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What Makes a Hater Hate


By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Haters are right. They have no doubt that they are right.

They know with certainty that those whom they hate are to blame. Blame for what? For everything that’s wrong in their lives.

  • Hate makes it easy to blame others for your own inadequacies.
  • Hate makes it simple to feel superior to others.
  • Hate makes it a cinch to believe that you are virtuous, righteous, maybe even saintly.

Some haters hate alone, though they are fueled by hate propaganda. Others join hate groups. But even if a hater doesn’t join a hate group, he’s influenced by them. Peer validation. Ever since we were kids, that’s what we craved. When our peers accepted us, we felt validated. When our peers applauded us, we felt valued. When our peers cheered us on, we took the action they viewed as courageous, even if it was dangerous. No longer did we feel alone, lonely, worthless. We had our peer group with us!

Hating empowers those who’d otherwise feel lonely and lost. It does this by debasing, defiling, demeaning the people they hate, rather than looking inward to view any of their own deficiencies. By debasing the “other,” haters become joined with others who hate. Hate is the paste that binds haters to each other, to their ideology and to the actions that so many of them will take. After repetitive verbal vilifying, it’s not a big step to advance to killing, even if this means that your own life will be sacrificed. Indeed, the sacrifice of your life for the greater good of the cause is rewarded as the ultimate heroism.


To kill, haters need weapons and targets. No longer does it suffice to just be verbally abusive. It’s time to attack. How do you choose your weapon?

Sometimes it’s simply throwing rocks or building home-made bombs. But in our gun-friendly society, it often means choosing which of your many high-powered guns you’ll take with you to accomplish the deed.

How do you choose your target? Sometimes, it’s an individual or a group who has pissed you off. Sometimes, it’s a vulnerable target, a church, a synagogue that has no protection, for it is a place of worship, open to all. Other times, it’s your most hated “enemy,” even if that’s a high-powered person surrounded with protection. The more vilified the target is, the greater the adrenaline rush to advance your mission. The ultimate mission of haters is to destroy those whom they hate. When they do this, they rejoice in their righteousness. They feel strong, omnipotent, as they plan their next move.

What's the solution?

What is to be done about hate? Can we stop people from hating? Groups from promoting hate? How do we balance “freedom of speech” with the need to protect ourselves from those who want to promote nothing but hate, in words and deeds?

I wish I had a simple answer to these questions. I don’t. But I do know that we have made inroads into the problem by making “hate” crimes a serious offense, even when it does not entail murder, and my promoting tolerance in schools. I do believe that the social regulation of social media in which falsehoods and hate propaganda are so easily spread is a must. I don’t believe that we should coddle hate-mongers by thinking that, “oh, but they didn’t have enough love in their childhood.” But I do believe that we need to try to identify and help these isolated, angry people who may become the next hate-murderers, if left alone in their seclusion and secrecy.

The ultimate goal of haters is to destroy those whom they hate. This will not happen if we have leadership that is on top of the problem and is mindful of curbing, not spreading, hateful speech, actions and attributions.

Copyright © 2018: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.

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