SELF-HATE & ACoAs (Part 1)

so I have to be perfect to make up for it

T.E.A. = Thoughts, Emotions, Actions

REMINDER: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

FoA = fear of abandonment

SELF-HATE (S-H) is the #1 deterrent to growth for all ACoAs.
It undermines our ability to function well, to have self-esteem & to be happy. Some people call it being ‘hard on yourself”, but it’s much more than that.  It’s so pervasive in the inner world of many ACoAs, that we don’t even know we have it & if confronted, vehemently deny it.
BUT the symptoms are all there, starting with a persistent nagging anxiety.

✶ In Childhood : being thoroughly convinced that everything bad that happen to us as kids was our fault, that we caused our own pain!
✶ In Adulthood : continuing from the past, we believe in our very cells that anytime we feel hurt, suffer a loss, get ignored, can’t get something we want, have something taken away, have to wait for something … that it’s because we are bad, don’t deserve, did something wrong , failed to do something, don’t have a right to it – anyway

ALL self-hate is a LIE
✶  it’s a defense mechanism to deny the original abandonment – by our family & culture. This a crucial point:
✦ S-H tries to cover-up all our abandonment pain
• It’s actually a form of narcissism (ours) – making everything about US, when it rarely is.  We make other people’s bad behavior our fault & our responsibility
• It’s an attempt at feeling in control, to cover our intense sense of powerlessness & vulnerability

• S-H can be expressed in all 3 T.E.A. categories:
Ts: “I caused their accident, since I asked them to come visit me”
Es: “I feel bad & really scared they won’t like me since I said ‘No’”
As: Staying with abusive people, not taking care of ourselves, not pursuing our dreams, not speaking up….

One of the characteristics on the ACoA Laundry List is being Over-Responsible, a symptom of FoA & S-H.
What make S-H different from taking healthy, balanced Responsibility?
HEALTHY R. acknowledges the reality of having our T.E.A.s – or not. It straightforwardly owns up what IS, which can sound like:
“Yes, I did that” (A), or ‘No, I can’t handle this” (A), or “No, I don’t agree with that”(T) , or “Yes, I love this” (E)….

S-H, on the other hand says : “I_______, & therefore I’m BAD”
• Ironically, it prevents us from admitting to any normal, human imperfections, from shame & for fear of abandonment, OR
•  it can make us ‘confess’ to wrongdoing, even when we are in fact blameless.

In either case, what’s underneath is an unspoken Toxic Lie tacked on to legitimate responsibility, categorically stating that:
✒︎ “I did / didn’t do_______, which proves I’m unlovable & worthless”, no matter what the topic or truth is.

This add-on is implied, but at the core of our self-image. ACoAs will take any opportunity to beat themselves up, even about good things!
🖤 All S-H comes from our wounded child (WIC) staying loyal to our wounded parents.
EXPs of S-H:
“Yes, I did forget to sent the letter out today, so therefore I’m irresponsible”
“No, I don’t how how to do that, therefore I’m incompetent”
“Yes, I went to the show without inviting you, so therefore I’m selfish”
“No, I haven’t ‘grown’ perfectly or as fast as I should, so therefore I’m unfixable”
“Yes, I talked a lot at the meeting, so I’m a limelight hog”
“No, I don’t agree with that, therefore I’m stupid” …..

This is NOT what ‘taking responsibility’ means.
Posts: ACoAs’ Fear of R // Healthy R

Basically, adult Responsibility (R) is:
★ honestly admitting to ourselves what we feel, think & have done -or- not. (T.E.A.), without judgment, shame or guilt.
MOST of ALL – without mental torture.

✒︎ Healthy R. includes regularly acknowledging both our limitations AND our gifts, our ignorance AND our knowledge. (POST: “The 10th Step“)

This def. applies to us now, as adults.
We are not / were NOT responsible for who our parents are or what they did!
SITE: “Great Responsibility Quotes for Kids” & the WIC


11 thoughts on “SELF-HATE & ACoAs (Part 1)

  1. This is a great post, and I’m thrilled to have found your blog (as well as your Recovery site and resources mentioned on your About page).
    I’d love to post a link to this on my blog, Guess What Normal Is ( — especially as I recently posted on feelings of worthlessness that can sometimes strike ACoAs and how to manage that head-on. My readers would relate.
    I look forward to your future posts. It’s great to see more positive-spin out there.
    All best,


  2. Thanks. It’s so good to connect with others who understand. I read some of your posts – they’re great! I identify with many. I love your visual language. I’ll add you to my blogroll.


  3. This has really hit home….not only home but I got this from a church aswell.
    Any meetings in Phx az?


  4. BUT if we tried really hard to be good and still were belittled/manipulated/battered…then we concluded it was our very essence that was at fault & therefore hopeless. There was nothing we could do to fix that, which could only end in intense rage, depression & a wish to be dead.

    This describes what happened to me living with my dad in high school. I still very much carry feelings that something is wrong with my very essence. The blanket only made it worse (even God rejected me). And mom’s treatment of me pre 14 has always lived inside of me telling me something is wrong with my essence. I’m telling my WICS right now, “There is nothing wrong with you”. I rarely tear up but this makes my eyes well a tiny bit – then I close down.


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