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“Why Do I Hate Myself?” — Self-Loathing

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“Why Do I Hate Myself?” — Self-Loathing

Many of us understand that ruining feeling of self-hate that follows you wherever you go and brings an overwhelming sense of worthlessness and shame. You feel trapped in a cycle of negative emotions that make you constantly berate yourself for past mistakes.

Every day starts with an unspoken question, “Is it normal to hate yourself?” And every night, you go to bed still feeling tormented. 

Sometimes, this feeling may go away. You can spend time with friends, enjoy a family holiday, or take a spontaneous trip. But every time you’re alone, it arises in your head again.

You’re not alone. Sadly, millions of people all over the world live with this feeling. In this article, we’ll delve deep into self-loathing meaning and understand why you can feel this way.

Disclaimer. Feeling guilty or frustrated occasionally is normal; everyone experiences it occasionally. In this article, we’ll explore the temporary self-hate that significantly influences people’s well-being and quality of life.

What is Self-Loathing?

“To one’s enemies: “I hate myself more than you ever could.” ― British author Alain de Botton.

Self-loathing is a pattern of thoughts that makes people feel worthless, miserable, and ashamed. This can lead to a total belief that a person doesn’t deserve anything positive, which influences all areas of life.

Such people have low self-esteem and tend to deal with questions like, “Why do I feel guilty all the time?” Most often, this happens because of a strong inner critic that makes people struggle because of the most minor mistake. A low inherent worth is one more cause of self-loathing.

Here are some statements people experiencing self-hate may resonate with: 

  • “I’m worthless.”
  • “I’m a failure.”
  • “Nobody could ever love me.”
  • “I’m stupid.”
  • “I don’t deserve happiness.”
  • “I’m a burden to others.”
  • “I don’t deserve success.”
  • “I’m unlovable.”
  • “I’m gross or disgusting.”
  • “If people really knew me, they would be horrified.”
  • “I hate myself so much, and it hurts.” 

These expressions of emotional pain come from extreme self-criticism and the belief that you’re not good enough. But you are! Everyone is important, valuable, and good enough, no matter what happens in our lives.

Do you feel that the inner critic is too strong? Understanding what happens will help you take the first steps to emotional resilience. Take a well-being test from Breeze to discover personalized insights on your well-being and get a free plan to feel better.

6 Signs of Self-Loathing

If you’ve seen the series, “13 Reasons Why,” you probably remember the story of Hannah Baker. She experienced deep emotional pain caused by bullying and trauma. 

Hannah was exhausted from self-loathing and took her own life. Nevertheless, before it, she demonstrated many signs of self-hating behavior. If noticed timely, her closest people could help her.

Let’s look at 6 signs that you hate yourself and gain a deeper understanding of this feeling.

Black-and-White Thinking

We can describe this feeling in one phrase, “If it’s not a 100% success, it’s a failure.” Self-loathing makes us turn to extremes. The world is only white or black; people are only good or bad, etc. There are no nuances, just two polar meanings.

Feels relatable? If you don’t give room for any shades of gray or other colors in your life, it’s a warning sign. Moreover, you may constantly dwell on past mistakes, experiencing the guilt complex and believing you’ve already ruined everything.


Even the smallest trigger turns into a possible nightmare in your head. It’s like a storm that starts with flapping a butterfly’s wings. 

You always believe that the worst possible scenario will happen, even if it’s unlikely or even almost impossible. This could lead to the ultimate statement, “I hate myself,” because you can’t prevent all bad things, feeling powerless.

For instance, your manager unexpectedly booked you an additional 1:1 meeting. You don’t know the agenda and try to guess every possible scenario three days before the event. Thousands of thoughts run through your head. 

You suppose that you made a significant mistake and will be fired. Then you keep imagining what you’ll do without a job and how long you’ll be able to live if no one else will hire you (because you believe that you don’t deserve a good position).

Nevertheless, the meeting happens, and the manager clarifies some changes in processes inside the team. “Oh, I shouldn’t have been disappointed in myself,” you think. But the new day comes, and everything goes over — dozens of times.


It is even worse if people with high self-loathing have already had a bad experience. In this case, they can assume it will recur in other situations. It feels like, “Nothing good is going to happen. Never. Not with me.”

Overgeneralization is when the slightest failure can stop you from doing things you like. 

“It’s unsafe. You can’t make mistakes. Not you,” this is the feeling that people with self-resentment deal with when something goes wrong.

Imagine that you start going to the gym. Every single training session feels challenging, but you keep going. Until one day, you need to skip the gym because of work. Two days later, you need to do it again because you feel sick.

That’s it, period. At this point, many people who experience overgeneralization will start believing that they will never be disciplined. “There’s no sense in continuing. All the results have faded away, and I will never succeed in sport.”

It’s not true. However, people experiencing self-hate tend to feel it this way.

A woman thinking “I hate myself so much, and it hurts.”

Focusing on Negative and Ignoring Positive Things

When asking yourself, “Why do I hate myself so much?” try to stop for a minute and think about the last time something positive happened to you. 

Many times, our mental filter focuses on negative things and disqualifies the good moments. People see the world as a dangerous and scary place. Moreover, research proves that 80% of our thoughts are negative.

How does it influence our life? Well, let’s imagine a hypothetical situation.

It’s your birthday today. You get a lot of presents, people send you their best wishes, and the day is shaping up to be wonderfulYou’re expecting your best friends to come and celebrate with you, but one of them feels sick and doesn’t come. 

Instead of appreciating the positive aspects of your day, you dwell on the disappointment of your friend not showing up. The holiday now is ruined.

The truth is that bad things happen, as well as positive ones. It might be difficult to focus on one aspect of our lives. Nevertheless, if you perceive everything only from the negative side and don’t see things getting better, it may be a noticeable self-loathing sign.

Emotional Reasoning

Let’s remember the Netflix movie “The Queen’s Gambit” and its main character, Beth Harmon. She truly believes that her worth as a chess player depends on her ability to win games. Beth often takes her feelings as facts, which leads her to substance abuse to cope with anxiety and self-doubt.

The reality is quite similar. Feel like a failure before the competition? Emotional reasoning may lead you to believe that you’re destined to lose. Planning a trip and being sure that something will go wrong? You’ll worry all the time even if everything goes smoothly.

Even though some people may think that self-hate is good because it makes them more careful and attentive, in reality, it leads to constant stress and anxiety without any real reason.

Being Hard on Yourself

“I hate being me. Period. I don’t deserve love, happiness, or a great future. I’m not good enough. I’m not allowed to make mistakes. If I fail, I will never forgive myself.” Many people with self-loathing think this way.

Sadly, for many of us, it’s difficult to acknowledge how worthless we feel. Self-hate usually leads to an inability to fail. You may blame yourself for every single mistake, even if you made it years ago. 

Lying in bed for hours and thinking about a better way to answer the bully from the high school? It doesn’t matter that you had that conversation 12 years ago! Often, these thoughts may lead you to a vicious cycle of self-blame and resentment, holding you back from moving forward.

Seeking Approval

When you lack internal support, other people become your sole source of encouragement. Seeking approval is normal, and most of us want to feel appreciated. Nevertheless, when the question “Why do I hate myself?” arises, external support can become the only thing that drives you in life.

People who experience self-loathing often try to fit in but quite rarely feel at ease. They constantly need validation and approval, as if others’ opinions are much more important than their own. 

Additionally, their self-esteem may be unstable and vary based on how people interact with them. 

Let’s try to understand where this feeling of self-loathing comes from. In the next section, we’ll analyze the underlying causes and triggers that may influence your well-being now.

A woman who tries to deal with the feeling of self-resentment.

Why Am I So Self-Critical? — 5 Reasons

“If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…” Cheri Huber, There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate.

Sometimes, we can be our greater enemies and the strictest critics. But why? Is hating yourself a sign of depression, or where does it come from?

Actually, there may be lots of reasons. Read further, and let’s try to understand together how this happens and why many people end up with a constant feeling of self-resentment.

Childhood Trauma

Many problems stem from issues that occur in childhood. Self-loathing isn’t an exception. 

It often starts with the question, “Why don’t I remember my childhood?” and finishes with something much deeper than memory problems. 

In fact, the anger of children who experienced traumatic events manifests itself as self-hatred and the belief that there is something inherently wrong with them. Why is it so? 

When children face traumatic events, they sometimes internalize  that it is because of their “badness.” This way, they try to make sense of trauma and rationalize their feelings.

Remember that everyone’s experience and psycho are different. Thus, childhood trauma influences people’s lives in entirely different ways. 

While for some, it is almost unnoticeable, for others, it leads to significant personality changes. Whatever it affects you, it doesn’t make your experience less important.

To understand what causes self-hatred, analyze your unique path and every sign of childhood trauma, you can take Breeze’s test. It will help you discover the point you are now and create a roadmap to healing from childhood trauma.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are silent killers. It’s true. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric diseases. In addition to our physical health, they can erode our self-esteem and internal support as well.

It may start with a desire to look and feel good. But one day, people wake up with a silent question, “Why do I hate looking at myself in the mirror?” Body dysmorphia is one of the main symptoms of eating disorders and internalized fatphobia. It’s also often connected with the feeling of self-loathing.

Sometimes, the cause-effect relationship may be the opposite. Self-hate can lead to destructive attempts to control eating habits as a coping mechanism. As a result, a person may develop an eating disorder that only escalates the feeling of “I hate who I am.”

Don’t hesitate to seek support from a therapist if you feel that the situation gets out of control. It’s better to take care of your mental health now to avoid potentially worsening issues in the future.

Here is a pro tip from Nicole Arzt, LMFT, “Self-loathing can be insidious and difficult to overcome. Many people are so used to being critical of themselves that kindness feels foreign. That said, practicing self-compassion can go such a long way in building a healthier relationship with yourself.”

Toxic Relationships 

Have you seen the TikTok trend #happyhouse? Users put this hashtag under videos where they draw attention to the problem of domestic violence.

While this can ultimately be dangerous for the life and physical health of the victim, even the first toxic relationship signs significantly influence mental well-being as well.

One of the self-loathing examples you can find in the Netflix series “You.” In the relationship between Joe Goldberg and Beck, a toxic dynamic leads to self-hate on Beck’s part. Joe’s obsessive and controlling behavior manipulates Beck, so she struggles to break free from manipulative grasp and reclaim her autonomy.

The reality is quite similar. Gaslighting, manipulations, or any sign of emotional abuse may create that critical voice inside your head. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 15, 25, or 45; toxic relations can influence your mental health at any age. 

Pro tip. Not only a partner but also a friend, co-worker, or even a relative may be toxic. So, being aware of your circle and limiting communication with such people is vital.

Low Self-Esteem

Hating yourself may come from a negative self-concept and poor self-image. People with low self-esteem struggle to believe that they and their opinions are important. They also tend to feel inferior to others. 

But can you imagine that roughly 85% of adults worldwide have low self-esteem? It may stem from repressed childhood trauma, bullying at school or college, a stressful breakdown, financial troubles, etc.  

However, the outcome is often the same. People feel so empty that they can’t find joy in their accomplishments or appreciate their worth. Living with this feeling for a very long time can result in questions like, “Why don’t I like myself so much?”

Imagine that you’re starting a fashion brand. Everything goes well, and the customers have already received their clothes. Until one day, you get a bad review: “Awful material, weird fit, and terrible color.” Boom!

For a person with unstable self-esteem, one negative review can turn into a spiral of thoughts, from “I need to close the brand” to “people hate me.” Even the slightest problem can lead to self-loathing.

To improve self-esteem and stop worrying about everything, it will be helpful to start doing self-help techniques (like reading self-love quotes). Remember that your feelings matter, and you can always take a step toward well-being. 

Nicole Arzt, LMFT adds, “You are important, and you have inherent worth. You also add value to this world and to the people in your life. Try to remind yourself of this as often as possible.”

Depression & Other Mental Health Conditions

Hopeless, guilty, ashamed, and, of course, self-hatred. Scary combination, right? Besides, this is how people with mental health conditions can feel most of the time. 

You need to be aware of the most widespread cognitive differences when feeling frustrated and trapped in a negative self-image.

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • ADHD self-loathing 
  • Substance use disorders 

Remember that negative patterns gradually loop inside people’s minds, while the outcome may be dramatic. Thus, when you notice the first warning statement, “I don’t like myself,” running in your head, it’s essential to be attentive to your mental health.

You may ask yourself, “Am I lazy or depressed?” Sadly, depression makes it hard for you to realize that your negative thoughts are influenced by mental illness. 

So, if you suspect the symptoms of any cognitive difference and want to understand where the feeling of self-resentment comes from, contact your healthcare provider.

To Sum Up

“You and your emotions are vital.” It may be difficult to believe this statement, but it’s a truth you need to know.

When experiencing overwhelming self-hate thoughts and living day-to-day feeling empty inside, it’s crucial to find a helping hand that will navigate you through life’s challenges. 

Trying self-help techniques, asking loved ones for support, and working with a therapist are only a few ways to pave your path to emotional resilience.

Use this article as a guideline for analyzing your mental state. Stay attentive to your well-being with Breeze, and let’s start the journey to happiness together. The result is worth it.

Nicole Arzt, LMFT photo

Reviewed by Nicole Arzt, LMFT

Nicole Arzt is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, and bestselling author. In her practice, she primarily treats co...