The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Proper Self-Hatred

I just worry that the road Hollytree is going down may not be beneficial for his spirit.

Well, I’m doing the best I have my entire life now that my focus is flowing outward and not inward. Here’s my diagnosis:

Schizoaffective (bipolar type)


Social Anxiety

Panic attacks

Alcohol and drug abuse

Drug of choice







But no more. Unhealthy Self centered fear and shame is the root of all these disorders. I say unhealthy because I have changed and my fears and shame and guilt over my past now motivate me to stay sober. I hate my old sinful self. This keeps me clean and sober and in line. I’ve lost 100 pounds and no longer doing drugs and alcohol. I look people in the eye and communicate well. No longer have panic attacks. I’m balanced out right now. Here’s what has helped me. I let go of my old self. I despise my old self. Therefore, The old evil self is let go of. I don’t feed the ego. I feed the new self in Christ by praising and worshiping God. The focus is on Christ in meditation and praise and worship. I Starve the evil wolf by turning my focus and concentration off of self and on to God and others. When we lose ourselves we find ourselves. Old self dies new self emerges. It’s a balance of loving God and others as yourself. Focusing on Christ we become one with Him. Psychologists call it flow. Athletes call it being in the zone. Just as a musician becomes one with his instrument when getting in the zone or flow. They play their instrument so well in the present moment that they become one with it. Everything flows in this particular state. Everything is in harmony. Athletes rave about this state during competition. We let go and flow as we meditate on Christ. Beholding His glory (beauty of His worth and value) we are transformed from one degree of glory to another. We find our worth and value in Him. To learn more about flow here’s a book by J.P. Moreland where he talks of how he overcome anxiety and panic.

This book has a whole chapter on what psychologists call flow or being in the zone. Being in the zone is the ultimate in focus and concentration.

Here’s the book J.P. Moreland references and endorses called “You are not your Brain”. It’s on neuroplasticity and how we rewire or brain by refocusing. Written by two psychiatrists.

After steps one and two you refocus and restructure your brain. Here’s a list of some of the things that helped me get in the present moment:

Go for a walk noticing the scenery and environment


Listen to music


Write, blog

Play games like solitare



Worship and praise God

Watch a wholesome or educational T.V. show

A hobby that focuses your attention like painting, putting models together. Anything that gets the attention focused and flowing outside of self. Here’s an artcle on adult coloring:

3 Reasons Adult Coloring Can Actually Relax Your Brain

Find out what’s behind the latest craze

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Colored Pencils

It’s the latest craze. Where you might expect to see children, you find adults: They sit with colored pencils in their hands, bent over the swirls and intricate patterns of coloring books. Yes, coloring books. They are losing themselves in patterns of mandalas, curved flowers and runaway stems. This is a world they create and escape into, and it’s become a popular form of relaxation.

But how does it work? What does this pastime do to our brains to elicit such pleasure and calm?

According to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, Psy.D., it has everything to do with refocusing our attention. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves. In the same way, cutting the lawn, knitting, or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing.”

What does adult coloring do to relax people?

Dr. Bea cites three reasons adult coloring can be calming:

  1. Attention flows away from ourselves. A simple act, such as coloring, takes your attention away from yourself and onto the present-moment event. “In this way, it is very much like a meditative exercise,” Dr. Bea says.
  2. It relaxes the brain. When thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain tends to relax. “We are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals,” he says. “The difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness, and both our bodies and our brains may find this rewarding.”
  3. Low stakes make it pleasurable. The fact that the outcome of coloring is predictable also can be relaxing. “It is hard to screw up coloring, and, even if you do, there is no real consequence. As result, adult coloring can be a wonderful lark, rather than an arduous test of our capacities,” he adds.

Why does it help some people but not others?

Adult coloring does not relax everyone. It depends on the individual and their prior experiences. Dr. Bea suspects that the more a person enjoyed coloring as a child, the more likely he or she is to respond to it positively as an adult. “It has been my impression that adults choose variants of activities they loved as children for their adult recreations,” he says.

Is there research to support it as a form of relaxation?

Research on adult coloring specifically is limited, as it has risen in popularity relatively recently. However art therapy has been used for many years with much success.

In a 2006 study, researchers found that mindfulness art therapy for women with cancer helped to significantly decrease the symptoms of physical and emotional distress during their treatment. Art therapy has also been helpful to people cope with other conditions, including depression, anxiety, addictions and trauma.

“While adult coloring may differ slightly from this mindfulness art therapy, I suspect the adult coloring would yield similar results. It is likely that its therapeutic benefits would be similar to listening to a person’s favorite music,” Dr. Bea says.

Why has this become popular now?

Having hobbies to help de-stress is nothing new, whether people like to golf, cook, build model airplanes or put together scrap books. People are also open to finding new ways to unwind. “We have a very stress-inducing culture, and I think individuals are always seeking new ways to reduce tension, restore feelings of well-being, and reduce the toll that our stressful lives take on our health,” Dr. Bea says.


Self Hate, The Most Dangerous Coping Mechanism

An article from “Psychology Today” showing that those with high self esteem (narcissists) are violent. It’s a myth that violent and aggressive people have low self esteem:

quote from the article:

It is important to base beliefs on scientific evidence rather than intuition, common sense, gut feelings, hunches, instincts, intuitions, and premonitions, which can often lead us astray. Although many people believe that aggressive and violent people have low self-esteem, they do not. Aggressive people tend to be narcissists. Narcissists think they are special people who deserve special treatment. When they don’t get the respect they think they are entitled to, narcissists lash out at others in an aggressive manner.

From the psychiatrist David D. Burns, M.D. He’s a clinical psychiatrist sold over a million copies of books and has lectured for general audiences and mental health professionals throughout the country as well as a frequent guest on national radio and television programs. He’s received numerous awards including Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Through the Media Award from the Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst college, Dr. Burns received his medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine.

A person can have too much self-esteem! A person with healthy self-esteem also respects and likes others. In contrast, a person with excessive self-esteem is arrogant and self-centered and disrespectful of others. In it’s most extreme form, excessive self-esteem is known as narcissistic personality disorder. People with this disorder have fantasies of grandeur and an inflated sense of self esteem. They are insensitive to the needs and feelings of others and exploit other people for their own purposes. When they are criticized or confronted, they react with rage or with feelings of shame. They have difficulties forming close, trusting, equal relationships with others. ~~ 10 Days To Self-esteem page 189

There’s also the criticisms of the psychologists who founded Acceptance Commitment Therapy. The psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi from “The Wisdom To Know the Difference” under the section called “The Self-Esteem Myth”

The myth says that low self-esteem lies at the core of many individual and societal problems…During the last ten years, there has been a major effort by scientists to examine whether this story about the role of self-esteem is true. As it turns out, the answer is no. High self-esteem is related to aggressiveness, bullying, narcissism, egotism, prejudice, and high risk behaviors.

It’s those who love themselves (inflated egotists) who get angry and violent when perceived wrongs happen. As many of you know I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Through the years I’ve improved tremendously and have gained insights into my disorder. I no longer take mood stabilizers and am on a very small antipsychotic. It’s about 1/4 of what I use to take. That’s how much I have improved. My social skills are 10000 times better today. I find that Hyper Calvinism with inflated self esteem exacerbates the mental problem. It places me at the center of the universe with no break in the deterministic chain of logic. There’s no room for paradox and mystery and hence no room for health. Moreover being at the center of everything is just an egoism delusion that paranoid schizophrenics have to an extreme degree. This is why I have become nothing or nobody special in the worldly sense. Here’s how Eckhart Tolle describes the mental illness:

The mental illness that is called paranoid schizophrenia, or paranoid for short, is essentially an exaggerated form of ego…The mental illness we call paranoia also manifests another symptom that is an element of every ego, although in paranoia it takes on a more extreme form. The more the sufferer sees himself persecuted, spied on, or threatened by others, the more pronounced becomes his sense of being the center of the universe around whom everything evolves, and the more special and important he feels as the imagined focal point of so many people’s attention.

This has been my experience as well. When my ego deflates and I’m no longer a “somebody” or a special famous person the symptoms subside. The chain breaks as I see mystery and paradox within reality. I’m no longer boxed in on center stage all the time. When I’m inflated fear and shame take on an extreme form where psychoses results. That’s why the title of this thread is proper self - hatred. The kind George MacDonald and Job are referring to.

When I have a proper self-loathing my self-esteem lowers. When this happens it makes me more creative as I seek meaning in pain, it makes me more respectful as I esteem others as better than myself, it makes me more gentle because when I’m weak then I’m strong, it makes me more empathetic because I’ve suffered therefore I know, and it makes me a good listener because I would rather listen to others. It makes me more contemplative. Self loathing has given me gifts that I can keep. From “Psychologist World”:

Hate by itself is the emotional dynamic of the ability to sustain long periods of concentration and meditation. It does not require an object to focus on (it mirrors pure love in this respect) ; it is a general-purpose tool for cutting positive attachments, especially in relationships (for example, pride in hate mode rejects another person, whereas hate by itself rejects any pleasant attachment to the other person). Hate produces clear thinking and strengthens a person’s will power. It supports the desire for solitude. It cools the mind and may easily be mistaken for a mild sense of peace. It is likely to be the prevailing mood when a meditator claims that they are no longer acting from a sense of ego. The skilful way of using hate is to clear the mind of redundant attachments and desires.

Here’s something else I’m pondering about repentance and love/hate. I’ve said since the beginning that we hate the evil self and love the good self. It’s love/hate. If love is the disposition to seek the good of someone and hate is opposition to the values and plans of someone then it is possible to both love and hate myself. I can hate myself at the time of repentance in the sense of opposing myself and being disgusted by my character and actions, while at the same time desiring to change. Thus, I can both love and hate myself at the same time.

I wrote about my experiences with shame spirals here:

Here’s a paper on shame, paranoia, and self-compassion

Background: High levels of shame are frequently reported in individuals with experiences of paranoia, and recent literature suggests that shame is an important factor in the development of paranoia following stressful life events. Psychological therapies that involve the development of self-compassion are designed to address high levels of shame, and emerging evidence suggests promise for the effectiveness of these interventions for individuals with paranoia.

It’s also in my “Treating Psychoses” book. It has what I’m talking about with shame and psychoses paranoia or persecutory delusions in a section called Compassion Focused Approaches.

Compassion focused approaches are most effective when working with delusions associated with critical auditory hallucinations, which are in turn linked to shame and an underlying schema of self-blame. Such exercises are also pertinent in persecutory delusions where, in the face of constant perceived threat and hypervigilance, they promote self-soothing. They are viable in the face of the delusional system with the negative underlying core belief such as “I am a bad or unlovable person”. Compassionate self statements can be reinforced by compassionate imagery, compassionate letter writing to the self, or a compassion box containing items that nurture the self, such as key photographs, poems, music, and so on. page 117

It’s a proper self-loathing that leads to repentance. Not all self-loathing. When I’m inflated with high self esteem the shame is more intense when it happens. I don’t deny that shame spirals cause psychoses. That’s what caused mine. But there is a proper shame and guilt. Just as the Ph.D. in psychology describes here in “Psychology Today”. Feeling bad about yourself can lead you to change.

Quote from the article:

In other words, self-hatred is psychologically damaging but it can also make you more motivated to change.

This fits me well.

Shame, Social Anxiety, and Psychosis

Researchers in England examined shame and social anxiety in a cross-sectional sample of people with and without psychosis. They found that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is “surprisingly prevalent among people with psychosis.” The authors suggest that shame cognitions “arising from a stigmatizing illness play a significant role in social anxiety in psychosis.” The article appeared in the FirstView section of Psychological Medicine on May 21, 2012.

For me shame came first then social phobia then psychoses. Intense shame is at the root of this.

When I say proper self hatred I’m speaking more along the lines of disdain and contempt. It’s a turning your back on the evil self and letting it die. It’s a turning away and getting your attention off of self. The way we do this is by letting go and doing activities that get the attention flowing away from self. Things that we lose ourselves in in the present moment and get into what psychologist call flow. Athletes call it being in the zone. It’s the ultimate in focus and concentration. Things like

Going for a walk noticing the scenery and environment


Listen to music


Write, blog

Play games like solitare



Worship and praise God

Watch a wholesome or educational T.V. show

A hobby that focuses your attention like painting, putting models together. Anything that gets the attention focused and flowing outside of self.

We find our true inner self “new self” by turning outward not inward. We despise the demon self and turn away from it towards God. This is repentance. We turn our focused attention off of self and on to God and others. When we lose our selves we find ourselves. Everything balances out. We love God above all else and our neighbor as our self. (true self). This is when we find a proper self esteem. Beholding the glory of Christ we are being transformed into His image from glory to glory. We find our inner self but this isn’t our focus. God is. We are transformed when we concentrate our focus and attention on Christ. Here’s how C.S. Lewis put it:

There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most “natural” men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints. ~~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 226

Here Lewis captures the paradox of self-forgetfulness. By turning our focus outwards towards Christ we become our truest selves. We die to self and are resurrected. God wants us to become the creations he intended all along. Valuable, dignified, good, reflections of Christ. We love (take care of) our true self.

When we’re self-conscious we feel ashamed and embarrassed, Karmin said


Shame and the psychosis continuum: A systematic review of the literature

Objectives Shame is increasingly implicated in the development and maintenance of several psychological problems including psychosis. The aim of the current paper was to review the research literature concerning the relationship between shame and the psychosis continuum, examining the nature and direction of this relationship. Method Systematic searches of databases PsycINFO, Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science (from the earliest available database date until November 2016) were undertaken to identify papers that examined the relationship between shame and psychosis or psychotic experiences. Results A total of 20 eligible papers were identified. Risk of bias assessment identified methodological shortcomings across the research in relation to small, unrepresentative samples and failure to control for confounding variables. Narrative synthesis suggested positive associations between shame and paranoia (n = 10, r = .29–.62), shame and psychosis (n = 1, r = .40), and shame and affiliation with voices (n = 1, β = .26), and suggested that shame was greater in those with psychosis compared to controls (n = 4, d = 0.76–1.16). Conclusions Overall, several studies provide partial support for the theory that shame is an important factor in relation to psychotic experiences in both clinical and non‐clinical populations, particularly paranoia. However, the predominance of cross‐sectional designs prevents any conclusions being drawn concerning the temporal nature of associations. Additional research is necessary to further delineate the role of shame in relation to specific psychotic experiences such as voice‐hearing. Longitudinal research is particularly needed to help establish the directionality and temporal aspects of effects. Practitioner points • Research indicates moderate‐to‐strong positive associations between shame and psychotic experiences in the existing literature. • The results provide preliminary evidence that shame may play a role in relation to psychosis and, more specifically, paranoia. • Findings should be interpreted with caution due to many disparities across the studies reviewed and methodological shortcomings (e.g., small sample sizes). • It is not currently possible to determine causality or direction of effect due to the cross‐sectional design of all existing studies.

Just got me a copy of this from the psychiatrist Peter Breggin. It agrees with the conclusions I’ve come to based on my experience with shame causing my psychoses.

When emotionally wounded people withdraw into themselves and into those intensely personal, fragmented, nightmarish worlds we call “schizophrenia,” “mania”, or “psychoses”, they are usually suffering from overwhelming shame reactions. Unbearably burned by inflictions of shame, as described in chapter 10, they no longer dare to be with people. By telling these distressed people they have “biochemical imbalances,” “genetic disorders,” psychiatry not only misleads them, it worsens their stigmatization, humiliation, and feelings of exclusion. They are not suffering from biochemical imbalances; they are suffering from unbearable humiliation. page 172

Being in the grip of shame is a horrific state, filled with conflicting emotions of extreme pride and humiliation. When we compensate for extreme shame by acting superior, grandiose, and invulnerable like a superhero, we become psychiatrically diagnosed as manic and bipolar. We are really trying to make up for how insignificant and powerless we feel. If we express our feelings of suspicion and distrust others will label or diagnose us paranoid. We are really trying to figure out what is going on that makes us feel so intimidated. Young people who become overwhelmed by extreme humiliation end up diagnosed schizophrenic because they withdraw deeply into themselves and begin to live in a world so private that it becomes a walking nightmare. They are really trying to escape from a world that has imposed abject humiliation upon them. page 171

I read all of them

I missed part of the quote from the book. Here it is:

As a psychiatrist and therapist, some of my most poignant, moving experiences have involved sharing the feelings of people who are undergoing overwhelming psychotic experiences with hallucinations and delusions. When these individuals have trusted me enough to allow me into their emotional world, what they have shared with me is the experience of drowning in shame. I have sat with them while their faces physically swelled as if bursting and turned blood red with humiliation. page 172

Hollytree, I really do think that these three threads of yours are extremely important and that truth lies somewhere between the lines of all our posts. if you can help me/us make even a small step forward then you will be doing us a great service.
I have a video (only seven minutes) which includes some talk before a song. I would be grateful for your thoughts on what is said/sung.
In what ways is Andrew Peterson right and in what ways incorrect?
Any takers would be welcome.

Just looking at the title I would say that we are to be kind and compassionate to ourselves. When we loathe the evil self we turn our backs on evil towards Christ. Evil is non existence (nothing). We simply forget ourselves. We lose ourselves to find ourselves just as you do in reading poetry, reading books, writing books and poetry, exercising, coloring, painting. We concentrate our focus on Christ in praise and worship. By beholding his glory we are transformed into His image from glory to glory. We become compassionate, gentle and kind. Our value and worth is in Christ. It’s intrinsic and not based on worldly views of fame money and success. Christ was an outcast in the world’s view of things. He emptied Himself and became nothing as He took on the shame of His people. When we die to self we are united to Christ through faith. We are nobody in the worldly sense of the term. Christ came for the shamed outcasts of the world. In Christ we have eternal significance as we die to self. We become “nothing” so that Christ can be made much of. Paradoxically when we find our value and worth in Christ through faith we are liberated to do much for Christ. Again, it’s not based on worldly things outside ourselves (Power, fame, money, success). We live to glorify the name of Christ. In Christ we find our value and acceptance as we become a child of God. Our sense of belonging and sense that we count comes from being a child of God. We no longer try to earn or prove our worth. It’s a gift from God. We will have compassion on the sick just like Christ did. Jesus is for bringing healing to the outcast

In complete contradiction of Trumpsters Dr. Richard Beck finds Jesus in the poor, outcast, and oppressed. I had tears of joy as I read his new book. Richard Beck has the heart of Jesus. I recommend his new book to all. Here’s some blurbs with the description of the book on the back:

When Richard Beck first led a Bible study at a maximum-security prison, he went to meet God, and meet God he did. With Beck’s signature combination of Biblical reflection, theological reasoning, and psychological insight, he shows how God always meets us in the marginalized, the oppressed, and the refugee. Stories from Beck’s own life illustrate this truth - God comes to him in the poor, the crippled, the smelly. Although we are predisposed to like those who are similar to us and avoid those who are unlike us, the call of the gospel is to override those impulses with compassion, to “widen the circle of our affection.” In the end Beck turns to the Little Way of Saint Therese of Lisieux for guidance in doing even the smallest acts with kindness, and he lays out a path that any of us can follow.

At a time when Christianity is in danger of being hijacked by the nefarious agendas of nationalism, racism, and xenophobia, Richard Beck calls us to welcome Jesus, who so often comes in the guise of the maligned or forgotten stranger. In Beck’s brilliant “Stranger God”, we find a beautiful portrait of a Christianity that prioritizes care for the indignant, infirm, immigrant, and imprisoned. I cannot think of a more timely book! ~~ Brian Zahnd, author of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.

Me and Dr. Beck are both fans of Johnny Cash so I dedicate “Man In Black”