All my life. I use to apologize for everything. "I'm sorry" was my most used words each day. This made me shy at an early age. But I've, somewhat, have outgrown the shyness over the years.
I was and am the go to person if someone needs to talk but in a crowd I'm always the one standing back and observing instead of the center of attention I couldn't be the center of attention if I was put in that position because I would not feel comfortable
I think a lot of it does have to do with us bring Empaths. If we can feel the different personalities in a crowd I'm sure they can feel us also and I bet we feel weak to them because of our good nature and empathy.
I have always been treated like what I have to say or think is not important unless they need a shoulder to cry on.
I also think it's due to all the negative energy we take in that makes us feel like we are not good enough. When we are receiving strong negative feels or low vibrations from an over bearing personality type, we don't know how to filter it out because that's not a natural emotion for us so we humble ourselves and bow down to it and allow it in.
What has helped me is to meditate and to ground and protect myself. I try to keep my vibration high. Meditation helps me find peace and love within myself.
We do not owe this world anything except our love and blessings. What they do with that it is up to them. We was not put here on earth to be anyone's punching bag or anyone's old pair of shoes they don't wear until they loose their new ones. I think Empaths is the love energy that spends off of the universe. We are the love in the light