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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. The term is also used to designate a dislike or hatred of a group, family, social class, mental illness, 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" is used infrequently by psychologists and psychiatrists, who would usually describe people who hate themselves as "persons with low self-esteem".[citation needed] Self-hatred 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,[1] as well as depression. It can also be linked to guilt for someone's own actions that they view as wrongful, e.g. survivor guilt.[citation needed]


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. The term "self-loathing" is used as a rhetorical tool by holders of extreme nationalistic or racist views or the opposite views of anti-nationalism to belittle those from the same ethnic group who do not share the views of the labeller.[citation needed]


Personal self-hatred and self-loathing can result from an inferiority complex.[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 the advertising then being used to suggest the cure.[2] 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 didn't do, or as a result of bullying.


Self-harm can be a psychological disorder that may involve self-hatred, where subjects may feel compelled to physically injure themselves as an outlet for depression, anxiety, or anger. 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Borderline Personality Disorder - Symptoms". WebMD. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Ron. "Review of Jerry Mander's Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television". Retrieved 17 June 2012. 

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