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February 5, 2014

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The Deceitfulness of Self-Hatred

Angry Elderly Man

I was speaking at a large women’s event in Texas. During the break, a woman asked if she could speak with me.

“I need to know if there is hope for me,” she asked.  “I’m a narcissist and from what I’ve read on-line, there is little hope for me to ever get better.”

Curious, I asked her a few more questions about what led her to think she was a narcissist. She said, “I’m selfish and self-centered.”

“Give me a few examples of what you mean,” I asked, wanting to see where she was going.

“I don’t want to babysit my grandchildren like my daughter wants me to,” she said.  “I don’t always want to put other people’s needs first. I try, but I end up feeling resentful.”

By now tears were streaming down her face and it was obvious she was distressed exposing her very human character flaws.

This woman’s problem wasn’t excessive self-love and desire for admiration (which narcissists never notice about themselves anyway), but rather destructive shame and self-hatred. In our brief conversation I learned that she lived by an internal script that dictated that she should be better than she was. She failed to live up to her idealized image of herself as a selfless person and after numerous attempts at change, she felt hopeless.

People who are perfectionists may not demand perfection in every area of their lives and often have a hard time admitting that they think they should be perfect, but deep down that’s what they crave. And when they fail to live up to their own idealized standards, they grieve deeply. Their internal shame, self-hatred, and self-reproach can be lethal.

These individuals rarely feel happy because although they might achieve a moment of perfection, it’s entirely unsustainable. Eventually they mess up, can’t do something, aren’t all-knowing, fail, make a mistake, or put their own needs or desires ahead of someone else’s.

This woman was not my client and we weren’t in a session, but I had something to offer her in that moment that provided a real solution to her pain. I had the privilege to show this hurting woman a glimpse of what God is like and surprise her by the good news of the gospel of Christ.  

He is the answer to this woman’s pain because he gives her what she cannot give herself. Real forgiveness, radical acceptance, grace, peace, hope, love, and true truth.

What I said to that woman at the conference was something similar to what Jesus said to the rich young ruler who asked if he was good enough to inherit eternal life. (See Luke 18:18-27 for the story).

I pulled her to the side, wrapped my arms around her and whispered, “You could never do enough, love enough, give enough, or be selfless enough to earn God’s forgiveness or his love. It’s not up to you. It is a gift. Now go, and thank and love the giver.”

Later on in the day she caught my eye and her countenance was transformed. She believed God and found hope.

P.S. I want to warmly welcome ALL new subscribers who have joined our community since last month! You are going to love the resources you find to help you grow. I'm thrilled to have you here!

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Leslie Answers Your Questions

Am I controlling?

Question: I am being told that I am being controlling, being the head of the house which leads to witch craft, Jezebel, and antichrist etc. I’m told all I need to do is release the control back to my husband.  Otherwise I will reap what I sow.

After money being spent on things that did not need to be spent on and pay checks being spent before I had deposited them in the bank I started to put my pay from work in to a separate account as we have two children who need to be looked after.

My husband is not working. Currently he is being required to stay at another address because of destructive behavior. He believes it is my responsibility to fix up the court breech and if I had just done what he had said at the time none of this would have happened.

He apologizes and I always forgive. 

If I don't release the control the person who he is staying with says he will probably move away. We have a 10 & 12 year old and for him to even contemplate leaving I find difficult to understand or is this just further manipulation?
He is due to appear in a few court matters between now and March.

Have you any advice for my situation?

Answer: First of all it’s interesting that you are warned that you are out of line by taking control of your own finances and that if you continue this behavior you will sow what you reap – implying that God will judge you harshly.  But your husband can sow repeated abuse, financial instability and insecurity and he’s supposed to not sow what he reaps?  How crazy is that?


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The Deceitfulness of Self-Hatred


Coaching Spots Available



Take look at the upcoming events to watch for from Leslie.



Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make by Georgia Shaffer. Plus see the winner of the previous give away!



Am I controlling?


For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below.

Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs



Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make
by Georgia Shaffer

Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make
by Georgia Shaffer


Licensed psychologist and Certified Life Coach, Georgia Shaffer reveals 12 ways you could be undermining your chances of enjoying fulfilling relationships. Drawing on insights from Scripture and her own case studies, Georgia empowers you to identify blind spots in your own life, minimize their destructive impact, and turn damaging patterns into productive ones. You will also discover how to…develop your unrefined strengths; acknowledge the power of brief feelings of fear, bitterness, and other toxic emotions; face the pain of reality with courage; recognize the impact of your past; and take responsibility for your poor choices and learn from them. With compassion, candor, and grace, Shaffer provides you the encouragement and practical tools you need to make significant and lasting changes in your life.

To win this book, please email your name to assistant@leslievernick.com with "Book Give Away" in the subject line by midnight Sunday, February 16th.

The winners of The Long Awakening: A memoir by Lindsey O’Connor are: Linda (North Wales, PA) and Amy.


February 2014

Feb 1  Emotionally Destructive Relationships (for Ministry Leaders, Marriage Mentors, Pastors and Counselors), hosted at Bayside Church in Sarasota, FL for more information contact Eagle’s Wing Counseling Center

Invite Leslie to speak at one of your events.
Call us at 1-610-298-2842
leslie@leslievernick.com or
visit www.leslievernick.com



"To attend a seminar led by Leslie Vernick is to be embraced by her thoughtful and compassionate heart, yet challenged by her practical insights, self-tests and tips. We left with a deeper understanding of who we were, where we had been stuck, and how to move forward in our walk with Christ."

— Brenda H. McCord
Moody Bible Institute


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:


Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.