I’m notorious for that, receiving a compliment yet responding with something negative because I feel embarrassed receiving the compliment.
Example: I seldom run into any of my co-workers since I went on disability four years ago, and weight loss is noticeable. Several that I have chatted with have complimented me for losing weight and looking terrific, yet my response is “yes, but I have to lose so much more”. Everyone reacts with “Why?”. Then I panic!
This article was in psychologytoday.com:
Most people like hearing praise but some people bristle when they hear compliments and others downright hate them. What is it that determines whether someone enjoys receiving compliments or whether they turn sour at the first hint of positive feedback?
Compliments and Self-Esteem
More often than not, how receptive we are to compliments is a reflection of our self-esteem and deep feelings of self-worth. Specifically, compliments can make people with low self-esteem feel uncomfortable because they contradict their own self-views.
People actively seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves, whether those are positive or negative. For example, in one study, college students with low self-esteem showed a stronger preference for keeping their current roommate if that roommate viewed them negatively than if their roommate saw them more positively.
In other words, receiving praise from others when we feel negative about ourselves elicits discomfort because it conflicts with our existing belief system. If we believe we’re truly undesirable, hearing compliments about how attractive we are will feel jarring and inauthentic.
If we believe we’re unintelligent, someone lavishing us with praise about how smart we are will feel more like a taunt than a compliment. And if we’re convinced we’re incapable of success, receiving praise about our how capable we are can feel like a set-up for future heartbreak and disappointment.
The Challenge of Complimenting Relationship Partners with Low Self-Esteem
The resistance people with low self-esteem have to compliments can be especially pronounced when the praise comes from their relationship partners. One study found that giving people with low self-esteem praise about being considerate boyfriends or girlfriends was enough to make them feel more insecure about their partners and even to view their entire relationship more negatively.
More on this article @ psychologytoday.com