Updated: Apr 16, 2019
“Self-hatred causes autoimmune disease, which, boiled down, is the body attacking itself.”
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Eczema, Crohn’s, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, these are just a few examples of autoimmune diseases. In a nutshell, your system gets confused and starts to attack itself. Autoimmune diseases are a first world problem ! The link between childhood trauma and later developing an autoimmune condition is comparable to the link between a fast-food diet and obesity or between alcoholism and liver failure.
Self-loathing and/or self-injury is an exceedingly complex issue because it is an expression of the depths of one’s humanity. It is a manifestation of a need that totally eclipses animals or machines – the need to comprehend complex concepts and emotions and to communicate them with an equally intelligent being. It reveals that you, like all humans, are a breathtakingly intricate, sophisticated and noble being with lofty ideals and a deep yearning to understand and be understood. In some cases, self-hate originates not from deliberate childhood abuse but from significant people in one’s life inadvertently giving the dangerously wrong impression that you are not quite good enough to be loved. Children’s need for parental love and approval almost rivals their need for oxygen, but even quite good parents can be rather miserly in giving it. It might simply be that the parent – especially common in fathers – is emotionally reserved and has no idea how much he or she is leaving the child with a gnawing ache for parental affection and/or approval. The result is what can feel like an unfillable hole in the child that refuses to diminish even after the child has matured into a capable adult.
People suffering this way usually downgrade the significance of having felt love-deprived as a child. They see it as minor relative to obvious child abuse but just as malnutrition in childhood can have serious, long-term implications, so can feeling love-starved. An unmet craving for parental approval can not only last a lifetime, it can transmute into a gut-wrenching feeling of inadequacy that produces an endless striving to be “good enough,” or even result in self-loathing. Even highly successful people can stagger through life little moved by world acclaim, but desperately pining for their parents’ approval, and never feeling they can get it. Sometimes an eating disorder, or some other unusual behavior is a manifestation of this desperate attempt to be “good enough.” It might have been so much part of your life that you have accepted it as normal but if you engage in self-hate you have almost certainly been repeatedly and horrifically slandered – probably beginning in your most impressionable years. You might have been told by someone whose opinion you respect that you are hopeless, a loser, evil, stupid, or slut or some other put down. The inevitable consequence is that, like being subjected to years of the cruelest brainwashing, you have come to accept those lies as truth. It has so distorted your perception of yourself that you have most likely deepened the insidious brainwashing still further by repeating the lies to yourself for years.
The dangers of low self-esteem/ self - hatred are more extensive than most of us realize. So many precious lives have been ruined or tragically shortened by unfounded or hideously distorted feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Young men and women of high morals can become so brainwashed into wrongly thinking themselves to be ‘trash’ that they end up needlessly cheapening themselves. Once our self-image hardens, we filter all new information to conform to our self-image. It is common for people who are hurting to have been relentlessly brainwashed in their most impressionable years that they are ‘hopeless’ or ‘bad’ or ‘can’t do a thing right’ or are ‘not as capable as their brother or sister.’ These lies eventually come to be accepted as truth by the victims of these putdowns. So when people say positive things about us, we disbelieve them or it hardly registers with us that the words were ever spoken, whereas we latch on to every negative comment as confirmation of our mistaken beliefs about ourselves.
Rebuilding one’s self-image can be as challenging as rebuilding a bombed house, and to break the habit of continually thinking negatively about ourselves can be as difficult as it is for a heavy smoker to quit smoking.
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