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I am trying to describe low self esteem from guilt and shame in an essay and wrote the following:

I am accountable due to a vice of character or deed which absolves me of respect from others and myself

Problem is we are usually "absolved" of bad things so it doesn't ring right. We can "lose" good things, but I am looking for a way to describe "ridding oneself of a good he deserves". I've tried annuled, expunge, purge but they all don't feel right.

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    We are always absolved of guilt or a disagreeable obligation, by definition. Jul 26 at 8:09
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    I'm not sure that "accountable" makes sense in this context - accountable for what, or to whom?
    – Anentropic
    Jul 27 at 16:05

5 Answers 5

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Strip

I am accountable due to a vice of character or deed which strips me of respect from others and myself.

M-W has one definition of it which says:

to divest of honours, privileges, or functions

Deprive could be another option. It means:

to take (something) away from (someone or something) : to not allow (someone or something) to have or keep (something)

  • They're depriving him of a chance to succeed. (M-W)

Here are plenty of synonyms.

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cost

to cause to pay, suffer, or lose something (Merriam-Webster)

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    I think this is the best answer in the OP's context. "I am accountable due to a vice of character or deed which cost me the respect of others and myself." It conveys both the loss and the responsibility, supported also by a familiar financial metaphor. Jul 26 at 19:29
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(SOED) estrange 2 Destroy or divert the affection, trust, loyalty, etc., of (a person); destroy or divert (such a feeling); cause to turn away in feelings or affection (from).
• BURKE You are going to estrange his majestys confidence from me.

  • … due to a vice of character or deed which estranges from me the respect from others and myself.

Note: "accountable" is not the proper term; it makes for nonsense.

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  • Is estrangement directional? I might have phrased it as "estranges me from the respect of others" rather than "estranges from me the respect of others", since it is the others that are casting the speaking out of their respect, rather than the speaker casting out the respect of others, although I suppose it could work either way. Jul 26 at 17:43
  • @NuclearHoagie It seems that this "reversed" construction (estrange smb from smth) is rare insofar as smth should be a feeling, an attitude, but it is possible. A research produces about 6 cases that definitely fit this pattern out of some 240 for which "smth" is something rather substantial: person, place, community, organization, God,… (1/2)
    – LPH
    Jul 26 at 19:13
  • @NuclearHoagie cases: for ever estranged him from his allegiance to Francis — profligate conduct of the heir of England had estranged him from his father's councils and affections — soon estranged him from the heart suspicions .. — Lowell's sophisticated inspiration estranged him from the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings in Romantic poetry — one cause that estranged him from that love — the solemn soon estranged him from the kind regards // According to the definition it is abnormal as there is no destruction of the person.(2/2)
    – LPH
    Jul 26 at 19:13
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Depending on the context, you may want to purposefully misuse the word "absolve" for poetic effect.

Low self-esteem, guilt and shame make us have backwards responses to positive things.

To be absolved of something usually comes with a sense of relief of an unwarranted burden. Exactly the way you have written it is chilling to me because of how backwards it is to have a sense of relief when you lose the respect of others.

This reflects how those personality traits work against people.

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Revoke may be a good option, since it is based on a concept that is both given and taken away by an external person based on worthiness.

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  • Does anyone speak of being revoked of respect? Jul 27 at 16:52

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