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Self-hatred (also called self-loathing) refers to an extreme dislike or hatred of oneself, or being angry at or even prejudiced against oneself.[1]

The term "self-hatred" is used infrequently by psychologists and psychiatrists, who would usually describe people who hate themselves as "people with low self-esteem".[2] Self-hatred, self-guilt and shame are important factors in some or many mental disorders, especially disorders that involve a perceived defect of oneself (e.g. body dysmorphic disorder). Self-hatred is also a symptom of many personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder,[3] as well as depression. It can also be linked to guilt for someone's own actions that they view as wrongful, e.g., self-guilt, survivor guilt.[citation needed]

The term is also used to designate a dislike or hatred of a group, family, social class, nationality, or stereotype to which one belongs and/or has. For instance, "ethnic self-hatred" is the extreme dislike of one's ethnic group or cultural classification. It may be associated with aspects of autophobia.



The term self-hatred can refer to either a strong dislike for oneself, one's own actions, or a strong dislike or hatred of one's own race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other group of which one may be a member. When used in the latter context it is generally defined as hatred of one's identity based on the demographic in question, as well as a desire to distance oneself from this identity.[citation needed]


Some sociology theorists such as Jerry Mander see television programming as being deliberately designed to induce self-hatred, negative body image, and depression, with advertising then being used to suggest the cure.[4] See also the arguments related to the Kill your television phenomenon. Some personal self-hatred can be linked to remorse for something a person did or did not do, or as a result of bullying.[citation needed]

Racial, ethnic, and religiousEdit

Many races, ethnic groups, and religions have experienced self-hatred resulting from internalization of hatred from dominant cultures (for example, self-hating Catholics internalize a hatred of Catholicism).


Jews are one traditional example of this internalized self-hatred. Jewish people experienced hatred in Europe and America. Lessing, in his book, Jewish Self-Hatred (1930), considered this type of hatred pathological, “a manifestation of an over identification with the dominant culture and internalization of its prejudices.” There have been studies from sources stated in the scholarly research, “mental illness in Jews often derived from feelings of inferiority and self-hatred resulting from persecution and their subordinate position in society.” From the American Jew side, there have been similar responses to their reactions and self-hate. European Jews migrated to the U.S. beginning in 1654. During that time, U.S. law discriminated against Jewish people and banned them from professions, voting, and holding office. Not until 1868 did the original 13 colonies grant Jewish people some political equality. Because of these sociopolitical barriers, many American Jews decided to hide their identity “by converting or intermarrying and raising their children in another faith.”[5]


The Anti-Japaneseism movement in Japan is composed of ethnic Japanese who seek the downfall of Japan.

Skin colorEdit

Among black people in the United States, there have been those who have experienced self-hate. American society has historically supported racial stereotypes portraying Black Americans as immoral, ugly, dull witted, and otherwise inferior. Black people also may be perceived differently on a combination of racial and sex stereotypes; for example, Black men are often portrayed as lazy while Black women are portrayed as sexually bold. Stereotypes and socioeconomic status, including historical status, also drive self-hatred in some.

Skin bleaching is common among various races, often because of an internalized belief that their skin is “too dark” for society. On July 5, 1999, The Ministry of Health held a press conference to publicize its counter strategy to skin bleaching resulting in taking it off on all markets; actions such as these often remind people with darker skin of the prevalence of racial prejudices, possibly reducing self-esteem, and as a result, increasing self-hatred. A dermatologist has estimated that about 10% to 15% of the patients seen by dermatologists are bleaching their skin.

American media portrayals of Black men and women have spread outside of the U.S., influencing people of all races worldwide, and increasing self-hatred.[6][7][8]

Adolescents and digital self-harmEdit

Digital self-harm, which according to Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja is "the anonymous online posting, sending, or otherwise sharing of hurtful content about oneself", is an increasingly prevalent form of self-harm in the modern day and age for adolescents. Self-hate is highly prevalent in the adolescent stages. Through recent years, social media has grown and most adolescents now confront their feelings, whether about themselves or about others, online. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine published a nationally representative survey of 5,593 middle and high school students (12 to 17 years old) obtained in 2016. The study was led by Justin W. Patchin, PhD and Sameer Hinduja, PhD. Their study, "Digital Self-Harm Among Adolescents" revealed that 6 percent of students say they have cyberbullied themselves. The study also found that males were significantly more likely to report digital self-harm than females, with 7.1 percent for males compared with 5.3 percent for females. The study found correlations between digital self-harm and factors such as sexual orientation, prior experience with bullying, drug use, and depressive symptoms. [9]

Potential effectsEdit


Self-harm is a condition where subjects may feel compelled to physically injure themselves as an outlet for depression, anxiety, or anger, and is related with numerous psychological disorders.[10][11][12]

In some cases, self-harm can lead to accidental death or suicide. It is not a definitive indicator, however, of a desire either to commit suicide or even of its consideration.[13]


Self-deprecation is the act of belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself,[14] or being excessively modest.[15][16] It can be used in humor and tension release.[17]

Self-deprecation was recommended by philosophers of Stoicism as a response to insults. Instead of getting defensive, one should join in by insulting themselves even more. According to the Stoics, this will remove the sting from the insult. It will also disappoint the interlocutor because the insulted party failed to be upset, thereby reducing the chance that they will try to upset the Stoic like that again.[18]

Self-deprecation is often perceived as being a characteristic of certain nations, such as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, where "blowing one's own trumpet" is frowned upon.[19] This is played upon by English comedians such as David Mitchell, Lee Evans and Johnny Vegas.[citation needed] Actors such as Danny Dyer, Matt Lucas, and Stephen Fry use this humour in their acting roles.[citation needed]

It is seen as a major component of the comedy of North American comedians such as Maria Bamford, Jerry Lewis and Woody Allen,[20].


Self-guilt is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. Self-hatred can lead to self-guilt due to one thinking it's their own fault for feeling that way, resulting in self-guilt.[21]

  1. ^ "Four Kinds of Depression and Self-Hate".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Borderline Personality Disorder - Symptoms". WebMD. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  4. ^ Kaufman, Ron. "Review of Jerry Mander's Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  5. ^ Alperin, Richard M. (2016-03-09). "Jewish Self-Hatred: The Internalization of Prejudice". Clinical Social Work Journal. 44 (3): 221–230. doi:10.1007/s10615-016-0577-2. ISSN 0091-1674.
  6. ^ Charles, Christopher A. D. (July 2003). "Skin Bleaching, Self-Hate, and Black Identity in Jamaica". Journal of Black Studies. 33 (6): 711–728. doi:10.1177/0021934703033006001. ISSN 0021-9347.
  7. ^ Hall, Ronald E. (2014-02-27). "Self-Hate as Life Threat Pathology Among Black Americans: Black Pride Antidote Vis-à-Vis Leukocyte Telomere Length (LTL)". Journal of African American Studies. 18 (4): 398–408. doi:10.1007/s12111-014-9277-6. ISSN 1559-1646.
  8. ^ Hall, Ronald E., and Jesenia M. Pizarro. “Unemployment as Conduit of Black Self-Hate: Pathogenic Rates of Black Male Homicide via Legacy of the Antebellum.” Journal of Black Studies, vol. 40, no. 4, Mar. 2010, pp. 653–665. EBSCOhost,
  9. ^ Patchin, Justin W.; Hinduja, Sameer (December 2017). "Digital Self-Harm Among Adolescents". Journal of Adolescent Health. 61 (6): 761–766. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.06.012. ISSN 1054-139X. PMID 28935385.
  10. ^ Laye-Gindhu, A.; Schonert-Reichl, Kimberly A. (2005), "Nonsuicidal Self-Harm Among Community Adolescents: Understanding the "Whats" and "Whys" of Self-Harm", Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34 (5): 447–457, doi:10.1007/s10964-005-7262-z
  11. ^ Klonsky, D. (2007), "The functions of deliberate self-injury: A review of the evidence", Clinical Psychological Review, 27 (2): 226–239, doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2006.08.002, PMID 17014942
  12. ^ Muehlenkamp, J. J. (2005), "Self-Injurious Behavior as a Separate Clinical Syndrome", American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75 (2): 324–333, doi:10.1037/0002-9432.75.2.324, PMID 15839768
  13. ^ "Understanding Suicide and Self-harm". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  14. ^ "Self-deprecation". The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
  15. ^ Self-Deprecation - Personality & Spirituality
  16. ^ Self-deprecation | Define Self-deprecation at
  17. ^ Hill, Matthew. "The Funny Thing About Work". Society for Intercultural Training and Research. Archived from the original on 2012-01-20. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  18. ^ William Irvine, 2013, 'A Slap in the Face'
  19. ^ "Self-Deprecation". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  20. ^ Forward, The (2009-06-10). "Is self-deprecation killing Jewish comedy? - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Haaretz. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  21. ^

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