Misanthrope- A personality trait or a defense mechanism?

Mitti Ke Rang
3 min readAug 22, 2020


Misanthrope originates from the Greek word mīsánthrōpos. In simple terms, Misanthrope means “A person who hates or distrusts humankind.” This term was deeply studied by Plato, who believed that such people were extremely idealists. Idealists believe that people should be morally good, and if that’s not the case they end up hating the person. However, this is just how Plato saw it, but of course, the term has been widely analyzed and studied throughout the centuries and today, it’s been established that there are so many factors that can derive in misanthropy.

Many believe that it is a personality trait, but according to psychologists, it is a trait we developed as a protective system against germs. It is like an ancient “hard-wired psychological immune system” like survival instincts. Misanthrope has become quite popular over the years, and most people believe that they are Misanthropists and hate everything and everyone when honestly they are just socially uncomfortable. Being a Misanthrope is not a beneficial trait, It may have developed due to depression and other unresolved life trauma. Not all misanthropists are shy and uncomfortable, some can be charismatic and confident and still hate people, simply because they are impatient or just feel like they are losing time with people they consider unworthy. Misanthrope might also be linked to being an introvert, but there is a little arrogance attached to Misanthrope that creates a difference between the two.

Plato believed that idealists must have experienced some trauma during their childhood like bullying or abuse and end up reacting to it, that they cease establishing new relationships. Instead of solving the problem, they end up piling it inside them which eventually leads to a mental breakdown. Another side of the issue is perhaps a more obvious one which is that we’re social beings who need to relate to others and not establishing healthy relationships can end in highly negative mental consequences that in severe cases can even include dementia, a decreased sense of resiliency, or even a poor ability to continue learning.

Man has always been a social animal since the beginning of time, socializing is important for our mental as well as physical health. If you are a Misanthrope push yourself to socialize with people, at least on lower levels. Try and find out why you are distancing yourself from others, and try to resolve the issues from your past and rebuild your future. Although it is a trait that evolves and acts like a protective wall that shields you from abuse and trauma, the very base of the world depends on interacting with people, and shutting yourself behind walls is not going to do much good to you. Pushing yourself back is just going to harm your life progress.

Contributed By- Tehreem Khaku, Content Writer at Mitti Ke Rang

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