It’s human to get along with some people better than others. But if you see enemies everywhere you look, it may be time to take a step back and see what this feeling is doing to your life. Generalized hatred could be interfering with your success, your health, and your happiness.
If you hate everyone, you may believe yourself to be a misanthrope. This is a term used to describe someone who has a general dislike for the human race, fueled by the belief that humankind is generally flawed. While misanthropy is a belief system, the feeling of hating everybody is more of a reaction and a habit—that can be overcome.
If your hatred is getting in the way of your happiness, it may be helpful to enlist the help of a trained therapist in person or remotely. Explore our list of the Best Online Therapy Services if you are interested in pursuing telehealth therapy.
I Hate Everybody: WHY?
There are many possible reasons for a feeling of generalized hatred.
1. You are protecting yourself from being hurt
If you have been abused, neglected, or otherwise hurt by someone in your life, it can be difficult to trust other people you meet. A feeling of distrust—and expecting to be hurt again—can fuel a defensive blast of hatred. For better or for worse, your brain is telling you that if you “strike first” by hating people, your defenses will be up, and they can’t hurt you.
2. You are under a lot of stress
Although bouts of stress are a natural part of life, chronic stress can cause a general feeling of irritability, which may make you prone to annoyance and anger.
3. You reflect your own insecurities onto others
Sometimes our hatred represents a projection, or representation, of our own fears about ourselves. If you hate certain people because of their success, ask yourself if it is based on your own perceived lack of success.
4. You generalize your perceptions of people
If you meet someone who reminds you in some way of a person who has hurt or angered you in the past, your brain may be activated in a way to categorize this new person as an enemy, without giving them a chance to prove themselves.
5. You hate people’s opinions
It can be difficult to accept people whose views on the world differ from yours. If you meet people who disagree on issues that matter to you, you may be jumping straight to hatred without realizing that you have other options: getting along in spite of your different views if they are someone you’d like to get along with or finding a way to calmly separate yourself from that person (As the saying goes: “don’t go away angry. Just go away”).
6. You need more quality time alone
While extroverts tend to gain energy through social interactions, introverts usually require more time alone to recharge. If you are introverted, a feeling of generalized hatred could be a result of too much social stimulation and a need for quality solitude.
7. It could be one component of a larger issue
Generalized hatred can go hand in hand with other disorders of mental health. If you believe that you may be struggling with any of these issues, it is important to seek help from a professional: call emergency services if your safety or the safety of others is at risk. For less urgent concerns, you may want to consider working with a therapist. Our list of the Best Online Therapy Services can help you get started.
Depression. Other signs of depression include feelings of isolation, chronic fatigue, sadness, and fluctuations in weight.
Social anxiety disorder. This is characterized by anxiety related to interacting with others. Symptoms can include a racing heart rate, fearfulness, and feelings of isolation.
Antisocial personality disorder. This is also termed sociopathy. People with this disorder tend to feel a general dislike for others and the inability to feel empathy or to be remorseful when doing things that hurt others.
I hate everybody: SO WHAT?
- Feelings of generalized hatred can cause a range of short- and long-term consequences.
- Your relationships suffer if you are unable to connect with people in a positive way.
- Patterns of negative interactions at work can hold you back from professional growth.
- Your mental health can suffer. Feelings of negativity can compound, leading to depression or other mental health issues.
- The physical effects of strong emotions like hatred are real. The “fight or flight” cascade evolved to keep us on high alert, safe from predators. But living in a state of near-constant high alert can cause problems with digestion, concentration, sleep, and cardiovascular health.
- Hatred uses a lot of emotional energy that could be spent on positive activities, and the drained feeling you may get from being angry can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like the abuse of drugs, alcohol, or food.
How can I stop hating everyone?
If you feel as though you hate everyone, and it’s interfering with your health and happiness, there are things you can do to overcome the feeling and see people more positively.
1. Identify the root causes of your hatred
Although it can be painful to dig up past hurts, knowing why you might be protecting yourself from future harm can go a long way in helping to change your habits. Working with a therapist can be extremely helpful in this regard.
2. Focus on the positive
Easier said than done, of course. It can be difficult to see past anger and hurt but taking the time to notice the situations and people who do give us joy can go a long way in diffusing feelings of hatred.
3. Express your thanks
Appreciation goes hand in hand with a focus on the positive. Making a concerted effort to relay your gratitude—whether it be to people who treat you well, to natural beauty around you, or to yourself for even a small accomplishment—can help retrain your mind to focus on love instead of hate.
4. Separate the opinions from the person
While you may disagree with someone, or even be angry with them, it may be useful to remember that they are probably not an evil person who means you harm.
5. Ramp up the communication
It can be difficult to see straight when you feel hatred. Take a deep breath and try to listen. Seeing things from others’ perspectives and speaking in a calm tone can help you hone your empathy skills and calm your emotions.
6. Reduce stress
Finding ways to help you relax can give you a better outlook on the world and those who inhabit it. Practice self-care in whatever form it takes for you: exercise, meditation, reflection, pampering, or whatever floats your personal boat.
7. Learn to love yourself
If you suffer from low self-esteem, it can cause you to reflect your insecurities onto others and feed feelings of hatred. Learning to appreciate yourself will help you project appreciation—rather than criticism—onto others and improve your relationships.
8. Protect yourself with boundaries
There are, of course, real reasons to hate the people who hurt us or who are otherwise toxic influences. It may be time to set boundaries now to protect yourself from them, and from your own negative reactions to them. If you are in an abusive relationship, get help immediately.
Don’t give up
The feeling of hating everybody can be overwhelming and damaging to many aspects of life. Turning it around is a skill, which requires lots of practice, like any other. It may benefit from coaching through a trained therapist. You might find that your growing skills will help you improve your health, your relationships, and your outlook on life.