Please Love Me, I Can't


Please Love Me, I Can't
Self hate is the troubler of relationships. You can shift it by separating and protecting identity.

Few writers touch on the great troubler of relationships, the one that many therapists  spend much of their careers trying  to help clients clear up-- self-hate. 

Hate or disgust can ricochet inward, in perfectionistic or self-critical ways--thighs that are too big, lips that are too thin, some trait or tendency that is slightly off, and for that person becomes a focus that spoils everything beautiful about them. Or it can be directed outward in alienating behaviors--reactivity, jealousy, pre-emptive attacks, judgmental attitudes, and various forms of what therapists call undoing. Undoing occurs when a person reverses or spoils anything good--from compliments to great opportunities. It is as if they strongly disagree that anything good could be said about them or come their way. 


Self-hate usually comes from earlier interactions. Destructive family messages or roles might assign a child to be the dumb one, the not pretty enough one, the disappointment, or simply the one to be the scapegoat for someone else's self-hate. Or a child might get the message that they are conditionally loved--they are only worthy if their behavior conforms to another's expectations or dreams. Sometimes neglect will instill the message one wasn't worth having or being taken care of. The brain of a child can track the feel and meaning of these interactions even before being able to use language. For these reasons self-hate can go very deep and show up as a strongly held belief about identity. A single word that sums up all previous interactions--"ugly", "fat", "stupid", "not good enough". Sometimes there are no words, just an incredible inner pain. 

Folks will show up as self-defeating and even self-destructive in relationships, causing others great frustration. It is usually at this point people will conclude that some persons are just their own worst enemies. Even therapists will parrot this horrifically hurtful cultural hogwash. There is nothing conscious or purposeful about self-hate. People don't choose suffering of this magnitude. And it is wrongheaded to think there is something deep within us that is directed to our own destruction.  But the mind does get stuck. The belief in a negative or unloveable self cant get stuck far below the part of the brain that can be reasoned with. The cure has to come in the same form as that which placed the wound in the first place--an interaction. An interaction that is repeated over and over which conveys a different and corrective message--"Your identity is NOT limited to how people have treated you." 

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