?snowy mountain peak sketch? by jason scheier
Chances are, someone you know hates themselves.
I hate to say it, but it?s true. Self-hate is terribly common. More common, I?d say, than the act of hating someone else. Some of us wander through this life, the heavy feeling of self-recrimination weighing on our shoulders.
What?s more, a lot of people who hate themselves don?t know that they do. For someone who really hates themselves, self-hate is as much a part of their world as the sun or the sky. Something that?s consistent, that you don?t need to take note of.
There?s something tragic about hatred of the self, especially in those who have done nothing to earn hatred.
I?m currently working my way through Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself by Anneli Rufus, and in the second chapter she goes over several habits that people who hate themselves share. Turns out, you can use this list to identify self-hatred in yourself or others.
People who hate themselves?
That I lied to him for the same reasons I lied to almost everyone: because I had no real convictions of my own, no beliefs beyond I am bad?.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 94)
People who hate themselves lie. But not for the same reasons someone with poor character lies. People with poor character lie in order to manipulate someone or gain something. People who hate themselves lie because they are ashamed of the truth.
In practice, this looks like lying about the small things. One moment they say burgers are their favorite food, the next it?s Pad Thai. One moment Arctic Monkeys is their favorite band, the next, Justin Bieber. They may not even realize they?re contradicting themselves, believing each to be true when they say it.
Their lies always seem constructed to please the sensibilities of those around them. It?s not an attempt to manipulate others, but an attempt to erase their own desires (which they hate) and supplant them with the desires of others, which they do not hate.
2. Compulsively Apologize
When we say sorry, we mean: Sorry I exist.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 99). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
People who hate themselves apologize for everything. It makes a perverse sort of sense; if you believe you?re the scum of the earth, and you have a sense of morality, you feel bad for imposing yourself on people by existing.
But because people who hate themselves tend to be remorseful and have a strong sense of justice (else, why bother hating yourself?) they often apologize a lot. They?ll apologize for things big and small, apologize for things that are and aren?t their fault, even for things that aren?t problems at all.
Their apologies are heartfelt, too. They feel every ounce of guilt and shame that they?re apologizing for. It isn?t a trick or a ploy for attention; it?s an honest attempt to do the right thing.
3. Are Indecisive
Choosing means not choosing the best but rather choosing the least worst.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 103). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
People who hate themselves find it difficult to make decisions about things. If their case is advanced, they may even find it difficult to choose what to eat, or what to wear in the morning.
Making decisions is challenging to people who hate themselves for two reasons:
- It demonstrates a sense of identity. To choose is to prefer. To choose is to say your preference is more important than the preference of someone else. If you hate yourself and your preferences, doing this is agonizing.
- People who hate themselves view all roads as leading to failure. Thus, no matter what they choose, they will ?get it wrong.? This makes choosing less of an act of pleasure and more of an act of self destruction.
After spending so much time repressing their own desires, people who hate themselves often don?t even have a sense of their own desires anymore. Done long enough, the preference itself will go away. They will begin to experience themselves as having no preferences. So when they say ?I don?t care,? they really don?t think they care.
4. Are Stuck in the Past
My friend Tessa always avoided certain buildings and even entire streets in our town ? devising circuitous, time-consuming detours around them ? because, she said, they bring up bad memories. Asked to describe these memories, Tessa narrated incidents that most would dismiss as insignificant. She had once felt embarrassed during a job interview in that office building. Boys had once jeered at her from that frat house. In that bakery, a clerk had mocked her accent ? one day, many years before? Those wounds were ever-fresh.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 122). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
People who hate themselves allow their pasts to define most of who they are. It makes sense; the people who taught them how to hate themselves are in their past. Perhaps it was parents, or bullies on the playground, or uncaring professors. All these figures who teach us how to hate ourselves exist in our past.
The reason the self-haters stay in the past, however, is due to a sense of justice. If I am scum of the earth, I have a moral obligation to not lose sight of that fact. To put the past behind us and forge a new self is the ultimate moral dereliction of duty. So they put these incidents on repeat, as a reminder never to forget.
5. Deny Praise
Whomever praises us must be delirious. In time they will want to retract their words. Once they see the real me.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 126). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
People who hate themselves have absolutely nothing nice to say about themselves. They can?t conceive of anyone else having anything nice to say, either. So when someone does say something nice, they?re looking for the catch. Are they trying to flatter me to get something? Are they talking to me? Is this a joke?
They respond poorly to the praise they feel they don?t deserve. They brush it off, saying ?well, I didn?t really earn these good grades, I?m just clever,? or ?Yeah, but I had the entire team with me when we won. They?re the great players, not me.? They will continue to protest the praise, even when they run out of justifiable ways to do so.
6. Can?t Say No
We cannot refuse requests for the same reason we apologize, and lie: Because we are afraid of what will happen if we refuse. Because we have no boundaries. Because we are afraid they?ll never play with us again. Because we are afraid.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 142). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
This is part and parcel with lying about your own desires and being chronically indecisive. When people who hate themselves are asked to do something, they almost always agree.
That?s because to someone who hates themselves, everyone is a superior. They aren?t worthy of hate, unlike you, so they rank higher. And like anyone who ranks higher, their wants and needs supersede yours.
7. Assume The Worst
We expect rejection. We expect exclusion, expulsion, being made to walk the plank. We aim to protect ourselves by preparing for certain doom.Rufus, Anneli. Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (p. 148). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
People who hate themselves assume the worst. Specifically, they assume the worst about themselves. They assume that where anything could be wrong, it is, and where it is wrong, it?s their fault.
- Their date hasn?t texted them back yet? I?m being ghosted because my jokes were so lame.
- Their girlfriend is acting distant? I don?t blame her. Who would want to be close to me? She?s bound to realize this and leave, soon.
- Their boss hasn?t been assigning them the projects they requested? It?s because he thinks I?ll fuck it up. He doesn?t even want me on this team.
When you hate yourself, everyone in the world is superior to you. So of course you?re the one at fault for everything ? if they?re truly better than you, in every way, then it only makes sense that it?s your fault.
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