Self-esteem is a term that refers to how we think about ourselves. If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you may struggle with low self-esteem which can negatively impact your life.1
Strong self-esteem helps you remain confident, strong and connect with other people. But if you have BPD, feeling capable and serving may be very rare. Instead, you may feel incompetent or worthless more often.
Low Self-Esteem and BPD
Poor self-esteem can be an issue for many, not just those with BPD. If a person does not feel good about herself, she is not able to trust or validate her own feelings or experiences. This is going to color all of her relationships and interactions with others, as well as negatively affect her general mental health and day-to-day life.2
Effect on Anger
When you struggle with BPD, poor self-esteem may aggravate the anger you may experience. Various issues can be stored up and stay unresolved, often left to explode. Poor self-esteem can result in not advocating for yourself or even failing to value your own feelings.
Interacting with others requires an ability to trust your own perspective about others and situations. Because of low self-esteem, you may be unable to assert your thoughts or feelings except through anger.3
Poor self-esteem can make it impossible to successfully achieve personal goals. If a person does not think that she deserves to get or accomplish something, how can she really be successful at it? For instance, you may have difficulty in making and establishing friendships because your low opinion of yourself limits you.
Effect on Relationships
Low self-esteem can also make you suspicious of others. You may think that a friend wants something from you or will not like you if they really get to know you. To keep them in your life, you may avoid talking about issues until it escalates into anger, causing you to push your loved ones away.
How to Handle Low Self-Esteem
If low self-esteem is something you struggle with, it’s important to know you are not alone. This is a common issue many people, including those who do not have BPD, experience.
If you have not already, seek out a therapist who specializes in borderline personality disorder. Therapists with a background in BPD are familiar with common issues you may face, such as low self-esteem or fear of abandonment.
By using certain techniques, you will work together to identify your strengths and accomplishments so that you understand your worthiness and value. Through a combination of therapy and potentially medication, you can improve your self-esteem and live a richer, fuller life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with BPD or low self-esteem, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.