The Opposite of Hate Is…? And the Opposite of Love…?

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* Remember that two anthologies are seeking submissions:

1. Jade Miller is working on an anthology about the difficulty of finding a therapist who can work with DID or other forms of dissociation. Write her at thetraumasurvivorstale@gmail.com.

2. I am seeking submissions of accounts of forced abortion, sacrifice, or forced adoption of babies in a cult setting. Contact me through the comments section, rahome@ra-info.org, or RA Projects, PO Box 14276, 4304 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114.

I was thinking about how I had lost touch with some people I had known years and years ago. I do not long to see them nor does the separation hurt. I think fondly of them, hoping they are doing well, or have had good lives, or are indeed “in a better place.” Even those I had been very, very angry at no longer rile me up. (Well, except one, and, even then, only a little bit.)

Whether I had loved them or hated them, they no longer have a hold over me.

~~~~~~~~~~

Then today I came across the phrase, “The opposite of love is indifference.” I have heard that before and always took it to mean that the opposite of love is not hate, which is usually what first comes to mind. I agree that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference doesn’t seem right to me.

So I plunged into the depths of uncertainty, brooding on what the opposite of hate is and what the opposite of love it.

When I hated my perpetrators with every inch of my being, I could not imagine ever not hating them, ever not trembling with rage every time I saw them or even thought about them. I believed that the opposite of hate was love and that these two emotions were fixed entities. They could never change, never blend into each other, never merge or become anything else. They were just there, polar opposites, eternal.

Then I got away and, for some unknown reason, they did not chase me and catch me and drag me to rituals. I was left pretty much alone. The years passed and time eroded my hate. I got angry at them when they acted like jerks, and I was ashamed at many of the things they said and did. But the scorching heat of hate was no longer there. I merely disliked them intensely.

And then I remembered and everything changed. I suddenly understood that they had not abused me so horribly because they hated me but because they had been abused as children and had not been able to escape. They were merely passing on the abuse, raising their children as they had been raised. There was no longer any mystery: Catholics raise their children to be Catholic, why wouldn’t Satanists raise their children to be Satanists?

Sadness and compassion replaced hate in my heart. They once had been terrified little children living in confusion, in physical pain from torture and emotional pain from rejection, being treated as objects, and disdain for their deepest selves. My heart opened to those children and the adults they had grown up to be.

Now I think that the opposite of hate is compassion.

I can’t yet imagine the opposite of love. Everybody I have ever loved, I still love, although less intensely with the passage of the years. The relationship is attenuated by the lack of contact. I feel fondness, and I wish them well. I would be delighted to see them again, although I might feel shy because so much time has passed and we both have grown and changed. Surely the opposite of love can’t be love?

I cannot imagine feeling indifferent to any of those people. My kind aunt? My smart, funny husband? The first boy who kissed me and who took me on a date to the Metropolitan and then to the swings in the playground behind the museum? I can’t imagine feeling ”meh” to any of them. I feel warm when I think of them and very happy if they visit me in a dream.

When I remembered, nothing changed in my feelings for the people I cared for. I did not see them in a new light, the way I did my perpetrators. If they had mistreated me, it was in a “normal” way. My aunt did not insist upon adopting me. My husband said some mean things in the height of anger. (And so did I, I might add.) My first boyfriend broke up with me. It was all understandable, just as it had been at the time.

Perhaps love has no opposite. Perhaps compassion is a form of love, another word for love. Perhaps if we knew enough about the most despicable person in the world, we might think fondly of the tiny child they once were and feel deep compassion for them.

And, oh, while we are at it, we might also feel deep compassion for ourselves.

~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

April
4/1 April Fool´s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/14 Palm Sunday
4/19 Full moon
4/19 Good Friday
4/20 Holy Saturday
4/21 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May
5/1 Beltane
5/12 Mothers’ Day
5/18 Full moon
5/27 Memorial Day

June
6/9 – 6/10 Pentecost
6/16 Father’s Day
6/17 Full moon
6/20 Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 St. John’s Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
4/19 – 4/27 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
4/20 Hitler´s actual birthday
4/21 Hitler’s alternative birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and his actual birthday and half-birthday on Easter of the current year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
5/1 – 5/2 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)
5/7 – 5/8 Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day, Day of Remembrance)
5/8 – 5/9 Yom HaAtzma´ut (Israeli Independence Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2)
5/18 Armed Forces Day (?)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

2 thoughts on “The Opposite of Hate Is…? And the Opposite of Love…?

  1. Jean…I admire you for what you wrote. I wish I were at the stage you are about compassion for our perpetrators. My mother was one of my main perpetrators as was an uncle and my father and then many more from the cult including the programmers.
    I have tried to imagine them as children and have compassion for them but I just can’t seem to get past seeing them as adults and how mean, unloving, and cruel they were.
    Some of my younger parts recall good moments with my mother and father and as I am integrated I now share these memories. But I must say I feel no compassion or fondness. Perhaps some day I will but it is a long way off.
    I have always thought the opposite of love is hate so it is very thought provoking to look at it in some of the terms you mentioned. However I believe there are many stages between love and hate. I don’t love some people I have encountered but I also do not hate them. There is much indifference or maybe some fondness .. Or maybe it is more of a “tolerance” of some people. You certainly have got me thinking about the topic and I thank you for that!

    Like

    1. I think a couple of things helped me get to the place I described.

      My mother was very passive: a friend of mine once described her as “an obediant pudding.” She was not sadistic in every-day life: she was mainly just out to lunch. In cult life, her personality ws the same. She did what my father told her to do with little understanding or curiosity.

      My father was different. His problems seeped out into every-day life. He sexualized me and was manipulative, possesive at at times quite cruel. But he was also depressed and did not understanda why. He tried for years to figure it out and went to see a psychologist, which was rare in thsoe days. I give him credit for that. Also, he did not want children. This was one of the few times my mother got her way. I also give him credit for trying to avoid harming his own children!

      I can’t say I feel any fondness for them, though.

      I like what you said about there being many things between love and hate, including tolerance. I’ll be thinking about that, too.

      Like

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