For The Atlantic, Olga Khazan interviews psychologist Kristen Neff about the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion. “The best way to think about the problem of self-esteem is not whether or not you have it, but what you do to get it. That’s where the issues really come in.”
I’ve found Neff’s work to be very helpful.
When I was attacked by psych professionals, and then deciphered their writings in conjunction with researching medicine, so I could understand them. And later as I was trying to mentally accept the total betrayal of me by pastors and doctors, I did seem to utilize self compassion. I even remember during one of my withdrawals, regularly putting my hand on my heart. Although, I did think of it more as an exercise in maintaining my self esteem or self worth, and expressing my broken heartedness, rather than per se an exercise in self compassion.
Although, learning that a million plus children were made sick the same way I was, was the hardest part for me, that made me angry. Learning that the psychiatric industry has historically always been in the business of attacking, defaming, torturing, and murdering child abuse victims, collectively, also made me disrespect the professions of psychiatry and psychology. I believe compassion is important, but so is ethics and taking responciblity for one’s errors. Especially when those making deplorable errors had garnered trust initially by promising to “first and foremost do no harm,” and have malpractice insurance to pay for their mistakes. I do hope the psychiatric industry gets out of the business of covering up child abuse soon.