn to ignore and block them out. As a result, people often have difficulty in their self-confidence and finding their identity (for example, in being clear about their individuality and personal desires and goals) and in setting their own boundaries appropriately with others.

If people have not been appreciated and recognized for their role, or even devalued (threatened withdrawal of love, relationship breakdown, suicide of a parent, manipulation through guilt), they tend to become depressed when they find themselves in similar situations and feelings of being overburdened in their further lives. If they have been praised and affirmed for their non-developmental role („What would I do without you?“), they tend to burnout & exhaustion later in their professional life and may become depressed when all efforts have come to naught. Emotional patterns here are: Feelings of grandiosity („You can’t do without me“), but at the same time feeling bluffed and unable to fill the role, inability to rely on and trust others, being overwhelmed, fear of failure, and problems with competition.

Split-off feelings and split-off personality parts

If a person has felt certain insults, shame, and injuries as very strong and he was left to his own devices and accordingly overwhelmed, our psyche protects us by splitting off feelings or entire emotional parts of us and repressing them into the subconscious. These are like a frozen blind spot and no longer ripen with it. If the injuries are not processed afterward and the split-off feelings and parts are not reintegrated, the injured child or adolescent part, who feels as it did then and reports from the subconscious, reacts instead of the mature adult.

There are particularly sensitive phases on our path in life, in which there are inevitably more injuries and insults. Our personality development and the foundation of our self-worth depend very much on how these major phases are experienced. Negative experiences during these times weigh particularly heavily on self-esteem. In addition to the prenatal phase in the womb and childbirth, these are primarily the first 3 years of life, but also the childhood years and puberty.

Phases of upheaval, such example, starting a career, getting married, having a child, or becoming aware of one’s finitude (midlife crisis, empty nest syndrome, retirement age) are more sensitive phases in life.

Transmitted and projected negative feelings

During therapy sessions, many people show that certain negative feelings are not just about their sadness, fear, shame, or anger, but that the feelings were passed on to the child unnoticed by one or more caregivers.

Transmission occurs, for example, when children perceive the feelings of their caregiver, but cannot classify them and as a result, relate them to themselves. Besides, there may be projections on the part of the caregiver. Own negative feelings, which the adult perceives in himself, but does not acknowledge and allow, are projected onto the child. For example, the child is assumed to be moody, overly sensitive, inadequate, anxious, or „wild“ that the caregiver does not allow himself or herself. In many cases, the client unconsciously tries to resolve the conflict that triggered these feelings in the caregiver for the caregiver. These transfers can usually be resolved well in therapy.

What are the long term effects of low self-esteem?

If the inner foundation has suffered cracks and breaks, a person can increasingly come into contact with people and situations in his further life that are hurtful and restrictive for him. These are partners, friends, teachers, professional and private situations. Projections, attitudes, beliefs, life concepts, and negative feelings, as well as trauma, are passed on from generation to generation as a long-term consequence. On the one hand, because they leave genetic marks in the cell memory that can be inherited. On the other hand, because they are passed on to their children directly or indirectly through hurtful manners.

Everyone strives for healing, that is, for becoming whole or completing. Therefore, we unconsciously bind ourselves again and again to people or situations that show a pattern that is similar and familiar to us as that of our childhood and those of our caregivers – until the inner conflicts are resolved and hidden longings and wishes are fulfilled. We also unconsciously attach ourselves to people who have experienced similar self-esteem and injuries.

It is not uncommon that we see a „soul mate“ in others with whom we hope for a deep bond and healing. The problem with this is that other people cannot satisfy our inner demands and desires because they do not have mature emotional and behavioral patterns themselve and because it is not their job to heal our old and deep wounds. Satisfaction develops in ourselves and within our personal development and maturation process. In the best case, we have positive and benevolent companions and healthy relationships by our side.

Integtral Online Hypnotherapy: Strengthen self-confidence and self-esteem

If one’s negative feelings and behaviors and the underlying emotional wounds are not looked at and healed, a destructive cycle results. Conflicts and crises, which at some point lead to depression and burnout or physical illnesses, can be the result There often is an increased withdrawal and avoidance of situations and people. This limits one’s own life more and more.

Self-esteem problems are blockages that prevent you from gaining serenity, inner strength, and integrity. They restrict life and the flow of life, prevent appreciation, alertness, and clarity for what is there and good. Self-esteem problems block nourishing and enriching relationships, an open and clear view as well as personal opportunities and further development.

Online Integral Counseling for self-esteem problems can help you see more clearly and understand the bigger picture. It helps to react in everyday situations without stressful emotional charge and to set personal boundaries appropriately. More integrity and a sense of responsibility for one’s own decisions make it possible for one’s own life to be experienced more freely, more consciously, and more authentically.

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