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What are some causes for self-hatred?

James Smith
James Smith on behalf of MDLIVE
Psychology

One cause of self-hatred is believing what the incessant negative thoughts in our head are telling us about our own worth or value in society.  Identifying with those negative thoughts also can result in self-hatred.  In order to hate ourselves, we have to believe that we meet a certain condition, then we have to believe that condition is "bad," then we have to stretch that belief to we are "bad," and finally, draw a connection between being "bad" and being "worthless," or of no "value."

What we believe about ourselves often matters more than what is actually true about ourselves.  For example,  if you are thin, and believe being thin is "O.K.," then if I tell you that you are "fat," you will probably be unaffected.  You may even laugh because you know it is not true.

However, if you are thin, but believe your are fat, and if you believe being fat is bad, and that you are worthless because you are fat, you will not be happy if I tell you that you are fat.  You might cry and have a nervous breakdown.  Your reaction has nothing to do with the fact that you are actually thin; your reaction has everything to do with your belief that you are fat and that you are worthless because you are fat.  Do people actually believe they are fat when in fact they are thin?  Yes, anorexics do.

But what if you are a Sumo wrestler?  If you are fat, and believe you are fat, and believe being fat is good, and therefore believe you have worth because you are fat, then you may feel complimented if I tell you that you are fat.

There may be some things about yourself that you don't like.  If then you conclude that you are worthless because of those things, you might feel a sense of self-hatred.  Try to keep in mind that this self-hatred is based on a self-deception; a self-deception that brings the subtle message that you are not worthy and you are not responsible.  None of it is true.  The part of you that is believing you are worthless and worthy of hatred is not even you, it is your ego, which you formed and molded over the years.  Seek professional help if you are having trouble coping with everyday life, especially if you are having suicidal thoughts.  You can expect to arrive at self-acceptance, yes, even self-love. 

Feelings of self-loathing and despair often can be caused by mental illness and by environmental factors such as substance or sexual abuse.

Teens are especially at risk, according to the American Psychological Association. Among people 15 to 24 years old, suicide is the third most common cause of death.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.