I was taught as a child that hating someone was wrong. When I’d say I hated a boy in grade school that relentlessly teased me, my mom would tsk and then correct me gently.
You dislike that boy. You shouldn’t hate anyone. Hate is a strong word.
I took that lesson with me all through high school and into my life as a young adult. It is a strong word, it’s true. It’s perfectly alright to hate liver or yellow mustard (gross) but to say that you hate another human being is the ultimate naughty thing to feel and say.
My daughter needed to see a therapist at age 11. Along with obvious signs of OCD and anxiety, inherited by yours truly, she was having nightmares that her father was going to come and kidnap her. She’d decided that she no longer wanted to visit with him every other weekend. He blamed me. He retaliated by calling children’s services, claiming that I was abusive. I’ve never been a perfect parent but he had made up so many lies about me that the entire ordeal would’ve been hysterical had it not been so sad and terrifying.
After the social worker visited and found no abuse, my daughter’s nightmares began. I found her a therapist as quickly as I could. Most evenings, he’d ask to speak to me privately once they were done.
He asked me a few questions about her father. I gave him all of the details.
I was angry at him, not just for what he’d done to his own child but also for the harm that he’d caused me.
I hate him. Well, hate is a strong word. I highly dislike him.
The therapist (his name was Jeffery if I recall) looked me dead in the eye.
There’s absolutely nothing fucking wrong with hating someone who deserves it.
What the actual hell?
I was shocked that he’d used the word fuck to get his point across. Mostly though, I was surprised that he gave me the permission to hate someone that had abused me. It was quite the epiphany.
It’s been almost 20 years since I took the kid and ran away from him. I don’t feel hatred for him anymore. It’s more of an indifference now. He’s out of our lives and thank God for huge favors. I suppose time does that, it dulls the emotions to a point where you rarely think of the person anymore. I do feel unhappy that my daughter has a piece of shit for a father but that’s about it.
As grateful as I am that I managed to escape my ex-husband and his subtle, corrosive abuse, I still feel hatred towards him. It just doesn’t cut it when I say that I highly dislike him (although that’s true as well.)
I believe my mom meant well when she told me that as a kid. On paper, it looks nicer. I’m a kind person. At my core, I don’t enjoy such strong, negative feelings. Yet I feel the need to be authentic. When I dig deep, I can’t help but to carry a volcanic heat of pure hatred directly towards him.
Honestly, wherever he is, I hope that he’s able to sense it although I’m doubtful that he’d care.
All of our emotions are valid. I’m not ready to become indifferent to his existence yet. This isn’t to say that I won’t wake up one day and suddenly decide that I can downgrade him to the highly disliked status. For my own peace of mind, I pray that this happens someday.
For the time being, I still need to sift through the white hot ashes of my intense loathing and all that he’s done. It gives me the motivation to carry onward.
From my own past experience, it’s a requirement.