Misanthropy and depression (3 possible links?)

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From the article below we will learn how misanthropy and depression are related;how to identify misanthropy as a character trait. 

What is misanthropy?

Misanthropy is the general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species, human behavior or human nature. The word’s origin is from the Greek words μῖσος (mīsos, “hatred”) and ἄνθρωπος (ānthropos, “man, human”).

Identifying Misanthropy

Misanthropy is not a disorder nor a clinical condition. It is a negative perception about humans and the society. The way they see humans is different from you and me. For example, for someone who contempts humanity as a race, the news filled with devastating instances of cruelty of humans is an empirical evidence that all people are selfish, and dangerous. 

This negative outlook they have on humans makes them isolate themselves from the crowd. They may not be able to make friends easily. They usually have a small circle of friends and parents as their associations. This can lead to problematic consequences where they may not trust people, become friends or maintain relationships. Having negative perceptions about the human race is something like not being able to accept your “own” self. This breeds within them further negative thoughts and feelings which finally makes them isolated and disintegrated. 

It’s important to point out that, while misanthropes might prefer to avoid others, it is common for them to have functional relationships with some people. For instance, a person could hate almost everyone in the world, but still have a normal relationship with a parent or a small number of friends.

There are people who want the human race to become extinct, the anti-natalists.

There are two noteworthy deep rooted emotions misanthropes suffer from. One is, “mistrust” and the other “fear”. People who have contempt for humanity, usually have difficulty trusting people because their perception about humans is negative, for example, “the world is full of nothing but murderers, terrorists, rapists”. However, in misanthropic people, these symptoms are commonly motivated by fear. They are afraid what if the person they are getting associated with is a rapist? Therefore they are trapped in a cycle of cynicism. 

Here are some common symptoms of a misanthrope:

  • Your performance at school or work suffers because you do not want to work with people 
  • Your relationships with friends, family, or your significant other suffer 
  • You have thoughts of suicide or harming other people 

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder which characterizes feelings of excessive “blue”. According to the DSM 5 at least 5 of the following symptoms have to have been present during the same 2-week period (and at least 1 of the symptoms must be diminished interest/pleasure or depressed mood) :

  • Depressed mood: For children and adolescents, this can also be an irritable mood
  • Diminished interest or loss of pleasure in almost all activities (anhedonia)
  • Significant weight change or appetite disturbance: For children, this can be failure to achieve expected weight gain
  • Sleep disturbance (insomnia or hypersomnia)
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate; indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or specific plan for committing suicide

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Misanthropes are people who view humans as a cruel and negative race. Misanthropy is not considered a mental disorder, although it may be a trait present in people with borderline personality disorder or depression. Mistrust and fear about people makes the person stressed and anxious. It is difficult for them to make friends and stay connected to people. They isolate themselves from the world because of their constant suspicion of the negative perceptions about the human race. Social isolation and loneliness makes them depressed and hopeless. So the relationship between misanthrope and depression is a two-way one. Misanthropy is a symptom of depression at times; Misanthropy can also lead to depression due to social isolation and hopelessness. 

Why is someone a misanthrope?

Making unjustified assumptions and judgements

We become a misanthrope based on our experiences, perceptions and beliefs. Based on these experiences and beliefs, we presume about others when we meet them. We make any normal individual fall in a set of attributes because we believe humans are supposed to be cruel and hateful. 

In an article by Jeff the Writer, he writes, “the first reason I dislike people is that I assumed what other people were like. I made assumptions about others before I even met or interacted with them. I assumed they were bad because they acted a certain way or had values other than my own.”

Having a certain expectation

The problem with misanthropes is, they don’t question why other people are different from them. They expect others to conform to what they think which drives them to a closed and bounded set of behavioral expectations that they should see in people. This ruins their acceptance to new and broader ideas. They don’t question why a person behaves a certain way, rather starts to dislike it if their values don’t coincide with his/her.

A symptom of depression and anxiety

When a person is depressed, they always impart a negative outlook to any situation and experience. It is very difficult for them to concentrate on the positive interactions they have with people over the negatives. Anxiety is also a common symptom while being depressed. Anxiety makes a person assume the worst about people and society. With anxiety comes fear and mistrust which make it worse. 

Dislike towards own self

The purest form of love is experienced in your own self. When a person cannot love his own self, it becomes difficult for them to love others. This is also known as projection of hatred on others. The traits we hate about us are projected on others. We dislike the human race because of our own insecurities. 

How to Come get over depression caused due to misanthropic beliefs : 

If you feel your negative perspective on people makes you hopeless, isolated and depressed, you can follow these simple techniques in order to shift your perspective towards a positive one. 

Make fun don’t hate :

Human race is the most cruel and violent of all species on this planet. Our brain has given us the opportunity to flourish ourselves as the most intelligent race. We have survived and developed ourselves through civilizations and generations. Even after such advancement in cognition, we have made considerable mistakes, such as destroying mother nature, committing crimes, enhancing pride and greed for more money and being selfish. If you found yourself hating mankind, he said, it was best to turn that frown upside down. Instead of hating man for their mistakes, it was better to laugh at them. Find humor in the slip-ups of man. 

If you focus only on the negative traits of anything, you will start to only see that thing in a negative light. So better to consider these as a foolishness committed by intelligent brains and laugh away with it. 

Let go the negativities

You should focus on the arts and achievements of humans rather than their faults.  Arthur Schopenhauer believed that you could shift your focus to music or other enjoyable activities to take your mind off of your misanthropic thoughts. Letting go is a very important ability we all should build within us. If we let go of our negativities, we will be able to obtain a better perspective about the human race. 

To hold on to bad experiences is the most deadly habit one person can ever have. Life is so short. If you spend half your life just holding onto things, you can never enjoy it. With every step you will get stuck at some point in your past and never come back. Life will become a place filled with negativity and darkness. 

With clarity and all the above qualities you will start letting go of the old ideas and beliefs which are no more working. You will broaden your mind towards new ideas, people, opportunities, talents and experiences. As you empty your cup, so to speak, you fill it back up with stuff that you actually want, instead of accepting what was unconsciously passed onto you. Life hands you a fresh cup of reality.

Practise self-love

The purest form of love is experienced in your own self. If you are not able to feel any love for others, you should start loving your own self. Don’t worry, it is not very difficult. Self-love can be practised in any way among all these listed below:

  • Follow a skin care routine : you can frame your routine with simple things like applying moisturizer on a daily basis after washing your face in the morning as part as the morning routine. Scrubbing your body once a week. Going to the salon for a clean-up, manicure, pedicure or haircut. Take care of your nails. You will get a glowing skin after a week, I assure. 
  • Have healthy food: To make yourself healthy and glowing, you should check upon your eating habits too. Control sugar intake, junk and oil, hog upon fruits, veggies and set a cheat day once a week. A proper well thought diet plan will help you feel healthy, energetic and fall in love with your skin.
  • Remind yourself how good you are: take out some time everyday to list those things you love about yourself. For example, “I like the way I talk to people, I am a good listener, I have good communication skills, I am beautiful no matter whatever the world thinks.”- I am sure you will love this session.  
  • Go for a movie: keep the weekends solely for yourself. Dress up good, book a ticket and go out for a movie date with yourself. You can also take yourself out for dinner dates, coffee dates, stationary shopping or a short trip away from your locality.

Self-love is an intrinsically motivated emotion. If depression is making you experience no feelings of love towards anyone, try out anything that you like doing the most all by yourself. The above self-love activities I prefer the most. You can try out anything that is closer to your heart. If playing games or painting trees makes you happy do that, or you can even try out finding interest in new activities. For example, I discovered I am really good at doodling in the recent past when I was bored in the midst of the pandemic. Likewise you should cultivate love in yourself through activities and habits (new or already existing) if you think you don’t feel “love” for anyone.

Forgive 

If you believe you are a part of such a cruel species, it will be difficult for you to lead a normal life. After all, you should not make your life terrible because of other’s mistakes. So forgiving is a practise that you can consider. If you start to learn the art of forgiving, you will be able to adjust with the complicacies your mind offers you with. 

Conclusion

From the article above we learnt what is misanthropy and depression; how misanthrope is can be identified as a character trait and how to deal with depression associated with misanthropy.

What we recommend for Depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

FAQs:Misanthropy and depression

What is a misanthrope person?

: a person who hates or distrusts humankind.

How do you spot a misanthrope?

You tend to be more sensible than the people who surround you. …
You hate a deep-seated hatred for Drama. …
You Prefer to spend time by yourself. …
You Never really use Social Media. …
You cannot Stand Children. …
You have a bad case of Road Rage. …
You are always a little bit too blunt when speaking with others.

What is it called when you hate everything?

Misanthropy is the general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species

References:

https://jeffthewriter.com/misanthropy/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misanthropy

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