Therapy for someone determined to hate themself

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Gingersouldrinker, May 1, 2021.

  1. Gingersouldrinker

    Gingersouldrinker New Member

    My partner has major self-esteem issues, he's constantly putting himself down about the smallest things, or even things that haven't even happened. It definitely stems from some trauma, and I got him to go to therapy for a while, but after about 5 sessions he had to cancel an appointment because of a snowstorm and I haven't been able to convince him to start going back. He says that as long as he's in no danger of hurting himself, he doesnt see what's wrong with treating himself like that, and that the therapy didn't really do anything.

    Any advice?
  2. HonestlyVan

    HonestlyVan a very funny person who never tells jokes

    My first instinct is to point out that cognitive distortions never harm just the person applying them to the self -- perpetually treating yourself as worthless can distort your relationship to your duties towards other people and cause harm because you're literally incapable of conceiving yourself as having influence, positive or negative -- alternatively being convinced of your own badness and toxicity and dangerousness can make you unresponsive to learning when people tell you how you've harmed them.

    Like, that seems cruel, but the truth is that self-loathing is absolutely self-centered, and the strategy of "please get better for my sake", whether you're applying positive pressure about how his treatment of himself is distressing to you or negative pressure about how his self-loathing doesn't entitle him to pass those negative experiences onto others is primarily meant for pointing out the double standard where he doesn't care about himself, while simultaneously treating his misery as important and inviolable.

    I would legit just make an itemized list of "here's why your sadsackness harms other people directly", but that is a pretty extreme action. I'm sure he has prosocial values you can tap into to convince him that getting better is the way to further common good, and a way to do it for others if he can't bring himself to do it for his own sake.
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