Contempt enhances self-esteem.
I have been thinking about contempt lately, because it is part of emotional abuse. Why do people feel contempt for their own children? Because it feels good. It distances you from the person you are with, but gives you more positive feelings about yourself.
Contempt is a response to a violation of social hierarchy, and it also creates positive feelings in the person expressing contempt. Why would someone do that to their child?
Because they see the child as a threat to their leadership–they aren’t confident in knowing how to motivate their child to be a productive part of the group.
Because something the child feels or expresses makes them feel ashamed or vulnerable, and they need to shore up their position.
The feeling of being worthless, that’s about being on the receiving end of contempt.