As relational beings, we are in relationship to everyone and everything around us. That means we get “organized” in a certain way – in our culture, in our family (of course), in our beliefs and in the roles we play with those around us. We don’t even notice how we are organized really until something changes or is taken away. When the thing that organized you is taken out from under you, you may have a feeling of disorientation or even grief. You will soon reorganize yourself, but for the time being, there is usually some protest – even if the thing that was taken from you was the thing that was killing you.
A child who hates himself will act in such a way as to cause you to hate him as well. This is the only safe way he knows to find out if there is something other than hate in the world. He acts this way in order to check and see if there is love for him even when he is at his worst. One of our only jobs with children is to show them that there is something other than the choir of voices that confirm the way they already feel about themselves.