Dr. SUE JOHNSON, PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA AND AUTHOR, “HOLD ME TIGHT: SEVEN CONVERSATIONS FOR A LIFETIME OF LOVE”:
Nigella said her husband grabbed her by throat while they were dining on the restaurant patio after she saw a passing baby in a stroller and remarked, “I’m so looking forward to having grandchildren.”
His angry response, she claims, was to say "'I am the only person you should be concerned with. I am the only person who should be giving you pleasure'".
If that’s an accurate story, it’s not hate. It’s the classic situation where someone is vulnerable and so attached that he finds it intolerable. This guy is massively anxious. He’s scared. She has all this power over him. So he tries to control the hell out of her and becomes coercive. He turns his fear into anger and control. And if he can’t control her, he switches into panic and rage. People become very anxious in bonding situations. It’s not hate in the way we usually think of hate. It’s a hot rage and hostility that’s a reaction to being threatened.
The irony, of course, is that this pushes the other person away. She says his control and hostility became so massively oppressive that it felt like “intimate terrorism.”
If there’s enough of this going on, the person who’s being controlled can get to where you see the oppressor as an enemy and get to hate him..
There are times when we can’t believe this person we love can hurt us so much -- and then we can lapse into hate.
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