Recently, a number of critical social theorists have argued that the analysis of social relations of unfreedom should take into account the phenomenon of self-subordination. In my article, I draw on Hegel’s theory of recognition to elucidate this phenomenon and show that recognition can be not only a means of self-realization, but also of subjugation. I develop my argument in three steps: As a first step, I reconstruct the idea of social pathologies in the tradition of Critical Theory. In the course of this reconstruction, it becomes clear that the analysis of social pathologies should focus on the binding force of recognition. As a second step, I reinterpret Hegel and show that a close reading of the relationship of lordship and bondage can help us to understand how a subject can become bound by recognition. As a third step, I make an attempt at reactualizing Hegel’s idea. Following Sartre’s analysis of anti-Semitism, I outline three stages of how subjects can gradually come to subordinate themselves and become entrapped in social relations of unfreedom such as race, class or gender.