When is anger a projection of self hate?


A jerk screwed me over about the selling of a car to me and then stalked me, even tried to use abuse religion to gain more access past well established boundaries... I've tried to talk about this to three therapists as something to work on in therapy. Not the car, but the emotion, the hurt, the boundaries. I'm angry at what he did and they always ask, "Are you mad at him or really yourself?" I am unsure why they think I'm projecting self hate on to him. I do hate myself. I'm not thinking of that when I think of this creeper. I don't even think of the car. What my mind jumps to is I said no and yet someone else in my life is trying to run it over... then my heart races, then the anger and fear hits.

I keep being asked if I am sure it's his actions I hate, or if it's just myself. Huh?

Has anyone thought about this? I can see how someone can be angry at another and really it be about themselves. I think of the anti-gay homophobe who is actually in the closest and hasn't figured out how to love themselves. I can also see the side to this that many faiths and worldviews tap into - the idea that one can't love others until you love yourself and/or have experienced love yourself. I also know that a lot a trauma survivors will reject kindness/react to kindness with self contempt as a way to control what happened, rather than face that they deserve kindness not the abuse they suffered. (I'm bad therefore bad things happen is a type of thinking to try to gain control over what happens in life.)

I'm not sure any of those situations apply or not... or if this is what anyone was getting at.

How does PTSD, trauma, and fight or flight fit into this? Anyone else grappled with this?


Yes I've experienced that. It might be complete BS that other people think your using that car guy as a scapegoat to just vent your anger. Probably not and those people are just now taking up your headspace. If someone makes you angry then imho, you need a controlled reaction, you don't just open the angry door and hit them with everything you've got. I don't know about it being a projection of self hate. Maybe that happened when I was younger.


I figured out I'm shaking when he contacts me because no means nothing to him and in the past that has meant so much harm. With him, it's just more annoyance... not safety issues.

My anger fits for as if the house was on fire and I needed to fight my way out.

Somehow I feel humiliated, not just terrified. That flips it into oh-hell-no.


Wow @Justmehere , i think those T's are stretching it. I can accept your possible explanations, but there is such a thing as justifiable anger. Tbh, only because I'm trying to make it 'fit', could it mean anger at yourself for trusting someone untrustworthy/ wouldn't accept your boundaries? (Fwiw I don't think it's realistic to think someone who turns out creepy actually 'would' respect boundaries), or angry at yourself for making a mistake, or believing a boundary would be respected (etc?).

I really don't think self-anger seems to be the most likely explanation. In fact, I think anger is preferable to fear. Why are you still angry, do they mean? Who knows, maybe it was very disappointing when you were just getting your feet under you, or maybe you couldn't believe the betrayal, or maybe the lack of support or understanding left you feeling twice-betrayed, or any number of things.

Maybe it's a statement that came from people who don't realize how much work you've done? Idk, but I wouldn't sweat what they think. Whatever rings true in your heart you'll probably recognize like a puzzle piece when the time comes. Tbh the only thing I can think of is, that was really a sh*tty time and experience! 😟

(Cross-posted). I hope you can ground, and not worry about any other thoughts for the time being. 🤗


"Are you mad at him or really yourself?" I am unsure why they think I'm projecting self hate on to him.
You lost me in the leap, here.

Projecting self hatred onto an undeserving target it a wildly different thing -or at the very least, about a mile down the spectrum- from being mad at myself for how I handled a situation, or how I’m reacting in an ongoing situation.

Case in point? I’m furious with my mom, right now. Legitimately so. But I am waaaaaaay more mad at myself for allowing the situation to happen in the first place. For believing her when she lied. (I’m done with that, now. The last thread finally snapped.) For the f*cked up situation I’m in because I believed her. For many, many, many things (that aren’t really relevant to this discussion at hand) I am pissed the hell off at myself.

Being mad at myself? Doesn’t mean I’m projecting my self hatred &/or anger onto my mom, just because I’m also mad at her.

My T will often ask if I’m mad at them or myself when I’m 8 kinds of furious. My answer? Varies. Sometimes I’m pissed with them, sometimes with myself, and sometimes both.

He periodically doesn’t beeeeeelieve me when I say it’s ALL directed at them... because he knows what a control freak I am, and how I tend to assign myself guilt that doesn’t necessarily lie on my doorstep / blame myself for things that aren’t my fault... which means ALSO he periodically cheers when that’s not the case and I’m only pissed off at them & not c’est Moi. But? He’ll also call bullshit when I’m misdirecting my anger onto someone who doesn’t rate it. Which is a big part of why I actually trust the f*cker, he’s not shy about jerking my leash. That doesn’t mean he’s always right, but he’s been right often enough that it’s worth -at the very least- tilting my head and considering it, and far more often worth breaking shit down/thrashing it out to see what’s coming from where. Similarly? He’ll yank my leash just as quickly when I’m blaming myself for others mistakes, as when I’m blaming them for my own. Invaluable ally, someone who can help me shore up my own judgment.

^^^None of that^^^ could happen without first asking who I’m really mad at. Them or myself?

You’ve had some über-crappy therapists, so I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to believe that they’re not asking questions as a springboard into understanding you better & doing serious work; and that many of the questions they’ve asked you are simply passive aggressive bullshit. HOWEVER, it’s also a super basic Q that you’ll find with both phenom therapists with a depth of experience in anger management, dysregulation, perfectionists, clients who blame themselves as part of their trauma history/core beliefs/cognitive distortions, clients who blame everyone else as part of their ditto/ditto/ditto, et cetera -AND- with the jumped up eedjits so “capable” even the all volunteer crisis line (no experience or education requires) fired them, so now they do McTherapy after getting their certificate from inside a Cracker Jack box (modernly? Whatever online “therapy school” / be ordained a minister / license your service dog! site they printed that shit off from <roll eyes>).

Truly. Super basic Q when someone is angry. By both good & lousy therapists, alike.

The craptastic ones may make the same leap that you’re never legitimately angry with someone else but just misdirecting your anger, but that’s part of why they’re crappy therapists. The good ones will ask it, too... just to find out what the answer is.


How does PTSD, trauma, and fight or flight fit into this? Anyone else grappled with this?
Right here
I figured out I'm shaking when he contacts me because no means nothing to him and in the past that has meant so much harm.
My anger fits for as if the house was on fire and I needed to fight my way out.
Equating a salesman not taking no for an answer with a rapist who doesn’t take no for an answer? And reacting as if one is the other? Is one of those connections Trauma & PTSD make that isn’t real.

Lots and lots of incredibly honorable & totally badass people (as well as the mediocre & harmless) don’t take no for an answer. When we agree with their aims, methods, & results? We call them tenacious, passionate, driven, determined, strong, inspiring, etc. When we disagree with their aims, methods, & results? We call them arrogant, conceited, self centered, narcissistic, assholes, abusive, etc.

It’s not whether or not someone takes no for an answer that determines what kind of person they are... but what kind of person they are.

Women wouldn’t have the vote, slaves would be worth 3/5s of a person, & we’d still be a British colony if there weren’t people who heard the word no, and pressed on, anyway.

Aims, methods, & results... matter. Hugely. But trauma & cognitive distortions & core beliefs & (et al) want to say they don’t. Hot burner? Get burned. Pretty dress? Raped. Not taking no for an answer? So much harm. And KABOOM! We’re responding to the present as if it’s the past. Because of connections that aren’t real. Reverse logic also doesn’t work; that we’re overacting because triggers & stressors & trauma oh my? It doesn’t follow that anger isn’t justified, or that the person ignoring your no is a great guy. Anger can absolutely be justified (or not), & the bloke may be an evil SOB who deserves to die (or middling, or amazing). It’s the degree of anger that isn’t justified, and the place it’s coming from (the past) instead of a clear assessment of the situation at hand, commensurate to the provocation.
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When isn’t it?

it depends, how bad so you want to feel? I’m not talking about the OP specifically but I struggle with this obviously.

I’m not going to be walked all over I’m not going to be a doormat.

It’s conflicting for me like everything. I was just thinking last night about some people out of my past that hurt me, that could use a good getting even with.

There are lots. It’s hard to let go of that stuff.

I get to have boundaries but the water is full of sharks who don’t give a fig about my boundaries.

At the end of the day I like to consider I’m non violent, but I walk around with something to give me the upper hand.

Just in case.

So these things often do go badly for me also. I’ve written a lot about having to deal with contractors coming over her and how outrageous it is what they expect to get paid and how hard it is to deal with them.

I hope you are able to move on past it and I’m sorry it’s such a struggle. It is.


This feels like a very vulnerable post. I'm going to post it anyhow.

Using the specific example given to get to a thought on this topic in a painfully roundabout way....

The guy is somebody that is known me for many years. He also went to my workplace and had my coworkers give up my personal data to him so that way he can contact me at an address that was never supposed to be released to the public or him. he was given a different mailing address to use and he told everybody he didn't want to use it he wanted to use my other address because it's more local. He then got them to put his contacts in an envelope from my work place an order to have me actually open the envelope. He explained everyone that he did this because he knew I wouldn't open an envelope from him. The documents he is sending is the title to the car released to me. It's the solution to the situation.

I am known as an advocate in certain settings. I can be that person that changes things for the better against all odds. Many settings I am a wuss.

My head just keeps screaming "no no I said no what are you doing now stop leave me alone at work why are you sending documents like this stop..." it is taking all I have to try and realize he's actually probably solving the problem let's go ahead and just see what he sends me and not flip out that he ignored no.

It's hard to figure out if he's following page 57 of the manual to be a pushy helper or if he's following page 57 of the manual on how to be a stalker. I'm guessing that he's actually just being a pushy nerd. There is exactly 0 safety threats happening. I've seen the letter that a friend took a picture of to send me it's actually pretty reasonable.

There is exactly no threat to my safety. He's trying to send me documents about the disputed item he sold me. I'll see what actually arrives.

The fire in me is really hard right now. I'm still on fire about the situation.

Somebody asked me what I wanted out of the situation because the only thing my brain will focus on he needs to just leave me the eff alone. They asked me to try and imagine past that. To dream dreams. I think they were just trying to get me to think something else. I told them that I want (the situation solved) and also an apology. I want a man to hear me say no and to demonstrate respect for it. I want to be a woman that when people are friends for a long time they don't decide six years into the friendship this is the year I'm gonna push every boundary you have because I'm gonna help you. Even when you say no. Which is what he did....

I want friends, like this guy used to be, to say gosh I'm so sorry I didn't mean to scare you that way...

And this is why we get back to the topic of the thread because ultimately I want them to say I am a person that they're going to respect? Treat kindly because I'm actually worth it? Basically I want them to say I am worthy of them listening to no? Something like that.

I want that very badly. I'm not looking for them to manage my boundaries -- that is something entirely different. It's like I'm looking to them for the definition of me. That's screwed up.

I think it's ok to want other people to think well of me and to want other people to respect boundaries. I don't know that I'm protecting any self-hate onto him. I do definitely feel like I'm more angry than is helpful in the situation at all. I'm more terrified than the situation warrants.

If I was secure in a belief that this guy is kind of being a nerdy jerk he's being a very pushy person hugging that line into stalker-dom... but I'm still OK because I really am OK right now then it feels like the anger would completely shift. And I don't mean I am OK by just I'm safe but I am OK as a person. I can't seem to get my head there I can only seem to somehow for a moment at a time see that...

But for a moment at a time I I'm able to tell myself hey I'm good I got this there are people who don't treat me this way and I'm gonna go focus on that everything shifts. It's not distraction at some thing else.

I got a little bit foggy even trying to sort this all out so if it doesn't make sense that's why.


Ok I’m having kind of a difficult moment trying to grip my mind about this as it’s very specific so I apologise if what I’m writing is bullshit.

In my opinion "projection of self-hate" is when you have specific points of yourself that you don’t like or even loathe, and then become hypervigilant towards it and repress it not only in you, but it extends to anyone else. By example, I find myself horrendously stubborn and arrogant and this is what makes me want to tear curtains when I see it in someone else even in small amounts, and it prompts me to be angry or at least resentful at that person while it’s actually something that most people don’t make much case of.

It is another thing to be extremely reactive to boundaries being crossed or just the potential of it because of past triggering experiences.

It is a third thing to hate oneself for letting the boundaries being crossed.

What you are experiencing seems, at least to me, to be a blend of this.

But rereading what you are saying, I don’t think it’s okay at all to go past your boundaries by extracting information about you knowing that you would not answer otherwise. If it were accidental, okay. But this is knowingly. The only case I would allow myself to do something like this is in an emergency setting such as the person might die or be at risk of something if I don’t do anything, me, here, now.

If the person wants privacy at the cost of making it more difficult for themselves, that’s how it is and everyone has their own rhythm, it’s not up to me to decide what is better or not. This is how you can be benevolent. At the very least, giving unsolicited advice or being nagging, which can already be triggering, but I’d never ever go oblique to have my way because I find my way is better, even if I really want to help and am really convinced they’re wrong (with the notorious exception of immediate, credible, life-threatening or serious injury risk). What that guy did defo isn’t okay.