Self-Worth: Can Childhood Trauma Stop Someone From Developing Self-Worth?

If someone was to take a step back and to reflect on when they feel good about themselves and when they don’t, they may notice a pattern. What they may start to see is that when they receive positive feedback from others, and shortly after this has taken place, they feel good.

Yet, if they haven’t received any positive feedback from others, they may see that they feel bad. If this is the case, it will be clear that how they feel about themselves is totally dependent on how other people treat them.

An Unstable Existence

As a result of this, it will be normal for them to feel good one moment and to feel bad in the next moment. They will be like a see-saw that is constantly in use; forever moving up and down and rarely being in balance.

To go from one experience to the other will be hard enough, but what could make it even harder is that each side could be extremely different. Of course, each side will be different, yet they could go from feeling really good to feeling really bad.

A Massive Shift

One is then not just going to feel good and then to feel bad; they could feel on top of the world and then end up feeling very low. It could be a real shock to their system when this happens.

As soon as they do feel low, they could try to find a way to receive more positive feedback from others. What they could see is that this is something that takes place without them having to even think about it.

Stuck On a Treadmill

Through being this way, they may see that they have the tendency to constantly be doing things. In general, what they do will be a way for them to receive positive feedback from others.

This could mean that they have the need to always look a certain way, to always be working hard and/or to be seen as popular. Whatever it is, it is going to mean that they will experience a fair amount of pressure.

An Uncomfortable Experience

If they were to do nothing and to simply relax, they would end up coming into contact with a lot of painful feelings. Being a ‘human doing’ as opposed to a ‘human being’ will be what feels comfortable.

It will be as though they are running a race that doesn’t end and, although they will be tired, they won’t be able to stop. Or, if they do stop and have a sit-down, they will soon have to pick themselves up and to continue.

One Purpose

So, when it comes to what they do each day, most, if not all, of what they do could be a way for them to receive positive feedback from others. And while it might not matter who gives them approval, there could be a certain type of person who they desire approval from.

Consequently, a lot of what they do might not bring them true fulfilment. It could be said that this is to be expected, considering the fact that they will be focused on pleasing others as opposed to themselves.

An Empty Vessel

What is clear here is that one is not going to have a felt sense of their own value. In other words, they won’t know at the core of their being that they have inherent value and that this value can’t be taken away from them.

As far as their mind is concerned, they will have to continually earn their value and thus, their value will be in the hands of others. Other people are then going to define if they have value or not.

A New Outlook

For as long as they can remember, they may have been this way and, throughout this time, they will have believed their mind. But, even though experiencing life in this way will be normal, it doesn’t mean that it is the only way.

And, even though it may have seemed as though their mind was telling the truth, it doesn’t mean that what it has been saying is the truth. The truth is that there is another way and that that they do have inherent value.

A Closer Look

The reason why one wouldn’t have a felt sense of their own value can be due to what took place during their early years. Perhaps this was a time when they were abused and/or neglected on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

This would have meant that they didn’t receive the love, care and nurturance that they needed to be able to grow and to develop in the right way. It is true that they were born with inherent value, but in order for them to realise this value, they would have needed to receive the right care.

The Missing Piece

Their first birth would have taken place – the physical birth – but their second birth – the emotional birth – wouldn’t have occurred. The outcome of this is that they would have stayed in an undeveloped state.

Without an understanding of why they are this way, they would have naturally done the best that they could to feel better about themselves. It would have been as though there was something inherently wrong with them; in reality, there is nothing inherently wrong with them.


Based on what they went through as a child, there is no reason why they would be any other way; in a way, they were destined to experience life in this way. What they went through wasn’t their fault or something that they deserved to experience.

If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can take place with the assistance of a therapist or healer.



Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over two thousand, five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to – http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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