How Do You Know If You Hate Someone
There’s an old saying that “Hate is stronger than love.” I don’t think there’s any proof either way as to whether it’s true or false, but one thing is for sure — hate is ugly. It hurts people. Hatred is the ultimate form of selfishness. We can all agree that we have loved others in our lives. But how many of those people do you really love? How much hatred does your heart hold toward another human being? The answer isn’t easy, but it’s important to be honest with yourself.
If you’re like most people, you probably have hated more than just a few people during your life. Maybe you’ve never had anyone you’d consider to be close friends. Perhaps you’ve been jealous of some of the relationships you see around you. Or maybe you’ve felt envious of someone else’s success, wealth or looks. And if this sounds familiar, you might even have despised someone who was physically abusive to you. Some would call these feelings “hatred,” while others would call them something different.
But why do so many of us feel this way about certain individuals? What causes some people to make enemies out of their fellow humans? Is it possible to hate someone without knowing them personally? Can you hate someone after only meeting them once?
These questions are difficult to answer, especially when emotions run high, but there are some basic guidelines that may help you determine whether you actually hate someone. First, understand that hating someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you dislike them. There are plenty of cases where we hate someone yet still want them to succeed. For example, you might have a friend who happens to be a jerk. Yet you admire her intelligence and work ethic. You also realize that she treats everyone around her poorly. So you try to talk to her about her behavior, but she acts offended and refuses to listen. Even though you loathe her personality, you respect her capabilities and want to help her improve. You don’t wish harm upon her; you simply want to encourage her growth.
On the flip side, you could be standing next to someone you despise. You hate his smelly body odor and obnoxious laugh. He makes you feel embarrassed every time he walks into a room. You know that he’ll say anything to get attention from women. You wonder if he has AIDS or other diseases. You might even consider him mentally unstable. But despite all of these things, you know deep inside that you wouldn’t mind having sex with him. You’d rather sleep with a rabid skunk than spend one night with him, but you don’t despise him. You simply don’t find him attractive enough to want to date.
So now that you know the difference between genuine hatred and simple disgust, let’s take a look at some common forms of hatred. On the following pages, we’ll examine how hatred manifests itself and what types of behaviors lead up to it.
Hatred vs. Dislike
The first step is to decide whether you truly hate someone or whether you merely dislike them. In order to do this, ask yourself if you’d ever hurt or kill someone for no reason. Consider someone you know who seemed nice at first glance, but later turned out to be extremely rude and nasty. Would you ever treat that person badly? Chances are, you probably would — and this is exactly what hatred feels like. When you hate someone, you often feel resentment towards them. If you were to express your feelings to that person, chances are they wouldn’t believe you. They’d likely respond by saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t hate you.” This is because hatred is usually accompanied by a lot of self-loathing. People who are truly hateful rarely view themselves positively.
Next, we’ll discuss contempt.
Contempt involves both hatred and disdain. It means feeling superior to someone because of their perceived shortcomings. As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to know someone personally to feel this type of hatred. You could meet someone at a party, read about them online, watch TV shows starring them or follow them on Twitter. Many people experience contempt when watching sports games or entertainment programs featuring celebrities.
If you’ve met someone face-to-face, you might notice that they walk too slowly, chew gum loudly or wear ill-fitting clothes. Their speech patterns may irritate you. You may also find that they use annoying expressions or clichés. These traits seem silly until you realize how irritating they are. Then you start thinking, “Why should I tolerate such behavior?” While you may not actively seek revenge against that person, you certainly begin to resent them.
Some people confuse contempt with jealousy. Jealousy occurs when someone envies another person’s good fortune (we’ll explore this topic on the next page). However, jealousy typically relates to the quality of the object desired, not the person himself or herself. Contempt is based solely on the person’s actions and character.
Despite its name, jealousy is a complex emotion. Most of us feel it at times. It’s natural to be jealous of your children, spouse and/or significant other. After all, it’s hard not to compare ourselves to our family members when they have qualities that we lack. We may even fantasize that our partner would change for us. But if you feel jealous over someone who has nothing to do with your relationship, then you may suffer from a case of generalized envy. Generalized envy is a kind of emotional disorder characterized by excessive jealousy. People suffering from generalized envy obsessively worry about situations that are unlikely to occur. They fear losing money, status or power. They may become depressed over imagined slights or insults. Because of the constant negative thoughts, they may isolate themselves from society.
In contrast, specific jealousy refers to feelings directed specifically toward someone. If you feel jealous of someone, you may consider hurting them in an attempt to destroy their confidence and happiness. You may also stalk that person or harass them via email, text message or telephone calls. Specific jealousy is similar to stalking and harassment.
While general jealousy involves obsessive thought processes, stalking is illegal behavior. Stalking primarily refers to repeated, unwanted communication with someone. Generally, stalking takes place over a period of weeks or months. Communication may include harassing phone calls, letters, emails and social media messages. Stalkers may send threatening notes and gifts to their targets. Sometimes stalker behavior escalates to physical violence.
Psychological or Emotional Terrorism
Psychological terrorism is a term coined by Dr. Robert Hare Ph.D., author of “Snakes in Suits” and founder of the Foundation for Research on Violence & Aggression. Psychological terror is the act of using extreme psychological manipulation to cause mental anguish. This includes repeated threats and abuse, lying, isolation and humiliation. Psychological terrorists will sometimes engage in blackmail and extortion. One method of psychological terror is to threaten to release information about a victim unless a ransom is paid. Another involves making private information public through blogs, forums and websites. This allows the perpetrator to control the victim and humiliate the individual behind closed doors.
Sexual harassment (also known as sexual bullying) is a serious problem in today’s workplace environment. Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that alters the conditions of employment. Examples include requests for dates, pressure to provide personal services, lewd language or gestures, graphic descriptions of sexual activities and persistent advances.
Victims of sexual harassment often report severe stress, anxiety and depression. The perpetrators generally refuse responsibility for their actions and blame the victims instead. Victims risk retaliation and may lose their jobs, receive lower performance reviews or pay cuts, and endure long periods of unemployment. In addition, sexual harassment violates state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender.
Violence is defined as the intentional infliction of injury or harm. Violence can take many forms including verbal, written and physical attacks. Physical violence ranges from minor shoving to murder. Verbal violence includes yelling, screaming, insulting, teasing, swearing, humiliating and sarcasm. A common definition of violent crime is committing any criminal offense that results in death, bodily injury or property damage.
It’s impossible to list every type of hatred under the sun here. Suffice it to say, however, that hatred is a destructive force that has led to countless deaths throughout history. Understanding hatred helps us better cope with it. By recognizing and understanding the various forms of hatred, we can avoid falling prey to it ourselves.
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