Lack of self-compassion
The antidote to hate is compassion—for others as well as ourselves. Self-compassion means that we accept the whole self. “If we find part of ourselves unacceptable, we tend to attack others in order to defend against the threat” says Reedy. “If we are okay with ourselves, we see others’ behaviors as ‘about them’ and can respond with compassion. If I kept hate in my heart for [another], I would have to hate myself as well. It is only when we learn to hold ourselves with compassion, that we may be able to demonstrate it toward others.”
It fills a void
Bernard Golden Ph.D., author of Overcoming Destructive Anger: Strategies That Work, believes that when hate involves participation in a group, it may help foster a sense of connection and camaraderie that fills a void in one’s identity. He describes hatred of individuals or groups as a way of distracting oneself from the more challenging and anxiety-provoking task of creating one’s own identity:
Acts of hate are attempts to distract oneself from feelings such as helplessness, powerlessness, injustice, inadequacy and shame. Hate is grounded in some sense of perceived threat. It is an attitude that can give rise to hostility and aggression toward individuals or groups. Like much of anger, it is a reaction to and distraction from some form of inner pain. The individual consumed by hate may believe that the only way to regain some sense of power over his or her pain is to preemptively strike out at others. In this context, each moment of hate is a temporary reprieve from inner suffering.