View Full Version : What to do about hate?
01-25-2007, 05:23 PM
I just wanted to get some help with something. I have an ex-husband that I had two children with. They are now teenagers. My ex-husband has remarried which is fine with me. I have a partner that I love very much. The problem I have is that I HATE my ex's new wife! Now, I am not usually the hating kind. I get along with people, I am a nurse that cares for people all day long. This woman though infuriates me! I have to see her often because of the kids events. She tries to take over with the kids and I think that is what really makes me mad. She gives no respect that I am the real mom. If we are in a group and I correct my children she chimes in too! The sound of her voice makes my blood boil!
I could go on and on with examples of why I hate this woman, but what I want help with is how can I stop hating??? I know that this is really hurting ME. I can intellectulize all the reasons why I should not hate her but it doesn't help! I have heard that hating someone is like drinking poison and excpecting the other person to die.
Have you ever hated someone and gotten over it? What helped? Any suggestions? I really want to get over this!
01-25-2007, 06:00 PM
I realize that this is, possibly, part and parcel of what you descibed as "intellectualiz[ing] all the reasons why I should not hate her", but hate and anger are two distinctly different things.
Given the situation, she is at least insensitive and, at worst, manipulative in the way she undermines your parenting role. This would, understandably, cause anger on your part. That anger would be certainly acceptable, if it doesn't lead to the hate you may be feeling.
Does it help to consider that it is likely, at least, to stem from her own insecurity and lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-whatever. To elevate her own sense of importance to, and relationship with, the kids she evidently sees the need to diminish yours. Not only is it maddening, it's pathetic as all get out. She may be more deserving of your pity. It is also likely that this insecurity has little or nothing to do with you or the kids, but is perceived by her to strengthen her relationship with your ex.
It is also possible that she is so insensitive to anyone outside of her own body that she is clueless to the potential fallout from her behavior. Forgive me, then, for asking if you have attempted to talk with her about this. Her reaction would give you some indication where she falls on the spectrum, anyway. Of course, I am fully aware you may have done this already.
In the past, I have known many who, in this kind of situation, asked their ex about it, which is about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine. The usual response to this is something akin to chest-beating to protect his new wife from the slings and arrows of the jealous ex. We men have our own ways of deluding ourselves, and the belief in a "jealous ex" is more common than I care to think about.
Hate is also a poison. I think the reason Jesus talked so much about forgiveness was that it helped the forgiver find healing. It really isn't about the one you forgive. Forgiveness starts, however, with truthfully calling the behavior what it is. Don't be tempted to excuse her behavior - you would just be absolving of her responsibility to own it herself. In the long run, it is neither kind nor effective. Your forgiveness may not be linked to her repentance either. That's her job.
I did, after many years work, come to forgive my father. The process used, however, may not be too helpful, since he was dead when I finally undertook the journey. Part of it did include coming to the realization of how pathetically he saw himself. Your situation, as I see it, is probably shorter term and, unfortunately, more acute.
May God bless you in your efforts.
01-25-2007, 08:34 PM
I've struggled with hating people occasionally in my life. I came to see that usually the intensity of my feelings was linked to the powerlessness I felt around them. If she is usurping your role as mother with your children, that leads to an incredible feeling of powerlessness and anger. I get so intensely angry when people bypass me with my children.
Once, for example, I told my eight-year-old son he couldn't have another piece of pizza, and my friend, who was male and also a single parent, gave him one while I was distracted.
I think he meant it as kindness, and didn't realize he was taking away my power.
I suspect that this woman doesn't always know how disempowering her behavior is to you. But it doesn't really matter whether she knows or not. The only thing you can do to reduce the feelings permanently are to find ways to be powerful. It helps a little, temporarily, to see her as insecure, to find compassion for her. But asserting yourself and regaining your sense of power leads to a permanent cure from those intense feelings you can't control right now.
You'll have to find the ways to do it, but as idea-starters, here are a few thoughts:
- reproach her directly, firmly, without being insulting, at the moment she does something that upsets you. It's worth making a little scene for. No one else will be shocked or dislike you forever. Say "XX, I notice that you always tag your comments on when I correct the kids. I'd prefer if you didn't do that."
- Talk about it over coffee with her. This is dangerous if you feel too threatened by her - without a third party she might take the moral high ground and reduce you to tears, making the situation worse.
- Talk to the kids if appropriate. Say "If your step-mother tells you to do the opposite of what I say, that makes things kind of awkward, doesn't it? How does that make you feel?" Come up with a game plan between you. Having a connection with your kids will make it less stressful when she's around.
- Take an assertiveness class
- Tell her what you're willing to do - i.e. "I'm not willing to co-parent with you at games because of the way... We can either work on this together or we'll have to find a way to take turns."
Know that you have a lot of power - you are their MOTHER. No matter what anyone tries to take away from you, they can't take that. It's just a matter of finding your power and using it effectively.
Good thoughts your way as you wrestle with this!
01-26-2007, 01:05 PM
Reminds my of the time I told my mother when as a 6 year old" " I hate you!" As I got older, I realized I was mad- not loony- but angry- steam coming out the ears angry at what I preceived to be an injustice- and a negation of my Self.
(Please don't think I'm saying you are a 6 year old- I'm simply trying to go somewhere here!)
What situations like this need is context, not so that one can explain away the content, but give it some breathing room. I really believe that's what the methods of nonviolence actually do.
Nurturing thoughts as towards the reason (or reasons) why the other person is acting as they are (fear/competition/ need to be 'right etc) can go a long way towards establishing common ground. It also takes things out of 'he-said-she-said'. This is the heart of compassion, which recognizes that we all- even our enemy- wants happiness (they may simply going about it the wrong way!) And when we can't see what is truly happening we get trapped into being either the victim or the victimizer.
As I see it, compassion for oneself (facing one's feelings and dealing with them lightly) and the other person (eventually) is the only way to go.
01-27-2007, 12:06 PM
Thank you so much to everyone that replied. I think the common theme here is that my issues with her are far more than hate. She does represent a lot of fear for me. Fear that my kids will love her more than me, fear that when they are at their house they will be the "normal" family. The mom, dad, and two kids. They have the kids Mon-Wed and then I have them Thur, Fri. and every other weekend. I lost full custody of them to their dad for being a lesbian. It could be MUCH worse. They only have them one more day a week than I do. My point is, she does spend a lot of time with them. At school events she tries to pass as the "mom" I have to step in and say that I am their mother. Open houses are spent running from room to room seeing who can get to the teacher first and give their phone numbers first. This is something I will not participate in next year. I will go on my own the day before and meet the teachers in private.
Anywhoo, I battle with feelings of her taking my place. It is something that I will have to overcome. My children love me, I know that. I just hate her and my ex making decisions about my kids. I have to constantly remind him that WE, him and I make decisions for our kids. Just because she is his new wife does not mean that their new partnership includes decisions about the kids. I need to be contacted. Which means that I am constantly the b*tch!
The funny thing, and my partner and I laugh at this a lot is that his new wife is a more butch than I am! wouldn't it be funny if his second wife also left him for a woman......again?
Ok, I am sorry! I just have to laugh about this sometimes!
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