It doesn’t matter how much we love our spouses or lovers. We cannot avoid hating, being frustrated and fearing them. The more you know about your own hate, frustration and fear for your lover, the less of an automated motive it will be when you are making decisions.
How many times have you reacted in irrational ways towards them that hurt you, them and the relationship? How many times have you just hurt yourself so you didn’t have to deal with a stressful situation in the relationship or to “keep the peace”? This is what happens when you don’t understand your own hate and fear. You have no choice but to lash out at them or at yourself. Neither of these solutions are viable for satisfying long-term relationships or for relationships where children are being raised in.
I am going to be taking information from Dr. Winnicott’s paper Hate in the CounterTransference to show how the techniques analysts use can help you in your relationships. Dr. Winnicott was a psychoanalyst who had an extremely big heart. He would even go to the homes of his patients if there was some trouble and was severely brutalized by his peers for working the way he did. A lot of us have this same problem Dr. Winnicott had. Our heart is too big when it comes to our relationships and we devastate ourselves and the relationships because of it.
Personal Story on Hate as an Analyst
Psychoanalyst have to understand their own hate, frustration and fear for their highly psychotic clients so they can make sure they can be constructive towards them. I’m going to tell you about an extreme case I worked on some time ago and how this knowledge matters to you in your relationship.
I remember working with a Schizophrenic man who I hated so fiercely, but I felt guilty for hating him since I was supposed to be helping him so I repressed and pushed down every negative feeling I had for him. He would torture me and talk about how he was going to physically abuse me and the ways he would kill me and such. It was an extreme case of psychosis.
Psychosis is simply someone who is out of touch with reality. This particular psychotic client was really perverse an hateful which made it easy to hate him.
When I didn’t allow myself to really feel the hate, frustration and fear for him and avoided talking to my own analyst and supervisors about it, I messed up all the time in the analytic relationship I had with him. Much like how we end up messing up all the time in our romantic relationships when we avoid and deny our feelings.
My gravest error was when he was talking about how he was going to abuse me and suddenly, mid flow, he said, “Adam, my dad use to rape me and have his friends rape me when I was a kid.”
It’s difficult admitting your mistakes as a clinician, but I said to him, “How was it?”
He said to me after a pause, “Not great.” and then went back into his psychotic word-salad.
It was severely sadistic for me to ask that question and if I had really allowed myself to feel the hate, frustration and fear for this guy who was easily hateful and who I was rightfully afraid of, I could have not pushed him back into his psychosis by asking him how it was being raped by his dad and friends.
This is an extreme case and you’re most likely not in a relationship with a schizophrenic who is so psychotic, but even in relationships where there is far less turbulence, you will end up in situations where you end up being sadistic or masochistic to yourself or your lover because you won’t allow yourself to feel your hate, frustration and fear for them.
As the treatment went on, I allowed myself to really go through the painful work of handling the hate, frustration and fear I had for this client in my own analysis. When moments came up where I could be sadistic to him or myself, I was neither. The relationship progressed and I could understand him and he could understand himself enough to start making changes in his life.
What You are to Do About Hate
For an analyst, we have to be able to tolerate the hateful, frustrating and fearful feelings we have for a client and then tell them about the experience so the client can say something new that will promote constructive health.
For you as a lover who is feeling hate, frustration and fear for your lover, you have to do the same. You have to tolerate the feelings of hate, frustration and/or fear until you can express them in a way that won’t be destructive towards yourself, your lover or the relationship.
I was given an example of this by a client of mine where they would come home from work and their spouse would follow them into the bathroom as they took a shower to tell them how their day was and all the problems they had at work. My client wanted to hear how their spouse’s day was, but didn’t want to hear it immediately as they got home and definitely not in the shower which they felt was their only time of peace.
They were not capable of telling their spouse they wanted some space when they were taking a shower so they suffered through hearing about all these negative things in their beloveds life as they showered. The problem was that they snapped and yelled at their spouse telling them how they’re being selfish just vomiting everything on them the moment they got home and didn’t even give them a chance to relax and refresh since they were vomited all over in the shower.
You can feel and imagine the problems that started. Later, after the hate, frustration and fear was worked through in the analysis, they went back to their spouse and explained to them that they just needed a few minutes to take a shower and they would be fine hearing about how their day was after the shower.
The client worked through how much they hated feeling that their spouse was so selfish and self-centered at times and saw the reality that they were not so self-centered, but that the client of mine was just frustrated by their spouse not knowing to just leave them alone. The client also didn’t say anything because of this fear that they would lose the love of their spouse if they weren’t always prepared to listen to what was going wrong in their lives. After all of this was emotionally worked through, their lives became better and both got what they needed from each other.
When you don’t allow yourself to feel frustration, hate and fear towards your spouse you will bottle it up and it will come out in ways that are so devastating when they didn’t need to be.
These are the events you want to avoid because these events happening consistently over time will degrade a relationship to the point of resentment, regret, breaking up and divorce.
It seems so backwards, but we actually feel loved by a person after we have been hated by them. This is why we see many relationships become vastly stronger after a major problem is resolved in the relationship.
To hold back on hate is to hold back on love. To hold back on love is to make sure you and your lover are never satisfied.
It’s difficult to become a High-Value Lover who can tolerate these intense feelings, but we don’t have to give up. There are solutions out there to the many problems we have in our relationships. My 4-Step Solution on How to Not Argue with your Lover will teach you what words to avoid and what to be thinking to avoid an argument or when an argument has started so you can continue to live in a way that is fulfilling to your lives.
Winnicott, D. W. (1949). Hate in the Counter-Transference. The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. vol. xxx pp. 69-74.