Understanding My Hate

May 27, 2014

Sometimes I yell at myself.

Is this what bloggers and columnists are reduced to? Voicing our thoughts only in the wake of major news (unlike media outlets, which keep regurgitating facts)? I’m not here to discuss Elliot Rodger. He had his own issues. What I want to talk about is hate.

Now, for the most controversial statements I will probably ever make: I completely understand the hate behind the UCSB murders. Just as I understand the hate behind Columbine. Behind Trayvon Martin’s murder. I don’t know the justification for most of the mass murders around the world, but for these, among others, I can empathize (NOT sympathize).

And that’s where the similarities end. For though I may have felt my fair share of anger and downright hatred when faced with women who didn’t want me, or bullies who decided I was an easy target, I still had the ability to use morality to control my actions and not inflict pain on others.

Besides, there’s one important distinction: my hate was never primarily directed at those who caused me pain. It was always aimed at myself.

At twenty two, I was in very much the same position: a junior in college, little to no experience in relationships with women, and the same entitlement complex, i.e. I deserve sex; I deserve money; I deserve to be the number one priority in everyone’s life. And when these things didn’t magically appear, I didn’t hate others, or society.

I hated myself. I was convinced something was wrong with me, if I didn’t have these things I had been taught were necessary to be a man. If you had told me with absolute certainty that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life, I would have killed myself without hesitation. Granted, I didn’t, because no one can know the future. I wanted to stick around and see what happened.

And things got better. I started to hate myself less. Rather, I got better at ignoring the messages advertising and society at large were throwing at me about what it means to be a man, and just tried to be happy doing and being what I wanted.

Does this mean I’m cured, completely comfortable with who I am and where I am in life? Not at all.

When a woman rebukes my advances, I’m still convinced that something about me must disgust her. That’s right: her refusal, based on her own reasons, is in my mind a challenge to my identity as a man and my happiness as a human being. Being aware of it changes nothing, other than hopefully learning to grow out of it.

Even though I considered myself pretty knowledgeable when it came to women’s issues, reading some of the pieces written this week in response to misogyny and the dangers of refusing men’s advances gave me pause. As much as I detest being rejected via text or email as opposed to just being direct, face to face, it occurs to me now that such behavior is based on minimizing risk. I’m not a danger, but they don’t know that. What if I were someone to lash out at a rejection and physically harm someone? Strike someone? Shoot up a crowd? It’s not very likely, but when doing a risk analysis, every possibility must be considered.

Looking at my relationships in this way, it seems like a minor miracle I was able to secure even one date, and possibly why I’m finding it more difficult to date as I get older; granted, our needs change and we’re looking for something more mature, but there’s also experience. In this case, experience is teaching women that men can be dangerous if their advances are spurned, and that lesson is compounded over time.

We’d all like to believe that people who go on murderous rampages are mentally disturbed, in some way separate from the rest of humanity. However, they’re more like the average Joe, requiring only certain triggers and a looser grasp of morality (perhaps weakened by those same triggers on a regular basis) to set off a catastrophe. I seriously doubt I will ever become one of them, or sympathize with their actions. But to claim no one will understand them outside their twisted circles is disingenuous.

It hasn’t been the easiest transition for me, starting life anew in California. It’s lonely, the rewards aren’t always visible, and some days of work feel like my body and soul have been beaten down. But in the same way experience has made my goals harder to achieve (by gradually eliminating possibilities), so too has it made it easier for me to be more comfortable with my life. I won’t make the mistake of hating myself again.

One Response to Understanding My Hate

  1. Erick Redcloud on May 28, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Interesting article Turner. I know you did not want to mention about Elliot Rodgers, but I must say I felt sorry for him and I didn’t feel sorry for him at the same time. He was a loner and we are all loners at times. But instead of embracing it and doing something constructive from it he turned it into hate. Hate comes from when we just don’t get what we want. There are many times we all go through life and do not get what we want. We get disappointed and it turns into anger and hate. All that want comes from a desire. Desire to become successful, desire to be good looking, desire to have more friends.

    This may sound dogmatic, but stripping ourselves from desires are what buddhist try to do. All of life is filled with suffering and the source of our suffering is our desires. When we can just go with the flow instead of desiring something so much, that it turns into hate from the constant let down of the desire, then we can become better human beings. It is not something easy though, and can not say I have mastered it.

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