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Self-pity is an emotion in which one feels self-centered sorrow and pity toward the self regarding one's own internal and external experiences of suffering.[1] Self-pity has also been defined as an emotion "directed towards others with the goal of attracting attention, empathy, or help" [1][2]


The feeling of self-pity typically arises when an individual attributes failures to external factors perceived as uncontrollable.[3] Although the primary focus of self-pity is on the self and one's own emotions, it has a strong interpersonal component as well. In addition to loneliness, subjects may also feel "envy, blame, anger, and hostility directed towards others".[1]

However, it is also very common for people suffering from self-pity to deflect criticism of themselves; they are usually incapable of self-reflection and blame their bad situation only on external factors, such as bad luck or other people's supposed resentment.[citation needed]

Self-pity is different from self-compassion, which consists of extending compassion to oneself in cases of failure or general suffering.


The research based on observation on self-pity is very slim, but the research that is available shows that self-pity can be an effect from a stressor of a dramatic event. It can also be shown that aspects of one's personality can have an effect of one's self-pity. This can also be combined with antagonistic views against others as their pity to themselves becomes jealousy to the people around.[citation needed] Although others initially respond to self-pity with empathic concern, the interpersonal effects of frequent expression of self-pity can be detrimental. Individuals that engage in pervasive self-pity may be more likely to be rejected by their peers and may commonly be perceived as querulous.[1]

While looking into the science of psychology, the personalities that mostly respond to experiencing self-pity are moody and most likely experience feelings of anxiety, anger, loneliness, etc.[citation needed] In other words, people that are {unable to self regulate} are more likely to have self-pity for the most of their lifespan.[citation needed] There is also evidence that the effect of self-pity can depend on gender, with women being more vulnerable and more likely to go through with that cause.[citation needed]

The focus of where self-pity could rise could come from their past failings or losses and as a result could break down the mind of a person. These people in question could repeat the cycle and continue to beat themselves down to further their pain.[citation needed]


As self-pity is observed to be associated with rumination and avoidance coping strategies, it is an important emotional experience to acknowledge in therapeutic settings.[1] When someone goes through the effects of self-pity, it has been seen that these effects can be subsided if one were to think of happy thoughts during the process, it could be beneficial to them and reduce further harm.[citation needed] With the research that is given, it is possible that it can be used to prescribe and tell the difference between a person with anxiety and a person with depression.[citation needed] With how one would deal with self-pity, one could treat their ailment by finding some sort of relief and grow away from further pain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Stober, J (2003). "Self-Pity: Exploring the Links to Personality, Control Beliefs, and Anger" (PDF). Journal of Personality. 71 (2): 183–220. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.7102004.
  2. ^ Petric, Domina (January 2019). "Self-Pity and The Knot Theory of Mind". ResearchGate.
  3. ^ Weiner, Bernard (1 October 2014). "The Attribution Approach to Emotion and Motivation: History, Hypotheses, Home Runs, Headaches/Heartaches". Emotion Review. 6 (4): 353–361. doi:10.1177/1754073914534502. ISSN 1754-0739.