2193. Anorexics, Suicides, et al. — Part 8: Self-likeability

I choose the term self-likeability to summarize all that went before in this series. Self-esteem is the inaccessible liking of self hardwired as the result of infant care. Self-development is the process of living through childhood as the child chooses. Self-image is the picture of self that governs one’s behavior throughout life. Self-interest is the motivational force for everyone. Self-worth is the presentation we inadvertently or deliberately try to make to others about our opinion of self.

Think of self-likeability as all of the above, each individual’s internal opinion of himself. Likes himself and there’s nothing to do. Or, he doesn’t feel even good about himself. It energizes him to take corrective action. The worse his self-likeability then the more drastic his action.

All of this series can be summarized as producing children with some level of self-likeability. It’s a major part of the personality they project into the public arena. The more they appreciate themselves as likeable and respectable as a person, boy or girl, and their individual roles in life, the more respectable for males and likeable for females they appear to others.

Anorexics, suicides, other self-destructive behaviors come out of this unstructured grouping. Their sense of self-likeability is low, poor, or non-existent. As the victims interpret it, feedback from peers and parents confirms their sense of worthlessness. Depression quashes hope and dissipates into despair.

Girls prefer to martyr themselves trying to change their physical image before others and thus regain some measure of acceptance and thus importance. They are self-motivated to abandon their female nature of cooperation and strike out on their own. Depth of frustration at their obvious-to-them inability and the build-up of hopeless despair determine whether they choose to change their physical appearance or end their presence.

Boys prefer to martyr themselves trying to gain the admiration of others for courage, determination, and conviction; prove they are not the weaklings they perceive that others think. Boys abandon their nature to compete, withdraw into themselves, and disassociate from those around them. The boys with the strongest desire to be significant choose more outrageous outlets for their frustrations, such as mass shootings. Boys less ambitious and less inclined to lead others choose less violent outlets, such as suicide.

When adults encourage, counsel, and otherwise try to turn a child away from self-destructive behavior, they take some ineffective actions. For example:

  • More parental love doesn’t work. It didn’t work before, the child has already determined he’s not worth any love much less more. Unfortunately, motherly guilt and regret stimulate loving actions much too easily; it gives her something to do which assuages her guilt but does little for the child. Father’s proclivity for logic and reason may provide better relief for parents and kid.
  • Counseling doesn’t work unless started very early in the deterioration of self-likeability. Especially with boys, explaining oneself to a counselor or parent puts him in the awkward position of describing what he knows sounds wrong-headed to them, aka confession of weakness and insignificance. IOW, he’s ashamed or humiliated to describe himself as others can’t understand, and so he resists to preserve his self-image. He’d rather have the dignity of being different than admit the shame of possibly being wrong and thereby less or not admired.

Guilt helps determine outcomes. Girls fall prey to excessive guilt, which leads them to and down the self-destructive path. As they become less and less able to live with it, they take more drastic actions to drown their anguish.

Boys handle guilt differently. They can’t live well with it. They either fix what caused it or forget it. The process of forgetting it, however, in the mind of an unlikeable self leads to more and greater guilt. Forgetting becomes impossible and so drastic actions will fix it, or so he reasons.

A much better solution, aka deterrence for self-destructive behavior, resides but is dormant in the hearts of inflicted kids. The strategy is simple but requires strong adult intent and inspired imagination and applied to the child’s life with the least supervision practicable. Both sexes respond favorably to more self-activated accomplishments.

  • Girls need to become more important in their eyes. Get them involved—perhaps pushed just a little—in dealing with others in a manner that makes them regularly accomplish things involving others. Get their minds off themselves and onto others. Volunteer, get a job, or whatever but very different and more important than their present activities.
  • Boys need to be put to work, some responsibility and regular duty. Perhaps even at mundane tasks even if they feel their dignity is being assaulted. They need to be able to earn the admiration of others until they learn to admire themselves for what they accomplish.

It’s been a long road to make one point. Love does not make kids like themselves; it’s but a method to deliver guidance that helps a child develop himself, which enables him to like himself.

Accomplishments do it. Girls like themselves by making themselves important to others. It bounces back as their own importance, which transmutes into ‘I like me.’ Boys like themselves by earning self-admiration, which comes from accomplishing things that add value to life or someone, which also as byproduct earns the admiration of others.

So the next time you see a child heading down the self-destructive path, quickly get a girl involved in helping others and a boy involved with some new responsibility that requires his action repeatedly and preferable often.


Filed under Culture & Politics, Dear daughter, sex difference

8 responses to “2193. Anorexics, Suicides, et al. — Part 8: Self-likeability

  1. Miss Gina

    Very interesting series. I do agree that helpful accomplishment is essential to both sexes in the way that suits each best…a reason I am sorry that child labor laws often go overboard and prevent anything other than casual employment by neighbors for kids as old as 15 (in some states). Also, a higher minimum wage tends to exclude inexperienced teens from regular jobs.

    To me, these are two unseen but powerful forces working against American young people. People complain about teens and their electronics, but I think many of them would have been thrilled to have been making a little regular money and finding significance at age 12 in a small job such as a paper route (almost obsolete, I know…why not hire a talented 12-yr-old to write computer code?). By 16, indolence may have become a habit, and the greatest window of opportunity for joy in accomplishment may have passed.

    Another thought…while we should deal compassionately with people who have been down such a path, a very few consider it as an excuse for hidden hatred, anger, manipulation, and/or jealousy. Just a word to the wise to keep an eye out in the midst of kindness. 🙂

    Your Highness Miss Gina,
    You’re right again. A job is full of potential accomplishments. However, too often poor leadership creates more chaos that overpowers the benefits of achievement.

  2. I absolutely agree. My 12 y/o daughter is dying to take on volunteer work with animals and/or younger children but is frustrated—she thinks no one “trusts” her and doesn’t understand that businesses have come to see younger teens more as liability than anything else. She loves helping teachers at her school, wishes she could dog walk or babysit but sadly most adults in the area don’t seem to trust their own 12 y/o’s even 16—18 y/o’s and treat them as babies! I started her young doing small chores and trying to help her be self-sufficient as possible and she sees the difference between herself and the other kids, but adults treat her the same way as those kids that are not independent and she hates being lumped in the same boat. She is turning to computer games and videos as they give an illusion of freedom. (We are going to volunteer together this summer while she’s out of school, but I’d rather she be able to do it on her own.) One time she and a couple friends walked around the neighborhood left out flyers and got about 40 boxes/bags of food. clothing, books and toys and we donated it to the local homeless shelter! Its amazing what good kids can do if we give them a chance.

    Your Highness MeowMeow,
    Books give a greater sense of freedom than computer games and videos.

    • MeowMeow

      So sad to revisit this post but my daughter is now a depressed, suicidal young teenager who sees no value in herself. Every day is a new drama and she has already been hospitalized once. Unfortunatly poor family genetics (Bipolar? Schizophrenia?) are playing a bigger part than morality/family values at this point, which is all i have to fall back on. It is true that parental love is not enough—after a lifetime of being bullied for her autism, my daughter has given up on ever being accepted by her peers and doesn’t see how she can survive in the world. I am re-reading this series although I’m not really sure how much it can help someone whose beliefs are so irrational, yet from their perspective, justified. Although i’ve always given her chores and things to do she wants to feel validated/useful to the world beyond her family. All I can hope at this point is that trying to find a work permit and a place to volunteer will keep her busy and tire her out so that these suicidal thoughts have less time to torment her. Each day is so difficult. I feel like a mother bird whose baby bird’s wings are too broken to fly so it has returned to the nest. Getting through to a girl who doesn’t have an attitude but a bona fide mental illness is a whole different set of problems. I am currently her full time caregiver….she won’t go to school and so I cannot work, and I barely eat or sleep myself. I realize that this is beyond the scope of this blog, but upon re-reading it i have to say anorexics/bipolar/suicidally depressed people are not rational to begin with, so even having laid the groundwork for strength of character/self-importance etc. for previous years is not helping now.

      Your Highness Meow Meow,
      Yours is a very sad story. I’m sorry and will pray for God’s help to brighten your future.

      • Miss Gina

        Dearest Lady MeowMeow,
        I am so sorry. Keep the faith. Many teens today go through dark times, but she may yet come through. I can only imagine what you must be feeling. It was pretty time and putting faith in God that got me through. Some have found help in an absorbing hobby. She is blessed to have you setting an example for her as you go through these times together. Do continue to take care of yourself, as well. It helps. I’ll be praying for God’s wisdom and blessing, as well. ❤

        • Meow Meow

          Thank you so much for your prayers and goodwill Miss Gina. I know that there is more understanding, information and medications than there were in the past for those who suffer so and I’m praying my daughter will hang in there long enough to be able to recieve help. An absorbing hobby got me through my own teenage years and I hope she can find comfort in something healthy. Many victims of mental illness turn to drugs, alcohol and sex to ease their momentary pain but those are all just band-aids really. Finding meaning in and figuring out one’s part in life is what really helps but it takes time.
          I am praying for time, and more understanding from my husband, who is broken hearted, angry, and blames my genetics for this nightmare. I feel like his slave….he wants me at home, not working, and by her side every second of the day, and of course I want to be there for her but sometimes I need an hour or two to myself to decompress as being there 100% for a teenager who has regressed to a 2-year old in terms of impulsivity and mood swings is exhausting.
          I am praying she gets stable soon, right now she can’t handle being in school. I am even looking into the future possibility of having a psychiatric service dog to look after her (as we are older parents.) It feels good to know there are others out there praying for us.

      • Meow Meow

        I can’t thank you enough for your prayers Sir Guy. True mental illness is such an agony to the sufferer and those around them and apparently some do reveal themselves in the teen years. I am trying to understand how best I can help my child. Obviously it is devastating to my husband too. I wish we could pull together as a couple as i know some families do but his strength of character is not so great and he blames my side of the family and me for this illness as well as disagreeing on treatment. (I never hid those things from him before we were married BTW.) Just heart broken that he’s turning on me for something I can’t control and would never wish on anyone. I pray at least for G-d’s understanding.

  3. Dove

    Sir Guy,

    Have you read The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden? Your series and the concepts of that book support each other.

    Good job! 😊

    Would you by any chance write anything about shifting from motherly love to “tough” love with respect to parenting? I think this is a dilemma for women (or mothers for that matter).

    Your Highness Dove,

    Thanks for the tip on the book. Ordered.

    As for the love question, It’s on my list of projects. Coming sometime soon but not scheduled yet. Week or two okay?


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