Shalom, bonbonim, mashlonghem, edga gatemelay. Oops, I'm in the wrong channel. So sorry. This is my psychology channel. My name is Sam Vaknin, and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, and I'm also a professor of psychology.
Today we're going to go down the rabbit hole. We're going to invert the world and the way we see the world.
We're going to discuss a very loaded topic, a kind of taboo. The fact that love and hatred are actually the same. Two sides, flip sides of the same coin, but definitely the same coin.
Now this is hush-hush-thing. We're not supposed to talk about this. Love is nice. Love is soothing. Love is comfy. Love is cozy. Love makes you feel safe and secure and stable. Love renders the world predictable, a hospitable location somewhere where you can close your eyes and fall asleep and know that you will wake up in the morning.
Hate is supposed to be the opposite of all this, but actually it is not.
Welcome to Sam Vaknin's horror show and today the rabbit hole.
So hate is often confused with love because it produces the same bonding or attachment to its subjects.
Did you hear this well? When you love someone, you get attached. You bond with the subject of your love. Love equates bonding. Love results in bonding and leads to attachment.
There is a whole cascade of hormones, biological changes, everything in the body and everything in the mind gears, prepares for attachment and bonding. This happens even in one night's tense.
Yes, there's no such thing as meaningless and motionless sex. It's nonsense that we tell ourselves.
So love, even in its most rudimentary transient form binds people together. It's a kind of glue, not only theoretical glue, but hormonal glue.
But hate does the same.
Have you heard of the concept of frenemies, friends who are also enemies? There's even a book I think by Bashevi Zinger, if I'm not mistaken.
My enemy, my friend, my love, something like that.
Authors throughout history had recognized the fact that love and hatred are twins and sometimes, very often actually, identical twins.
You know, when you hate someone, you get very attached to them. You bond with them because they feel your life, they imbue your life with meaning.
Both love and hatred give meaning to life, which of course, explains a lot of politics and geopolitics.
By hating the other, by hating minorities such as the Jews or the blacks, by hating your neighbor who is pesky and a nuisance, by hating your boss who is imposing on you and treats you unjustly by hating your wife just because she's your wife.
By hating, you imbue your life, you fulfill it, you give meaning to your life.
So hatred and love are what we call organizing principles. They are also hermeneutic principles. They explain life. They provide direction and goals.
The transition from love to hatred is seamless and very often glacial and imperceptible.
People start off loving each other and before they know it, they discover that they hate each other and they can't put the finger on any specific event or moment or transitory mishap. It just happens. It's like love metamorphoses and transforms and evolves into hatred.
The two emotions often cohabit. They cohabit. They share the same mind and this is known as ambivalence.
Ambivalence is when you feel love and hatred towards the same person, towards the same institution, towards the same cause.
When you feel love and hatred simultaneously, ostensibly and allegedly, these are conflicting emotions.
You can't have both emotions at the same time towards the same target, but actually in reality most of us do.
People love their parents and hate their parents at the same time. People love their children and sometimes hate their children.
Love and hatred go together. They are co-joined in this ambivalence.
Ambivalence, of course, is a form of dissonance. We're going to discuss how we react to this confluence of love and hate.
What are the mechanisms? What are the coping strategies that we devise in order not to fall apart?
Because if we were to experience this ambivalence without any mediation and without any filtering and without any defense, we would disintegrate. We would be torn apart. It's like drawn and quartered the ancient medieval punishment.
So we need to deny the ambivalence. We need to suppress the ambivalence or repress it. We need to reframe it in some way. We're going to discuss the methods that we use to do this a bit, to accomplish this a bit later.
So this conflation of love and hate, this confusion between love and hate, this mislabeling of love as hate and hate as love is especially pronounced in mental health conditions, mental health disorders that involve object inconstancy, persecutory objects, dysregulation, especially emotional dysregulation and abandonment anxiety in many mental health disorders, for example, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder. There's extreme abandonment anxiety, a fear of losing one's, for example, intimate partner in the case of borderline or source of narcissistic supply in the case of narcissism. So there is abandonment anxiety and the objects, objects in psychology are people. So the objects are perceived as impermanent, not constant. There's always a risk that you will lose your objects.
When you're a narcissist, there's always fear of rejection, humiliation and abandonment. If you're a borderline and there's always catastrophizing. If you're a psychopath, there's object inconsistency and people are converted into enemies. They are first, they first become internalized. They are rendered into internal objects.
And then these internal objects are perceived as per secretary, as prosecuting or prosecuting objects with enmity and hostility. So this is the process.
There is object inconstancy, fear of loss, abandonment anxiety, conversion of people around the narcissist, around the psychopath, around the borderline into the secretary objects, because these people can cause pain and frustration and hurt so they can persecute and prosecute and punish their punitive, their perceived as punitive.
And so as you can see, the narcissist intimate partner, the psychopath's intimate partner, someone with bipolar disorder, the paranoid intimate partner, the schizoid intimate partner, etc. They are simultaneously objects of cathexis, objects of emotional investment, objects in which emotions are invested, including what these mentally ill people perceive as love on the one hand, and on the other hand, these objects, these other people are feared.
Let's take the narcissist, for example. Of course, the narcissist has abandonment anxiety. He is afraid to be abandoned. He also has object inconstancy. To compensate for the abandonment anxiety and object inconstancy, the narcissist internalizes meaningful and significant people in his life. He converts them into internal objects, inner objects, and then he snapshots them, he idealizes them, etc.
We discussed it a lot in previous videos. And then he converts them into persecretary objects because they have the power to abandon him. They have the power to cause him pain and hurt. They have the power to frustrate him. So this makes them potential enemies.
Simultaneously, the narcissist is dependent on these people. The narcissist needs these people. The narcissist misperceives his fantasy defense within the shared fantasy as love. So he emotionally invested these people, love bombing, grooming.
And so at the same time, the narcissist gets attached to these people, bonds with these people, but regards them as potential enemies, as persecutors and prosecutors. So of course, he also hates these people.
On the one hand, he is dependent on these people. On the other hand, he hates them because he is dependent on them and they have the power to frustrate him or cause him intolerable agony.
The same dynamic is in borderline personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, other mental health disorders such as certain types of depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
In these and all these mental health issues, they wish to subsume the intimate partner. They wish to engulf the intimate partner. They wish to kind of assimilate the intimate partner. They wish to merge with the intimate partner, to fuse with the intimate partner.
Is felt also as a wish to destroy an object that is at times frustrating and always threatening.
I have to repeat this because this is so counterintuitive.
The borderline, the narcissist, to some extent the psychopath, the histrionic, the someone with bipolar disorder, the paranoid, the schizoid, I mean, the list is long. People with mental health issues which involved object inconsistency, for secretary objects, dysregulation and abandonment anxiety. People who have this constellation, this unfortunate duck tetrad in a way, people with these problems, they want to avoid the anxiety, to reduce and ameliorate and mitigate the abandonment anxiety by becoming one with the intimate partner. They can become one aggressively like psychopaths, or they can become one by treating the partner as an extension, that's a narcissist, or they can become one by relegating and delegating ego functions to the intimate partner.
The borderline does this, the codependent does this.
But in all these cases, the general idea is if I become one with my partner, my partner will not be in the position to disappear on me, to abandon me.
So I must subsume my partner, I must digest my partner, I must engulf, I must merge, I must fuse with my partner.
But of course, if you do this, you disappear your partner. If you become one with your partner, your partner disappears, vanishes, is dismantled, is reassembled inside you.
So on the one hand, there is a wish to merge and fuse and subsume and engulf, but at the same time, it is also a wish to destroy the intimate partner.
The intimate partner can be and often is frustrating, can humiliate, can abandon, can cause pain, can cause hurt, can reject.
And so the attempt to merge or fuse with the partner, the attempt to engulf the partner and merge, it involves destroying the partner.
So you immediately see that in these cases, what is perceived or mislabeled or misperceived as love, is actually an extreme form of hatred. It's a wish to annihilate the partner, to exterminate the partner, to get rid of the partner as an autonomous, independent, agentic entity.
The idea is to deny the partner agency, self efficacy, and to render the very existence of the partnermootand to merge with the partner, so that the partner becomes an internal figment, internal object, an introject, something else.
At the same time, love, extreme love, total dependence, and hate, extreme radical hate, annihilation.
Consequently, hate is sometimes mistaken for love, and vice versa. And this is especially true when certain defense mechanisms such as projection, reaction formation, splitting, projective identification, and many others, when these defense mechanisms are at work, they refrain reality, they filter reality, they change reality, they deny reality.
And so it's easier than to mistake love for hate.
I said before, that when you simultaneously feel hate and love, at the same time, these two conflicting emotions, when you love someone at the same time you hate the very same person, that's a form of dissonance. Dissonance is when you simultaneously hold or harbor two or more conflicting pieces of something, conflicting pieces of information, conflicting emotions, contradictory thoughts.
When inside your mind there's a conflict between two emotions, two values, two cognitions, two anything. This is called the dissonance. Dissonance produces anxiety.
The inevitable, ineluctable outcome of dissonance is always anxiety. Althoughanxiety.
Although dissonance strictly is not a defense mechanism, it exhibits many of the hallmarks of a defense mechanism.
Now, when you love and hate at the same time, and especially when you mistake your hate for love, or you mistake your love for hate, when you mislabel these emotions, you develop instantly a series of dissonances.
Donald Duck break. I heard you, I heard you, there is many. I can't confess online. I plead the Fifth Amendment.
Right, I'm in good company. Now, I said that when you simultaneously experience love and hatred towards the same object, the same object, the same person, you love someone and you hate them at the same time, you develop a dissonance.
This is called ambivalence and ambivalence is a form of dissonance.
But you actually develop a series of different dissonances, different types of dissonance.
Let's start with the cognitive dissonance.
The cognitive dissonance is when you simultaneously develop two or more conflicting pieces of information or contradictory thoughts.
Now, I have another video where I explain the school of thought in psychology that emotions are actually a subspecies of cognitions, that emotions actually, actually start off as thoughts, and then the thoughts are misperceived or mistranslated into what we call emotions.
There's a whole video in which I explain this process. But take it as granted for now that emotions and cognitions are inextricably linked and that there's a very influential school of thought in psychology, modern psychology, that considers where the scholars consider emotions to be kinds of thoughts.
So cognitive dissonance would arise, would happen when you love and hate at the same time.
Because what is love? Love is also a cognition. It's to say, I love him. Hate is a cognition. I hate her.
So you have these two thoughts in your mind simultaneously. I love him, I hate him. I love her, I hate her. The two cognitions are contradictory. They conflict. They are what we call mutually exclusive cognitions.
And this creates cognitive dissonance. It's when you hold simultaneously two conflicting views, values, or bits of information, which call for diametrically opposed decisions or actions.
Because if you love someone, you behave in a certain way. And if you hate them, you behave in a totally different way. The opposite. This state of things generates an inner conflict and triggers several primitive infantile defense mechanisms, such as denial, splitting, projection, and reaction formation, as I mentioned before.
How do we cope with such a predicament? How do we cope when we have two thoughts, two cognitions simultaneously, and both of them are directed at the same person?
I love mother. I hate mother. I love my spouse. I hate my spouse. Both equally valent. They have equal valence. In other words, they are equipotent. They have the same power.
It's not that you love your wife more than you hate your wife. It's like you love her and you hate her with the same intensity, same power.
So there is what we call equivalence.
So how do you cope with this?
One way to cope with this predicament, one way to transition from dissonance to consonance, is to come up with a reconciling narrative, a theory in a way, a script, a storyboard, a movie, which seamlessly accommodates both conflicting points of view or data.
So you come up with a story. We call it a narrative. You come up with a story in which at the same time you love your mother and you hate your mother.
And it doesn't look like a contradiction. How can this be accomplished? Don't you need to have 190 IQ to do this? No, 90 IQ is enough.
So these are soothing fictions.
And now let's have a look at the actual ways people resolve cognitive dissonance, emotional ambivalence, for example, love and hate at the same time.
Start with the temporal narrative, time-related narrative. Time-related narrative says love is true at one time and hate is true at another period.
Think about it. You could say, I love my mother most of the time, but sometimes I hate her. That's a temporal resolution, a temporal solution to a cognitive dissonance. It separates love and hate on an axis, a timeline.
And so they don't cohabit. They never manifest simultaneously. And this prevents the conflict or the dissonance.
Another solution, which is temporal in nature, is to say my hate is a transient state of affairs. It's temporary. It's reactive to something. It's going to disappear.
The fundamental emotion is love.
But I happen to hate my mother right now because she, I don't know, did something wrong to me or because I just happened to remember something. She did to me.
So it's another temporal solution to say, well, generally I love, but right now I hate. And it's going to be temporary. It's going to pass.
Another kind of narrative that we develop to resolve cognitive dissonance is the reactive narrative. It says, love is the normal state. I love my wife. That's the normal state. Hate happened because of some trigger, provocation, changing circumstances or conditions. Hate is the abnormal state.
Therefore it is an aberration, a deviation, a curiosity, but not typical.
So actually what you're saying is, yes, I feel hate right now towards someone I typically love, but the hate is reactive. It's because I had been triggered because I had been provoked. There was a change in circumstances. There was new information or some conditions had been met.
So hate is the aberration. It's the exception. Love is the typical state.
This is another kind of narrative that is intended to resolve the cognitive dissonance, to resolve the fact that there is ambivalence, to resolve the simultaneity and synchronicity of love and hate towards the same person.
This is intolerable anxiety because do I love him or do I hate him? Do I hate her or do I love her?
This turns you apart. You have to resolve this somehow.
Another way to resolve this is to come up with an inclusive narrative. Both love and hate are pieces of a bigger puzzle, a bigger picturing or a theory.
The contradistinction between love and hate, the contradiction, is only apparent. It looks like it's a contradiction, but it's not because we have no access or we have no awareness to the true and full picture.
Our knowledge, our capacity to know are limited. For example, when we discuss God, if you look at the world, it looks like God seriously hates our guts. Coming to think of it, it's a hate relationship. God hates us fervently, adamantly. But does he?
Because at least in certain religions, God is a God of love. How to reconcile this ambivalence of God?
On the one hand, he claims to love us and on the other hand, he behaves as though he wants us dead. He wants to exterminate us. How can we reconcile good and evil? There's a whole branch of theology, it's known as theodicy, which is trying to do exactly this.
I even have a video on theodicy.
So one way of resolving this cognitive dissonance of God in this case, one way is to say, well, we have no access to the mind of God. We don't know what is God's plan for humanity. We are limited finite creatures, so we can never understand infinity or the infinity of God's plan.
And so because we are limited, it appears to be a dissonance.
But if we were to go a level up, if we were to have a meta, meta view of everything that's happening, we would see there is no contradiction there. It's just part of a plan or part of something much more complex, which we will never gain access to.
The fourth way, the fourth type of narrative is to deny, to say both love and hate are true. Both of them lead to the same conclusions. There is no contradiction. You're wrong. Love and hate don't contradict each other. For example, many women who experience domestic violence would tell you this. Yes, my boyfriend beats me up. He beats me up, but he beats me up because he loves me. He's battering the fact that he just broke my ankle, bruised my face, that proves that he loves me. This is his way of showing me, proving to me that he loves me. So these women in domestic violence situations, they perceive hatred as love, as a sign of love, as proof of love, as a token of love, as an emblem of love. So they justify hateful behaviors, hateful choices, hateful decisions as forms of love. What these women are saying is hate and love are both true because they lead to the same conclusions. There is no contradiction between hate and love. Every hateful act is a sign of love.
And finally, there is a defensive narrative.
Both love and hate are valid, but only love applies to me while hate applies to others. This is of course called splitting. It's a splitting defense mechanism. I'm all good. You're all bad.
Yes, I have in me love and hate at the same time, but that's because the hate came from you. I am a creature of light. I am a creature. I'm a being of love.
The hatred is a contamination. It's a pollution that comes to me from the outside. I'm all good. I'm all white. You're all black. You're all dark. You're all diseased. And so on.
Hate is bad, but it's projected onto the other. Hate should be eradicated, but only in other people in order to restore love to its rightful place as the sole viable and ethical alternative.
And this whole process is known as reaction formation.
This narrative simply says, I experience actually only love. And on the rare occasions that I experience hate, it came from the outside. It came from someone else.
We need to eradicate and eliminate hatred out there so that it won't be able to infect me in the future. And I will be left only with unmitigated and unlimited love for everyone.
And of course, this is called splitting, which leads to reaction formation.
But when you experience ambivalence, love and hate at the same time, you experience not only cognitive dissonance.
To remind you, cognitive dissonance are the thoughts, the cognitions that go along with love and hate. I love, I hate, these are cognitions.
But we experience other types of dissonance when we love and hate the same person, the same situation, the same institution, the same place, the same something at the same time.
The second type of dissonance is known as volitional dissonance. It's when we act in ways which we perceive to be a critic, immoral or antisocial rather than frenetic.
Why do I use words like acratic and frenetic? For two reasons.
First of all, I want to show you how wise, iridite, educated and amazingly ingenious I am. Much superior to you also.
It's my way of humiliating. No, I'm kidding. Listen.
Acratic and frenetic are words which are borrowed from ancient Greece.
Acrasia is weak willed when you have a weak volition, a weak will.
And this leads to misbehaviors which contradict your best judgment. You act in ways which contradict your best judgment because you're weak, not because you're evil, although in my view, extreme weakness is indistinguishable from evil.
So acrasia is when you act in shameful and disgraceful ways just because you're frail and weak and vulnerable and fragile, OK?
Phronesis is the opposite. It's good judgment, excellence of character, habits conducive to what the Greeks call eudaimonia, a good life and practical virtue.
So volitional dissonance is when we act in ways which we perceive to be a critic. In other words, ways which we perceive to be alien, alien to our values, alien to who we are, alien to our ego, if you wish, ways which are immoral, which are antisocial, which are shameful and disgraceful, ways which are not frenetic, ways which do not involve good judgment, do not involve excellence of character, ways which are not conducive to the good ethical life and to practical virtue.
This creates volitional dissonance. When we are, in other words, ashamed of ourselves, this kind of dissonance is intolerable and we resolve it by using a variety of mostly alloplastic psychological defense mechanisms like displacement or rationalization.
We also create narrative solutions. For example, we reframe reality so that the dissonance disappears. We also tend to externalize the locus of control and so we give up on our agency. We give up on self-control, autonomy, free will actually. We say it's not our fault. Someone did this to me. Someone forced me to behave this way. I've been provoked. Someone undermined me. Someone, in the case of paranoia, for example, someone is out to get me.
So we externalize the locus of control. It wasn't my fault. Something of someone made me do it or inexorably and irresistibly led to what had happened and to the way I feel.
When we experience love and hate towards someone, we are ashamed of ourselves. This creates a volitional dissonance. We feel that something is wrong with us.
If you feel hatred and love towards, for example, your children, you would feel very ashamed of yourself. You're a father. You're a mother. You're not supposed to hate your children. Something is wrong with you.
This cannot lead to a good outcome. This cannot improve your life. This cannot be ethical. It's a bit antisocial.
This dissonance is intolerable and you're going to resolve this volitional dissonance by somehow displacing your hatred, rationalizing your hatred, reframing reality and getting rid of the hatred, denying it, for example, repressing it, or externalizing the locus of control.
You can say, I right now hate my children, my child, because my child had changed. I don't recognize my child anymore or because I have no free will in this matter. I have to hate my child for my child's own good.
In the Bible, it says that the parent who loves the child beats him up. I'm kidding you not. You have to beat up your child physically if you love him. I think that's a form of ambivalence, some manifestation of ambivalence.
You can say, I hate my child because someone or something made me hate my child or inexorably and irresistibly led to me hating my child.
And this could have been my child himself.
Another form of dissonance that is immediately provoked by ambivalence is, of course, emotional dissonance. Emotional dissonance is, in a way, another phrase for ambivalence. It's experiencing two opposing emotions, such as love and hate, which are elicited by the same object.
And so this is what we are discussing.
Another dissonance that is provoked by love and hate ambivalence is axiological dissonance. It's when two dearly upheld and deeply felt values are incompatible, contradict each other.
Let me give you an example.
A soldier. A soldier is a human being. So as a human being, you're supposed to love your fellow beings. You're supposed to love other people.
But as a soldier, you're supposed to hate the enemy. Love, hate. You're supposed to hold these two values at the same time. Love for all humanity and extinguishing, exterminating, annihilating hatred towards a subset of humanity, your enemies.
How do you reconcile this? It creates a dissonance known as axiological dissonance.
And another dissonance, which is a derivative of the axiological dissonance, is the deontic dissonance.
When, because of an axiological dissonance, because you hold two conflicting values, you have two irreconcilable duties or obligations.
As a soldier, you should kill the enemy. As a human being, you should be altruistic and charitable and help people and definitely not kill them.
So the axiological dissonance of love and hate, in the case of the soldier, gives rise to a deontic dissonance, a dissonance of duties and obligations.
One obligation is to kill the enemy. Another obligation is to love your enemy.
As Jesus, Jesus Christ had said, turned the other cheek, love your enemy.
We have the same, for example, with surgeons, medical surgeons, in the operating theater, in a hospital.
One value is you should not violate the bodily integrity of another person. You should never attack or assault. You should never stab with a knife. You should never shoot someone. You should never violate the integrity of another person's body.
But on the other hand, if you're a medical surgeon in an operating room, that's exactly what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to cut someone open, take out organs, interfere with the bodily integrity of that person. For that person's own good, this creates an axiological dissonance and a deontic dissonance.
And that's why many scholars say that in some professions, for example, military leaders, medical surgeons, and so on, psychopaths are much better suited for these professions.
Because psychopaths resolve dissonance by not having dissonance. They don't have empathy. They don't have emotions. So they have no dissonance.
Now, the final dissonance that love and hate create when you hold, when you have, when you experience love and hate at the same time, simultaneously towards the same object or target, this creates an attitudinal dissonance.
Ambivalence is an attitude, actually, technically, clinically speaking, it's attitudinal. That's when I teach ambivalence, I teach it based on theories of attitude.
So ambivalence creates an attitudinal dissonance.
It is an inner conflict between two internalized beliefs, attitudes, statements or propositions held to be true.
For example, love is good. Hate is bad. Love should direct my behavior. Hate should not direct my behavior. These are attitudes.
And of course, when you have love and hate at the same time, you have an attitude and dissonance.
Consequently, by the way, ambivalence usually results in inaction, indecision, lack of choosing. The person freezes. You could say pretty safely that ambivalence kind of mini traumatizes, because we have trauma responses when someone is exposed to this kind of dissonance. It's a bit traumatizing.
There are many responses which resemble trauma responses, post trauma responses. For example, freezing.
Ambivalence leads to a reduction in activity that has been observed in many, many studies.
Okay. So when you love and hate someone at the same time, it could be a strong indicator of mental problems, mental illness, mental health disorders. It could also be an indicator that your environment is changing in ways that make it impossible for you to continue to stick to the previous conviction or previous emotion. It could also mean that you are getting new information that is altering the theory you have about other people, the people you love, theory of mind. It is also indicative that your attachment style does not sit well with your internal working model for some reason. It can also be indicative of a dysfunctional way to bond with other people via hatred rather than exclusively via love.
So ambivalence is a red alert. It's a warning sign. It's a red flag. If you come across someone who expresses ambivalence openly and seems to be very conflicted and unable to resolve it, my advice, don't be ambivalent. Pack your things and walk away. You've heard it here first, of course. Where else?.