The remainder of the ‘super pleaser’ blog will be published next week, meanwhile I hope you find this blog of interest.
It’s natural to assume people want to look after themselves and improve their lives but unfortunately this isn’t always the case and I come across many people who self sabotage. They set out to destroy themselves, sometimes subtly as the person who turns up late for a job interview for the position he has always wanted, and sometimes dramatically as in suicide. Either way the cause is the same, a deep hatred of the self which manifests itself in a desire for self-destruction which may or may not be conscious.
So how do people learn to self hate? We all know that if we can learn to love ourselves we become content, settled and able to give to others, so why would we choose to do the opposite?
Learning to like/love ourselves starts when we are first born and comes from seeing love reflected back to us when we look at our parents or primary carers; it is as if we perceive that they love what they see, which is us.
If a person doesn’t have that experience he may become avoidant like a two-year-old I saw on the high street the other day. This poor little chap could not meet my eye; every time I tried to look and smile he would turn his head the other way.
Children who do not find love and approval may learn to stay under the radar, staying out of the way, keeping quiet and being good. Or they may become more rebellious and act up. The most extreme examples of this are the inmates on death row – statistics show they have all suffered physical or mental abuse or both.
Either way, consciously or unconsciously, the child begins to self-blame and believe that he is the thing that is wrong.
Can a person be saved from himself?
One possible scenario is that over time, depending on his environment, the child may learn that what he has experienced has nothing to do with him and everything to do with his carers, who may be passing down their own experiences. This is a good outcome However another scenario is that he convinces himself he is being beaten up because he is loved; and a third is that he learns to believe he is not loveable, proving it by doing something that perpetuates his self-hatred.
Can psychotherapy help? Yes but if there is a personality disorder it will be more difficult for the person to really change. If he has or is manifesting suicidal tendencies, then medication and psychotherapy together may help.
However, this all become compounded if he has developed secondary problems like alcoholism and drug abuse, reaching the point where he feels beyond help. At that stage he no longer trusts anyone to put him first or make him well and may be so full of self-hatred he feels destruction is the only answer.
We have all heard the stories of the father who drove over the edge of the cliff with his children or the man who shot his whole family dead.
When someone has opted for destruction and formed a plan, it often becomes inevitable and with the best will in the world he can no longer be saved from himself.