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Hatred Complex and
Self-Hatred Sequence

Natalia J. Garland

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Since September 11, 2001, I have struggled to understand the dynamics of terrorism: the mental state of its leaders and their actions. Conquest seems to be a foremost terrorist value, and it involves the abuse of power. An understanding of terrorism is reached only by a twisted path through shifting desert dunes. There are dust storms and mirages and, as a foreign traveler, it has sometimes been difficult for me to trust my own eyes. It was hard to believe what I was seeing. But I will share some images with you, wipe away the dust, and give them clean descriptions.

Power, control, conquest, honor, revenge: these are almost interchangeable terms in the mental state of a terrorist. I would place power at the top, because power in itself is not negative. There is a difference, however, between the way in which civilized society achieves and uses power and the way in which terrorist cells usurp and abuse power. Terrorists are driven by what I call the Hatred Complex, a condition that seems to stem from but is much more severe than the typical inferiority complex. Behaviorally, the terrorist Hatred Complex manifests itself in the following ways.


  • men vs. women
  • tribal vengeance vs. civilized laws
  • 10th century vs. 21st century
  • terror vs. competition
  • rape vs. equality
  • suicide bombing vs. heroism
  • brainwashing vs. nurturing
  • coercion vs. collaboration
  • facism vs. democracy
  • fanaticism vs. spirituality
  • hiding out vs. visibility
  • scapegoating vs. responsibility
  • sameness vs. creativity
  • domination vs. liberation
  • intimidation vs. discussion
  • ignorance vs. sophistication
  • censorship vs. knowledge
  • hostility vs. humility

The above manifestations represent different levels or modes of human existence. For example, men vs. women is in a relationship mode. Tenth century vs. 21st century is at a level of progress (technological, cultural). Facism vs. democracy is at an ideological level. Hiding out vs. visibility is at a level of accountability. Scapegoating vs. responsibility is in a psychological defense mode. Intimidation vs. discussion is in a communication mode. Censorship vs. knowledge is in an education mode.

Terrorism permeates every aspect of living, like a severe dust storm, which is why it is difficult to discern its maneuverings and why some Americans (and others) want to deny its intent and extent. Terrorism is a like a massive movement of tyrannical sand that gets into everything: sexually, psychologically, educationally, artistically, religiously and politically.

The justification for terrorism seems to rest on the view that Western Civilization consists of infidels. The world, therefore, is divided into two sectors: Muslims and infidels. When the sand is shoveled away from the door, it can be seen that the 'superiority' of extremist Islam is really a reaction to their feelings of inferiority. The Middle Eastern sector lost its grandeur centuries ago, never recuperated, and then stagnated while Europe, Great Britain, and America excelled. Rather than adopt or blend positive Western elements into their world, terrorists disvalue and reject.

The inferiority complex seems to have a tendency to activate hatred. This type of hatred, in turn, is actually a cluster or complex of other feelings and conditions. We are all capable of hatred, but we do not all attempt to totally control (i.e., conquer or convert) others, or to kill those who refuse to submit (i.e., refuse to reinforce our sense of superiority). Now, if there is such a thing as the Hatred Complex, then it must be contrasted to its opposite which can only be labeled the Love Complex.


Affirmation of others Jealousy of others
Growth toward self-actualization Insecurity and decay
Courage Cowardice
Rebuild Revenge
Protect and defend Terrorize and murder


At the pinnacle of the Hatred Complex and the Love Complex is the quality of power. Love involves the power to create and nurture. Hatred involves the power to demoralize and destroy. Closely related to power, love, and hate is the concept of honor. Again, civilized societies and terrorist cells define and use this term differently.


Personal achievement, cultural advancement, fair play, trying your best, being a good sport Annihilation of anyone who offends you


As mentioned above, the inferiority complex seems to activate hatred. This tendency can either escalate into hatred of others, or it can deteriorate into hatred of oneself. Terrorism has been able to develop a psychological stronghold in America because some of our citizens also have an inferiority complex but of the self-hatred type. There are different ways in which self-hatred is processed, but it always seems to involve a sequence of feelings, conditions, and conclusions. Below are some examples of what I call the Self-Hatred Sequence.


(1) There is no absolute truth, but only your truth and my truth
(2) Judeo-Christian values are to be obliterated because they are based on absolute truth
(3) Tolerance is my highest value
(4) Revisionist history expresses my truth
(5) Revisionist history teaches me that America is and always has been an intolerant nation
(6) America is not worth defending
(7) Therefore, I feel like I am worth nothing: I hate myself
(8) Since I am worthless, I can do nothing except gratify my desires (food, sex, alcohol, drugs, entertainment), and show tolerance for others
(9) I am a good person because I am tolerant of terrorists


(1) Terrorism is indeed terrifying and I cannot cope with it
(2) I am so afraid of terrorists that I will not confront or criticize them
(3) Therefore, I feel like a worthless coward: I hate myself
(4) I can criticize America without fear of negative consequences because I have First Amendment rights
(5) America is a capitalistic and imperialistic nation which causes other people to get angry
(6) 9/11 was an understandably angry response to America's capitalism and imperialism
(7) George Bush is a capitalistic-imperialistic president who invaded Iraq
(8) George Bush is a terrorist
(9) I am courageous because I criticized the president


(1) I am an inadequate man who views competent women as a threat to masculinity
(2) Therefore, I feel like a worthless weakling: I hate myself
(3) Terrorists subjugate women, totally
(4) I secretly hope the terrorists will rule the world
(5) Then, I will be a powerful man in charge of lowly women


In order for any Self-Hatred Sequence to be convincing, the self-hater must displace feelings and/or distort reality, and then find satisfaction in a compensatory conclusion or self-image. The resulting self-image is false: a delusion or fantasy. While terrorist activity is a reality, and the objects of terrorist hatred are to be conquered or destroyed, self-hatred brings about a psychological deterioration of oneself and the internal ineffectiveness of the nation (America).

The Self-Hatred Sequence is a product of our public education system, the misuse of certain psychological and sociological concepts (tolerance, non-judgment, etc.), and the inability of some post-9/11 politicians to grapple with the problem of terrorism. Whereas the inferiority complex involves feelings of inadequacy (real, exaggerated, or imagined), its transition into self-hatred is guided or induced by our own institutions. Some Americans have betrayed their own identity as Americans and as participants in a democracy.

There can be different variations of the Self-Hatred Sequence (I suggested only three), and people can operate more than one Sequence at a time. The potency of this type of self-hatred rests precisely in its flexibility for parallel or overlapping variations in the individual as well as among individuals. Self-haters see a mirage and think it is real. They want it to be real because the desert sun of terrorism is so harsh. They do not have enough confidence or hope to search for an oasis. To make the situation worse, some American educators and politicians are kicking sand in their faces.

The Self-Hatred Sequence should also be contrasted to its opposite. Self-love would seem to be the logical choice, but self-love carries negative associations both in psychology and religion. Self-esteem also has to be discarded because a meaningful definition would require more depth than can be given in this essay. I decided to use the term self-respect because it means to possess some of the positive qualities already put forth: confidence, honor, adequacy, responsibility, fairness, as well as pride and dignity. Instead of delineating how self-respect is processed, I think it would be more helpful to offer what I call the Self-Respect Pledge.


I pledge that I will strive
by fair and honest actions
to respect my own survival,
the wellbeing of my family,
and the sovereignty of my country.

The Self-Respect Pledge is broad enough to cover all levels of mental health from the balanced to the damaged. It gives people permission to protect themselves even if they are imperfect (i.e., 'worth nothing'), even though they live in an imperfect country, and without feeling intolerant of others. It provides a starting point for a generation (or more) who have been shaped by biased educators and partisan politicians, and who are overwhelmed by terrorism. It is a turning inward of tolerance in a sort of self-help mode. If self-haters can discover worth in themselves and in their country, then perhaps they will also acquire courage and a true joie de vivre.

The combination of the Hated Complex and the Self-Hatred Sequence is potentially disastrous for America. There is an outward blasting of hatred from terrorists and toward Americans, and an inward seeping of hatred from Americans and toward themselves. Both directions give the message that there is something innately wrong with being American and that our country is not worth defending.

It is not too late to change course. It will, however, require some heavy-duty equipment for sand removal. (1) We need a president who will protect and defend America, and who can withstand and answer the self-hating critics. (2) We need a reformation of the public education system, including teacher quality and the writing of textbooks. (3) We need a reclamation of the psychotherapy profession and its terminology to serve the purpose of rational wellbeing. (4) We need a revival of life-affirming spiritual values.

Over the past few years, I have written essays on terrorism and on the reactions of America and the world. I have used themes of denial, co-dependency, narcissism, delusion, anger-and-blame, either/or thinking, loss of innocence, collective guilt, a Rogerian becoming, the double standard, character formation, and political correctness. Today's theme involved taking a simple definition of the inferiority complex and adding a discussion of hatred onto it. This does not mean that all past themes were erroneous. My hope is that each essay contains, at least, a nugget of accuracy. Today's offering is just another nugget, sifted from the sands of conflict. (Written 01/07/08)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2008 Natalia J. Garland