“Go out in the world and work like money doesn't matter, Sing as if no one is listening, Love as if you have never been hurt, and Dance as if no one is watching”
My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet. - Ghandi
The Shadow of Self-Loathing is formed in a similar environment to the Shadow of Arrogance. The parents have high standards, thereby their love becomes conditional. However, the crucial difference is that for Arrogance, the parent's expect the child to be perfect, whilst for this Shadow the parent's do not.
The child is unable to meet the parent's standards. They do not sit still, get out of the way, behave properly, have the right morals, get high enough marks at school, be as good as another child, are a lot of work for the parent, do anything well enough. Or simply, they are not the parent's ideal child. While a parent for Arrogance will greet a child's school test with enthusiasm and then criticism. A parent for Self-Loathing will have little to no enthusiasm.
A very small child cannot intellectualise any of this of course. But a child senses it all. They will sense your own fear of failure. They will sense any, 'I didn't expect anything better from you' feelings. They will sense that you view them as a nuisance or an inconvenience.
Whatever the foundation, children learn that they are not enough, that they have failed their parents, and that they can never be enough.
It is this sense of inadequacy that is the Shadow's food. With the Arrogance Shadow, imperfections are fixable. With the Shadow of Self-Loathing, the child is unfixable.
This is crucial. the child learns that no amount of striving can make them better. They learn to become self-critical but without the belief that things can be put right.
The child learns that the most likely outcome is failure. They learn to dread their parent's demands and later, life's demands, because they believe that they will fail anyway. Therefore, they learn that they are not worthy as a human being.
Their lives become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are a failure. They attempt a task with that attitude, and fail. And this reinforces their belief.
How can they love themselves when they are such a disappointment?
So the child believes that they are worthless. To survive, the child's psyche prepares itself with the belief of failure. That way, when they do fail it's a moment of success - they were right. The psyche protects itself from the external world, first by becoming small, and secondly by preparing their audience with an apology in advance.
They sit at the back, they try not to stand out, they don't put themselves forward. They might even walk hunched and with their head down.
If they are forced to 'perform', they prepare others with statements such as, 'I probably will get it wrong....', 'I know I don't know enough but....'.
Their best protection comes in the avoidence of success. Failure is inevitable of course, so it cannot be avoided. So instead, they prefer to stop trying, to not start new things, and to give up hope.
I use the words audience and perform deliberately. They feel that they are being constantly scrutinised and on show. They feel that other people are there to make value judgements. A person with a strong Self-Loathing Shadow lives for this audience. Without other people's feedback, they feel unable to find any worth themselves. In the absence of self-love, they place their worth in other people's hands.