“I Feel Like Everyone Hates Me” – Understand And Overcome This Belief

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“Why does everyone hate me?”

Many people struggle with the idea that others hate them. They may feel like they aren’t important, socially isolated, or did something wrong to earn hate.

But here’s the thing, hatred is a powerful emotion. It’s raw, visceral, and flooded with anger.

Chances are pretty good that if someone hated you, they would not be shy about that fact. They would actively seek conflict with you, telling you how terrible of a person you are, and possibly worse.

Hate is an ugly and powerful thing.

Sometimes the brain lies to us and makes us believe things that may not accurately reflect reality. That is often the case when it comes to feeling everyone hates you.

What can cause someone to think that everyone hates them?

There are some different psychological reasons that you may feel this way.

Cognitive Distortions

A cognitive distortion is a habitual way of thinking that is often inaccurate and negatively biased.

Some examples include feeling like everyone hates you (obviously), that anything you try is doomed to failure, or that life will never get better no matter what you do.

These kinds of beliefs aren’t rooted in reality. Now, to be clear, life can be hard. Life can absolutely, mercilessly kick you around and stomp on you when you’re down. But to think that all of life will be that way or that you’re doomed to only suffer isn’t accurate.

Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion where the person’s mind immediately jumps to the most negative, worst-case scenario there can possibly be.

“Oh, I had an argument with my boyfriend; he probably hates me now.” This kind of thinking isn’t reasonable and may be driven by trauma, low self-esteem, surviving abuse, and a host of other mental health issues.

All-or-nothing Thinking

All-or-nothing thinking is another cognitive distortion that causes one to view circumstances in extremes.

For example, Sadie may not like Hunter. Hunter interprets that dislike to mean that Sadie hates him and wishes him harm. But that isn’t really what dislike is about. Dislike is far milder than hatred. She may not wish him harm or hate him at all. She just doesn’t like him, which is fair and reasonable. Sadie is entitled to her own opinion.

Another example is viewing every friend as a best friend. However, that person may not view you as a best friend. Maybe they view you as a more casual friend, and the two of you have misaligned expectations of the relationship.

Mental Illness

A variety of mental illnesses can create and amplify negative thoughts. For example, paranoia may be a symptom of mental illnesses like anxiety disorder, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder, etc.

It’s not unusual for people with a mental illness to sometimes experience negative and persistent thoughts that others might hate them. In addition, mental illness often creates and facilitates examples of stark, black-and-white emotions.

Insecurity

Low self-worth and self-esteem can cause people to believe that they just aren’t good enough to be valued or wanted. That can translate into believing that the people who care about you actually hate you.

In that case, it’s less about what other people feel and more about how you might be feeling about yourself.

Those insecure feelings can come from surviving child abuse, domestic abuse, C-PTSD, personality disorders, and other problems.

Insecurity may also stem from a shaken belief in yourself. Maybe you’re going through a hard time in your life and you’re not feeling good about yourself. For example, a career-driven person may feel worthless if they lose their job because they equate their value with their job, which is bad.

Loneliness

Loneliness is a troubling epidemic that’s been trending up in recent years. The internet has brought the world together but isolated us in the process. Many people struggle with social interactions, social anxiety, and difficulty making friends offline.

Online friends can be quite valuable. Those kinds of friendships can be incredibly deep and fulfilling. But they don’t fulfill the same needs that offline relationships do. People take different cues from face-to-face conversations and relationships that simply don’t exist in online relationships.

It’s easy to feel like everyone hates you if you’re lonely and don’t really have anyone. But maybe you have people in your offline life who love and care for you. Maybe you haven’t been able to spend any quality time with them. It may not be that they hate you. They may just be busy with the hustle and bustle of life.

Bullying

Bullying, either online or offline, is a vile practice that can cause the person who is being bullied to feel ostracized and hated.

Frankly, the bully may not actually hate the person they are bullying. They may be angry at themselves and taking it out on the world around them. They may even be abused or bullied, so they’re taking out their anger on other people. It’s not right, but it happens.

And you may even have run into someone who is just an a**hole that wants to make other people miserable because it brings them joy or fulfillment.

None of these reasons are about you and aren’t legitimate. You can dislike or even hate someone without victimizing them. Instead, they could just choose to mind their own business and live their life. Of course, that doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s something to keep in mind.

High Sensitivity

A highly sensitive person is hypersensitive to the fluctuations of social relationships. These individuals tend to feel their emotions more strongly, for better or worse. They may interpret ambiguous or negative feedback in a far more powerful way than someone who is not highly sensitive.

Instead of taking that kind of feedback neutrally, they take it personally, whether it’s valid or not. Sometimes it is. No one’s perfect. Accepting feedback and looking at it critically is important for self-improvement and nurturing healthy relationships. Not every piece of ambiguous or negative feedback is valid.

Stereotyping

We live in a politically divisive time. We also live in a time where we are bombarded with news about the worst of humanity on a 24/7 basis.

You may feel isolated and alone because of what’s going on in the world today. If you’re a Person of Color or someone who isn’t an upper-class straight, white male, it would be reasonable to feel like society is failing you with all of the political and social problems that are going on.

It would be easy to conclude that many people hate you or want to see harm done to you. Most don’t. But there is an obnoxiously vocal minority who get a lot of attention and can taint your view of the wider population.

What can you do if you feel like everyone hates you?

There is a simple tactic that you can use to tear apart your feelings and look for the truth hidden therein. The goal is to get through the belief that everyone hates you and see what is actually driving it. Once you identify why you feel that way, you can do something about it. So, what can you do?

1. Analyze your mental and physical health.

There may be mental or physical issues driving your strong emotional reactions.

On the mental side, if you are aware of any mental health issues, take some time to consider if they are flaring up. For example, perhaps you’ve been under a lot of stress lately, making you more sensitive than normal. If you have a mental illness, you may be experiencing some unwellness that is causing you to interpret the world incorrectly.

On the physical side, many physical aspects of health can affect your perceptions and emotions. Lack of quality sleep is probably the most dramatic. Your brain creates mood-balancing chemicals in the deepest stages of sleep. If you’re not sleeping deeply, then your brain doesn’t have a chance to replenish those chemicals for the coming day. That can make you more emotionally volatile.

In addition, stress may play a role. You might be getting physically sick and not have the same kind of emotional resilience you typically have. You may also be going too hard on caffeine and energy drinks, which can fuel anxiety and emotional volatility. Eating too much junk food can also cause nutrient deficiencies, fuel depression, and anxiety.

Look for anything out of the ordinary that may be disrupting your emotional state. For example, consider the thoughts driving your feelings.

2. Reframe your thoughts and beliefs.

Reframing is a powerful tool taught in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to better balance out your thoughts and feelings. Maybe you are immediately jumping to a negative cognitive distortion. In that case, you want to interrupt that process and consider alternative explanations.

For example, let’s say Susie feels like everyone hates her because she hasn’t had any quality social time with her friends and family. She feels like they are actively avoiding her. But are they actually avoiding her?

Instead, Susie should consider facts about her friends and family that may prove the opposite. Maybe her best friend has been working 60 hours a week and just doesn’t have the time to socialize. Maybe the family are just puttering around in their own lives and haven’t really thought to pick up the phone. Sometimes relationships just hit a lull where people don’t talk to each other because life is busy and sleep is wonderful.

It may have nothing to do with Susie at all. Instead of thinking, “everyone hates me,” Susie can instead tell herself, “oh, they’ve just been busy with life.” By doing that, she can avoid feeding her negative emotions.

3. Avoid ruminating.

The more you dwell on a negative thought or emotion, the more powerful it becomes. It’s like throwing more wood on the fire. Each negative thought you put into it will result in more negative energy.

So you need to avoid ruminating, that is, excessively dwelling on the negative thought.

How do you do that?

Well, distraction mostly. Distract yourself until the intrusive or demanding thoughts recede.

Exercise is a good option. A mentally-involved hobby can help pull your mind off of those thoughts. You can do puzzles from a puzzle book, watch some comedy or something light-hearted, or play a video game that requires mental energy.

You don’t want to do activities that require no mental engagement. If it doesn’t have mental engagement, you’ll leave room for those intrusive thoughts to blast their way back in. So even though it’s recommended for damned near everything, meditation may not be the best choice when you’re trying to work through these negative thoughts.

4. Look for real concerns that might exist.

Every healthy relationship is going to have some conflict in it. Conflict doesn’t have to mean yelling or screaming either. It can be something as simple and quiet as a minor disagreement.

Conflict happens in healthy relationships because all parties should have their own boundaries. If everyone doesn’t have boundaries, then unhealthy dynamics can form. For example, if you have one person with boundaries and one without, the person without boundaries may find that their needs aren’t being fulfilled. It may not be abuse or anything that severe. It can be as simple as never going to a restaurant the person likes or only doing activities the person with boundaries wants to do. And that’s because the person without boundaries doesn’t ever say, “I don’t want to do that.”

No conflict can be a warning sign that the relationship may not be as healthy as possible. Granted, some people just get along seamlessly and don’t even view minor disagreements as conflict. When a person says, “I never fight with my partner,” that may be entirely true because their perception of a fight may not be the same as yours. They may view fighting as screaming, throwing things, or worse. Their conflict isn’t that severe, so they don’t view it as fighting.

It’s important to not take relationship conflict personally. Instead, what you want to do is examine the other person’s problem. Is there any merit to their argument? Are there any needs or expectations that you are not fulfilling? Are there any responsibilities that you’re neglecting?

If there are, that problem may be resolved by just doing whatever the other person is looking for from you. But, of course, you need to ensure that your treatment is fair. You don’t want to be in a one-sided friendship or relationship. The other person should be contributing to the relationship, as well.

You want to examine what they bring into the relationship too. For example, Beth and Steve are good friends. Beth constantly talks to Steve about all of the negative and difficult things going on in her life, but when Steve has a problem, Beth brushes him off. She may not answer his calls, bother to listen, or give evasive answers as though she isn’t paying attention.

That’s a problem because it’s a one-sided relationship. And if Steve struggles with the idea that everyone else hates him, he may think that he’s not being a good enough friend to Beth when really it’s Beth who is the problem. She is not fulfilling her end of the friendship.

But what if people really do dislike me?

Look, people aren’t always the best. As the saying goes, “You can be the juiciest, ripest peach on the tree; but some people just don’t like peaches.”

It is liberating to understand and realize that you don’t have to be liked by everyone. That isn’t your problem. That’s their problem.

Granted, it may be a problem if that person has some kind of control over your life. For example, suppose it’s your boss or a family member that has control over you at the moment. In that case, that’s a problem that can really only be remedied by changing your situation when you can. It’s certainly easier said than done, but it can be done.

But a little self-reflection may be in order if you find that people dislike you. There’s a simple way you can do that.

1. Break it down to the individual.

Instead of thinking “people dislike me,” focus on the individual. For example, Jack may feel like everyone hates him because Mary has a problem with him. In that scenario, it isn’t so much that people dislike or hate Jack; Mary just has some issue with him.

2. What is the issue?

Can Jack identify what the issue is with Mary? The easiest way to get to this answer is for Jack to just ask Mary if he did anything to upset or offend her. He can say something like, “I feel like we aren’t getting along. Did I do anything to hurt or offend you? Because if I can make it right, I will.”

3. Can you fix the issue?

Mary may have a legitimate grievance that Jack can address, apologize for, and make right. Or maybe Mary is a jerk who is hostile to other people. If she just doesn’t like Jack, there isn’t much that Jack can do about that. Mary has the right to feel however she does. In that case, Jack may simply move on with his life and disregard it.

It may feel uncomfortable to know that someone dislikes you, but hey, that’s just how it goes sometimes. If you find yourself unable to accept that, try reframing the discomfort or anger into sympathy.

What problems must Mary have experienced to make her feel that way? How unfortunate it is for her to be burdened by bitterness, spite, or anger. It’s not a good way to live. And while you wouldn’t tell her that to her face because that’s likely to start an argument, it is something you can use to calm things down in your own mind.

4. Is it about you as a person?

It may be that Mary doesn’t actually dislike Jack as a person. She may respect or like him, but she may not like his ideas or something he did. In that scenario, Mary doesn’t hate Jack. She just dislikes some facet of the way Jack does things.

Try to look at the reasoning behind the person’s dislike. Is it just about you as a person? Is it about an idea, belief, or action? People can disagree on things without hating each other. In fact, you should expect that if you are conducting your life with boundaries. Boundaries will occasionally clash, and you will need to find a resolution with the person.

And if the person does genuinely hate or dislike you, that’s not your problem. You don’t have to care what other people think of you. Instead, focus on adding people that bring brightness and positivity to your life.

Don’t hesitate to get professional help.

Self-help is all well and good. Sometimes you can address the feeling that everyone hates you by working through your cognitive biases or addressing problems in your life.

But sometimes, the issue is bigger than self-help. If you find that these feelings are persistent or negatively affecting your ability to conduct your life, it would be best for you to get help from a certified therapist. It may be that you’re having a mental health issue beyond the scope of self-help.

That’s okay if it happens to be the case. There are still solutions out there for you. It may just take some time and work to get to them.

We recommend the online therapy service available at BetterHelp.com. You can speak to a therapist wherever you are in the world and get the help you need to overcome this belief.

Click here to learn more or to arrange your first session.

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