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Hating yourself to death

 
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There are a few events and personalities in my life that haunt me.  One is of an individual who hated herself to death.  To be clear, not that she hated herself (though that may be true), but she hated everyone around her.  She had probably the most venomous personality I ever met.  She aggressively, and passive aggressively, sought to harm virtually everyone she met. She was convinced she had been cheated out of everything in life she could have been cheated out of.  The irony is that she grew up middle class, was an honor student in high school, was a cheer leader in high school, married her high school sweetheart who came from a wealthy family, and obtained her MS.  Her career went well; she and her husband were millionaires several times over; their children were honor students, etc.  She was found dead on the floor of her home from no apparent cause.  She never reached her 50th birthday. Obviously something was missing.  I am convinced she hated herself to death.


 
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John,

I truly wish I knew what to say, but I have no words.

Eric
 
John F Dean
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Hi Eric,

There honestly isn’t much to say.  I suspect there is a warning here.
 
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She was cheated.  She never did what she thought she couldn't do.  The easy road in life brings about an unfulfilled life to me.  I knew a kind old man at one time.  I didn't know why he was so kind until he had passed on.  He was raised extremely poor, had little food and clothing.  He got a job cleaning a small bank when he was young and that gave him the ability to try.  He retired being that banks extremely successful president.  He had everything to be thankful for.  He did what he thought he couldn't do. I often ponder and give thanks to my high school councilor.  I went to him with paperwork for college and he told I shouldn't bother, because people like me should just go get a factory job.  So I did it myself, and then became a successful engineer where my name is know from here to china.  I don't know, would I have been so successful if someone didn't push me hard.  I did what I thought I couldn't do.  So now one of  my life purposes is to teach people they can do anything if they keep trying, do what you think you can't do.  Dream it, live it.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Christopher,

Certainly she was eager to tell everyone she had been cheated  .... but she was never really clear as to how.   You do address a good point, she was never willing to push boundaries.  She always needed the approval and direction of others to move in any direction,  I suspected that was because she would have someone else to blame if she failed. One of her favorite phrases, and quite telling, was “What gives you the right ....?” I left her quite confused once when I responded to that question with, “I do”.

I am updating this, because I find your insight fascinating.  Indeed, since reaching adulthood, I have never taken a job or promotion that I was confident I could do. It was always with knots in the stomach that I made the step.  “What if I fail”was never the concern. My concern was always, “What if I don’t try?”
 
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I'm surprised. I find crazy bitter people outlive most out of spite.
 
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What might she have been hiding?
 
John F Dean
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Hi Jay,

Of course, we all have a few demons chasing us.   Some are meaner than others.   Ultimately, none of use can be too sure about the experiences of others.
 
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How sad. I wonder what happened to make her hate herself so much? Crappy parents? Trauma? Society's awful attitudes about women's worth/"place"? The possibilities are endless.
There may be exceptions, but I think most people who direct hatred outward either hate themselves (consciously or more likely, unconsciously) or have a deep need for control because they've experienced something that harmed their sense of control over their life. It's really impossible to know. Makes me think of this quote from Marshall B. Rosenburg, the psychologist who developed Nonviolent Communication, "Every criticism, judgement, diagnosis and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need."

Since most of us encounter people like the one described, I wonder if there's a way to interact with them that might help them start to see/deal with whatever issue they have within that causes them to act that way? Without trying to force it or change them, since that obviously never works. More to dispel their projection and inspire inward reflection instead. Probably just being nice to them while keeping oneself safe from the venom is a start. I would guess people like that haven't experienced much kindness. Or are so unfamiliar with a genuine form of it that they are suspicious of it or unable to let it in. They probably on some level think they don't deserve it and so neither does anyone else.
 
John F Dean
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Without a doubt there was some unmet need. She was miserable.  I have no doubt she was less than happy with herself. But the remarkable trait I observed was the level of hostility she showed toward others for any offense.... and everything was an offense.   I had a coworker of hers make the comment to me that he could see the snake in her mouth when she spoke. To invent an example if someone gave her a birthday card with a $50 bill, she would be certain to tell everyone how that person went out of their way to insult her by not giving her $100.

To give a real example, for her birthday, her husband presented her with a fully restored vintage Mustang convertible with a 289 and a brushed aluminum dashboard.  She exploded that he was too cheap to get her a new car.

I have met many people in my life who were disillusioned with themselves and others. I have never met anyone with the magnitude of hostility she displayed.  This being juxtaposed with what would appear to be a charmed life by most standards. What really sets her apart is the fact she was found dead on her floor with no apparent cause.  She just stopped.

 
Heather Sharpe
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John F. Dean wrote: I have met many people in my life who were disillusioned with themselves and others. I have never met anyone with the magnitude of hostility she displayed.  This being juxtaposed with what would appear to be a charmed life by most standards. What really sets her apart is the fact she was found dead on her floor with no apparent cause.  She just stopped.


Same here, that does sound like another level though. And confusing. The seemingly charmed life can definitely be an illusion that hides a very ugly truth sometimes.
Holding onto that much anger and/or denying what's really going on seems like it would take a serious toll on one's health, I bet.
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:The seemingly charmed life can definitely be an illusion that hides a very ugly truth sometimes.
Holding onto that much anger and/or denying what's really going on seems like it would take a serious toll on one's health, I bet.



On the one hand, extreme narcissism could be the root, and perhaps hidden mental illness. On the other hand, many wealth and image-conscious households, especially of that era, were quite willing to deny and bury horrific family business like significant abuse (mental, physical, ... etc.). Damage and trauma do not go away; the subconscious will express them somehow, and in a way that is perhaps not intuitively related. Like Mt. St. Helens, where the pressure built up but did not blew its top; instead the force blew out sideways. This is all pure speculation regarding this individual, but I think the principles apply.
 
John F Dean
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Well, she has been gone some 25 years now, but whatever made her tick still baffles me. Though implied, I never clearly stated, yes her death was investigated. Of course, if the police were looking for enemies, the most recent county census would pretty well cover it.  I guess there were a few like me who gazed from a distance in bewilderment.
 
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