Are We Born With Hate?

Medically Reviewed on 12/21/2021
why do people hate?
Some believe hate is an acquired trait that is conditioned according to a person’s social and political environment.

Being born with hate is still a debatable question. Some believe that hate is an acquired trait because newborns have a clean slate and are conditioned according to their social and political environments.

Another opinion is that hate is important for “survival." When you hate something dangerous to your wellbeing, it increases your chances of survival and thus may help you live longer. Such hate may be coded in your DNA.

What is hate?

Hate is a strong emotion and is defined as an extreme hostility and aversion that is frequently motivated by fear, fury, or a sense of hurt.

  • Some believe that hate usually is associated with other negative emotions, such as anger and disgust.
  • Some believe that hate complements love. They say that someone hates something to show their love toward another thing.
  • The purpose of hatred is to eliminate its victim, which means it may be rooted in self-protection.

Research states that hatred spreads and grows faster when aimed at a group rather than an individual. When someone or a group of people is hated, it is frequently motivated by ignorance, anger, fear, a sense of hurt, or danger.

Hate is usually the result of an unrestrained bias toward persons or organizations who have certain traits. Bias is defined as a preference for or against an individual or group that impairs one's capacity to assess properly. When such bias is not addressed, it may lead to violence.

Why do we hate?

Hatred or deep emotional hate can emerge for a variety of causes.

People may develop a dislike for another person or group if they:

  • Envy or desire what the other person has. They can think it is unfair that someone else has something they don't.
  • Have hatred for another individual or see them as inferior.
  • Hatred is instilled in children by their parents, their community, or other social groupings.
  • Are embarrassed or mistreated by someone.
  • Feel helpless. Rather than focusing their concern and guilt inside, individuals may channel that negativity outside.
  • Have been bullied or abused. They may develop to despise the person who has injured them.

In other circumstances, a person is hated for what they stand for instead of for particular actions they have performed.

How is hate different from other negative emotions?

Contempt and anger are other negative emotions, which are often misunderstood as hate.

Contempt versus hate

Both contempt and hatred are negative judgments of a person. Contempt is an impression that a person or thing is worthless or unimportant.

  • For example, a lazy person may disgust someone, but they do not pose any threat, therefore they are not hated.
  • Similarly, someone may hate a difficult competition because they constitute a threat, but they do not contempt them because they are not considered inferior.

Anger versus hate

Anger is an emotion defined by hostility toward someone or something you believe has purposefully wronged you. When you hate someone, you are prone to feel upset with them. However, this is not always the case.

  • A critical difference is that anger judges an individual's conduct (you did something wrong), whereas hatred examines the complete person (you are bad).
  • This implies that anger is generally fleeting; if the individual has apologized or altered their conduct, there is no reason to be angry.
  • For example, parents may be upset with their children on occasion, but this does not imply that they hate them.

Hatred, however, stays longer. If you hate someone, you are convinced that they are beyond forgiveness; hence, your dislike will most likely remain a long time.

How to cope when you are hated

Coping with hatred may be challenging, especially when there is no obvious explanation for the hatred. You may be confused as to how someone could hold such strong unfavorable thoughts toward you. Believing that someone dislikes you can have an impact on your emotions, mental health, and self-esteem.

  • If someone hates you because they believe you have mistreated them, you may try to reach out to them.
  • You may want to talk about their sentiments, apologize, or clarify the issue.
  • This may be useful when someone is simply furious with you, but when it comes to hatred, it may be tough to have a sensible conversation with the other person.

Keep in mind that individuals make mistakes. Someone you have wronged will not always be able to forgive you. However, if you regret your actions, think about how you may learn and develop from them so that you do not harm anybody else.


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Medically Reviewed on 12/21/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

GoodTherapy. Hatred.

Rudnicki K. Is hate and prejudice in our DNA? Media Diversity Institute.

Pogosyan M. Understanding Hate. Psychology Today.