February 20, 2024

Hate is a negative feeling that only hurts those who feel it and suffer it;  none of that hate reaches hated people.
Hate is a negative feeling that only hurts those who feel it and suffer it; none of that hate reaches hated people.UNSPLASH

A person can dislike someone, among other reasons, because of the type of behavior they adopt, because of their way of thinking or because of their values ​​in life. This negative attitude, which is generated at a cognitive level, leads to a behavior of distancing or avoiding that person, but it does not usually involve a sudden emotion against him, much less the development of a desire for revenge.

Hate, however, means showing or, at least, feeling a deep animosity against someone, to whom some humiliation or offense is attributed, and wishing him some kind of ill. Hate does not necessarily lead to direct actions of evil, such as aggression or insults, because the person may retain a sense of reality (fear of sanctions or reproaches) or have moral inhibitions that prevent them from transforming a feeling of visceral antipathy into a conduct of destruction of the hated person. More often, rancor manifests itself in the form of slander or, more subtly, in the form of constant malicious slurs.

Humiliation, even more so if it is public, is the main engine of hatred, especially in insecure people. The effect of rancor has become more visible today because some social networks have become a place to spit hate (in the form of racism and xenophobia, homophobia or personal disqualification of political opponents), mock the pain of others, break the intimacy or insult left and right. Not everything is hate on social networks, but the degree of anonymity and the sense of impunity that these networks can provide makes many people, encouraged by the viral nature that hate usually acquires, lose their inhibition against disqualifying, insulting or the threat.

Resentment manifests itself in the form of thoughts of contempt, feelings of intense anger and sustained over time, and behaviors of distancing or confrontation with the offender. There are times when hatred is experienced in a crude and intense way, like a true passion, and other times in a less absorbing way, like a chronic resentment that is perpetuated over time and is even transmitted from generation to generation. Hate, which can become something obsessive, is usually accompanied by a moral disqualification and even a dehumanization of the rejected person and, therefore, nullifies compassion, which is inherent to the human being.

Hate can be individual (such as the one that can be shown to the ex-partner because, in this case, it is easy to transform an intense positive emotion into a negative one if the expectations set in the relationship are frustrated and the other person is blamed for it) , collective (against homosexuals, Muslims or immigrants, to name a few examples) or mutual (some political extremists or some religious fanatics against others of a different sign). Collective or mutual grudges are based on prejudices that can be transmitted generationally and that give cohesion to the group that shares them. People can recognize collective hatred, but not individual ones because these can generate emotional discomfort, such as restlessness or feelings of guilt, and they do not necessarily have social support.

From a health point of view, hate is a negative feeling that only hurts those who feel it and suffer from it; none of that hate reaches hated people. It is something like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. On a physical level, a state of excitement is generated that can cause muscle tension, gastrointestinal discomfort, hypertension and feelings of overload. And, on a psychic level, hatred supposes a painful recognition of impotence or inferiority before the hated person. Living with resentment or with a desire for revenge is bad for your health because it generates more hatred and does not allow the person to move forward without that heavy burden, paralyzing her life project. Because rancor is like a cow stuck in a puddle: the more it kicks, the more it gets stuck.

Hate, which is the experience of the wrong suffered, is a primary response and mobilizes great emotions, but entrenched resentment towards another person absorbs attention, shackles the past, prevents the wound from healing and, ultimately, hinders the joy of living . It is difficult to get involved in positive projects when a person is trapped by hate, breathes from the wound suffered and keeps his attention focused on the past insult.

In some people, resentment can create feelings of guilt, as also occurs in the case of envy, because they cannot avoid wishing the hated person ill and this goes against their moral conscience and the assumed system of values, which can lead to maintaining a grudge in private, without confessing it to anyone. In these cases, hating can become self-contempt.

Frequently, hate never ends and creates a negative emotional arousal in the person who suffers from it, so it is a negative adaptation mechanism. What’s more, there are those who, due to a phenomenon of generalization, manage to transform their hatred of someone specific into a resentment against the entire world.

There are people predisposed to hate, such as the distrustful, the insecure and the lacking in empathy. Sick resentment is linked to a special hypersensitivity to feeling hurt or mistreated, which leads to a distortion of reality. The mechanisms of forgetting could neutralize hate, but in these hypersensitive people the memory of the humiliation experienced or perceived as such prevents forgetting.

Hate is very resistant to extinction, but it sometimes subsides for a while or loses intensity when the person has some personal or professional success or moves physically and emotionally away from the hated person. Preventing hate means enhancing emotional stability, empathy, forgiveness and the ability to admire the achievements of others.

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