Flipping the script on self-hatred

Self-hatred drives our actions while keeping us paralyzed

Self-hatred runs rampant in my line of work. Therapists are privy to so much personal information, namely how a person really thinks and feels about themselves. The easiest way to discover how you think and feel about yourself is to make a mistake. Your car breaks down, miss a deadline or forget an appointment that’s been scheduled for over a month. You even set a reminder. Has your inner-critic reared his ugly head yet? In therapy this voice is also referred to as negative self-talk, low self-esteem, self-hatred, personal beliefs or agreements. In my Confident Women Workshop, several women have named their self-talk as “the bitch.” Aptly put, considering how self-talk is typically negative.

Our negative self-talk is the way we think and feel about ourselves. These personal messages reside in everyone. The messages you experience may sound similar to those expressed by my clients, “I am a failure.” “I am a fake.” “I am not enough.” “I am too much.” “I am ugly.” “I don’t have what it takes.” I think it is safe to say we’re all too familiar with self-hatred.

Where does self-hatred come from?

Our messages and self-hatred are nearly always generated as decisions we made as children in response to our individual experiences, parents, relationships, environment, etc. These circumstances could involve trauma, abuse, neglect or none of the above. We draw conclusions about who we are based on how we were raised — or not raised, for that matter and that is also where fear enters. The fear of being inadequate, unacceptable, unloveable, the list goes on and on.

If we don’t address these messages we will continue to live out of our insecurities. Correction, we will continue to live in fear that our messages are true and attempt to generate a more acceptable version of ourselves and be driven by our self-hatred.

How self-hatred can drive us

For instance, if I have an insecurity of being a failure, I may put in extra hours at work, make sure the work I produce is *perfect* and go above and beyond my job description when none of that has been asked of me. My partner comments on my stress level and diligence. Has asked for date night and for me to be more engaged with our children. My efforts at work are rewarded with praise and some mention of a promotion in the future. My partner’s eye roll implies that he isn’t impressed with the accolades. He clearly doesn’t appreciate my hard work and just focuses on how I didn’t get a promotion. He continues to bring up how I should ask for more money. I am irritated that he doesn’t understand me and that it feels like I’m failing him.

A change in infrastructure causes me to lose the position. Even though I know it does not have to do with my performance, I cannot help but take responsibility. Simultaneously, I am exposed for what I fear that I am: a failure. The evidence is loud and clear or so it seems.

Insecurities: Confirmed

The more evidence we have to confirm our insecurities the worse our self-hatred is. Since I no longer have the job that demonstrated that I am not a failure I am left to believe that I am. It makes sense that I would experience low self-esteem, anxiety and symptoms of depression at this point. Because the future seems so dim and uncertain we feel as though there is nothing we can do about it.

Fortunately, that is inaccurate.


Related Post: How to find relief from self-hatred


— Ashlee Secord is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Thrive Therapy in Burnsville, MN. Thrive Therapy specializes in working with clients who struggle with emotional distress and low self-esteem.  Contact Thrive Therapy to begin reducing your self-hatred, anxiety and/or depression symptoms.