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The Misanthropic Psychologist

Carer of the contemptible.

What is the point of helping people who show no signs of improving or worse, don’t want to get/be better?

The people who continue to do the wrong things or act in a manner that is counterproductive to their wellbeing and that of those around them. At what point do you pull the plug and say...

What is misanthropy and what it isn’t?

Misanthropy is a general loathing of people and humanity at large. This may include a broad hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt for any and all things human – our thoughts, behaviours, nature and the species overall. People who are considered misanthropic are usually cynical, sceptical, pessimistic, show disdain for others and can be quite reclusive/live an isolated lifestyle.

The difference between misanthropy and someone deemed a “hater”, is the specificity of the hatred/disliking. “Haters” will lock onto a specific person/group etc where, as I explained above, the misanthrope is far more wide sweeping. This may come as a surprise, but misanthropes are not heartless people, if anything, these people have a tendency to feel very deeply, unlike say narcissists or psychopaths, for example. Another point of separation is that misanthropes will generally withdraw away in solitude, almost in a manner of not wanting to be infected or contaminated by society and this differs from the person who frequently bemoans about their life, work, relationships, having no time or money etc and yet still partakes in numerous social interactions.

While not getting lost in language games, I feel that hate is closer or more associated with anger, fury, rage (active, conscious, specific), whereas I feel misanthropy is closer to the feelings of loathing, disdain and contempt which to me is more passive, unconscious, general.

How related to a psychologist?

I feel the need to explain the title and subtitle as, by definition, they’re contradictory by nature. After all, why would someone with a general loathing for society go into a caring profession? The thing is, when you know what to do and how to do it – and how the mind or body with potentially rail against that – it can become quite disheartening seeing people make the same mistakes over and over again. When you see that people don’t want to do the mental work and then wonder why their lives are still shit, especially when you know they’re capable, they’re just lazy and uncommitted or back out when the going gets tough. You start seeing that shit day in, day out for weeks on end, years on end even, and try and survive and not fall into despair. Worse still, you see people get rewarded or act like their sub-optimal behaviour is some kind of virtue and you go from wanting to save everybody to wondering if it’s possible to save even just yourself.

“If it is not obvious, the misanthropic psychologist is me – as much as it is a joke.”

I wouldn’t say I’m a natural misanthrope and I’ve worked (and continue to work) hard to overcome my struggles with misanthropy almost to the point where you wouldn’t even associate it with me if I hadn’t have told you. I have to catch myself quickly as it’s very easy to relapse – an intense contempt matched with a severe judgement that is more aligned with the Old Testament than the New Testament. I’m not going to lie, it was part of the reason why I chose not to finish postgrad and become a clinical psychologist – I felt the profession, like the NBA, was going soft.

“Causal agents – Is the problem actually me? Either way, I’m responsible for it.”

No doubt in my mind that my childhood bullying led to a general distrust of practically everyone. When I tried to open up to people about it they would distance themselves from me or run away, further reinforcing this distrust. I have a strong dislike and contempt for people who will claim to care for others, but not really do anything or be there – which is rife in modern society. So many people talk to the talk, but don’t walk the walk, and with my massive distrust of people I will question their sincerity and integrity. I feel at odds with the vast majority of people despite understanding them well. My introverted nature and associated personality traits lends me to withdraw and seek solitude which combined with my level of intelligence is both a gift and curse.

“Would I have written these hundred-odd help pieces if I truly loathed humanity?”

The Misanthropic Psychologist is a dark side of my psyche except now when he shows up I serve that motherfucker a slice of humble pie with side serve of gratitude. However, he keeps waiting and lurking, whispering occasionally, “these people just need to be told how pathetic they are”, before I send him back to the dark recesses of my mind. Another me might indulge him, however I don’t feel like being Alceste in Moliere’s play The Misanthrope; confined to a life of railing against mankind. No, I still believe people are more than they think they are, however, I must continue to fight to maintain this belief against the mounting evidence to the contrary.

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I think there is a bit of misanthropy in all of us, it is to what degree we take it too that matters! Thankfully you keep writing each week to help not only yourself but others, navigate through life and try and offer a better understanding of one's self. People can learn so much from understanding themselves more and will be able to live a far more calmer, positive and productive life if they can achieve this...........if not, then I will always be a part time Misanthropist!

Love mum 💖

Martyn Foster
Martyn Foster
Mar 24, 2023
Replying to

Sometimes we're the culmination of beautiful meal, other times we're the glass measuring jar being hurled across the room. Life needs a lot of continual preparation and build up for us to reach the crescendo of the movement and take in what the peak of the mountain pass has to offer before keeping on with the trail. Self-knowledge, self-respect, self-love and self-mastery are what get us through the pain and suffering of life. Love you too, mum xo ❤️

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