5 things men with low self-esteem do without realizing it

I think it’s fair to say that most of us have had our fair share of men with low self-esteem. 

Whether you’ve been in a relationship with one or luckily dogged that bullet, I’m pretty sure you’ll recognize the 5 behaviors listed below. 

And if you think you have a low self-esteem kinda man in your life right now, this list might be the confirmation you need. 

So, let’s not waste any time and get into it!

One of the first things men with low self-esteem do without realizing it is…

1) Playing the victim.

It’s common for men with low self-esteem to play the victim card. 

Think about someone who finds themselves in a tricky situation, and instead of taking responsibility or standing up for themselves, they blame everything and everyone else.

I’m talking about them.

Imagine this:

Your husband gets TikTok, and after having it for a few days, you use his phone for whatever. A notification pops up about an account he interacted with. You click on it.

To your shock, it’s a video of something you’re way uncomfortable with.

So, you go check his like history and see he’s interacted with a bunch of these videos. 

Only for him to deny it. 

His excuse? It must have been one of the kids who messed around on his phone. 

This is a red flag! But also a sign of super low self-esteem. 

The thing is, when someone’s self-esteem is low, they might feel unworthy or incapable of handling consequences. 

So, playing the victim becomes a kind of coping mechanism. 

For them, it’s better to deny what happened than to accept that their flaws are the reason you’re upset. 

But playing the victim goes deeper than just that. Because this man has a victim mentality, he probably also…

2) Becomes defensive whenever you’re close to the truth. 

Whether about him or something he did. 

Men with low self-esteem often have a sort of fortress of defensiveness. 

Like an emotional armor.

And whenever they sense criticism or even a hint of it, they go into full defense mode.

So, why does this happen?

Well, when someone doesn’t have much confidence in themselves, they can be hypersensitive to what others think or say about them. 

Subconsciously, these men feel like they’re under constant attack. 

Their behavior is how they try to protect themselves from feeling even worse. They build walls and lash out to shield their fragile self-esteem

It’s the only way they’re able to avoid facing their insecurities. 

And, of course, we can all get a little defensive sometimes. But it’s a problem when it becomes a recurring pattern or happens at the drop of a hat. 

Worse is when they’re defensive because…

3) They’re jealous of you.

behaviors that instantly make you more attractive 5 things men with low self-esteem do without realizing it

Truth is, when someone doesn’t feel great about themselves, they might start comparing. 

And as they do, they could feel inadequate or fear not measuring up.

This can lead to defensiveness. 

Let me explain:

Imagine you’re really into videography. So much so that you want to create an indie film with some of your videography friends. 

Your man at the time would make the perfect lead. He has that smoldering look and is always super funny. 

But when you ask him, he declines. Saying that he thinks the idea is stupid and he doesn’t like being on camera anyway.

Which you find really hurtful and weird. Because he takes a ton of selfies and always said you should produce something of your own someday. 

Turns out, he’s just scared of not perfecting the role. He knew you’re really good at what you do and feared that he would never measure up to your expectations. 

And those selfies? Well, it’s his way of controlling how he looks in pictures. Because deep down, he thinks he’s unattractive. 

Your partner is supposed to be your biggest supporter

So, if your man is acting like he’s not interested or even downplays the importance of what you’re doing, he either:

  • Has no real interest in you.
  • Has low self-esteem. 

Whatever else he does (or doesn’t do) will indicate which of these it is. 

Men with low self-esteem often shield themselves from the pain of feeling inadequate or unworthy when they’re jealous of someone. 

They’ll say something like, “I don’t care about that anyway,” when deep down, they’re actually hurting. 

But hold on.

Men with low self-esteem don’t always do things that can feel hurtful to you. Some turn on themselves too. 

If a man has low self-esteem, he could also…

4) Regularly put himself down. 

Men with low self-esteem are their own worst critics. And the sad part is that they don’t even realize they’re doing it. 

For example:

Your man does a great job at fixing the scratches on your car. When you praise him, he responds with something like:

“Oh, it was just luck, I guess.”


“Anyone could have done it better.”

Almost like he’s programmed to reject positive affirmations. 

Their low self-esteem can quickly change this subconscious behavior into a habit. And once it sticks, breaking free from this pattern is hard.

If it feels like you constantly need to validate your partner or remind him of what he’s capable of, you’re probably dating someone with low self-esteem. 

And while you might be okay with doing this, it can definitely be draining. Be careful that you don’t reach a point where you lose yourself trying to help him see his worth. 

Because in the end, it could be that he…

5) Hates himself so much that he’s incapable of accepting love. 

It can be incredibly challenging for men with low self-esteem to accept that someone truly loves and cares for them. 

Low self-esteem can put a little voice in their head that whispers, “Why would anyone love me? I’m not worthy of love,” over and over again.

It could feel like your being with them is a huge joke, and their falling for you is the punchline. 

You see, the struggle with accepting love and affection often stems from their negative self-image and deep-seated feelings of unworthiness

They might think they’re not good enough or loveable, making it difficult to believe that you see them differently. 

Want to know what’s worse?

Some men will even do things that damage their relationship to test your love for them.

They might flirt with others or do things you clearly stated you’re uncomfortable with. 

Navigating a relationship with a man struggling with low self-esteem can be emotionally complex. 

And you don’t need to feel bad if you’re not up for it. It’s not your job to fix him. 

But, if you want to stay and help him find his worth, you’ll have to be patient and understanding. There’s a huge chance that he’ll deny having self-image issues and refuse to seek professional help. 

There will also be times when you feel:

  • Hurt
  • Rejected
  • Unseen
  • Exhausted

It can be incredibly frustrating. Until there’s a breakthrough. 

Whatever you choose to do, know that whatever a man with low self-esteem does isn’t a reflection of your worth. 

Natasha Combrink

Natasha Combrink

Nats is a writer who loves creating content for purposeful brands. She enjoys spending time outdoors, crafting, and diving down rabbit holes. After rediscovering life, she wants to help others live to their full potential. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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