From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Self-hatred is personal self-loathing (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]

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 Cafeteria Catholics, especially those who demand the changes to doctrines regarding human sexuality and abortion, who repeat secularist critiques of the Catholic Church without questioning them, or who place the platform of their political party above Church teachings.[3][4][5]


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.[6]

LGBT+ individuals[edit]

Internalized homophobia refers to negative stereotypes, beliefs, stigma, and prejudice about homosexuality and LGBT people that a person with same-sex attraction turns inward on themselves, whether or not they identify as LGBT.[7][8][9]

Related concepts[edit]


Self-deprecation is the act of belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself, or being excessively modest.[10] It can be used in humor and tension release.[11]


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.[12][13][14]

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.[15]

See also[edit]

  • Anti-Germans (political current) – Theoretical and political tendencies within the radical left mainly in Germany and Austria
  • Anti-Japaneseism – Theory from the New Left of Japan
  • Internalized oppression – Concept in social justice theory
  • Sadomasochism – Giving or receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation
  • White guilt – Guilt felt by some white people for harm resulting from racist treatment of ethnic minorities


  1. ^ a b "I Hate Myself". PsychAlive. 2013-09-20. Retrieved 2022-11-22.
  2. ^ "Borderline Personality Disorder - Symptoms". WebMD. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  3. ^ Weigel, George (21 June 2011). "Maureen Dowd's Catholic Problem". National Review Online. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  4. ^ Arkes, Hadley (1 November 1996). "Life Watch: Anti-Catholic Catholics". Crisis Magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  5. ^ Lawler, Phil (13 July 2011). "Anti-Catholic Catholics". Catholic Culture. Trinity Communications. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  6. ^ Alperin, Richard M. (September 2016). "Jewish Self-Hatred: The Internalization of Prejudice". Clinical Social Work Journal. 44 (3): 221–230. doi:10.1007/s10615-016-0577-2. S2CID 147008248.
  7. ^ Herek, Gregory M. (April 2004). "Beyond 'Homophobia': Thinking About Sexual Prejudice and Stigma in the Twenty-First Century" (PDF). Sexuality Research and Social Policy. 1 (2): 6–24. doi:10.1525/srsp.2004.1.2.6. S2CID 145788359.
  8. ^ Herek, Gregory M.; Cogan, Jeanine C.; Gillis, J. Roy; Glunt, Eric K. (1997). "Correlates of Internalized Homophobia in a Community Sample of Lesbians and Gay Men". Journal of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. 2 (1): 17–25. CiteSeerX OCLC 206392016.
  9. ^ Williamson, I. R. (1 February 2000). "Internalized homophobia and health issues affecting lesbians and gay men". Health Education Research. 15 (1): 97–107. doi:10.1093/her/15.1.97. PMID 10788206.
  10. ^ "Self-Deprecation". Personality & Spirituality. Retrieved 2022-11-22.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Laye-Gindhu, Aviva; Schonert-Reichl, Kimberly A. (October 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. S2CID 145689088.
  13. ^ 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, S2CID 1321836
  14. ^ Muehlenkamp, Jennifer J. (2005). "Self-Injurious Behavior as a Separate Clinical Syndrome". American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 75 (2): 324–333. CiteSeerX doi:10.1037/0002-9432.75.2.324. PMID 15839768.
  15. ^ "Understanding Suicide and Self-harm". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2019-02-01.

Further reading[edit]