The Role of Self-Hate in Addiction

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 At the root of our addictions, for many of us, lies an emotional foundation we’ve created for ourselves of self-hate and self-rejection. We don’t feel unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves. We don’t nurture, support or protect ourselves. We feel we’re inadequate and inferior to other people because of our addictions and mental health issues, along with all of our perceived flaws and imperfections. We struggle to forgive ourselves for past mistakes, and the shame we carry feeds our low self-esteem, our wounded sense of self and our debilitating self-hatred. Subconsciously we’ve developed limiting beliefs that tell us we’re unworthy, unlovable and undeserving. We don’t believe in our goodness. We don’t believe we deserve to be happy. We believe we’re incapable of making our dreams come true and finding fulfillment in life.

Our self-hatred clouds our vision and totally warps our self-perception. It fuels our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. It makes us feel empty, lost and out of alignment. When we hate ourselves, we don’t feel grounded, centered, stable or secure within ourselves. We’re not at peace within ourselves. We don’t have a clear sense of our direction or purpose in life. We begin to feel that our lives are meaningless and that we have nothing left to live for. We develop painful insecurities that drive our behaviors and choices. We become paralyzed by our fears of inadequacy, inferiority and worthlessness. We stop setting goals for ourselves and working to make changes in our lives. We give up on ourselves. We lose hope. We become self-harming, whether mentally, emotionally, physically, or a combination thereof. We suffer from suicidal thoughts because the pain of our shame and self-hatred becomes too much to bear. We think ending our lives is the only solution, the only way to escape how much we hate ourselves. We believe we’re a burden on the people we love. We forget that we have a unique purpose in life to fulfill and special gifts to share with the world. 

Our self-hatred can become the catalyst for the emotional coping mechanisms, or escape tactics, that become our addictions. Our addictive patterns become how we handle the pain we feel is unmanageable. We use our drugs of choice, addictive substances and behaviors, to escape the constant self-disparaging thoughts we have about ourselves. We use them to try to drown out our self-deprecating self-talk and to numb the pain of our self-destructive choices and behaviors. We’re constantly trying to distract ourselves from our internal pain because it’s all-consuming and painfully overwhelming. Until we heal from our deeply rooted self-hatred, we will always have this powerful force driving our addictions and keeping us from healing ourselves and being truly happy. 

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you uncover the issues fueling your addictions. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.