This study explores self-esteem in suicide among young males with no earlier history of suicide attempt(s) or treatment in mental health services. The data come from an ongoing psychological autopsy study; 10 cases of young men aged 18 to 30, were selected to generate a phenomenologically based understanding of the psychological mechanisms and processes involved in the suicidal process. The analyses are based on in-depth interviews with 61 closely connected individuals, as well as suicide notes. We used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. For these young men, the transition to young adulthood, a period of major life challenges, seemed to be associated with personal defeats. According to their significant others, the deceased seemed to have experienced intolerable discrepancies between their actual performances and their ideal self standards. Four themes emerged from the analysis: (a) striving to find a viable path to life as an adult man; (b) experiencing a sense of failure according to own standards; (c) emotional selfrestriction in relationships; and (d) strong feelings of loneliness and rejection of self. Improved understanding of suicides outside the mental illness paradigm may have important implications for preventive strategies.