Maltreatment neither directly predicts self-esteem nor depressive symptoms, and parental illness/ death and parental sociopathic behaviors did not predict any variables. CONCLUSIONS : Results show that the adversity of child maltreatment affects depression through attachment styles and low self-esteem among institutionalized children. Low self esteem can be defined as a lack of self-confidence or seeing yourself as unworthy, inadequate, incompetent, unacceptable, or unlovable. Having negative, self-critical thoughts can affect your behavior, your life choices and leave you trapped in a lonely vicious circle.They grow up codependent with low self-esteem and learn to hide their feelings, walk on eggshells, withdraw, and try to please or become aggressive. Attachment style reflects self-esteem As a result of their insecurity, shame, and impaired self-esteem, children develop an attachment style that, to varying degrees, is anxious or avoidant.