Those who hate themselves usually find this absolutely justified. After all, everyone has something to complain about. Whether, it’s ten kilos too much, ears too big, nose too small, crooked teeth, too shy, or whatever. This is also completely normal and not bad at all. However, there is a huge difference between dissatisfaction and self-loathing.
One speaks of self-hatred when you can no longer see anything positive about yourself. When a person rejects themself so much that they even try to harm themself and their partner, it can be detrimental to the relationship. Worse yet, with all these negative thoughts, their self-esteem will decrease more and more until they start loving themself.
Since this is a behavior and not something innate, they can always change it and turn it in a positive direction. However, for you as their partner (who also has to deal with your own problems), it can be tough to handle such a relationship.
So is it possible to love someone who is self-hating? The following reasons why it’s impossible might help you consider your next move.
Table of Contents
I should probably start by saying self-hatred isn’t always apparent. Even if you are in a relationship, you may have to be extra attentive to tell the signs apart from a quirk. Its principal mouthpiece is that little critic in your head that makes you overlook the positive in everything and grasp all the negative deductions you can make.
The longer you’re stuck in your head (which is where a typical self-loather spends most of their time), the more hold that inner critic has over you. Eventually, you stop fighting it, and that feeling of inadequacy becomes your default. So, when someone comes along who tries to prove you are good enough and worthy of love, it’s hard to see them as anything but naïve.
While it’s nice to see and feel their dedication, it’s difficult to internalize it because you’re convinced it won’t last, so you keep your guard up to not get used to it.
As you know, communication is the soul of every relationship, romantic or otherwise. But this can be a challenging feat to achieve with someone who takes everything as an attack on themselves. Their low self-esteem on particularly bad days can make them read (negative) meanings into even the most harmless things you say and do.
As time goes on, you find yourself picking and weighing your words around them very carefully, something even the most persevering person will eventually tire of. They can’t help but feel the compassion you show them is performative.
So, even a moment of anger that causes you to say something harsh (which you don’t really mean), is enough to confirm all their fears about how you ‘truly’ feel. And possibly undo whatever progress you’ve been able to manage on the front of getting them to trust you.
I know they say love conquers all but its hands are tied if it’s just one of both parties fighting the battle. On a purely emotional level, you know how you feel, and perhaps, as far as you can tell, they feel the same way for you. Or at least, the closest thing to love they can dole out.
However, what do you do when your partner hates opening up and gets defensive when you try to do so? How do you escape conflicts and loneliness when incessant miscommunications make your connection dwindle? If you start assuming what’s on each other’s minds rather than asking, what hope is there for love to thrive in your relationship?
It’s like constantly tending to a physically ill partner, even if you don’t feel your best, as long as you’re still agile, their care falls on you. You wouldn’t see your loved one in distress and turn a blind eye, would you? But then who takes care of the caretaker?
A relationship is supposed to go both ways as we all have emotional needs we’d like our partners to meet. But when one is constantly playing the victim (even if they hate to do it) and self-destructing, it’s hard to focus on yourself, let alone mention your own issues.
You naturally want to be your partner’s rock, so you constantly ignore your wants and desires, which sounds to me like the stuff of an unsatisfying relationship.
Speaking of emotional needs, it’s impossible for one person, no matter how loving, to fill it all. That’s why we nurture friendships, familial relationships, and, more importantly, our sense of self. Can you already see how things can go wrong when you fall in love with someone with low self-esteem?
Their poor self-image will either make them try their darndest to fit in and get approval or make them cynical of and shut people out. But their needs still have to be met one way, which leaves you, the only person who makes the cut.
This can also go the other way, i.e., refusing to let even you in, which, unfortunately, isn’t much of a consolation. It means you have to watch the person you love suffer alone while you feel completely helpless.
They say you like because and you love despite. Ideally, love should be unconditional, but everything we know about human nature suggests that’s an unrealistic expectation. No matter how accepting and sacrificial you are, you can’t help but crave reciprocation from people you invest yourself in.
And that’s precisely the hiccup with a relationship where you constantly have to suppress your own issues to cater to your partner. You may not intend to, you might even dislike yourself for it, but someday, you may regret all those times you spent being understanding and lowkey blaming your partner for wasting your youth.
Meanwhile, toxicity often begets toxicity. The risk of slipping into a codependent dynamic in a relationship is higher when one partner is emotionally wounded. At first, it starts with you wanting to make them feel worthy, so to speak. And while they may initially be hesitant, the validation is likely to eventually win them over.
But then comes the downside of having them imprint on you like a duckling to its mother. Soon the satisfaction of feeling needed by your partner may get so addictive that it becomes how you measure your own relevance. It’s worth looking into the underlying issue if you find yourself in a pattern of dating/attracting codependents because it means you might be one yourself.
When your actions constantly rub your partner the wrong way, it’s natural to want to indulge in the things they seem to like. It can be anything from funding unhealthy distractions like drugs and co to tolerating violations of your personal boundaries just to make them happy.
It might seem like a quick fix; better than sitting on your hands and asking, “how can I help?” But once the dose wears off, they (and you) are still going to have to face those same problems, and the self-destructive patterns will only get worse.
Is it right to put your physical and emotional needs forward? Would that come across as taking initiative or just being plain selfish? Then again, your partner is so insecure that if you stop initiating things, they might take that as you have lost interest in them.
So, they spiral. Has he finally realized I ain't sh!t? Did she maybe find someone with less baggage? Are they going to break up with me? Whether they voice it out or not, the anxiety inadvertently alters their progress, and then intimacy becomes the last thing on their mind. If you’re one to get turned off by negative self-talk/body image, that will also be an issue.
The truth is, it’s hard not to be an enabler when someone you love is going through it, and however long your relationship lasts is how long you’re likely to be that. The sinkhole in their heart will only get deeper after the temporary filler, i.e., you finally decide you've had enough.
Only now, it just hardens their resolve that there has to be something irrevocably wrong with them to constantly push everyone to the point of throwing in the towel. You, on the other hand, may slip into a pattern of codependency, or worse, start to loathe yourself too for being unable to help the one you love, among other potential rub-offs.
Everyone likes to think their love will be the thing that leads their self-hating lover to the light, but it doesn't always happen that way. Not until they are ready to take that journey. And the sad truth is they may never be, especially if they are convinced the doting love and attention that their self-hate attracts is the best deal 'some like them' can get.
Another unfortunate reality is that your love might even be the thing that pushes them over the edge, especially if they are too far gone. In the thick of my self-hating stint, being with people with relatively high self-esteem did nothing but continuously remind me of my failings. In another instance, it might open their eyes to their tremendous potential, but you just never know.
It's always good to hope for the best, which in this case is that they opt to get the help they need. However, loving a self-hating person sometimes means coming to terms with possible heartrending outcomes like being stuck in the vicious cycle for as long as you’re together, or worse.
You can try to love someone who hates themself, but such love isn’t likely to flourish unless it’s unrequited. This is because such a person has internalized too much negativity about themselves to know what to do with external affection.
First, realize that flattery isn’t going to work on them, and try not to dismiss their feelings by way of compliments. Show your confidence in them and their abilities by including them in gatherings that reinforce their worthiness. You can also support them by suggesting they seek counseling or getting them books and materials on improving mental well-being.
Autophobe – from autophobia, the fear of being by oneself or lonely – by extension can be used to describe them. However, most people just go with self-hating.
Someone not loving himself means he has internalized prejudices that make him think he’s undeserving of kindness. It is hatred directed at oneself, which means he needs help.
It depends. If it’s temporary unhappiness, you can decide to wallow in it together till it passes. However, in cases of chronic sadness, in addition to being present and supportive, you should also set boundaries to protect yourself and avoid enabling toxic habits.
On the whole, the important thing to remember in all you do is that your well-being is priority number one. Not even love should take precedence over your needs/happiness. If you think you can fall for a self-loathing person and still somehow manage this, then, by all means, go ahead.
Otherwise, it might be better to spend time on less damaging ventures. Let me know what you think of this post and kindly share if you found it worthwhile.