Self-verification theory (12-24-21)

2 years ago
26 I just had a friend ask me when I’m going to stop self-flaggellating. Hmm, I thought, I don’t think I beat myself down anymore. I feel like I have been largely free of this for five years. I think I like myself. But maybe I’m missing something.

So I looked up emotional self-flaggellation on Google and found this: “In line with the predictions of self-verification theory, which posits that people generally feel more comfortable with the treatment that is familiar and consistent with their self-views, the researchers found that participants with low self-esteem were less motivated to feel good because feeling good was inconsistent with their negative self-views, and because they didn’t feel they deserved to feel good.”

That rocked me back. I’ve often chosen to stay in abusive relationships. I’ve often had abusive bosses. When I’d tell friends about how I was treated, they’d say they wouldn’t put up with that for five minutes, let alone five years like I had done. I struck some friends as the prototypical abused husband who wouldn’t do anything about it beyond cry, moan and journal.

Self-verification theory strikes me as true. We do seek out situations and groups and people who verify our own sense of ourselves. That’s why it is so hard to change. Some of us get addicted to losing. When you hate yourself, as I have for vast sections of my life, you can’t respect those who like you.

I notice that some people are uncomfortable with joy and happiness and prosperity. They don’t feel they deserve good things.

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