I know, I’m teetering on the edge here. But give me a chance to explain myself and I promise the title of this post will make more sense.
I typically write more about the everyday trials of being a human, or more specifically, a girl, in today’s world. There are a lot of struggles we go through, negative messages we internalize, expectations we are meant to live up to….Sometimes I feel like I spent the first 23 years of my life putting on coat after coat of all the “stuff” everyone else wanted from me, and now I’m spending the rest of my life peeling those layers off one by one to figure out who is really hiding in there! But today I’m going to write about something that’s a little more serious, but very much a reality for many people.
“Love One Another”
“Turn the Other Cheek”
“Be Kind; Everyone is Fighting a Battle You Know Nothing About”
These are all quotes we hear regularly from various sources and I’m a big believer in ALL of them. I think it’s incredibly important to our own happiness to forgive quickly, assume the best about others, and remember that everyone is different and has a different road in life. But there are no quotes that apply to all situations. These are just a few of those, and I feel they can do great damage when applied to a context where love is not the medicine; hate is.
Before I go any further, I’d like to just point out that I am NOT a psychologist or mental health professional of any kind, nor do I have any schooling in those subjects that would imply you should take my advice with anything more than a grain of salt. Everything I write on this blog is strictly based off my own experience and the information and books I’ve read throughout my life.
So, after the small amount of experience I’ve had in this tiny corner of the world, I’ve noticed something that has caused me to create a bit of a “theory”. That theory is that there is a place for feeling hateful. It has a role to play, and even though it’s not fun, and makes life incredibly hard, I feel like it plays a very important part that shouldn’t be downplayed.
That role exists in situations of abuse of any kind.
Like I said, we’re digging a bit deep this time. While I believe forgiveness and understanding are important for minor infractions and mistakes that are natural to being human, I feel they are actually detrimental in situations where one is dealing with the more serious case of abuse. From my personal life experiences with friends and family, I have concluded that hate and anger are natural emotions and a natural personal protection that allows us to not only leave those who are dangerous to us, but to stay away from them. There is a reason that feeling of hatefulness is so difficult to shake sometimes. There is a reason that we often remain angry and hurt for months or even years at a person who has wronged us. Our emotions are kicking in a cavewoman reaction that is fighting to protect us from being tempted to walk back into our difficult situation. Our feelings are quite literally taking a person we once loved and turning them into something that is not human – because it is easier to detach from a monster than it is to detach from a human being.
I’ve found that sharing quotes like “Love One Another” and “Be Understanding” are often the worst advice to internalize as a victim. Sure, maybe the abuser has a hard life, or was abused themselves, or has a disorder of some sort. There is a place for understanding for these people, but the victim is NOT the person to fulfill this role. Their only focus should be on getting themselves somewhere safe, detaching from their abuser – and hateful feelings are an excellent way to accomplish this. When your feelings for another person run so deep, hating them is often the only way to convince yourself to walk away.
Sometimes that hate may last for a long time. In my experience, it lasts as long as it needs to. Typically the greater the abuse, the greater and longer the hate. But if you’ve been a victim of abuse, and your encounters or thoughts about your abuser still send you into a rage of anger, it’s okay. It’s supposed to work that way. If it didn’t, the temptation to return would be far too strong.
I feel its important to add that acting on those feelings in the form of revenge may be a strong desire, but often results in only short-term satisfaction. The best way to heal is to feel your emotions and allow them to run their course without judgement. Once you have detached completely and allowed yourself time to heal and clarify that the abuse bears no relation to your merits as a person, you may be in a position to attempt to exercise some understanding. But there’s no rush or requirement that you ever have to give anyone that space in your heart.
So let’s leave a little room in our lives to let nature take over and protect us. Let’s listen to our emotions and feelings rather than suppress and demonize them. Let’s be loving and understanding towards those who regularly bless our lives, and allow ourselves time to be angry, hateful, and grievous when a person simply needs to be struck from our lives. Please let your instincts guide you. You are far too valuable to be understanding with a person who will only manipulate and take advantage of you. You, quite simply, deserve to take care of yourself, whatever it takes.
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