Before You Read This Article
This is not the type of article in which I will tell you, “Fuck your family!! They are a bunch of crazy fucking people!!!”
And, equally, this is not the type of article where I will tell you to “just forgive them” and be their slave and pet.
I understand that, as Tolstoy pointed out, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Your hatred towards your family can be different than the person next to you.
Therefore, don’t expect to find one solution for all the family problems.
I understand that you might be resentful.
I understand that you might be puzzled.
And I also understand the fact that family relationships are governed by cultural, and even religious, factors.
Last but not least, I understand that some families can suffer from emotional blackmail, controlling behaviors, and all sort of behaviors that leave their sons and daughters trapped and crippled.
I will keep all that in my heart before my mind as I write this article.
And I invite you to read this article with an open heart before an open mind and be ready to read what you haven’t hoped to read as well as what you have hoped to read.
Ready? Let’s start.
Why Do I Hate My Family?
Here are a couple of obvious reasons:
- Resentment: it happens when you don’t get your needs met and you don’t speak up for yourself. You don’t speak up for yourself mostly because you can’t.
- Anger: this one is obvious. You get angry for whatever reason. And if you suppress this anger, you will get more resentful.
- Fear: you fear that you would upset your family members if you did something. And if this something was important for you, you would feel more resentful and maybe get angrier. Or, in the most extreme cases, you fear that you would get hurt by them, which breeds more anger and more resentment.
- Toxicity: a toxic environment is a place where people don’t feel safe and they don’t get their needs met. It’s a place where emotional damage is perpetuated. Emotional damage, in turn, creates more wounds and deepen the old ones.
- Holding them responsible: you believe that it’s them who have screwed you up and it’s their fault and More of this below.
It is obvious that you can hate your family for reasonable reasons. They have hurt you. The environment was toxic!
If you are not quite sure what that means, here is a quiz from the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, rejecting, or self-involved Parents that is written by Lindsay C. Gibson, a PsyD, clinical psychologist who specializes in individual psychotherapy with adult children of emotionally immature parents:
(Note: You can get this book for FREE, as an audio version, from here.)
Even if you hate other family members for their toxicity, the parents have the major role. And dealing with that is often the key to handling any other family member and setting boundaries if necessary.
Now, people usually decide to recover from this insanity.
They ask themselves the question, “How can I recover?” and they get a few answers.
One answer that seduces many people is: hurt them. It’s often an unconscious answer, for admitting that you actually want to hurt your own family is shameful.
So, here is the next question some people may ask:
How Can I Hurt My Family?
While you might be thinking that you are getting your revenge, you are actually just adding fuel to the fire. You are making the relationship and the environment more dysfunctional. And eventually, dysfunctional relationships and environments lead to resentment and anger and fear and then hatred.
So, what is the result? More conflict, more resentment, more toxicity, and thus more hatred.
Sometimes this “hurt” manifests itself in a very subtle way.
You want to prove that you are right and that your family is wrong. That you are smart and your family is stupid. Again, regardless of the fact that you actually might be smarter than your family, this will only screw things up more.
A better series of questions can begin by asking:
Is It Useful to Hate My Family?
Let’s examine that.
We need to examine two concepts:
- The concept of hatred itself.
- The fact that you probably hate your family because they have hurt you (or they are hurting you).
Let’s start with the latter.
“My family have hurt me. They are the reason I am fucked up emotionally and psychologically right now. And they don’t intend to stop.”
Some families are too dysfunctional. Some are mildly dysfunctional. And some are less dysfunctional than the rest. But there are no perfect families and we all get hurt somehow.
So, the hurt is real. The damage is done. And when you look back, it wasn’t all your fault.
Our families sometimes perpetuate our insecurities by treating us as if we are not enough.
Insecurities and unhappiness, sooner or later, will go out of control (we will know why below). It starts with questions like, “why am I so fucked up?” And to find the answer, they go and examine how they got hurt. And it’s just a matter of time before they reach the conclusion that their families have fucked them up and that they hate them for it.
But wait! There is a missing piece here. Why the thinking process has to be this way?
Simply put, because of the second concept, which is hatred.
What Is Hatred?
Hatred is toxic because it is the accumulation and exaggeration of toxic feelings and beliefs. It’s an ugly mash-up of the ugly feelings and ideas inside one’s self.
Resentment and anger, as we have mentioned above, can lead to hatred. Jealousy can lead to it. Disappointment and frustration can lead to it, too.
And if you are still wondering, it’s not healthy at all to walk around with all this toxicity inside.
I like the quote which says, “Hatred is drinking poison wishing that your enemy would die!” because hatred hurts you more than it hurts the people you hate.
And by the way, hatred is the extreme.
It’s totally normal to not like someone or something or to get upset by them. Hatred is when all of this goes out of control to the point where you get sick thinking about that person and be preoccupied with this hatred to the point of expressing it by a Google search!
Hatred is Fueled by Blame
A few paragraphs ago, I mentioned that hatred is the result of some toxic emotions, beliefs, and ideas.
Those little, ugly emotions and beliefs get together in one place and become one big ugly thing called hatred.
But those tiny, ugly emotions can’t glue together without a special type of glue. And because they are toxic and shitty, they need a super toxic and shitty glue.
Do you know what that glue is?
First and foremost, let’s define blame:
Blame is the act of refusing to accept responsibility and holding someone/something else responsible for whatever has gone wrong. It’s the act of refusing to be held accountable because you don’t believe you are responsible in the first place (or you don’t want to accept the responsibility1This definition is my own. I didn’t grab it from a dictionary or a psychology manual or something.).
But why is Blame Toxic?
Because we use it to escape being held accountable for our issues2And blaming is usually associated with weakness because you give whoever you blame the power..
We take all these toxic emotions we have toward our family, all the wounds we have, and all the issues we suffer from, and put them together. And in order for them to stand still, we need the glue, which is blame.
We need to put the blame on whoever created those problems for us in the first place: our families3By the way, it doesn’t have to be your fault to be responsible for fixing it. See here. Someone breaking into your house is not necessarily your fault, but it’s still your responsibility to keep your house safe and to defend yourself against this intruder..
So, we blame them. Hatred is developed4If we don’t use blame and deny our responsibility, the hatred would be towards ourselves. That’s another discussion which can be started here. And about how to not develop any type of hatred, that’s also another discussion which can be started here..
Not pleasant to read, I know.
What About Forgiving My Family?
People talk a lot about forgiving your family and letting go of the past. But what many people don’t quite understand is that forgiving can never happen unless you are stronger than the abuser.
A boxing champion can forgive someone who pushed him, but a helpless weak teenager can’t forgive a person who pushes him around. The champion can kick the guy’s ass; however, the teenager can only get his ass kicked.
Forgiveness, therefore, is for those who are already strong enough and are no longer affected by the harassment because they can respond better to it.
Not surprisingly, the boxing champion might be the same helpless teenager. He just accepted his responsibility for protecting himself instead of blaming his father for never teaching him to stand up for himself5And when he learns to protect himself, there is no harsh feelings toward his father. No hatred. Just acceptance and compassion, which will lead to forgiveness instead of hatred and resentment. It’s a win-win.. And he worked to become stronger.
If It’s Not Helpful, Don’t Do It
This article is here to break down the idea that hatred is not helpful.
Hatred means that you are stuck in the blaming mode and that you denying your responsibility.
That’s not pleasant for many people to admit. And a lot of people may probably discard this article.
But if you are one of those who got touched by this article and decided that this might be true, I invite you to stop doing what is unhelpful. Stop this hatred6Hatred doesn’t have to turn into love and affection. In fact, once you start accepting responsibility and start working on your character, the hatred will probably turn into compassion, even if your family is toxic7I don’t deny that some families are toxic and that you really need to get away from them. But this is not about them. It’s about you. It’s about becoming a better person and not getting eaten up by this hatred8Sometimes, you do have to get away from your family. But if you got away and you are still the same person with the same hatred, this hatred would haunt you wherever you go. You are doing this for yourself., because, if you think about it, it will really hurt no one but you.
Start by looking at your problems and deciding that you are responsible for solving them. They don’t make you a bad person and there is no shame about having them. And start working on yourself. Do whatever it takes (reading, seeing a therapist, working on your true dreams, exploring yourself…etc.)
One day, you will look back and be able to truly forgive your family because you are in a better place now.
I don’t downplay the pain you might have suffered because of your family. And I don’t think it’s easy to be raised in a chaotic environment. However, I wholeheartedly believe that you can be in a place of strength when you accept the responsibility and stop blaming your family and start working on yourself.
If Eminem can go from a place where he used to cal his mum, “selfish bitch!” to a place where he is able to tell her the next, so can you.
“But now I know it’s not your fault, and I’m not making jokes. That song I no longer play at shows and I cling every time it’s on the radio . . . But ma, I forgive you, so does Nathan9His brother., yo, all you did, all you said, you did your best to raise us both . . . But I love you, Debbie Mathers, oh, what a tangled web we have, ’cause one thing I never asked was where the fuck my deadbeat dad was, fuck it, I guess he had trouble keeping up with every address”
Obviously, he still has some issues with his father. But there is something beautiful about being able to say these beautiful things about his mum, especially for someone who has been an Eminem fan for a long time.
This article is not a substitute for needed-therapy or for hard conversations.
If you have troubled relationships with a family member, you are advised to see a therapist or have an honest heart-to-heart conversation with that person. And, in fact, that is actually one way you demonstrate that you are responsible for your emotional well-being and that you are willing to improve yourself and unpack the emotional packages which weigh you down.
Is that difficult to do?
If so, then you probably need some soul-searching.
But misguided soul-searching can lead to dark places. If you don’t have a map, you may end up more lost than you have started.
I recommend that you reflect on your relationship with your family while getting professional help. This article is just the start. However, If therapy is not an option, for whatever reason, then this doesn’t mean you cannot get any professional help.
Professional help can be found through reading. Books, that are written by real experts in that field, can be very effective. I personally read a lot of books in many other areas I was struggling with because therapy or mentoring weren’t options. And it was fruitful.