Redesign Your Mind: What To Do When You Hate Someone

The most popular blog post I’ve published was one called “‘I Hate My Mother.’” A half million people, searching for that phrase, read it. And what percentage of the whole did that half million represent? How many millions of people hate one of their parents, or one of their siblings, or someone else in their orbit? In polite conversation, including internal polite […]

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The most popular blog post I’ve published was one called “‘I Hate My Mother.’” A half million people, searching for that phrase, read it. And what percentage of the whole did that half million represent? How many millions of people hate one of their parents, or one of their siblings, or someone else in their orbit?

In polite conversation, including internal polite conversation, we’re reluctant to admit that we hateanyone, especially relatives. But the fact of the matter is that hating is not an uncommon feeling. And what else would expect if, for instance, you grew up with a cruel, bullying, punishing parent who made your life hell? Wouldn’t we expect deep and abiding hatred to result? 

You may hate someone or you may even hate whole groups of people. When I was growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950’s, the Holocaust survivors in my neighborhood hated the Germans. In my second-generation Armenian in-laws’ family, a hatred for the Turks, perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, remains potent and alive. Hatred is a common human emotion. 

You may have your reasons for wanting your hatred to continue to burn bright and you may have no intention of relenting. But let’s say that you find your hatred burdensome and even disabling and would like to shed it. What might you try?

Well, you don’t want to lie. You don’t want to say, “That Holocaust never happened.” You don’t want to whitewash away the truth. Nor do you want to settle on a different sort of lie, one that millions of people rely on because of the way that language is constructed. That lie sounds like “Everything is for the best” or “Everything is part of God’s plan.” The Holocaust was not for the best; there is no planning God; and if there is a planning God who planned the Holocaust, he should be executed.

Let’s skip those lies. But without them, what can defuse our hatred? Maybe the following. Maybe you can create a corner of your mindroom that is a bit of resort living, maybe a cabana by the beach, and whenever you feel that your hatred is harming you, visit your cabana and take a vacation from hatred. This vacation from hatred wouldn’t exonerate your cruel father or genocidal fascists. It wouldn’t let them off the hook. It would simply provide a respite from hatred. And maybe you could use a cold drink, a dip in the ocean, and a respite from hatred? 

It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to hate. That is your business. Your burning hatred may keep you safe, strong, and protected and fuel your activist life. Or it may debilitate you. Or, quite possibly, it may do both. That is for you to know. And if you find it debilitating andyou want to release it, or release some portion of it, this is a tactic to try: visit your mindroom, make your way to your vacation cabana, and take a respite from hatred. 

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