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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, 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". 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, 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.
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. This tends to involve welcoming and accepting antagonistic views towards one's group from other groups and promoting these views to members of own group, while rejecting any opposing view with uses of argumentum ad hominem (e.g. 'racist', 'extremist', 'sexist') rather than reasoned arguments, whether the personal attacks stand or not.
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. 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.
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.
Self-deprecation was recommended by philosophers of Stoicism as a response to insults. Instead of getting defensive, we should join in by insulting ourselves even more. According to the Stoics, this will remove the sting from the insult. It will also disappoint our interlocutor because we failed to be upset in response to words that were supposed to hurt us, thereby reducing the chance that they will try to upset us like that again.
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. This is played upon by English comedian David Mitchell.
It is seen as a major component of the comedy of North American comedians such as Maria Bamford, Jerry Lewis, Woody Allen, Mike Birbiglia, Brian Regan, Hannibal Buress, Bo Burnham, Louis C.K., Rodney Dangerfield, Larry David, Phyllis Diller, Tina Fey, Nathan Fielder, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin Hart, Leslie Jones, Don Knotts, David Letterman, Bernie Mac, Jim Norton, Conan O'Brien, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Amy Schumer, David Spade, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano, Robin Williams and Craig Ferguson.
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