Self-hatred, self-loathing, also sometimes autophobia refers to an extreme dislike of oneself, or being angry at oneself. The term is also used to designate a dislike or hatred of a group to which one belongs. For instance, "ethnic self-hatred" is the extreme dislike of one's ethnic group. Accusations of self-hatred are often used as an ad hominem attack.

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". Some people think that 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). "Ethnic self-hatred" is considered by some people as being a cultural issue, to which psychological theories have limited relevance. Self-hatred is also a prime feature of avoidant personality disorder.

Types of self-hatred

The term self-hatred can refer to either a strong dislike for oneself, one's actions, or a strong dislike or hatred of one's own race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, species et cetera. 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.

Personal self-hatred

Personal self-hatred and self-loathing can result from an inferiority complex. 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.

Self-injury as self-hatred

Self-harm is a psychological disorder, which may involve self-hatred, where the subject feels compelled to physically injure themselves.

See also


  • Is Black self-hatred racist? John Carlson, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, Feb. 9 1994.
  • Sander L. Gilman Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race and Madness Cornell University Press, 1985

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