20 Behaviors That Scream “I Have No Self-Respect”

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“I Have No Self-Respect”

Have you ever looked at someone’s behavior and wondered where their self-respect went?

Whether it’s someone else’s actions or your own being scrutinized, here are 20 behaviors that confirm self-respect has left the building.

1. Taking responsibility for things that aren’t your fault.

When things go badly, you may take responsibility for them even if you weren’t to blame at all. You may apologize for things like traffic making you late for work, or that the store didn’t have the right type of juice in stock when you went grocery shopping that day.

2. Tolerating disrespectful behavior.

If someone treated your best friend or your child in a disrespectful manner, you’d step up to defend and protect them, right? So why do you tolerate disrespect when it’s aimed at you? Keeping the peace and not making a fuss comes at a cost, and that’s your own self-respect.

3. Constantly seeking external validation.

A person who’s severely lacking in self-esteem and self-respect will constantly seek out validation from others. Instead of being able to see their own value and worth, they’ll try to elicit praise from others and get anxious if their efforts or appearance aren’t sufficiently recognized and commented on positively.

4. Engaging in toxic relationships.

Many people who lack self-respect end up in relationships that are bad for them because they choose partners that will draw admiration or envy from others, rather than those who are actually good for them. As such, they tolerate toxic or abusive behavior for the sake of perceived social or personal benefit.

5. Sacrificing your own needs to keep others happy.

People who care about and respect themselves know that they need to do the equivalent of putting on their own oxygen masks before helping others with theirs. How can anyone respect you if you martyr yourself on others’ behalf and don’t respect yourself enough to attend to your own needs?

6. Staying in situations that make you unhappy.

Whatever you’re not changing, you’re choosing. As a result, if you’re choosing to remain in a situation that makes you horribly unhappy, and you are complaining about it rather than taking action to make things better, that tells the world that you don’t have enough self-respect to make yourself a priority.

7. Allowing others to make decisions for you.

A story recently circulated about a woman whose date canceled her order of fries without even consulting her. A person who has no self-respect would simply allow that decision without complaint because they place a higher priority on avoiding confrontation or “causing a scene” than being treated with basic courtesy.

8. Not setting (or enforcing) boundaries.

People who don’t have much self-respect refrain from establishing or enforcing personal boundaries. Generally, they’re so afraid of rejection or abandonment that they’re willing to let other people mistreat them, just as long as they don’t leave. To them, maintaining a relationship is more important than their own wellbeing.

9. Agreeing to things you don’t want to do.

If your low self-respect makes you afraid to lose people by not pandering to their wants, you might agree to things that make you uncomfortable just to maintain the status quo. Alternatively, you may be so checked out that you try to maintain the peace by any means necessary.

10. Neglecting yourself.

Being lax about personal hygiene is a surefire sign that both your self-respect and your level of self-esteem have taken a nosedive. If you haven’t been showering, changing your clothes, caring for your teeth, or even eating properly, you’re essentially broadcasting that you don’t see yourself as worthy of self-care.

11. Engaging in self-destructive activities.

Some people with low self-respect partake in self-destructive behaviors as a means of punishing themselves for perceived wrongdoings. Others use these activities as coping mechanisms for past, unhealed traumas. If you’ve been intentionally causing yourself harm, it means that you don’t respect yourself enough to show self-compassion and empathy.

12. Self-sabotaging and undermining your own success.

If you believe on a fundamental level that you’re unworthy of success, you may self-sabotage to create a self-fulfilling prophecy about your inevitable failure. Alternatively, if you feel that success might put you in a vulnerable position, you may sabotage your efforts in order to remain in your comfort zone.

13. Settling for less than you’re worth.

People with low self-respect don’t see themselves as having much value. As such, they’ll settle for unfulfilling relationships, low-paying jobs, and other things that don’t reflect their individual worth. Even worse, they’ll feel lucky to have those scraps, since they truly believe they don’t deserve any better than that.

14. Not standing up for yourself when needed.

If you’ve been suffering from low self-respect for some time, you may let others put you down without defending yourself. Despite the fact that their cruelty is unfounded, you may believe that you deserve mistreatment on some level—especially if you feel any measure of self-loathing for perceived past transgressions.

15. Always comparing yourself badly to others.

A person who cares about and respects themselves will acknowledge that they are unique individuals with a great deal to offer the world. In contrast, someone with no self-respect will perpetually try to weigh and measure themselves against other people, and will perpetually find themselves to be wanting in comparison.

16. Saying “yes” when you want to say “no”.

If you don’t want to do something because it makes you uncomfortable, but you agree to do it to make someone else happy, that’s a solid sign of low self-respect. A person who holds themselves and their wellbeing in high regard wouldn’t agree to anything they didn’t want to do.

17. Constantly second-guessing yourself.

You may be an expert in your field, but low self-respect makes you second-guess everything you do. Even though you’re certain that you know what you’re doing, you’ll question yourself and feel sure you’ve messed up. Then, when it turns out you were right, you’ll feel even more self-loathing.

18. Letting others invalidate your feelings and experiences.

A person who doesn’t respect themselves will often allow other people to determine whether their thoughts and feelings are valid or not. As such, if others tell you that you’re being stupid or overreacting about something, you’ll believe them instead of standing firm in the truth of your own experience.

19. Not advocating for yourself.

Your low self-respect may prevent you from advocating for yourself as needed. For example, you may end up getting mistreated or bullied by healthcare professionals or people at work, having your knowledge and experience undermined because others feel superior to you. Since you think so poorly of yourself, you’ll agree.

20. Behaving in a childish or adolescent manner.

Unless you’re an actual child or a teenager, behaving like one is a huge sign that you don’t have self-respect. This includes using “baby talk” when you speak, dressing in age-inappropriate clothes, and engaging in irresponsible or belligerent behavior in professional environments such as work, post-secondary school, legal proceedings, and so on.

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.