At this point, I think a lot of what got me into serious self-hatred was [edited to add: reading human potential material and jumping to the conclusion that] I didn't have enough energy/initiative/wasn't a cool enough person with big goals and a high level of success. I started hammering on myself for being such a failure, and this led to serious levels of paralysis.
I still have the problems of inertia and procrastination, but at least I'm not spending a lot of time telling myself how awful I am and I'm finding it easier to get some things done.
I'm hoping that this will be useful for other people who are plagued with self-hatred, but here's the most important piece of advice: if you're feeling swamped, pull back. Stop reading. You don't have to force yourself.
Here's what I've written in the past.
I strongly recommend Transforming Negative Self-Talk by Steven Andreas-- it's an NLP-based approach of modifying the speed, volume, pitch, direction, etc. of the attacking voice. I found it did a lot to quiet mine, and one of my friends found it helpful. The book says that these methods don't work for everyone, so if you try it, please view it as an experiment. It is absolutely the most obviously effective self-help book I've used.
I've seen some talk about the need for compassion and courage to get out of self-hatred, but I find these abstractions are too grand and frightening. Fortunately, getting in on small facts and grinding can be very useful.
Two mottoes: "I will not do my enemies' work for them." "I will not beat myself up for symptoms of depression."
I've found that fits of self-hatred are not under direct conscious control, but they can be examined and this helps. Partly, it's that the process of examination is very different from being caught up in self-hatred.
Even if you can't prevent self-hatred, experiment with self-care afterwards. You've just had a rough time, and you won't be struck by lightning if you take a moment to come back to the ordinary world and let yourself feel steadier.
It's done me some good to look at hatred as a passion. I still don't know what's going on, but just acknowledging that high-energy inventive hatred is a strong drive helped somehow.
It also helped to realize that part of my mind must be terrified of something to be working so hard to constrain me, even though I haven't figured out what it's afraid of.
It helps (in a slow grind sort of way) to keep coming back to whether what the voice is saying is true-- the universe is remarkably tolerant of people who don't meet random ideal standards.
Compassion and Self-Hate-- a good book on the subject, with focus on men's issues. I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)-- another good book with focus on women's issues.
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