Depression and safe-hate

Depression and safe-hate
Sunday April 19, 2009

I am a thirty-three year-old mother of four. I have everything anyone would
ever want–a loving husband, a nice home, and four healthy children. Yet, I
suffer periodically from bouts of severe depression during which I feel
utter hate for myself and want to hole up in a dark room forever. The
feelings of self-loathing I have during these times is intense. I grew up
in a house that was very dark and negative and frightenning. My mother was
an alcoholic who raged and abused with her hands and her words. She called
me terrible names and sometimes beat me repeatedly with her fists. She told
me all the time (usually after awakening the morning following her worst
rages, likely hungover) that she was “a worthless human being” and “the
worst mother that ever lived.” My mother hated herself and she taught me to
hate myself. Now that I have faced my demons from childhood and made a
really wonderful life for myself, I am so perplexed as to why I continue to
suffer from this depression, and I have no idea how to handle my
self-loathing. I have friends and my husband who tell me all the time that
they love me and I am worth something, yet how do I learn to really believe
it?? This is my question to you. I do not know how to learn to love
myself. Intellectually, I know I am a nice person. But all it takes is one
minute with someone who has qualities I do not have which I deem better, and
I sink into the feeling that I am worthless and a waste of a human being.
It is an awful feeling that swallows me up. If you have any advice, I would
appreciate it. Thank you.

AM: Try to write letters to your mother that you would not send. By writing them you may begin to FEEL how she made your brain to believe that you are worthless and not lovable. Her lessons seem still to work in you but you have the strength, by writing, to refuse her gifted messages and to protest to her cruelty. That will doubtlessly change the way you see yourself.