I Hate My Family But I Love Strangers
Families are like little universes where we learn to become members of society. There are no perfect families, because there are no perfect human beings and no perfect societies.
Every family passes on trauma, neuroses and emptiness to some extent. However, sometimes it’s to a large extent and it leaves people with very deep scars.
Whether tiny or obvious, hate is always in families. Although it sounds paradoxical, this does not exclude the existence of great love, too.
Such is human affection: ambivalent and contradictory. Families are not exempt from this truth, and that’s why grudges and pettiness are rather normal.
But sometimes it’s not petty hatred. Sometimes family relationships are seriously broken. A few people in the world openly declare their total rejection of their family. They loathe them. They are ashamed of where they came from.
The funny thing is that they simultaneously profess great appreciation and admiration for strangers, people who aren’t a part of their family.
How does someone end up hating their family?
Hatred towards one’s family is inherently contradictory. It implies, one way or another, hating oneself. Genetically and socially we are an integral, indivisible part of our immediate families.
Despite this, many people feel rejected and unloved by their families. It sometime is like a teenager who never grew out of it.
A person’s hatred of their family often begins because they feel failed in some way, or seriously mistreated. The failure happens when they have high expectations that are not met, when their family neglects a part of their growth, or when they are raised in an inconsistent way — like when their family says one thing but does something completely different.
And then there’s abuse. This includes physical or emotional abandonment, as well as verbal, physical or sexual abuse. Neglect is abuse too. Anything that involves systematically denying a person’s value could be called abuse.
Another situation is when members of a family are ashamed of themselves or feel inferior to others. And so they raise children with low self-esteem.
This type of family is usually secretive, resistant to contact from the outside. Unfortunately this sows the seeds of hatred, and is one major reason a person may see strangers as better than family.
Putting strangers on a pedestal
When we’re teenagers, we all have problems with our families. We’re finding who we are, and it’s natural. As children, we accept family boundaries more or less passively.
As we grow, we begin to question them and see failures and mistakes. One of the steps that allow us to become adults is precisely that: overcoming that tension.
Then when we’re teenagers, strangers start to mean a lot to us. Naturally, we care more about what our peers think than our parents. Little by little we navigate through these contradictions and find some balance. When we leave home, we generally fix the issue.
Gradually, we figure out what our families gave us and what they took away. Most of the time, we conclude that they didn’t really want to hurt us.
Sometimes the conflict stagnates. Maybe the adult child can’t leave home, or they do leave and see that all is not sunshine and roses outside. That in the real world people also break promises and fail to meet our expectations.
It’s not hard to see how one may be tempted to blame their family for their shortcomings. We also fall in the trap of believing that life is easier for other people, for strangers, than for us. They are better because they had a better family.
Hating our families and worshiping strangers is an expression of an unresolved teenage conflict. But other families have their own brokenness, their own secrets and quirks. Maybe hating where we came from helps us avoid taking responsibility. Maybe it gives us an excuse to not stand on our own feet.
The thing is — if we don’t overcome our issues, we’ll have a very hard time becoming full, happy adults.