From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Self-hatred is a pejorative characterization of persons who are judged to hold members of their apparent identity group to a higher standard of behavior than those not in that social group. In academia, the term is generally taken to mean an internalization of the prejudices of a dominant culture against a subculture by members belonging to that subculture.[citation needed][clarification needed]

The term is infrequently used to mean a more personal self-loathing or hatred of oneself, or low self-esteem[1] which may lead to self-harm.

In psychology and psychiatry[edit]

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".[1] 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,[2] as well as mood disorders like depression. It can also be linked to guilt for someone's own actions that they view as wrongful, e.g., survivor guilt.[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.[3] See also the arguments related to the Kill your television phenomenon.[clarification needed]

In social groups[edit]

Self-hatred by members of ethnic groups, gender groups, and religions is postulated to be a result of internalization of hatred of those groups from dominant cultures.


Self-hating or "anti-Catholic Catholics" are terms of critique by traditionalist or conservative Catholics to describe modernist or liberal Catholics, especially those who seek to reform doctrine, make secularist critiques of the Catholic Church, or place secular principles above Church teachings.[4][5][6]


Theodor Lessing, in his book, Jewish Self-Hatred (1930), identified this as a pathology, “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.”[citation needed]

The term has been used to label American Jews accused of hiding their identity “by converting or intermarrying and raising their children in another faith” to overcome sociopolitical barriers due to antisemitism in the United States.[7]


Racial stereotyping of African-Americans and negative 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.[8][9][10]

Related concepts[edit]


Self-deprecation is the act of belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself,[11] or being excessively modest.[12][13] It can be used in humor and tension release.[14]


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.[15][16][17]

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.[18]

See also: Mortification of the flesh, Self-flagellation

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "I Hate Myself", by PsychAlive
  2. ^ "Borderline Personality Disorder - Symptoms". WebMD. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Weigel, George (21 June 2011). "Maureen Dowd's Catholic Problem". National Review Online. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ Arkes, Hadley (1 November 1996). "Life Watch: Anti-Catholic Catholics". Crisis Magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  6. ^ Lawler, Phil (13 July 2011). "Anti-Catholic Catholics". Catholic Culture. Trinity Communications. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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,
  11. ^ "Self-deprecation". The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
  12. ^ Self-Deprecation - Personality & Spirituality
  13. ^ Self-deprecation | Define Self-deprecation at
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ "Understanding Suicide and Self-harm". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-02-01.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]