By Joanna Kleovoulou, Clinical Psychologist, Founder and Director of PsychMatters Centre
Many of us associate the month of February with love, adoration and friendship, with Valentine’s Day shooting its arrow just around the corner. But for many of us, struggling to let go of past hurts and betrayals locks us into a spiral of mistrust and ill-health.
Hatred is a feeling that we all have felt and experienced at some point in our lives, especially when we have been betrayed or hurt by someone that we are attached to. Hateful feelings are normal when they occur sporadically. However, the effects of feeling hatred over a long period of time can have devastating effects on your mind and body. Feelings of rage and hatred build up in the mind, body and soul, affecting the body’s organs and natural processes and breeding further negative emotions. Hatred is a form of neurosis, fixation and judgment that is harmful to you. If continued, it leads to conflicts in relationships and to bodily dis-ease.
Research shows that hatred changes the chemistry in the brain as it stimulates the premotor cortex which is responsible for planning and execution of motion. This prepares us to act aggressively when feeling hateful, either to defend or as an attack . This activation also triggers the autonomic nervous system, creating “fight or flight” responses, increasing cortisol and adrenalin. Both these hormones deplete the adrenals and contribute to weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and chronic illness. And so the cycle of bodily and mental dis-ease continues. Hatred also triggers the mind to try to predict what the actions of the person being hated may do, as a way to protect you, but this leads to further anxiety, restlessness, obsessive thinking and paranoia, which also then impacts negatively in the way you engage in relationships. It’s important to note that all these reactions affect only the hater, and not the hated, breaking down your nervous – immune – and endocrine system, and your mental well-being.
The opposite of hatred is not love. It is mental and emotional detachment. Hatred attaches you to the thing or person you hate. Hatred is an intense repulsion that creates a mirror effect in that it attracts the person back to the thing hated in order to be repulsed by it over and over. Hatred is bitter-sweet as it inflates the ego and makes you feel very superior and self-righteous against the thing or one that is hated, only breeding further pain.
Before you let someone live rent-free in your head and heart, remember – only YOU will be paying the painful price. Should you be struggling to let of hurt, anger, pain and hatred, contact us at PsychMatters on 0114503576 to assist you to live more masterfully and positively.