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In some cases low self esteem can cause self-loathing or an intense level of self-hatred. This is obviously very destructive and extremely negative. If you suffer from self hate, then this page should help you stop this horrible form of self sabotage.
As someone who has suffered from depression and low self esteem, I know that my experience can be of great help to you in overcoming your self hate. I will also use current research to advise how you might begin to love rather than hate yourself. First let’s look at some of the signs you’re self-loathing.
1. You’re Not Eating Properly
Those who are self-loathing sometimes neglect regular healthy meals. This is much more likely to happen among white women, as shown by much research including this article published in the Eating Behaviours Journal in 2005. This study compared eating attitudes of black and white, and male and female college students. One of the important conclusions was that many of these white women in particular suffered from self loathing and excessive dieting which can cause poor eating habits, (especially eating less).
People who hate themselves will often use food as a form of punishment. Some, choose to eat too much while others don’t eat enough. Overeating becomes a pattern and reason for hating yourself. Essentially by eating more food, you feel shame later and as a result, have lived up to the negative opinion you have of yourself. Those who under-eat often feel as if they don’t deserve nourishment and deprive themselves of foods they both love and need.
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One of the most basic elements of self care is what you eat. One sign you’re self-loathing might be your poor eating habits or missing meals altogether. In a way, food can be used as a form of self punishment. Food is often thought of as a pleasure and if someone is not eating properly, or not taking the time to cook proper meals it could be a sign of self-loathing.
There is a tendency for women who have body image problems and self loathing issues to obsess about weight loss and exercise and research by Thompson and Digsby in 2004 confirmed this. In fact, they measured that for increases in BMI (Body Mass Index), self-loathing increased dramatically. This shows clearly that self loathing is a major cause of eating disorders. The research mentioned above actually studied female cheerleaders in the US, a large number of whom were unhappy with their bodies.
2. You Are Becoming Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are common ways for people to mask emotions. It may start with a glass of wine or a joint per day, but this vicious cycle of numbness and shame often lead to dependency and addiction to harsher drugs and stronger alcohol. Eventually, daily symptoms may include coming down from a high or waking up with a hangover. This is no way to live life!
To stop feeling ashamed of your lack of control, it may be tempting to abuse drugs and alcohol even more. This post on how long does it take to detox from heroin, states that it can take weeks for the drug to be removed from your system and most don’t recover as the withdrawal symptoms are too much to bear. Without help and guidance, those who self-hate, may develop a fatal relationship with drugs and alcohol.
Young sufferers of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, often use drugs to cope with and avoid negative emotions as a result of negative events in life (see this study by Staiger, Melville, Hides et al, 2009). PTSD is a disorder which is a result of stressful life events (definition below). Some stressful life events such as abuse can cause self hatred which may last for years into adult life.
Definition of PTSD:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.Source: MayoClinic.org
If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol which you suspect may be connected with some form of self loathing. Get help! You cannot solve this alone, and this destructive problem needs professional support and guidance.
3. Your Mind Is Filled With negative Self Talk
I have dealt with self talk elsewhere on this website, so I will not go into too much detail here.
Do you hear yourself talking of defeat before you even start the day? This is a common practice for those who self-loathe. They psyche themselves out to believe that they can’t accomplish anything, and essentially this sabotages every effort they make. This again creates a negative cycle and what you see as your failings begin to confirm that you’re a negative or bad person.
4. Your Relationships Are Suffering
Many people who hate themselves believe that they don’t deserve anything positive. This includes love and kindness. They sabotage their own relationships as a means of preventing people from getting too close to them. Those who self-loathe have been known to neglect their partners, be physically or verbally abusive, and even become unfaithful. These reckless behaviors essentially ruin the relationship which then justifies their hateful thoughts that they don’t deserve happiness.
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If you can relate to any of the above-mentioned scenarios, there is a real possibility it is one of the signs you’re self loathing. Self hate often stems from failure or something you dislike about yourself.
If this is you, your next step should be to start rebuilding your confidence and self-esteem. Remove your self limitations and start accomplishing things that make you proud of who you are.
5. You Are Lacking Self Confidence
Self confidence is a great weapon against negativity, criticism and setbacks in life. You need more self confidence, if you are suffering from any form of self loathing, no matter how small that might be.
Lacking self confidence is one of the biggest signs you’re self loathing, so address this as soon as you can. Here’s a free course that will set you on the right path, my Self Confidence Master Plan. Click on the link or on the image below to get a copy absolutely free right now!
6. You Continuously Put Yourself Down
This is connected with negative self talk, but is so much more than that! Stop believing the criticism of others, and yourself. Change the language you use because what you say is very powerful. If you’re religious at all, you’ll know that God is supposed to have created everything with his word. You also create your reality with what you say. So speak positively at all times and stop holding yourself back by putting yourself down.
Putting yourself down is a major sign you’re self loathing. You need to stop this as soon as possible because you are limiting what is possible for you and removing your own power.
7. You Do Not Value Your Achievements
Let me simply ask you this.
What are your biggest achievements in the last few years or months?
If you can’t think of any perhaps you are being very mean to yourself. We all have achievements and successes to be proud of. You are no different. Self loathing will prevent you from seeing the successful steps you have taken, the challenges you have overcome.
Self loathing creates a fog in your brain and hides the truth of your talent and abilities. We all have unique skills and abilities, what are yours? Value the achievements and success you have had no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
8. You Allow Others To Control You
Are you giving your power to others? This is one of the signs you’re self loathing, so is this you?
If you have a healthy level of self esteem then you will not allow this to happen. Being strong mentally means acting with confidence and certainty that you can succeed. Mental health enables you to see things as they really are and accept who you are. With self esteem you can learn to love yourself again.
Self loathing is likely to cause you to ignore your goals and desires and this will make it likely that you will allow others to control you and tell you what to do. If this is what you’re doing then you must fight this and regain control over your own life again.
Please don’t ignore these signs you’re self loathing and start taking action to restore your self esteem!
9. You Believe Others When They Criticize You
Criticism from others is not always justified. So, if you find yourself always believing the criticism others give you then something is wrong with your thinking. Don’t accept everything others tell you, question it. Sometimes criticism from others is based on jealousy or reveals they have a problem, not you.
Ask yourself, is the criticism you get from others justified and do you deserve it? If the honest answer is yes, then do something to improve. If it is no, you need to start caring less about what others say and more about what you think.
10. You Don’t Defend Yourself
One of the major signs you may be self loathing is if you do not stand up to defend yourself. This means you are accepting passively what others say and think of you. Where are you?
If you don’t stand up for yourself, then who else will?
11. You Don’t Believe You Deserve Love
If you feel that you don’t deserve love this shows your hate for who and what you are. The truth is we all deserve love. You do too! Why do you feel this way? What is the reason you feel you don’t deserve the to be loved?
This is a serious sign of self loathing and if this is how you feel, please get help and guidance to get to the bottom of this destructive way of thinking. You need support to build your self appreciation and self respect back up again.
12. You Focus On The Negatives About Your Life
Finally, if you are always negative about your life and everything in it, then how ca things ever get better? Dealing with a negative mindset is not impossible, but it is challenging. No matter how bad life gets, there is always something that you can think of that is positive. It may be hard to find, but it’s there!
To be happier you have to decide to be happier. You are not stuck being miserable. Be careful to use everyone available to you, friends, your partner, your workmates. Get anyone you can to help cheer you up and spend more time with someone who makes you laugh.
If you find you have experienced any of these signs of self loathing, it is time to decide to change. Right now. Imagine what life could be like if you loved yourself and your life, if you could smile and really mean it!
I wish you happier times and progress in your self improvement. I have designed this website to take you on a journey, but it is your journey and you decide where it leads. Let me help you change your mindset and make those positive changes.
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- Aruguete, M. S., DeBord, K. A., Yates, A., & Edman, J. (2005). Ethnic and gender differences in eating attitudes among black and white college students. Eating Behaviors, 6(4), 328-336.
- Staiger, P. K., Melville, F., Hides, L., Kambouropoulos, N., & Lubman, D. I. (2009). Can emotion-focused coping help explain the link between posttraumatic stress disorder severity and triggers for substance use in young adults?. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 36(2), 220-226.
- Thompson, S. H., & Digsby, S. (2004). A preliminary survey of dieting, body dissatisfaction, and eating problems among high school cheerleaders. Journal of School Health, 74(3), 85-90.
Website Author and Editor Bio
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.