‘Hate’ As A Disturbed Need For Love


Hate is a disturbed need for love. Don’t kid yourself, hate is a very passionate emotion. You just don’t hate any ole person. No, hate is reserved for people who you want love from, secretly or more obviously.

Too often hate is confused with garden variety anger, an emotion that can readily be directly at strangers. Not hate however. Hate is for people we once cared for or want to care for and they have rejected us.

Hate has a lot more in common with rage, a close cousin. Rage is hate  infused with an intensity that leads to a loss of control of one’s mind and emotions, and potentially one’s physical body.

Both emotions, hate and rage have the implied agenda to transfer old hurt to a particular new person. Now the thing about hate (and rage) that is particularly venomous is the fact that the ‘transfer’ I just mentioned is often based on the illusion that a new addition to one’s life (friend, spouse, etc.) can be held responsible for hurts committed by someone in one’s personal history.

It’s like blaming someone in our lives contemporaneously for crimes committed by historical figures. The passion exists because of the level of vulnerability that existed when the original disappointment and hurt in love was committed. These kinds of emotional transferences can really mess up your love life. Picture it.

You would be angry at, hurt by, and feel hateful toward, the actions of present day people who remind you of someone who hurt you, and are not responsible for the pains you’ve previously suffered in your life. In short, you would be ‘dumping’ old hurts and pains with no where else to go but on people you have in your life right now who semi-consciously ‘remind’ you of times past.

The other thing about hate is its ‘cost.’ You can’t express emotions like hate and rage without paying an emotional toll. For starters, just on a physical plane you’re going to suffer a significant amount of stress, wear and tear, with after-effects from pumping all that emotional voltage into your body. Harboring hate and/or rage over time is stressful and can wear anybody down.

On a psychological-emotional level, these emotions left unregulated re-injure people just by the sheer fact of the way they damage our ability to give and receive love. If you indulge enough hate and rage over time you’ll find these emotions eclipsing your ability to let go and be open and vulnerable in love. Since hate and rage are defensively prohibiting the conscious experience of a ‘hurt need for love,’ the hateful or raging individual doesn’t get a chance to heal the underlying more vulnerable hurt that created all the fuss in the first place.

Someone tweeted me recently with the question: “Is it healthy to hate one’s parents?” The first thing I imagined when I read the tweet was, a little boy angry at the absence of love needed at a very vulnerable time in his life. The options are few at that time in our lives. One option is to suck it up and obey the limited unloving parents, another is to withdraw into depression and loss, a third is to generate a hateful feeling that fuels a separation from the offending parents without resolving the feelings. I guess the last one   would work best with a little follow-up therapy years later.

My answer to the tweeted question about hating one’s parents is an unequivocal no. Let me put it to you this way, it’s healthier to be hurt by them without changing it to hate and then figuring out why you feel that way.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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