Think Well

Act well, feel well, be well

Beware of Self-Fascism

Free yourself from self-denigration

Fascist governments are autocratic, dictatorial and often use force and brutality. Severe punishments and cruel condemnations, even for minor infractions, are typical fascistic reactions. When witnessing people being treated in a fascistically harsh manner, most of us feel shocked, repelled, angry, and disgusted.

But it is not only governments who are guilty of such inhumane treatment. Have you ever been at a social gathering where one person verbally attacked another? “You stupid fool!” “You selfish pig!” “You ungrateful jerk!” Indeed, put-downs like these can be considered fascistic. They are denigrating, abusive, extremely unpleasant to witness, and the attacker loses respect within moments.

Fortunately, most people would say: “I’d never speak to anybody like that. I know better than to assault someone’s dignity and self-esteem.” Yet, many people who would never dream of talking to anybody else in such a vicious and fascistic manner often do so to themselves!

They say things like: “I’m such an idiot! I’m a real jerk! I’m a stupid moron!” And although they would never address someone else like that, they think it is perfectly fine to treat themselves that way. Well, it isn’t fine at all.

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It makes no difference if someone sees you putting yourself down or if they observe you putting someone else down. To them you are another person, and whether such unkindness emanates from someone else or comes from yourself, they are still witnessing another person being subjected to abuse.

Thus, fascism is equally despicable whether you treat others like a dictator or direct tyrannical invectives at yourself.

The upshot is simple. If you have a tendency to fascistically criticize or denigrate yourself, it's well past time for a personal, psychological rebellion! It pays huge psychological dividends to talk to, and about, yourself with the same respect that you normally pay to others.

Remember: Think well, act well, feel well, be well!

Copyright by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D.

Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D., is Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute.

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