Are Most Black Men Insecure With Low Self-Esteem?

| 05/14/2011 | Comments (49)

High Self Esteem Defined
Self-esteem is defined by The National Association for Self-Esteem as “The experience of being capable of meeting life’s challenges and being worthy of happiness.”

why do so many young black men suffer from low self-esteem?The NASE article breaks self-esteem into two parts, competency and worthiness, and examines the relationship between these two components.

Worthiness, the psychological aspect of self-esteem, was defined as “whether or not a person lives up to certain fundamental human values, such as finding meanings that foster human growth and making commitments to them in a way that leads to a sense of integrity and satisfaction.”

The competency component is the behavioral or sociological component of self-esteem and is defined as “having the conviction that one is generally capable of producing desired results, having confidence in the efficacy of our mind and our ability to think, as well as to make appropriate choices and decisions.”

What is Low Self-Esteem?
Often we’ll run into people that are overly defensive and seem to “take things too personally” or go out of their way to prove themselves. Some may do or say outrageous things with the goal of impressing others with what they have, who they know, what they’ve done, their power or knowledge, etc.

Low self-esteem is closely associated with fear, a lack of trust and belief in themselves and self-doubt. People with low self-esteem tend to be submissive, people pleasers because they fear being rejected or losing love. Men with low self-esteem tend to have deep seated feelings of inferiority and may tend to be loners.

When one lacks confidence in oneself, a typical behavior pattern is to either attempt to control those around us with judgments, arrogance, snide remarks and contempt. These men will either put you down directly, or overinflate their value, talents or skills in a vain attempt to put themselves in a superior position. Their goal is to put you down to boost his ego and make himself feel better. However, other man may just retire into a corner and fill their heads with self-deprecating comments.

Generally, women with low self esteem adopt the latter behavior pattern, and males the former.

How Men Exhibit Low Self Esteem
The NASE website reports that “a close relationship has been documented between low self-esteem and such problems as violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and low academic achievement.”

When men lack confidence in themselves and doubt their value and acceptability to women, they fear rejection, ridicule and failure. These fears will manifest themselves in a failure to approach the woman they are interested in, or men will talk themselves out of relationships that could be really wonderful by sending negative messages of failure and pain. “I’m not good at [fill in the blank]!” is often heard as an excuse for not trying to do better from the lips of Black with low self esteem are often controlling jealous and verbally abusive or physically abusive to their partners

Once in a relationship, men with low self esteem often become very jealous and controlling of their woman. Amazed that someone loves them, they feel vulnerable and worried that if she leaves, he will be alone. His words often become harsh and abusive as he tries to control his feelings of need for her. Some men actually resort to physical violence as well. He may blame her for “making” him hit or cuss her out.

Actually, men with low self esteem can frequently be heard blaming other people (typically women), for their failures and shortcomings, refusing to take responsibility for their negative behaviors or lack of action. These Black men blame the demise of the Black family on Black women instead of themselves for leaving their children behind.

This is also why Black men blame pregnancies on Black women instead of themselves for not maintaining strict control over their sperm. This is why uneducated Black men are angry at educated Black women for having standards and expectations in a man that excludes them, as they don’t measure up.

(continued on page 2 below)

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  1. katt7369 says:

    I have been dating this guy off and on for 3 yrs he is so insecure and he has low self esteem I love him but I do not want to keep going through this with him. I am faithful to him and he thinks that i am cheating i can not even take a bath without him thinking that i am doing something wrong. He is mentally physically and emotionally abusing me yes i know i can do better but it just hurt me so because i am not doing anything wrong and its like i am killing my self to prove to him that i love him and want him only but he does not believe me i get so tired of him telling me that i want a pretty boy or i want someone with a bigger penis its just crazy  please someone help me and tell me what i should do it suppose to be over the last time i talk to him was 8/23/2013 and the last time he text me was 8/27/2013  he has been calling me but i do not respond to his text or phone calls cause he never has anything positive to say

  2. Brendan says:

    I’m half black. Many people would argue we (light skinned mulattoes) have the lowest self esteem of all the black men.
    I would agree. It gets better every year for me though. Thank you for this article, it points out a lot of things I am still changing in myself. I’m turning 25 this year, and hope to have my shit together enough to get a woman before Im 30.

  3. Marcus says:

    Well there are still a lot of problems in the black community. It’s not hard to believe that some black men put on an exterior of confidence and over the top personalities, because that’s all they’re able to see. Fatherless homes mix into the equation to boot.

    One point I would like to make is the vicious double standard that seems to apply directly to black men, and who it’s ‘Proper’ for them to date.

    A Black woman can become a professional and marry some white boy and the cultural mindset still says ‘Good for her, she’s gone up a class.’

    If a black man dates a white woman people evoke these images of ‘Daddy’s princesses’ rebelling for a fling with the black bad boy. Or he’s betraying his race. Even other black women look down on him dating ‘Some white bitch.’ – He’s not allowed to date outside of his race, or risk being labeled an uncle tom. Someone forsaking his culture.

    Like I said, it doesn’t make it surprising to see low self-esteem in Black men when they’re not even allowed to have the basic choice to date one women over another! Or else risk being socially ostracized.

    Fixing low self-esteem, personally, is going to need a lot more time for people to strike at the root issues of what’s wrong with Black America.

    • Raz says:

      Marcos; “If a black man dates a white woman people evoke these images of ‘Daddy’s princesses’ rebelling for a fling with the black bad boy. Or he’s betraying his race. Even other black women look down on him dating ‘Some white bitch.’ – He’s not allowed to date outside of his race, or risk being labeled an uncle tom. Someone forsaking his culture.”

      Black men have been dating white women in higher numbers and far longer than black women date nonblack men. So stop lying. Don’t nobody care about you going over there to get Becky. If she thinks a low self esteem having loser black dude is the bomb, she is welcome to y’all. She is doing black women a favor, one less bottom of the barrel type of fool in the dating pool for a black woman to deal with.

    • Marcus says:

      Maybe YOU don’t – but I can assure you other people DO. A brick through my window when I was in university says so. And if you’re taking this to mean I have low self-esteem then I would kindly ask you to not make assumptions.

      What I’m concerned about, and simply pointing out is the way Men are portrayed in media, and in this case specifically black men today. We all have stock stories of Jesse Jackson, Dr. King, Malcolm X and others – but our contemporaries today?

      I repeatedly see stories, Television series, all sorts of media that is about empowering Black women, this is GOOD! We need to remind ourselves that we ARE capable of these things. What bugs me is when female empowerment comes at the price of male dignity. An open and healthy relationship is an agreement of trust between two people, who can both think and act for themselves.

      That’s not what I see portrayed though. When all too many Black men are portrayed as incompetent boobs. Idiots who can’t even keep track of their shoes, much less raise a family. Or hold a job. There was a movie that showed a black man as a single father, and I couldn’t help but think it to be insulting when people said it was unrealistic.

      Doesn’t that say a lot? When the cultural mindset is there to such an extent that we can’t even be allowed to be fathers or father-figures? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is being a teacher, and some of these young black boys and girls ALREADY have pre-conceptions of how they’re supposed to act?

      This is a multi-layered issue, and I’m simply trying to make what I believe is a valid point among many!

      If you think I’m some dumbass nigga, take that trash talk somewhere else. I can respect your opinion, even if I don’t agree with it. Please do the same for me.

  4. Marcus says:

    Black women are not all wine and grapes when it comes to self-esteem either. i know plenty of black females who wont date a nice educated black man who is doing something with his life. I had my girlfriend tell me she would rather get beat up by her ex than have another women put up with him. I was faithful and always treated her well. On valentines day she left me for she telling me that she love him even though he hit her and verbally abuse her. BLACK WOMEN want a thugs ass ni99a. that’s all they tell me.So how can GOOD black men be recognized if black women don’t want us? you will always think that black men have low self esteem when that’s the only type of black men that black women like. you don’t hear too many white or hispanic women complaining . you want to know why? because they accept and date the good black man!!

    • Raz says:

      Marcus: “BLACK WOMEN want a thugs ass ni99a. that’s all they tell me.”

      You haven’t met all black women so stop lying. Just because a black woman doesn’t want your ass doesnt’ mean she wants a thug. Y’all black men love to throw up the mysterious thug. The black women on this site don’t date thugs and have never dated thugs. Just face it, your ex girlfriend probably left you because you probably didn’t satisfy her in the way she wanted to be satisfied. And just because you are educated doesn’t make you eligible. And maybe you have a stank funky attitude and were verbally abusive. You come off as thinking you are superior because you claim you are educated. Black women put educated men on nignore all the time because of your attitudes.
      Why Black Women Put Professional Black Men on NIGNORE –

      And Check out Deborrah Cooper’s article
      Why nice guys suck and women don’t want you.

      • marcus says:

        Well thanks for proving my point. Black women want a thug ass ni99a. I work my ass off. provide for the family and pay the bills but still under-appreciated by the black women. most black women want thugs to have sex with and you wonder why their are so many black single women with kids out of wedlock. and I was never abusive in no way towards my girlfriend, she fell in love with the thug that beat on her.that is low self esteem. and it seem to me that you and deberah have low self esteem as well. So run and get somebody that can satisfy you and I will run and get becky who will appreciate. but we will see at the end who will have the long lasting healthy relationship. Oh yea and Im financially stable. good luck with your thug or what ever you call them

        • Raz says:

          Marcus you are a pitiful he-motional he bitch. No wonder a sista doesn’t want you. If you want to run get you a Becky, by all means, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You are no prize. You ain’t nothing special. Black women work their asses off too, they are smart, educated and have it going on. If all you have to offer them is ‘stability’ that is not enough, they can do that by themselves, and still don’t have to deal with washing your skid marked drawers lol. Y’all so called “good men” kill me with your sense of entitlement. You think a woman ‘owes you something just because you claim to be good. There ain’t nothing ‘good about you. You are just a man doing what you are supposed to be doing fool. You’d be doing that regardless of if you had a woman or not. You still have to eat, pay bills, put gas in your car, pay your mortgage or rent. So stop thinking because you are handling your business that makes you good.

          Ya’ll black men are some low self esteem having jikkas. You think you’re entitled to a woman, and not just any woman.. A hot woman just because you have a job, a career and some education and financially stable. Jikka please. Black women outnumber black men in higher education and obtaining degrees, they have careers, and are financially stable too, so you ain’t hardly nothing special. You are probably butt ugly and whining because the woman you want, don’t want you. Instead of looking in the mirror to self reflect and improve, you look to finger point and blame and whine because you are a loser in the dating pool. Whining is not attractive. If Becky thinks your whining ass is the bomb, then run to her. She ain’t getting nothing.

          • LMH says:

            Tell it like it is Raz! I am also sick of hearing black men (and women) rhapsodize about “good black men” who are educated, employed and responsible like he is some amazing specimen of manhood for doing what HE IS SUPPOSED TO DO!! Have we lowered the bar so much that performing basic activities of adulthood makes a black man the “cream of the crop”? Give me a break!

            Oh, and the Becky, Su-Li, Maria threat is so passe!

          • marcus says:

            now im a bitch for speaking my mind and telling the truth .. So if stability is not a factor than why not get a black man that does not have a job. living with his mama and ain’t doing shit with his life.. that’s what i thought. And I can have any woman i want. Its not an entitlement its a choice. And after reading your post I already know what type of guys you go for. sex and a trophy to show off and brag about to your girlfriends.

      • Dee Dee says:

        @Raz! Stop it! You’ve got me laughing at 3 in the morning! LOL

    • LMH says:

      Dear Sweet Jesus when will we EVER stop hearing about all these imaginary women “who only want thugs”?

      It has become all to clear that some Black men will use any excuse they can find to escape responsibility for his actions or inability to attract the woman he wants.


      • marcus says:

        I have a woman!!! Do you have a man?? I didn’t think so

      • Raz says:

        LMH: “Dear Sweet Jesus when will we EVER stop hearing about all these imaginary women “who only want thugs”?

        LMH, these whiny ass men are hella stupid. A woman would be smart to choose the imaginary thug over their whiny asses lol.

  5. Ed says:

    This describes way too many men. The question I have is how have women contributed to this? Have they emasculated and ridiculed men without concern for the impact this might have on the self esteem of men? Shunning men who are emotionally vulnerable is why men choose to adopt hyper masculine bravado. They know if they show weakness strong black women will treat them poorly. Trying to be “The Man” and failing to do so leaves them jaded with a poor view of themselves. If women accept men just being human they will have less reason to put on this false front and can be more comfortable with their natural self, whatever that may be.

    If black men have a low self esteem we should look to the cause instead of telling women to avoid them all together. Women once upon a time thought it was wise to nurture men and develop their talents, self esteem, and spiritual well being because they have a vested interest in doing so.

    Yes I am asking you to invest in men even if your newly forged confident man might move on one day. It’s in the interest of every women to have men like this be the norm. If he moves on then find yourself another, with your new found talents and experience you should be able to select a better one.

    Men don’t have a problem building up a women or choosing a women of lower position as his wife. Men are willing to put their ego aside and treat a women like a lady. These are normal expectations we have for men and was also at one time the case for women. Feminism discouraged women from being warm and kind so that they may embrace masculine qualities which were not known for engendering humanistic caring. Women need to use their feminity to bring love back into the world. It has gotten to harsh, judgmental, and cold hearted.

    • Raz says:

      Article quote: Actually, men with low self esteem can frequently be heard blaming other people (typically women), for their failures and shortcomings, refusing to take responsibility for their negative behaviors or lack of action. These Black men blame the demise of the Black family on Black women instead of themselves for leaving their children behind”

      Ed:This describes way too many men. The question I have is how have women contributed to this? Have they emasculated and ridiculed men without concern for the impact this might have on the self esteem of men?…Women need to use their feminity to bring love back into the world. “

      Ed is the typical low self esteem having man. His comment shows exactly what this article spoke about; black men who are insecure with Low self esteem and blaming women instead of looking at themselves and holding themselves accountable and doing something about it.

    • alanah_williams_purple says:

      Once again, I know I’m responding to a very old comment but I agree with you whole heartedly! Alot of women truly have developed a harsh, judgmental and cold-hearted approach towards men! Women do need to uplift men more and the men should uplift women as well because the latter also isn’t occuring enough. Black men, as well as black women have some serious self-esteem issues and they’re not getting addressed because we’re literally combating each other.

      • topaz627 says:

         @alanah_williams_purple  Exactly why is it my job to build up and boost a man’s self-esteem? granted it’s impossible job for any woman to do hence the name SELF ESTEEM. Trust there have been women who stick out rough and abusive relationships with men like this and do they change? NO. He has to want to improve himself because if he doesn’t realize his own worth and value, nobody else can no matter how much they try to make them see it. Women are harsh? ha! I’ve seen women jump through hoops and give their all for men they are romantically involved with usually it’s not reciprocated or they are used. I doubt it’s the women that are so harsh. We have to be tough to a degree or we fall prey to selfish, entitled, players that wish to use us.

  6. SEVEN says:

    Another ignorant white person with nothing else to do…maybe your the one with the low self esteem

    • OneWord says:

      Yes, the author is so ignorant for having a resonant view of something and so ‘white’ that she is actually a black woman.  Your perception astounds.

  7. Men suck says:

    You can take words and twist them to mean whatever you want them to mean. Politicians do it everyday… just like this article.

    • Deborrah says:

      Well, at least your screen name reflects what you think about yourself. So like I said in the article, most black men have low self esteem. But thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  8. Nigerian Sista says:

    I don’t see how anyone could criticze the article that was printed. Ms. Cooper was stating the key factors that illustrate that a mane is insecure. It was done with the purpse to show a woman what kind of man to leave alone. She will not be in the position to help him with his issue, he will more than likely have to seek professional counseling especially if his behavior stems from something deep rooted in his childhood. I think that there are will always be people who don’t like to hear the truth especially when it pertains to the horrible ways some black males treat black women. Maybe it’s because for so long it was pushed under the rug and not adressed, and especially not publicly. But too much has happened and black women have been trashed privately and PUBLICLY, so why can’t certain issues be addressed publicly? Great article Ms. Cooper.

    • Marcus says:

      you can write articles all day but that is not going to have a impact on the black women that like these types of men. maybe there alot of low-self esteem black men because that’s what most black women like in today’s society in America. you don’t hear about good black men because we don’t have swag or we act too white or we are a sellout. black women say they want a good black man but their definition of a good man is tall black with swag. not provider, goals in life, financially stable ect.

      • alanah_williams_purple says:

        Marcus, “swag” doesn’t equal “thug” necessarily. You obviously don’t realize that. Not everyone black woman worships thugs. The only black women that do are the ones that aren’t “women” in the first place, 9 times out of 10. Alot of young girls despite race, go through a “bad boy” phase. Maybe black girls are surrounded by too many “badboys” that are out to prove some hyper-masculine point. Not surprising considering how popular black culture and music glorifies “thugs”. Believe it or not this pervasive negative image of black men affect black women’s pysche just as much and shapes our tastes and perspectives negatively. Black women didn’t create the “thug” image, they’re simply victims of this image just like black men are. 

  9. SilentBro says:

    Informative article with clear and concise indicators that women can use to help them determine if they are with a man with low self esteem. It can be confusing because sometimes these men possess a lot of bravada and #6 (material possessions) so it appears that they have a handle on themselves but they are just over compensating for what is lacking within.

  10. Mikey says:

    Hi, I have to say I am frustrated with this article. Whilst the article highlights some great points, that is where it ends. At no point are any solutions proposed or any positives given about Black Men (although the title gives that one away).

    I enjoy reading articles on the site generally, however at times it seems you are taking an axe to man’s personality trying to break him down. If you are trying to deconstruct so you rebuild a better man, good for you. If you see that as not your job, why is it your job to critise? By all means challenge, but let’s do so that we move one or more steps forward rather than staying where are or going retrograde.

    • Raz says:

      Mikey what ‘solutions’ do you have to raise up black men’s low self esteem instead of whining about how you didn’t like the article? That’s the problem right there. Defensive whiny black men who don’t want women to notice their short comings. If there are great points, now would have been the time for YOU to point them out, but again, just another low self esteem having black man coming on the blog and mad because a woman has pointed out his weakness.

    • Deborrah says:

      I am not here to fix men, I am here to tell women what to watch out for. If you see yourself in any of these things, there are books and psychotherapists which can help increase your self esteem.

  11. kf says:

    A lot of these men exist. I know I have met quite a few. When the shiny bravado fake confident exterior wears off, this is what is underneath. You get a glimpse of it every now in then from a sarcastic or toxic statement that leaves a woman scratching her head, when actually she should just cut and run. Add a good dose of toxicity and whining about the last girl that left them (for good reason)and it’s a nightmare that can make a woman question herself and her sanity…for minute. Great article…explains a lot. There is a wide spectrum of men and women out there, this is just the bad end of the male side, no harm in hipping us normal folks on what the heck is up with some of these guys.

    • Deborrah says:

      I wrote about Black males in particular so that Black women (my chief focus) dating them would recognize that they were NOT THE ONLY ONES having self-esteem issues. I think many Sistahs have no concept that Black men can and do suffer from self-esteem issues due to female socialization that men are always strong, know everything and that women are submissive to the stronger more in control and knowledgeable male. Personally, I think low self-esteem is a national epidemic. As I said in the video, if low self esteem were a disease, the CDC would have declared a national emergency years ago.

  12. Bigdaddy says:

    This article is entitled…Do MOST Black Men have low self esteem. It does not answer and goes on as if this is fact. It looks at a COMMON human condition and attributes it to black men and then more inapproproiately to most Black men. I think this article simply SUCKS.

    • Who cares what you think? And since I and the other women here do not date “human conditions” but Black men, the article is pointing out to women the behaviors and attitudes that indicate the Black man in front of them has low self esteem.

      It also sets out in detail what the repercussions will be of dealing with a man that has low self-esteem. I am certainly not saying a woman won’t still choose to be with him, but at least she will know going in what she is up against.

      If you don’t have low self esteem, why are you trippin? Oh, I know why… as grandmomma says “only hit dogs hollar!”

  13. HAPPY WOMEN says:


    • Marc says:

      sound like a self esteem issue with the women.. Sound like women need to look in the mirror and fix thier self esteem

  14. Danta' says:

    Great Article. especially about avoiding males like this or having the male confront whatever issues he has. Maybe there is hope.

  15. Raz says:

    This is most definitely a keeper for women to use to gauge what is going on when they deal with brothas who are riding them hard, and the woman is blaming herself and he is blaming her too.

    Now she has a tool to realize that it’s not her, but him even though he is blaming her for his ‘ills’ in life. Thanks again for yet another empowering article that is helpful for both genders.

    If a woman is involved with a guy and has this sort of insight, then perhaps she can help him see what’s going on inside of him (if the dude is willing). If not, then she has to adopt the attitude that she can’t fix what she didn’t break and make whatever adjustments she needs for her own piece of mind.

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