I Hate My Partner
Forget about love being gone. You’re way past that. You hate your partner and you want out. You hate your partner because he/she:
• stifles your identity; you feel crushed; you no longer know who you are
• is cheating
• says things that really cut, often insisting he/she didn’t mean to hurt you
• neglects you; you feel invisible
• controls everything until you have no energy left to stand up for yourself
I am here to tell you three things: First, your feelings are normal. Second, underneath your hate is love. Third, you have the power to transform the relationship.
FIRST, YOUR FEELINGS ARE NORMAL
From an evolutionary perspective, we must survive. In order to survive, we must protect our Self. In order to do that, we must reject whatever is toxic to that Self. That means that if we perceive that we are being mistreated, that’s a good first step. It identifies the toxic substance.
From a spiritual perspective, it’s even clearer: Your soul has been injured and as the Talmudic statement goes, “Words from the heart enter the heart.” This is true for kind words and mean ones. They are potent healers and they can be incredibly corrosive. Corrosiveness kindles hate just as healing kindles love. This is how our most basic emotions function.
SECOND, UNDERNEATH YOUR HATE IS LOVE
As other people have said on this site – correctly – love is composed of many things. Hate is also composed of many things. One of those components of hate is not “the absence of love.” A feeling cannot be the absence of something with the exception of numbness or depression. Clearly, hate is not equivalent to these. What these have in common is a “lack of” whether it’s a lack of energy to do something about your situation (depression) or a lack of feeling (numbness).
Hate, unlike depression and numbness comes with a lot of energy; it’s full of anger, a willingness to rip someone to pieces if only the law allowed it. How can this mask love?
Hate for a spouse grows from a soil of disappointment. The disappointment is for expectations not met. The greater your love, lust, excitement, and anticipation on your wedding day, the greater the disappointment when your expectations are not met.
That measure of disappointment is multiplied even further if you believe your expectations were realistic, normal, or in keeping with promises made when instead the behavior you got was way out of line.
Shall we call what you received abuse? The above list fits that description. You don’t have to call it that if that tag feels uncomfortable. It makes very little difference what you call it.
You were crushed by disappointment from someone who seemed to promise otherwise. Now, you hold in your heart two opposite feelings: the initial expectations, filled with love and excitement – and the disappointment. Combining them is the fact that you see no reason for that disappointment; you feel that you are owed whatever it was that was not delivered. It is this belief, the conviction that you were gipped, that fuels the hate.
Were it not for the conviction that you were supposed to be treated differently, that all signposts in your relationship pointed to a vastly different outcome, you would not feel this hatred. If it were clear your partner was a cruel person, you would not have given him your love in the first place. Underneath your present hate is the disappointment in love.
This is the reason why many divorce cases languish for years in court. They cannot settle because the “love account” – the unmet expectations from the marriage – remains empty. This is true even for people who marry again and know their second spouse loves them. This is a terrible place to be!
THIRD, 5 STEPS TO TRANSFORM THE RELATIONSHIP
It’s a far happier place to be when you can get those unmet expectations in your marriage met. The hate evaporates rapidly; that is the nature of emotions.
If you recognize that you are being mistreated, you have taken the first step to transform your relationship.
If you understand that the hate you feel comes from the justified disappointment you have over expecting love in return for your love and not getting it, you have taken the second step.
However, there is another truth here: Your partner doesn’t treat you right because he or she was not treated right; it’s not because he wants to be mean, even if he says so.
Why do I say this? When people don’t feel their needs are being met, they react. If they have good coping skills and know how to be assertive, they react constructively. If they don’t, they react destructively. Your partner hurts you because he doesn’t know how to get his needs met. He needs the education he never got growing up.
The third step, then, is to recognize that what you really hate is the way you’ve been treated. As soon as you start to feel angry at him or her, remind yourself that your partner doesn’t know better. He’s reacting badly because he wasn’t taught better. That is true even if his or her parents are the nicest people; they needed more than a good example to get the message through.
The fourth step is to speak up. You’ve got to be assertive which means firm, clear, brief, and civil. Assertive does not mean slinging it back no matter how tempting that is. In doing this, it’s important not to throw the kitchen sink at your partner. Select the most pressing requirement first.
Number five transforms both of you together: Look for improvements. Don’t be afraid that positive feedback for small changes will cause your partner to rest on his laurels. Having behaved toxically for so long, your partner probably hates himself. He needs to form a better view of himself as much as you need to form a better view of him.
Three things result when you start looking for the good: You’ll get more of it; you’ll see it more, and you’ll feel a whole lot better. As your needs get met, the hate evaporates. There’s room for love.
About the Author:
Dr. Deb Hirschhorn has over 35 years clinical experience. She is a licensed mental health counselor and has a Ph.D in Marriage & Family Therapy. Her private practice is both face-to-face in Woodmere, NY and in cyberspace via videoconferencing. The Healing is Mutual: Marriage Empowerment Tools to Rebuild Trust and Respect—Together holds the secrets of healing and of falling in love again—even if your marriage is on the brink of divorce. Look for this self help book for couples on DrDeb.com September 12 when it is released.