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Market Research Group

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Sevastyan Antonov
Sevastyan Antonov

Self Hatred

The term "self-hatred" is used infrequently by psychologists and psychiatrists, who would usually describe people who hate themselves as "people with low self-esteem".[1] Self-hatred, self-guilt and shame are important factors in some or many mental disorders, especially disorders that involve a perceived defect of oneself (e.g. body dysmorphic disorder). Self-hatred is also a symptom of many personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder,[2] as well as mood disorders like depression. It can also be linked to guilt for someone's own actions that they view as wrongful, e.g., survivor guilt.[citation needed]

Self hatred

Racial stereotyping of African-Americans and negative American media portrayals of Black men and women have spread outside of the U.S., influencing people of all races worldwide, and increasing self-hatred.[3][4][5]

If trauma is behind your self-hatred, consider seeking professional help. Whether a therapist, minister, or spiritual counselor, professional support can enable you to understand the root of your self-loathing and take steps toward self-compassion.

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies for building self-compassion, featuring bestselling author Kristin Neff. Click below to listen now.

Feelings of self-loathing are deeply painful, but exploring those emotions is the first step toward healing. If you're struggling with hateful thoughts, reflect on what sparked them. Did you make a mistake at work? Did a recent dinner with a friend lead you to feel envious? Identifying these triggers can allow you to diffuse them the next time they arise.

Beyond immediate triggers, the roots of self-hatred can often be traced to environmental circumstances such as hypercritical parenting, or personality traits such as perfectionism. Once feelings of worthlessness take hold, they can be difficult to release; the stories that form around early experiences can become deeply entrenched. But there are still many ways for people to confront self-criticism and develop a strong sense of self.

It can be painful to recognize the gap between what your life is and what you want your life to be. Self-criticism depletes the motivation to change, so begin by developing self-acceptance. Reflect on the values and traits that are important to you. Nurture those characteristics, and try to value who you are, not what you do.

People may condemn themselves to years of self-loathing, especially after committing a terrible act. Self-forgiveness offers a path to release that burden. This process can begin by forgiving others and progress to recognizing that you, too, are more than your behavior and that you can learn to love yourself.

You need to become aware of a problem to change it, so begin by noticing critical self-talk and challenge those thoughts. Explore the narrative you have about yourself and why it might be flawed. Avoiding comparing yourself to others and practicing forgiveness can also help cultivate self-esteem.

Everyone experiences occasional moments of frustration, shame, and regret. Self-loathing becomes a concern when feelings of inadequacy become pervasive and debilitating. This situation may be a warning sign of depression. Seeking help, whether through a crisis hotline in the short term or through therapy in the long term, can help overcome self-hatred and depression.

It's important to remember that not everyone who experiences self-hatred will have had the same life experiences. There is no singular path that leads to thinking, "I hate myself." Consider your unique circumstances and what might have brought you to this point.

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares strategies that can help you learn to truly believe in yourself, featuring IT Cosmetics founder Jamie Kern Lima.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self harm, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

Castilho P, Pinto-Gouveia J, Amaral V, Duarte J. Recall of threat and submissiveness in childhood and psychopathology: The mediator effect of self-criticism. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 2014;21(1):73-81. doi:10.1002/cpp.1821

Background: The "self" has been implicated in the development of a range of psychological disorders. While a growing body of literature has emerged exploring the Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS), little research has been conducted on the construct of self-hate and its relationship with suicidal ideation. The aims of this study were to: 1) develop and validate a brief self-report instrument of self-hate; and, 2) explore the relationship between self-hate, suicidal ideation, and the two main factors of the IPTS, perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness.

Results: A 7-item Self-Hate Scale was developed, which exhibited a reliable unidimensional factor structure. High self-hate was found to predict suicidal ideation, while the relationship between low/moderate self-hate and suicidal ideation was partially moderated by the level of thwarted belongingness. The study provided limited evidence for the IPTS' main predictions.

Self-loathing manifests itself through consistent negative thoughts which are closely tied to excessive self-criticism. While self-criticism is a healthy aspect of life, it can start to overshadow other thought patterns when you're going through a self-loathing phase.

If self-loathing goes on for too long, it can lead to more severe conditions, like depression or substance abuse. Similarly, to a lesser degree, it can lead to violence toward others or feelings of inferiority.

Self-loathing thoughts can also come regarding specific situations, like overeating or staying up too late. They may even appear after social interactions, like reckoning that you were too aggressive or shy. Other common recurring self-loathing behaviors include holding a grudge against yourself for a past mistake and setting unrealistic expectations.

Often, these patterns are related to unfair comparisons we make between ourselves and other people. Due to self-loathing, you might end up feeling inferior to others by ignoring their mistakes and only recognizing their virtues.

For example, some people advocate for mindfulness interventions, which will teach you to be aware of your feelings from the outside. Through different techniques, the therapist will teach you how to challenge your negative views of yourself through meditation.

Say something positive to yourself. A great way of quickly boosting your self-esteem is saying something nice to yourself on a daily basis. For example, congratulate yourself for doing the dishes, or give yourself a pat on the back for completing that tedious homework.

There are many reasons why you may engage in self-hatred. Anything from a negative inner critic, traumatic experiences from your past, bad relationships, bullying, and more can be a cause of self-hatred. Even environmental triggers can contribute to a deep lack of self-worth. Most importantly, mental health conditions may also be playing a role in how you feel about yourself.

Your inner critic could be the root cause of why you constantly think I hate myself. The more we listen to our inner voice, the more powerful it can become. Additionally, the more you succumb to negative thinking, the more it can affect your psychological health.

Very traumatic events, like physical, mental, or verbal attacks, a serious car accident, or a significant loss in your life, can result in a deep-seated feeling of why me? When these feelings change to regret, responsibility, or shame about what happened, you might start seeing blatant symptoms of self-hatred.

Exploring the origins of your self-hatred can be extremely difficult. For many of us, doing so under the care of a licensed mental health professional is vital. A good therapist can help you uncover the root causes of your low self-esteem.

Going through the process of understanding your feelings of self-loathing might allow you to see how certain people in your life have contributed to your negative thoughts. This may be an uncomfortable realization, but the silver lining is realizing that you have a choice in the matter.

Understanding where self-hatred is coming from is the first step to overcoming it. Practicing self-love, noticing your negative feelings and thoughts, and speaking to a therapist or a friend are just a few more ways to combat thoughts of self-hatred.

The second step of differentiation involves challenging negative traits in yourself that are imitative of your parents or other important figures in your development. If you had a bossy or demanding father, for example, you should try to challenge ways that you yourself are controlling in your life. The third step of differentiation involves giving up the patterns of defense you formed as adaptations to the pain you experienced in your childhood. We may have formed these defenses as a form of protection as children, but these thoughts and behaviors can hurt us in our adult lives. For example, if you felt intruded on as a kid, you may have grown up seeking isolation or keeping to yourself for fear that you will be intruded on by others. You may thus avoid close relationships or harbor fears of intimacy. When we hold on to destructive adaptations from our past, we tend to suffer from lower self-esteem. We may struggle to feel like our true selves when our actions are so heavily influenced by our history.

Thus, the final step of differentiation involves figuring out your own beliefs, values and ideals. How do you want to live your life? What are your aspirations for your future? When we separate from our inner critic, we are far better able to get to know our real selves and to lead our lives with integrity. We can take actions and steps that reflect our wants and desires, which gives our lives unique meaning. As we pursue this goal of becoming our true selves, we may experience an increase in anxiety or an influx of critical inner voices. However, if we persist in challenging this internal enemy, it will become weaker and we can free ourselves further from feelings of self-hatred and start to live a more fulfilling existence.


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