It’s easy to overanalyze because we can’t always tell what everyone else is thinking.
Social anxiety and other mental illnesses can sometimes make us read the room wrong, feel like our close friends are angry with us, or even make us have self-hatred because of our raging thoughts.
These thoughts can be so powerful that they can give us anxiety about the smallest interactions, making it hard to be present with our friends and family.
In these moments, our worries can sometimes outweigh any explanations for the people around us acting differently. Sometimes we can figure out these feelings independently, but sometimes we need outside help from others or a professional.
If you feel that everyone around you hates you, you are not alone. It is a common experience. Read below to understand this form of social anxiety and what you can do to address it.
What causes us to feel like everyone hates us?
So, why do I feel like everyone hates me?
Thinking everyone hates you is a sign of struggling mental health.
A person who negatively views their relationships and how everyone perceives them may have social anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, bipolar disorder, or another condition–such as PPD (Paranoid Personality Disorder).
It’s difficult for us to redirect thoughts when, often, the easier and simpler answer is to assume the worst.
After a while, they are all our brain can latch onto when searching for an answer as to why a social interaction may not have gone exactly as we expected it to go.
How do you know if someone dislikes you?
A good way to differentiate between when you think a person hates you and when they actually do is how they treat you.
If you don’t contact this person for a while, do they reach out to you first? Do they treat you unfairly or unnecessarily mean? Do they make plans to see you and then bail?
You can also tell from a person’s body language if they genuinely don’t like you. If they are avoiding eye contact, have their body turned away from you, or generally aren’t listening to what you are saying, there’s a chance they are not interested in building a relationship with you.
It’s important to realize here that if someone dislikes us, there is little that is our fault. We also shouldn’t spend a lot of time and energy worrying about changing their minds.
However, it’s easy to fall into the habit of beating yourself up when these situations happen. We may come up with a plethora of (untrue) reasons that a person didn’t like us. Another name for this phenomenon is cognitive distortion.
What is cognitive distortion?
A cognitive distortion is our brain’s ability to convince ourselves of things that aren’t true. It may cause us to see reality from a distorted or inaccurate viewpoint.
Everyone experiences cognitive distortion at some point, particularly when we are feeling down. It is a way of the body adapting to stressful situations. But when it occurs too often, it can become a mental disorder that needs addressing.
Here are a few common cognitive distortions:
- Filtering (draining all of the positives out of a situation and only seeing the negative)
- Catastrophizing (creating the worst possible conclusion of every situation)
- Personalization (feeling like you are the cause of every bad situation or event that happens)
- Overgeneralization (turning every loss into a major defeat, using the words “never” “always” to describe situations, etc.)
- Polarization (every situation is black and white with no middle ground)
- Emotional Reasoning (using how you feel as the only justifier of a situation)
So how do we reverse these thoughts that affect our mental health and make us believe people hate us? Try the tips mentioned below to break up these patterns of negative feelings.
How to cope when you feel like everyone hates you
Though most feelings of hatred that we might pick up from others pass quickly, that is not always the case.
When those thoughts stick around, they can be hard to shake or reverse. In turn, they can do lasting damage to our image of ourselves.
One of the first steps to coping when dealing with intrusive thoughts is to be aware that they are happening.
Once we realize our thoughts that everyone hates us are just that–thoughts–rather than concrete events or evidence, we can calm down the anxiety we feel using a few redirection methods.
1. Consider self-loathing as the source
It can be easy to convince ourselves that the cause of others disliking us occurs when we have things about our personality that we also dislike.
Maybe we think we are too awkward and aren’t deserving of good treatment from our friends.
Maybe we think the hate we feel from others is justified because we aren’t cool enough or funny enough.
These negative feelings we harbor about ourselves are self-destructive and can cause us to think others view us in that same light as well.
Before we can accept that other people love and appreciate us, we must love and appreciate ourselves.
To work on your opinion of yourself, try practicing appreciation for all of the wonderful things you are capable of or are good at. These reinforcements can help reverse some of the hate we feel.
2. Consider your body’s needs
If self-loathing is not the source of your feelings, try giving your body something else it might need that could be responsible for keeping your mood down. Our mental state can affect our physical state, and vice versa.
For example, say you feel like you are getting left out by the members of your group. You’re anxious and worried you’re doing something wrong. This anxiety causes you not to eat because of your jumpy stomach, so you go the whole event without eating and have a massive headache afterwards.
It’s essential to treat our body kindly when we are otherwise feeling bad. Try eating a meal or drinking some water to combat some of the related worries.
3. Stop trying to figure out what others are thinking
Although we would all like to have the ability to do so, humans cannot read minds.
It can be easy to assume that we know precisely what another person could be thinking about because of their actions. But most of the time, it’s better to accept that we don’t know unless they tell us.
For example, if you ask a friend to dinner or to go shopping with you and they decline and don’t give a reason, don’t let yourself automatically assume you did something wrong.
Maybe they have other plans, they don’t have the money to go out or are just tired. It can help to consider all of the evidence you have and not just how you feel. There are usually logical reasons for their actions, not because they harbor any ill feelings toward you.
4. Address your concerns
It can seem scary to voice your concerns to the people you think hate you, but sometimes a little reassurance can go a long way.
Other’s actions can convince us that they hate us, and those thoughts can outweigh all logic we might have otherwise. In turn, this can cause us to isolate ourselves and ruin a good relationship we have with another person.
Try talking to your friends about how you feel. Not only will this free you of some of the burdens your anxiety places on you, but it will also help others to understand.
Talking can build support and open their eyes to ways they can interact with you in the future that will put you more at ease.
5. Think objectively
Thinking solely based on emotion is often what causes us to assume others hate or dislike us.
Try taking emotion out of a situation that is bothering you. This will allow you to think more objectively and simplify why a friend reacted the way they did.
For example, if you send a text that goes unanswered, you might be quick to think it involves ill feelings from that person or that you are annoying them.
However, thinking objectively could lead you to remember that they said they would be traveling, and that is why they weren’t able to answer your message in a timely fashion.
6. Don’t take everything personally
Another cause of feeling like everyone hates us can stem from jumping to quick conclusions.
We tend to take it personally when we are disliked or are given suggestions from others.
For example, say you are in a situation where you meet a person for the first time at a party. You think you are doing an excellent job of entertaining them with your conversation, but they quickly excuse themself to go and talk to another person nearby.
From their quick dismissal, your social anxiety could make you assume you said something wrong. However, their decision to leave is entirely outside of your control.
It’s important to remember a lot of times we are not to blame when we are being mistreated, which leads to the next helpful tip when dealing with intrusive thoughts.
7. Understand it’s them, not you
If you are being treated unkindly, it’s important to remember that often it’s not your fault.
If a person acts in a way that is meant to hurt us, it is more often a reflection of their character rather than something we have done to receive that treatment.
Try to remove these people from your life, as they are not worth abandoning the state of your mental health for. It’s important to keep around people that support you and make you feel loved and valued.
8. Use a distraction
Often, a distraction also known as a coping mechanism can help us when it comes to social anxiety.
If you feel ostracized from the group at a public event, try talking to another person.
If you feel sad because you weren’t included in the pictures from last night’s party, avoid social media until your timeline is clear.
If you’re feeling anxious after an encounter with someone, take a drive, listen to your favorite music, or go for a walk as a way to cope.
The critical thing to remember is to use healthy distractions rather than unhealthy coping mechanisms. Redirection is only helpful if we don’t indulge in activities that could possibly make our social experiences worse i.e., drinking, smoking, or drug abuse.
9. Seek professional help
Sometimes the source of our belief that everyone hates us is deeper than a passing moment. If you feel that your sense of hatred from others lingers longer than usual, consultation from a professional can be helpful.
They can help with cognitive-behavioral techniques. You are more likely to solve your problems and find long-term mental stability with the help of a professional.
The Bottom Line
Social interaction is complicated for everyone. If you have enough awkward or unsatisfactory encounters with a group, it can lead you to assume everyone hates you. But that isn’t always the case.
If you feel this way, know that you are not alone, and there are ways to help redirect these thoughts. Try out a redirection method for your thoughts or talk it out with the person or a professional. Seeking help from a counselor can get you on the right track to work through your feelings so that you can have lasting, positive mental health.