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Self-Hate


Solstice
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After years of being miserable and generally failing at most things in my life (relationships in particular), I started therapy last year. My therapist was only really interested in layering on more meds whenever I said that I wasn't feeling any better or dealing any better with my life. Eventually, the side effects, and her insistance on more medication, got so bad that I stopped treating with her and moved on to someone else. That therapist blamed my husband for everything that's wrong in my life and told me to leave him, which was not the kind of help I'm looking for, so I quit seeing her.

But here's what happened during that time in therapy -- it tore the lid off something I've been ignoring and avoiding my whole life: the fact that my mother emotionally and physically abused me and my father ignored it. Once I started really thinking about that, my life really fell apart. Why? Because I can't stop thinking about: (1) all the ways I am like my mother (manipulative, verbally abusive, cruel, untrustworthy); and (2) all the ways that the fallout from the abuse have messed up my life (I believe I am unlovable, so I pretend to be different so that my husband will stay with me, which inevitably fails and makes him hate me; I am constantly anxious, vigilant, and fearful of anything new; I alternate between avoiding conflict at all costs and aggressively pursuing conflict).

I have come to believe that, after I left home, I took over where my mother left off and have been abusing myself ever since. And I keep doing it. I hate myself for that.

I finally found another therapist, one who takes my insurance, specializes in trauma and abuse, and actually is taking new patients, but my first appointment isn't until next week. In the meantime, I just keep making my life worse. My husband can't stand me, I can't stand to be around my parents (and then I feel bad, because I still care about them despite what they did), and I have no friends because I've spent a lifetime putting up protective walls to keep people out. I'm so lonely and sad and filled with self-loathing that I don't want to exist for a single minute more. I just don't want to feel this way anymore, but I keep making choices that will keep me feeling this way. How do I keep going? Should I just give up, stop inflicting myself on people?

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Hi Solstice.

I have come to some difficult conclusions, as my marriage has ended (it's an ongoing process): while it's true that my wife was verbally abusive, the question I was most interested in was why did I stay for so many years. And I was forced to realize that although I didn't say the same things to myself that she did, I recognized, even welcomed, the tone of voice ...

In other words, I too had been abusing myself in ways I wasn't even aware of.

So, the first thing I suggest is that you not completely believe your own assessment of how others feel about you. It's too easy to run people's responses through our own unhappy filters so that the only things that come through are confirmations of what we already believe. Try, whenever you can, to test the reality of your judgments. For instance, if your husband "hates" you, why is he still with you?

My suggestion is that you really need to give this next therapist a chance. Because now that you may have an idea of what your problems are, what you need are the tools (and patience) to change. And I would suggest you're probably already one step further down the path than your mother ever was, just by being more aware.

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Hi Solstice, and welcome to our community.

I am sorry for everything that has happened to you.

I have no direct experience with what you are going through but numerous things remind me of my friend. She had very little self esteem and felt she was really no one and always wore masks to be someone. She felt unlovable and unloved. Like Malign says, you can not trust your opinion of what others think of you. I know that is not something you can simply turn off, but knowing that can help.

I am glad you are seeing a new therapist and I am hopeful he or she will help you. In the mean time we are here for you.

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Thanks, Malign. That's good advice, both about questioning my own judgments and about giving the new therapist a serious chance. It's just awfully hard to think there's any hope when the only person I have any relationship with anymore (my husband) flat out tells me that I'm a horrible person who does horrible things and he's only here for financial reasons. And hard to think there's any hope when I'm this unhappy and yet I keep making the same terrible choices that keep me that way.

I'm hoping that the new therapist has some suggestion, some idea, that will help me to make better choices, but I'm scared that she won't and I'll be stuck for the rest of my life with the person that I am and that I keep choosing to be.

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Hi Solstice and welcome to the forum. I am sorry you are feeling so lost and full of self hatred, and i'm sorry your parents treated you the way they did.

I have been a self hater for over thirty years and never believed anything I did could ever be right. It's so hard to like yourself when you have been told over and over how useless you are but I now know how destructive that thinking can be...I lost all those years of my life and have many regrets.

Here on the forum, from talking to others, from advice given, I learned how to be more gentle with myself, I learned that I don't have to be perfect and to find some good things in me that I never knew were there. I hope and wish the same for you. Stick with your therapist and if being on here, talking here, can help you the way it did me then keep posting. Take care. :)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Solistice,

I also know a "thing or two" about self hate. Because I have felt that way I know its easy to blame one's self for everything. For example, your husband tells you that he can't stand you. Well, that is awful and you and no one deserves that treatment. The same is true with self esteem. When its low its easy to look at one's life as a failure. Try to look at the positive things about yourself and the positive things in your life and that you have done. You may not believe those things are there but give yourself a chance. I'll bet those positives are there. Its just that, when you've been abuse, its very easy to look at one's self as awful.

Allan

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Thanks to all of you who responded. I am trying to focus on the positive, remember that I have a good job, that I'm smart, that I am deserving of love, even if the people in my life right now don't feel love for me because of the way I have treated them. But I'm just tired of trying. There was a time in my life -- college, grad school, the early part of my career, when I was very successful. I just can't reconcile that with the fact that I have tried so often and wanted so badly to stop being the hateful person I am today and yet failed at every turn. How can I be so successful in one way and such an utter failure in others??

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