Psychology and Psychiatry


Self-deprecation is a critical reduction in the level of self-esteem, manifested in the degradation of one’s personality, inherent strengths or physical qualities. Usually, the state of self-deprecation is accompanied by affective disorders in the depressive direction, and also occurs as a concomitant symptom of the clinic of psychotic disorders of persecution. In addition to severe disorders, self-deprecation is inherent in people without psychiatric pathologies and is manifested in a concentration on the negative aspects of one's own manifestation, and these signs may be unnecessarily exaggerated or invented by a person. From personality traits, submission to someone else’s will and opinion, submissiveness at the level of the slavish, inability to resist changes of fate, excessive modesty, causing more harm (for example, a person’s inability to tell about his own virtues negatively affects his / her employment). Often accompanied by various dependencies, from chemical to emotional, which again is associated with the reinforcement of their own image, as vicious or self-deprecation occurs against the background of dependence, which suppresses a person’s will and resilience over time and strengthens painful attachments.

What is self-deprecation

Self-deprecation is manifested as protection from the attacks of the outside world, because no one will condemn someone who will condemn himself beyond measure too much, but a person who is joyful and boasts his skills may well be besieged. People choosing this type of protection will never rejoice at the denial and refutation of their words, and if you wish with examples to prove that there are worse manifestations, you risk entering eternal competitions in worthlessness, where the unworthy will get the main prize. But the presence of constant criticism in his address does not speak about the tolerance of a person to such statements of others, the situation is diametrically, since all his own humiliating monologue was pronounced mainly for the fact that he did not face the depreciation of others, which is very traumatic. You can compare this with the way the mother scolds the child, but is ready to literally gnaw through the throat to anyone who tries to say something similar in the direction of her child.

This closed system of suffering, working on itself. Initially, self-humiliation does not allow a person to take a worthy place and misses more stupid and low personalities to lead and influence their own lives, so that later, suffering the consequences, blame themselves for lack of perseverance and temper, indifference and cowardice.

Self-deprecation as protection is not an adequate way to protect against attacks, even if at first a person receives pity and condescension of others, then later this behavior becomes annoying and people are increasingly inclined to attack or ignore eternal criticism. But being one of the earliest in its formation of protection, it continues to act.

Reduced self-esteem and traumatic experience of inconsistencies motivate a person to lead an inconspicuous lifestyle, shift attention and go into the shadows. And this is not modesty, but the fear of attention. A person constantly fears that with close attention people will be able to discern how unattractive he is, and excludes himself from active social life. In order to lower expectations and get ahead of others' disappointment, a person led by self-humiliation will apologize in advance, emphasizing his carelessness so that others will not have the idea to charge him something. Any business scares, because it means responsibility, evaluation, autonomy and possible failure - all this is intolerable.

The state of self-deprecation constantly takes away from the experience of the present (namely, it is possible to experience life, joy, resource), since it takes all the emotional activity to worry about the past, constant repetition of blunders and moral punishment for blunders. When a person is not busy revising his past failures, he is busy building speculative pictures of the future that are colored in rather gloomy tones, because nothing positive in the life of a worthless person can happen. When the present is already "knocking on the door with the boots" of the self-deprecating, he simply does not have the strength to overcome pressing problems, because all the spiritual forces are wasted on what was and what has not happened yet. The amount of trouble is growing, mountains of affairs requiring attention are increasing, which gives excessive proof of the rightness in the low assessment of his personality and pushes him even more towards the depressive abyss.

In cases where fate turns its bright side and success happens in a person's life, it is self-deprecation that does not allow this success to be accepted, it is uncomfortable and incomprehensible what to do. How to rejoice and multiply such a person is incomprehensible, the level of anxiety from happiness came jumps to a critical point, causing a person to get drunk and addicted to drugs, which destroys what has been achieved, but returns to the usual negative swamp, but everything is predictable and calm.

Subordination and courtesy are guided in this case not by the desire to benefit or not to ruin the relationship, but by the desire to shift the responsibility for your own life, then in case of failure there is always someone to blame, and if successful, you can redirect it into the hands of the dominant personality. Denial of the authorship of one’s life is strongly associated with a lack of contact with reality and an adult position - objectivity in assessing one’s own qualities and the surrounding reality is in this case severely disturbed.

Reasons for self-deprecation

Attitude to the self and the translation of its own assessment is laid in childhood and is copied as a model of the relationship of parents. In the variants, when the child was praised and accepted, but also pointed to blunders, moving in development, observing personally his pace, the person learns to evaluate what is happening around him and himself from the standpoint of objectivity and adequacy. In the case of self-deprecation, the process of communication with parents was built for the child in the system of achievements, moreover, when he often turns out to not meet expectations. This happens if the parents demand a lot, wanting to raise a wunderkind when they build up any expectations regarding the child, but he does not justify them (sometimes due to birth and reasons beyond his control).

The prevailing circumstances of non-conformity sometimes directly and rudely inform the fragile psyche, but even when the parents do not speak out loud, the child feels his own inferiority through their relationships (through the silent looks of admiration for other children, through constant new tasks and demands).

In addition to parental assessment, there is also parental behavior, regardless of the child, and, being perfectionists in their own lives, they invest this attitude to their heirs. Perfectionism, in which there are only two poles (either you can or you are none) is the most traumatic for the child’s psyche, since the child, because of his age, does not know how or does not know how to, and therefore evaluates himself from the position of an unworthy and then fixed for many years. The results achieved by these parents do not lead to joy, but additional requirements and duties and always turn out to be small, i.e. the maximum that can be done is not to disgrace, and you cannot be good.

Frequent comparisons with other people in a negative way about the person himself Not only do they form low self-esteem, they build comparative thinking and as a result, the person is not able to assess himself and his qualities relative to the situation or his needs, but assesses them in comparison with others, intentionally (but subconsciously) looking for more successful ones for comparison precisely by the chosen criterion.

Also, in addition to such active influences of society, there is something that the child absorbs unconsciously, and if some of the parents had self-deprecating thoughts, then they can be adopted as a life scenario. In addition, the advice to keep quiet, try not to take responsibility, can be shown by adults as quite successful in life, forgetting that such a departure into the shadow was justified by their own inconsistency or "they are smart, let them do it, but I'm dull."

Self-deprecation complex

It is obvious that self-deprecation is not one trait, having a number of characteristics, this concept fits into a complex of manifestations encountered in various combinations and with varying degrees of severity in different people. At first glance, it is possible to collect disparate people with a complex of humiliation, and such diversity is dictated by each person’s personal history, the reasons provoking the development of such an attitude, and the characteristics of the personality structure and functioning of the nervous system.

The unifying feature of the complex will be a rather grave condition in building relationships with such a person, despite his helpfulness and attempts not to shine. The desire to speak and effectively prove one's insignificance, permanent evidence from the past, and the desire to shift responsibility onto a partner create a long, nervous, emotionally disturbing background. The permission of the self-abasement complex is possible with unlimited patience of the partner and teamwork in this direction, as well as with the help of a psychotherapist. Unfortunately, if you try to build a relationship with a mature person, without getting rid of such destructive behavior, it will be impossible, because people are accustomed to a different (equivalent) distribution of responsibility, promotion of development and joint striving.

Longer relationships are possible with an authoritarian personality, with dictatorial inclinations, but one cannot speak of harmonious (albeit long) interaction. Such a relationship is not about the meeting of two consciousnesses, but about the meeting of two complexes, where everyone will try to play a child injury, launching a script on a new one every time, but without leaving it. Relationship will be strong, but painful, this refers to the section of emotional dependencies and co-dependent relationships.

Complexes are sorted out by their constituent parts, and then you can try to take on a little more responsibility, go out in an image that attracts attention, and restrain from self-criticism. Over time, training new skills will help weaken the impact or completely eliminate the self-deprecation complex. But you can start with those traumatic events that were launching for the formation of such a personal structure (to do it better with a specialist, since a collision with difficult experiences in the wrong conditions can aggravate the injury).