A Self-hatred Questionnaire – Free Ebook

One of the odder features of self-hatred is
that the affliction may escape our notice

for the greater part of our lives. We may
simply not be aware that we don’t like ourselves

very much – even as the sickness of self-hatred
wreaks its havoc across a range of psychological

situations and opportunities.

Though we are relentless scrutinisers of others,
we seldom pause to give a unitary verdict

on what we make of our own characters. We
may recognise our approval or distaste of

ourselves in relation to specific actions;
we will know when we are – for example – cross

about being slow to complete a task or when
we are pleased to have won a colleague’s

approval but we are on the whole uninclined
to step far back and consider ourselves in

totality, as we might a stranger. We are too
involved with ourselves on an ongoing basis

to assess the sharper outlines of our own
characters. There are few occasions when we

are summoned to ask whether we essentially
like the person we are.

As a result, our self-suspicion tends to linger
in undiagnosed forms. We miss the extent to

which we can suffer from endemic self-loathing

  • and how a once acceptable and perhaps invigorating

form of self-questioning has turned into a
lacerating sequence of attacks on everything

we are and do. We may – paradoxically – be
at once highly depressed about ourselves – and

oblivious that we are so.

In order to know what we are up against, we
should take a measure of our sense of self.

For this, there may be no better move than
to resort to that clumsiest but simple and

most helpful of psychological tools, the questionnaire.

We can ask to what extent we might agree with
the following sentences on a scale of one

to ten, ten meaning very much, zero indicating
not at all.

  • If people knew who I really was, they would
    be horrified.
  • The inside of me is appalling.
  • Often, I can’t bear who I am.
  • I’m disgusting.
  • I’m shameful
  • I’m weak
  • Others have a good cause to hate and harm

me

  • It’s only a matter of time before terrible

things happen to me, given who I am.

  • I’m sexually revolting
  • I am physically repulsive
  • I am unworthy of being forgiven
  • I am a fitting target for ridicule
  • I am bound to fail
  • I don’t deserve much sympathy
  • People often see me in the street and feel

contempt.

  • I have acted badly across my whole life
  • There is something fundamentally wrong with
    me.

We don’t need to do careful sums to arrive
at an indicative picture at speed. Some of

us will be reaching for tens on pretty much
every occasion; others – blessedly – will

be puzzled by the whole exercise. This book
is not for them.

If we find ourselves reaching for high numbers,
we may be tempted to come to a powerful yet

entirely mistaken conclusion: that we are
terrible people. The reality is at once less

personally damning and far more redemptive:
we aren’t so terrible at all, we are just

very ill. The questionnaire is telling us
about an affliction, not about our past or

what we deserve or who we really are. The
very extremity of our answers should signal

that something is afoot that far exceeds what
any human is ever owed. We aren’t intolerably

wicked; we are in the grip of a cruel sickness
which systematically destroys any confidence

or generosity we might feel towards ourselves.
We are treating ourselves with a violence

and pitilessness we wouldn’t think of bestowing
upon our worst enemies. We have, somehow,

unbeknownst to us, ended up considering the
person we have to accompany through life with

an unparalleled degree of coldness and disdain.

It is time to come to terms with our suffering

  • and to refuse the delusion and meanness

of

self-hatred.

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