We all have someone in our personal life who we hate. There’s often a good reason for it, especially if you’ve been molested. But we often loathe someone before we’ve considered all the complexities of the relationship.
I’ve been there. But as I get older, the chip on my shoulder gets smaller and I’m better at seeing the other side. In that spirit, let’s consider the following:
A lot of us hate one or both of our parents because we felt neglected or we were physically and verbally abused as kids.
People think I hate my mother because we haven’t spoken much in 5 years, but the truth is that under all the bitterness and resentment I still love her. In hindsight, two of her three kids were very sick as children and one didn’t survive. Her marriage to my father ended badly. She was also from a line of women who had the chronic urge to lash out. Inevitably, some of that’s going to rub off.
In hindsight, I think she did the best she could with the tools she had. The problem now is just learning to get along and setting boundaries that will be respected.
People who remember me from my days at The Eagle-Tribune probably think I hate some of the bosses I had while there, especially between late 2000 and early 2002. I did for a long while, but no longer. Looking back, one or two people struggled with their own health problems and were equally prone to depression.
When you spend every waking hour in fear that you’re not going to measure up and that someone somewhere is out to get you, you will have a hard time being a nice person. When we feel embattled, we have trouble seeing that the person at the focus of our anger is dealing with his or her own pain. Pain makes you do bad things — sometimes to yourself, sometimes to others.
On the flip side, some have questioned my devotion to the Catholic faith. A lot of people hate priests who sexually abused children and I can’t blame them. Molesting a kid is one of the best reasons to hate someone that I can think of. You’re especially going to be inclined to feel that way if you were abused or if, like me, you have children. It’s also easy to hate when you run into churchgoers who hammer you with all their self-righteous views while hypocritically ostracizing people who don’t fit the prim and proper mold. But in our moment of anger, we forget that priests are human with all the same weaknesses we have.
Those who act on their darker impulses deserve to be removed from the picture. It becomes a matter of safety and justice. But when you consider how close a lot of us come to stepping over the edge, it’s hard to keep hating. Besides, a person’s faith shouldn’t be about the damaged humans you have to deal with at church. It should be about you’re direct relationship with the Man upstairs.
If we want to hate and flip off the guy who cuts us off on the highway, it’s worth considering that the guy probably had as shitty a day — or worse — than you’ve had. We’re all capable of being dicks after a rough day.
If we want to hate the weather forecasters because it’s pelting rain and snow when we’re craving warm sunshine, we should remember that at that moment, we’re just being stupid. Especially if we live in New England, where the weather patterns often defy even the most seasoned meteorologists. Besides, its supposed to be hot in summer and cold in winter.