Why Does Self-Loathing Feel Comfortable?

One of the strangest things about chronic self-loathing is how comfortable it can feel. 

Self-loathing often comes up in discussions about depression and low self-worth, and people want advice on how to fight it. However, as horrible as it is, it can also feel strangely easy and comfortable, which helps it retain a firm grip on the psyche. The following are five potential reasons:


Even if something is deeply unpleasant, it can feel comfortable just because it’s familiar. If you’ve been living with self-loathing for a long time, it can seem like a part of you. 

You may even associate self-loathing with love, or your experience of love. If you learned the language of self-loathing as a young child, its familiarity is rooted in the types of caregiving you grew up with. If you learned it in an adult relationship with a deeply critical or hostile partner, it can be tangled up with your conception of intimacy. As painful as it is, it’s what you know.

Who are you without self-loathing? That question can provoke a great amount of anxiety. When you attempt a major change, including a psychological change, you need to deal with uncertainty and some degree of pain and discomfort. If your self-loathing is weaker or absent, your life may ultimately become much better. But the transition to that new way of life – new attitudes, new ways of relating to yourself and others – isn’t easy.

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