Learning What Hate Means

I thought I understood what hate was. I’d used the word – probably numerous times, to describe a someone I disliked, who angered me or perhaps a person I just found particularly disagreeable. “God, I hate that guy,” I can remember saying more than once. I had no idea what I was saying. I had no idea what hatred really entailed, until Tina. Since I’d glibly engaged in hyperbole tossing around the word hate without grasping the depth and torment of the emotion, I felt a sufficiently horrible word had not yet been devised to describe the sad, angry and ever-present black loathing I was feeling.

Hating Tina became a second full time occupation. I found that the emotion had the same fervor that my love used to, which was beyond anything I’d previously experienced. Flipping that emotion into reverse stirred up a dark side of me I was astonished and somewhat frightened to discover.

My good friend, who has heard about everything I’ve ever had to say about anything in the forty some years I’ve known him was taken aback by the vitriol I sputtered whenever I spoke about Tina. He chastised me over my choice of words.

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“What? She’s a fucking whore,” I defended my rants.

“That may be,” he said, “but I’ve never heard you speak about any woman that way, ever. That isn’t you, Dan.”

I explained that a nasty enough word to name her didn’t exist and words like cunt, slut and bitch didn’t even approach the order of magnitude required to express my disdain. Therefore, I felt no remorse in uttering those words. They were kind by comparison to the word I wished for. I refused to accept his rebuke.

I’ve learned what hate is and I’m glad it’s not something I’d really experienced before. I hope I never do again. It’s poison. It ate at my mind and soul, blackened my heart and stole my innocence. I believe to truly hate someone, one must know the person intimately. The object of my hate got close to me. So close, I took part of her into myself. Only then could she inflict the repeated painful injuries and humiliations needed to churn my font of love and affection into bitter acid.

Hatred is not a satisfying emotion. It hurts. It’s like a traumatic wound that won’t heal, with persistent pain as fresh as when first acquired. All that hurt is personified. The person becomes pure, sickening, maddening evil. All of the wounds she ever caused were replayed over and over and over again. I couldn’t escape the torment of hating. I wanted to forgive her so I could relieve myself of the burden. The hatred was so overwhelming it was crushing the spark out of me.

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