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I can’t wait to hate you

22/06/2010

Back on May 12, I wrote about how hating your ex-significant other could be a positive, identity reaffirming exercise if done properly (“Hate is a strong word…“). Little did I realize then that just over a month later I would be in the position to consider my own advice, but as I was going through my blog today I stumbled on the post and I’m glad to say that I still consider it to be valid.

What I’ve learned about “hating” your ex is that in the normal scheme of things (barring the abusive and psychotic varieties), it’s not about fitting your former love into some horrible archetype – that is, hating them at all – rather, it’s a personal transition that centers on appreciating the lessons you’ve learned and embracing your individuality. It’s about clarity.

That being said, there are only three people in this world I truly hate, and none of them are my ex.

Merriam-Webster defines hate as “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury” or “extreme dislike or antipathy”. The dictionary itself makes no moral judgement about the wisdom or emotional health risks associated with hatred, but I believe that the emotion itself is in fact perfectly healthy. It isn’t always socially acceptable, and some use their hatred to do horrible things, but that isn’t me. I coexist peacefully with my hatred, acknowledging its presence like a casual acquaintance and continuing on my way. Occasionally, I indulge in wicked little fantasies about the objects of my hatred conveniently disappearing from my life.

If I cared enough to do anything about them, though, I wouldn’t hate them – I would be angry with them. Aristotle makes this distinction: “Anger can be cured by time; hatred cannot… Much may happen to make the angry man pity those who offend him, but the hater under no circumstances wishes to pity a man whom he has once hated: for the one would have the offenders suffer for what they have done; the other would have them cease to exist.” Oh, you wise old philosopher.

As healthy as hate can sometimes be, however, I don’t actively recruit new objects. I believe mostly in live and let live, and it takes a very low class of person to be considered for my little freak show. It’s more likely that I will be angry with some, but anger melts into forgiveness or else dissolves into apathy. Why not gift those chosen few with apathy, you may ask – what makes their offenses so reprehensible that you would wish them out of your world forever?

Betrayal. Duplicity. Hurting me or the ones I love. Possessing a character so toxic that you are irredeemable. And if I stopped to second-guess about any in my little hated harem, I would need only to remember that I am not the only one.

Say what you will about “love thy neighbor”, but I’m going to keep my little dose of hate. It makes for a good balance.

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