Posts Tagged ‘Theodore I. Rubin’

On my blog entry entitled Integration from DID: Reasons to Integrate, a reader posted the following comment:

Hi Faith, It sounds like you had an incredible amount of self-worth even before embarking on the healing journey. Was this truly the case? And if not, how did you break out of any feelings of self-hatred or worthlessness and come to this place you describe of “making both an internal and external statement (or proclamation!) that I loved and accepted every single part of myself”. I struggle constantly with believing that I am “not worth it” and my therapist now says that I must decide that I am valuable before we can really do any work in therapy. But I’m totally stuck about HOW to change my beliefs. Can you offer any advice? ~ Dawn

I can see how Dawn might believe I started my healing journey from this positive place because it sure would have made the work easier. However, that was not the case for me. To paraphrase one of my healing books (perhaps The Courage to Heal??), I used to strive to reach low self-esteem because then at least I would have some!

I used to loathe myself. I thought that everything about me, even down to my name, was “stupid” and worthless. I felt like I needed to apologize for my mere existence. I had absolutely no idea how to love myself.

My therapist recommend that I read the book Compassion and Self Hate by Theodore I. Rubin to help me learn how to fight my way toward learning how to love myself. In my opinion, the book is really a longer version of the simplified idea provided in the Cherokee Legend of two wolves. I strongly recommend the book but just want to point out that it is (in my opinion) simply a more detailed explanation of how to “feed the right wolf.”

I read the book many years ago in my early stages of therapy. The main point I took away from the book is that our natural state is self-love, but life experiences get in the way, causing us to buy into the lie of self-hate, which is not our natural state. While the self-hate seems more powerful, self-love (or self-compassion) ALWAYS wins, but you have to be courageous enough to push through the lies. At the point where the self-hate is about to dissolve, it will launch its most powerful attack. You have to push through this attack and keep believing that self-love is the real you. Once you do, you will conquer the self-hatred for good.

Image credit: Amazon.com 

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Several comments on my blog lately have touched upon the issue of self hate. Self hate is a very common aftereffect of child abuse. In fact, it is so common that Compassion and Self Hate by Theodore I. Rubin is the one book that my therapist strongly urged me to read. It is not the most smoothly written book that I have ever read, but the content is great.

The themes of the book are similar to the parable of the good and evil wolf. The book talks about how we each have a battle going on inside of us between self-compassion and self-hatred. Compassion always triumphs over self-hate, but before it does, the self-hate will have a final rally and fight with all that it has inside. That is the time when it is more important to keep fueling that compassion or self-love. Otherwise, you can wind up sliding right back to where you were, hating yourself instead of loving yourself.

I have noticed several readers posting comments about hating themselves or various aspects of themselves. As the book points out, our natural state is self-love. Self-hatred is actually contrary to how we were designed to feel about ourselves. However, the child abuse warped our self-perceptions, causing us to internalize our abusers’ views of ourselves.

When you are in a perpetual state of hating yourself, it is hard to imagine actually loving yourself. It is doubly hard to imagine that loving yourself is a more powerful force because your self-hatred feels so all-consuming. However, I can tell you from firsthand experience that this is true. If you will feed the good wolf and choose to be kind and compassionate to yourself, your compassion will win. However, before it does, the self-hatred will rally back. You have to keep fighting back, being kind and gentle with yourself, to break through the self-hatred and enter into the wonderful world of self-love and acceptance.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

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