Hatred and Brain Health


Hatred (Photo credit: dton23)

Have you ever noticed that hating the person who hurt you is never enough?  The damage does not respond.  The edges do not come back together.  Hating them harder, hating them more effectively, with your voice, with your body, committing your talents toward their detriment, recruiting forces, community – this is not enough.  Finally, you grow plans from dragon teeth.  You wish them death and an after-life of repeating hateful deaths.  It is still not enough.  You are left with you.

When the extreme, when the hate that is to say, is not enough something is wrong.  But it’s not what you think.  The thing that is wrong is not that.

We could say you are a sinner.  We could say pray more.  We could say exercise, destress, do yoga, karate, eat less sugar and drink grass juice.  We could and perhaps we do.  But this time, please put that aside.  It is not disqualified.  It’s just not the bit we are going to talk about.  Don’t be mad at me.

The hate is in the brain.  The brain picked this to perseverate on and return to like the tongue over a canker.  Lick.  Ouch.  We don’t ask for these emotions.  We don’t ask for these behaviors.  They come, symptomatically telling us a story about our condition.  Hear the story?

It goes something like this.  We are persons who know enough to know that this is a feeling stronger than deserved. This is a response not entirely rational.  This is a behavior that we would choose not to do otherwise and nor would a friend of ours support.  Our mother would tell us, “No.”  We experience a whole body response that surprises some level of our awareness and that part stands by uncertainly with her fingers picking at her lip.

The story tells about the other times when we endured worse and responded without as much personalizing.  We remember that someone else we knew acted like this and we didn’t think much of it.  We thought they were “off.”  We realize that what we are experiencing might not have as much to do with the crime as we thought.  It might just be that we are not feeling and behaving well.  It might be our brain.

That darn double-crossing organ!  How is anyone supposed to trust themselves?  It’s tough but we have each other and we have our story and we have grass juice.  We have God.  We have medication.  We have ECT (electroconvulsive therapy.)  We have acupuncture, our support groups and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy.)

Considering where emotions and behaviors come from is the bit that gives us a chance to find and be found by help.  Hate is a very strong emotion from the brain and it isn’t so friendly to Me.  If we can’t put it aside, consider the brain.

Self-Care Tip:  When emotions and behaviors come that you don’t want, and won’t go away even when you say, “Please,” consider your brain health.

Question:  What has helped you disentangle the effect from a cause that wasn’t really the cause?  

How do you allow for the biology of brain health when it comes to feelings so personal?  

How is considering the brain a friendly thing to Me?  Please tell us your story.

24 thoughts on “Hatred and Brain Health

  1. Hatred…hmmm. I can relate to this totally! What has finally begun to click in me is seeing the person go on with their life, doing what they want to do, totally not connecting to the hurt they have caused; conversely seeing myself pine away for a relationship that really is what it is, no apologies and no repentance and realizing I have so much more of life to live…there’s more to me than this. I want to live and there is so much out there for me to do with my gifts and talents. Why continue to waste time dwelling here? I took one step away from the hurt, then another step, all in faith. Now, I look back and see I have a whole new life. Stepping in the opposite direction of the pain was key to me, but I’m glad I did..new friends, new faith, new opportunities, new Me. Now that makes me happy.


  2. The hatred that I experience is almost always directed toward myself. I’d love to know how others shine a spotlight on the brain as the true offender rather than me as the source of all evil…and how to hold on to that revelation. I keep forgetting. It’s like a form of blindness, or better a hallucination. How do I convince myself that what seems vividly real to me is false? Thanks.


    • “shine a spotlight on the brain… rather than me as… evil.” this is brilliant.
      i’m sitting here in the space of this huge largely unclaimed truth. We are more than our brain. We have an essence that is more than our memories, emotions and behaviors.
      how to convince, indeed. we r w u as u explore this. keep on.


  3. Sana, Good Morning!! I am having difficulty with submitting my comment on your article about hatred. I have tried twice already. When I type in my usename & email–my info comes up & automatically fills in the boxes. But, when I push the Comment button it rejects it. Can you place my comment on your blog? Sincerely, Katherine Marie.

    My main culprit has been the mistrusting of others. It does stem from the pain received from the wrongdoings of some others. I have learned that with forgiveness; I can move forward and on; in strength and obtaining an inner peace. Hatred is an overpowering element that becomes a mindset, in the life of the carrier. I feel that hate is a profound emotion; that has scarred the carrier’s soul. Its delusive attacks against the health and livelihood of the scarred individual and the recepient(s) of that hatred. The thoughts and heart carried “hatred”; is of itself a disease. A form of a cancer; that spreads and enters into all the vitals of the carrier. Affecting the heart; the mind and the soul…It even goes further into the body’s functioning; affecting their overall health. Diet, sleep, heart rate, attitude & thought processes, etc are all affected. People have died, over the lack of care of their bodies. There are also, strokes, suicide, and accidents. The extreme hatred that develops from many deceptive idealisms over traditions, political and religious beliefs, gender, nationality, etc; are of crimes against our fellowman. As the germicides, child pornography, slave marketing, molestations and other vast war crimes against humanity. Sometimes seeing the elements of adversity; that are attacking; weakening and dividing the living order of things. But…the biggest tool against these devastations are of Love. Love can build up and restore those valleys of despair and pain. Healing will rebuild through trust and empathy. There will be an acquired prosperity of hope and genuine concern between the carrier and the receiver’s communities of living. Love is the key ingredient and prayer is the invisible soldier; that is winning over the battles of hatred. Just think… a new earth filled with only “LOVE”….


  4. Oh, this is classic, Sana, and rings so many bells. Through CBT I began to be able to evaluate the out-of-proportion stuff and begin to see that my own history – the experiences I have had – cause a hot-wiring in my emotions.

    It doesn’t make it much easier, because the person still carries out the same old actions and presses those very hot-buttons which infuriate me, day in, day out. But I can come away and come down a little: unplug that brain which has red smoke coming out of it. Not sure I have won the battle yet, but I’m on the way.


    • “classic sana,” is one comma away from “classic, sana” :). tee hee. thank u kate. u’ve become a writer i luv to lurk around and glean what genius i can.
      i lk the “hot” descriptor and “plug.” red-smoke – familiar! keep on.


  5. Lemme tell you about hate. My ex accused me of molesting my 1 1/2 year old daughter. That took a year. Then I saw her for two hours at 2 1/2 and the authorities came to my school to investigate again She was even trained on an anatomical doll.That was over 25 years ago. I will never forgive or get beyond the hate. However, I no longer obsess about it or plan revenge. My son and daughter know what a monstrous person is their mother and that is satisfaction enough. A dozen years after the event I got custody of both my children as mother declared unfit. Victory again. It was wise that I exercised restraint driven by hate. The ultimate victory was mine.


  6. I’m remembering now that when I cary so much hatred inside that I’m the only one affected by it. The other person goes about living their life and probably has no idea how you’re feeling. So, who’s really winning the hatred battle? I’ve begun to lose my patience with a person over a situation that needs to be worked out before the two kids become caught in the middle. I’d been praying about it and lost patience. so, guess what my last couple devotions have been about…forgiveness and all things happenning in God’s time, not ours….I hear you Lord


  7. It took me 52 years to understand why I was who I was. It took me several years of heavy medication and almost daily therapy sessions to believe why I was who I was. Once I understood and believed, though, because it was pretty much all about my parents, the hatred that I guess I should have felt (and that might have been a good thing to feel?) actually manifested itself as a sorrow so deep that I have yet, almost twenty years later, to get over it. My father had already died. My mother was in her eighties. I knew them as the old people they had become by the time I had my breakdown and not as the young people who had hurt me, and my brain couldn’t put the two together. Actually, I was afraid – seriously afraid! – for a very long time (maybe even now??) that my father, already dead, would somehow hate ME – and even punish me – for acknowledging to myself and to doctors the truth that I had always feared and could never admit. The fact that my mother clung to me the last few months of her life (for the first time in MY life), made it harder for me to hate – and easier for me to be sad.

    But, then, I didn’t know, back then, about taking care of Me. I didn’t know about brain health. Once I began going back through my healing process – my remembering process – the hatred I might have had, or, perhaps, should have had, got turned around to understanding. I saw my young parents in the light of how they grew up and how they were treated by their parents. I found that I needed to accept who I am and who I can be not as a result of childhood abuse but as a result of taking care of Me. I still can’t fully get over the sorrow that it happened and that a huge part of my life (ALL of my life?) has been affected, to one extent or another, by how I was treated – mistreated – probably from the moment I was born, but hate them for it? Is that something I still need to do? Does that mean that I still haven’t worked through it completely? Or does it mean that being blessed by a grandmother who probably didn’t understand but always was there for me and a husband (of 47 years) who is pretty much as close to a saint as I can imagine – and finally learning about brain health and, therefore, how to take care of Me – has allowed me to skip the extra pain that hatred causes? At this point in my life, I think I’ll take sorrow over hatred and be grateful for the life I have left to live and for those who have helped me get this far.


    • Wow wow wow. Thank you for your absolute honesty and truth. Thank you. I could put me in that easily. I don’t have my mother in my life because of so much mental illness it is not safe to do so. Which saddens me and my father is long passed on so I don’t get to address that abuse either.

      What I really heard in your story was actually feeling the sorrow. It was past hatred and into sorrow. I had called mine grief and you called yours sorrow. Sorrow. Yup.

      As a child and being abused we don’t know about Brain Care. We weren’t being taught much more than how to survive each day and look “normal” while doing so. So we don’t give away the secrets and make someone look bad or have to be accountable for their actions. I have stopped hating my parents long ago. It doesn’t mean I don’t still get angry or frustrated from time to time. But Grace has brought me to a place of forgiveness.

      I too chose to look at what their lives must have been like and try to have compassion. Perhaps its easier with time and space to be able to look in. To see the tree and the forest.

      Thank you again for sharing with us.


      • u clamor against not being given “brain care” as a child in survival mode. keep it up for all of us and we will w u. Grace can’t stay away from someone like u. thank u for reminding us about our nearness as well. keep on.


  8. DBT helped me deal with negative emotions (is hate a emotion?). Mindfully observing and describing it. Letting it and all emotions come and go like a herd of butterflies without judgment.

    Beyond that, and this is only appropriate in some cases, but doing something nice for the person I “hate” helps. It’s hard and often it’s not even possible, the opportunity just isn’t there. But it was for me once and it helped me let go of the resentment. I did it anonymously.


  9. I am currently in a situation however where I am exercising my forgiveness muscle all the time. Why do I continue to allow myself to get bent out of shape? Why? Why won’t I allow this person to heal and grow? Its what I say I want. Why do I keep bringing up in my head some old stuff from the past. Its just this one area, all other areas in my life are pretty clear and this one area is cloudy and miserable with a threat of rain. Why does my brain keep me in this place? No matter how much I pray, Lent this year was giving up negative thoughts about this person and seeing a new story. Seeing them as God’s child and what happened to them in their lives that helped create who they are today. However there I am, there I sit with my brain. My heart and soul wants something so different and my brain just keeps harping away.

    I realized that as I type this my cause of frustration is that they are happy the way they are. They don’t see anything wrong or unacceptable in their behavior. They don’t see the words they speak and the damage it does. Its all about them and what they want and to hell with everyone around them. Oh well. The cavalier attitude and ignorance (in my brains opinion) is just like what I grew up with. Ha. There it is. A tiny child tyrant in an adult body behaving badly. People around us see this and do wonder I know its not all my wonderful brain however that really doesn’t help.


    So how do I reconcile my life and who I am to this person who is partner and father and who I do love. Step back and another step back like other readers have done and not be part of their lives? Step back and step back and stay and continue to try to conform them to my will? Step back and have a dual life. The one I live outside my home and the one I kind of live in my home?

    SANA – these questions you ask are great and a pain the ass all at the same time. And to Carl and all the others thank you too for sharing your story.

    The one thing I know for certain is carrying so much hatred is exhausting and I don’t want to be exhausted any more.


  10. Pingback: Hatred and Brain Health « A Friend to Yourself » Doctor Pelaez

  11. Our brain may be the source of our emotions, but it is up to us to tell our brain to stop it. There may be times when someone has wronged us, and we wish for their complete and utter demise, but this is silly and we have to make ourselves forget it and go on with our lives. Likely, the person didn’t do anything worthy of hate anyway. Sometimes I’m angry at someone, and then I think about how it’s not a big deal, and if someone else did it, I might not be mad at them, which is unfair, so I need to just drop it.
    By the way, thanks for all the likes!


    • u bet. your work is evidence of a peculiar and wonderful mind.
      as far as the brain, where emotions come from, and who’s responsible for them – i think many would agree w u. Others though, might wonder why they agree but still find that they “can’t” control those hateful emotions, despite their “choice.” we are uncomfortable w that, naturally but improve our friendliness to ourselves when we go into the discomfort rather than away, rather than enclosing it and closing the hatch. i think the idea of that is not only counterintuitive to many, but boring. the interest reflect the temperament, not morality so much i’d say. but it’s not hard to understand when we think the way we perceive reality is the moral truth. hugs, duck. keep on.


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