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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, May 3

How to stop hating

I accidentally hit upon a solution to this puzzle. I've been trying to get over this feeling for quite some time but was really stuck with it. It seemed like an unhealthy fixation, and I don't think it is limited to a particular person. It's occasionally come up with other people.

It seemed to me that at the root of the problem is that at a certain level, I admire(d) the particular person I "hate" and yet they have done something to hurt me or attack me. I think my feelings are different when someone attacks me and I have no regard for them or think their words had no significance or truth. If I actually have some regard for a person, it cuts much deeper.

What's had me stuck was the feeling that the (verbal) assault from this person wasn't entirely without basis - that I somewhat deserved it - and that even if it wasn't the most productive way to handle things with me, it was "understandable."

In fact, it was quite understandable given the situation. I was in the wrong. And yet, I was literally stuck that way - not really having the energy or know-how to do any better. Worse, I had the feeling that I might NEVER be able to do any better.

The "good" part about being yelled at was feeling that the person not only thought I could do what I wanted to accomplish... the person thought it was something I had readily in my grasp. In a strange way, it WAS motivating and encouraging. However, it didn't really solve the problem - and the problem was more than a lack of motivation - it was a lack of knowledge and resources and confidence AND a general lack of motivation. In fact, I'm not sure I know even now. I've found ways to work around the problem. I've found ways to improve things, but I still don't know how to solve it entirely.

Being attacked seemed like it might motivate me to make a change. I certainly tried to see it that way. Still, it seemed that there might have been some better, more helpful way to go about this.

I've thought through all this before and stopped. I stopped because I thought it was useless to figure out what "should" have been done because, well, it's too late for that. And here's where the breakthrough came in:

It occurred to me that maybe there WAS something the person could do that would change things for me. But what if they weren't willing? Well, then, I realized, I could do it for myself.

I've done thought experiments like this before. There's an interesting website out there somewhere that even goes into great detail about how people usually have more than one "subself" and can actually carry on "conversations" between different subselves. I don't know whether I'd agree with the theory, but I think it's a useful and interesting exercise to attempt anyhow. Another experiment I've done, at the suggestion of a friend, was to think about a painful/difficult memory from when I was a child and imagine I could talk to that child ... as an adult with the knowledge and compassion I have now. It was an amazingly comforting and helpful thing.

I thought about what I would want the person to do to "make up" for what they did. I thought about "I'm sorry" and it did nothing for me, so I tried thinking about what I'd want to have happened instead...

I realized that I'd want them to give me a big hug and say "you can do it", "don't give up", and "keep trying, you'll find a way". I think I'd have done just about anything for some real human contact right then. There were some other very negative interactions with this person around the same time and thinking through what I needed, what I wanted from 'someone' has been very moving... and healing. I never thought I'd turn out to be one of those wimpy whiny people who talks about healing, but it doesn't feel so wimpy...

As silly, or obvious, or trite as all this may sound, it has made a big difference to me.

I think really part of the problem is I'd like to have a good relationship with this person and sense that we "could" have a really great friendship. I know it's in there somewhere, but instead I feel rejected - unaccepted. That doesn't mean I don't feel worthy. I know I am and I don't think making mistakes - even attacks - necessarily means someone isn't worthy. It just means they don't quite know how yet.

One last thing, I have one reader who tends to think that when I write something negative, it's about her, but it's not. I don't hate her and never have. She just seems like she needs lots of hugs and some real friends.

It's not likely that the people this is about will ever read it.


Leo said...

When you mean "a reader" you mean me?

Becky said...


Leo said...

Yay, I'm not paranoid. :D

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I'm not sure I found the answer to how to stop hating. I do know you are very correct about wanting human interactions, wanting to be loved and have someone care for you. ....but feeling like this is out of reach.

R said...

hi there, just wondered what happened, did you get what you wanted in the end?

Becky said...

Thank you for asking. Writing this turned out to be therapeutic...

If you're referring to "acceptance" (by myself and at least some others), yes, I did.

Funny thing. I frequently dismissed 'acceptance' by other people as meaningless because they didn't really "know" me. What I felt they 'accepted' was their idealized image of me - the parts I let them see and not all of me. It took some special people (and a lot of changes in how I thought) to even be able to feel accepted/acceptable to anyone.

With regard to the particular person, no. My feeling is that acceptance/respect is not something that person is able to offer at this time, so I haven't asked for it. My understanding, in retrospect, that the person "gave" as much as was possible to hir. It was probably a mistake on my part to even be in that situation with hir.

I feel a bit disappointed that it wasn't handled better, when I think about it, but it's not something that I feel "stuck" on anymore.

I'm also not sure I could offer the same - acceptance. In fact, I think that may be a big part of why I was stuck. Accepting others (and expressing that acceptance) hasn't exactly been my strong point either, but maybe that should be another post.

~LoSt~ said...

Thnks for th advice.
I hate someone for hating me before...

Anonymous said...

I am happy that you've found a way toward your own happiness. Whether the journey is complete, or still in progress, you're trying.

I'm proud of you.

sydney said...

Hi Becky, I think the reason you feel hate for the person you have some affection for when they hurt you is because you invested in that person only to have them take you from behind when you least expected it. There was an element of trust that you most probably felt they broke causing a wound. The hurt turned to anger (which is a part of the grieving process) then to rage and hate then possibly to guilt for feeling this way and back to the original feeling of hurt. When you don't nurture that part of you that was hurt or validiate it and allow yourself to grieve sufficiently then the whole scenario get's lost and eventually tucked away and then you are just left with the supposed negative secondary emotions called hate rage etc which are supposed to be indicators that you need to address something but we tend to just learn to live with those feelings until something happens in our path which reminds us for a short time and then they go down to the bottom of the pool of our heart once again like dross that settles in a pool. The way out is to not look at the anger rage hate, but try to look the original injury that is laying underneath. For this you may need a professional or if you are intuitive or have good friends who will walk it through with you then you may be able to locate the source of the pain. Usually it goes way back long before a current person ever hurt you.
Hope this helps