July 16, 2009
Being Hated, Feeling Hated, Overcoming Self-Hatred
Posted in Depression, DID/MPD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Family Members of Trauma Survivors, Self Injury, sexual abuse, Therapy and Counseling, Trauma, trauma therapist tagged Abuse, AbuseConsultants, AbuseConsultants.com, abused children, Abusive Parents, Boundaries, Burning, Compassion, cutting, DID/MPD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dysfunctional Family, emotional pain, Feeling special, Feeling Suicidal, Hate Crimes, Hated by Others, Hatred, Hatred of Self, Healthy Boundaries, I hate myself, Kathy Broady, Kindness, Loneliness, Neglected Children, Sadness, Self Harm, self hate, Self Injury, Self-hatred, Self-loathing, sexual abuse, Sexually Abused, Sexually Abused Children, Social Isolation, Suicidal Behaviors, Suicidal Thinking, Trauma Survivors, Trauma Therapy, Worthlessness at 4:45 pm by Kathy Broady
Practically every dissociative trauma survivor that I have ever spoke to has said to me at some point in time or another, that they have felt hated, truly hated. What’s worse, they didn’t feel hated by strangers — they felt hated by their loved ones. They felt hated by their mothers, their fathers, their siblings, their spouses, their children, their friends. They felt hatred from the very people they cared the most about.
What effect does feeling hated have on someone?
How does this experience change someone’s life?
It’s a natural human response to want to feel liked, loved, cherished, treasured. Children very much want to be the in the spotlight for their parents, the apples of their eyes. They each want to feel special, and to be treated like they are the most important person on earth. This is normal for children. It is part of a natural, normal, healthy development.
What happens if a child does not experience a positive sense of self in early childhood?
What happens if that child feels hated instead of loved?
What if the only time the child feels loved, accepted, appreciated, wanted is during times of sexual abuse?
What happens when abusive parents treat their children in such consistently abusive and neglectful ways that the children are left with feelings of self-hatred instead of self-love and self-acceptance?
What are some of the effects of being hated?
- Inherent sense of badness and worthlessness
- Long-term self-hatred and self-loathing
- Loneliness and Isolation
- Sadness, emotional pain, emotional scars
- Self-injury, self-destruction, and suicidal behaviors
Children that are treated with hatred internalize that hatred. Children find it difficult, if not impossible, to blame their parents for their hateful behavior. Instead, children will blame themselves. Children decide it must be their own badness, their own poor behaviors, and their own inadequacies that forced their parents to not love them.
With each violent assault, abusive parents spoke hatred to their children. Even if the words “I hate you” were never said, it was understood clearly enough by the children. In order for their loved ones to purposefully cause so much hurt and harm to them, their parents must have hated them. It is not hard for children to figure out that people causing physical injuries and emotional wounds are acting in hateful ways. Children will feel that hatred to the very core of their being.
Children tend to internalize that hatred as if they deserved it. They decide that they must be bad, they must be worthless, they must “need to be punished”, they must “need to be abused” because of their badness. Children cannot blame their parents — so they blame themselves.
The more the children are treated with hatred, the more the children hate themselves.
They may learn to hate the parents / abusers eventually, but their first response was learning to hate and despise themselves. And the self-hatred isn’t something they just grow out of or leave behind the way they might leave the actual abuse. Self-hatred can continue to affect them for all the years of their life. It is a fundamental part of self-injury behaviors. Without intense self-hatred, survivors would not be nearly so prone to cutting, burning, overdosing, or any other number of self-destructive and suicidal behaviors. It’s not uncommon for trauma survivors to carve or burn “I hate myself” messages into their body, sometimes scarring it for life. I dare say, most survivors that commit suicide were able to do so because of their incredibly deep sense of self-hatred and self-loathing.
People that truly hate themselves don’t want to live with themselves.
It’s equally difficult for people that hate themselves to be in long-term positive relationships. Trauma survivors often find it easier to love someone else more than themselves, but part of being in a positive loving relationship is comfortably accepting the reciprocal love-caring-compassion-support from others. People that inherently hate themselves find it very difficult to believe that they could be loved / lovable. This belief will ultimately (and repeatedly) be noticeable. It will cause problems in those relationships, and it will absolutely undermine the strength of those relationships.
The emotional pain connected to feeling hated digs very deep within the core of the person. It is hard to battle on an intellectual level, and it penetrates into the deepest layers of the person’s being. The emotional wounding caused from feeling hatred is one of the most difficult traumas to heal. Layer upon layer of years of blame, guilt, shame make the self-hatred feel locked into place. It’s just soooo hard to feel differently.
But part of healing from trauma involves healing from that self-hatred. Survivors may not be able to change the behaviors and actions of their perpetrator parents or any other abusers that have acted criminally towards them, but survivors can learn to separate themselves from such hateful people. It will take working with all the parts of the internal system, but then again, remember that healing for all the inside parts is important.
Learn to separate who did what, and what belongs to whom. The person that committed the hateful acts is the creator of the hate. That negativity belongs to them. Hateful people can project their own feelings of hate onto anyone around them. As survivors become old enough to think through the emotional process of their abuse, they can begin to build emotional protection around those kinds of hateful attacks.
Let the hate belong to the ones that sent it. Don’t take it in, don’t claim it as yours, and don’t let it apply to yourself. Picture a strong emotional, spiritual shield around you, and let that protect you from the barbs of the haters. Hold tight to your own feelings of kindness, compassion, caring, gentleness, and know that your own ability to love and to connect are coming from a different place than hatred. Recognize that your ability to genuinely care for your loved ones is proof in itself that you are not to be hated or considered worthless. Your ability to feel genuine kindness, gentleness, patience, and compassion prove that you are a good person, completely different and separate from the haters.
The haters will always be haters. Unless they work on their own deep-seated self-hatred, they will always project hatred onto others.
But you don’t have to accept yourself as a rightful target of their hatred. You don’t have to be one of them. You don’t have to shove hatred in the face of everyone else, and you don’t have to internalize it within yourself. You can be different from that. Let the hatred belong to the ones that it came from. Give it back to the abusers and let them own it for themselves. Don’t contain that for them. You don’t have to accept their hatred as yours when it came from them.
Spend your time in life doing things that you enjoy and let you genuinely feel better about yourself. Connect with the people and animals that you care about, and build bigger boundaries and stronger separations from the people that treat you with hatred. Give positive time and pleasant experiences to the people around you, and let your own behaviors define who you are.
Be a good person, and let the very fact that you are choosing good, positive behaviors define to you that you are not that hated person you once felt you were.
If you want to be a good person, you can be. You are not who your haters say that you are. Let their nasty ways belong to them. You can be someone very different from them.
You can be as good of a person as you want to be. No one else gets to define you — the final word on who you are belong to you, and only you.
Kathy Broady LCSW