Hard Questions: Love/Hate Relationships

Peanut sat on the sofa today while I was working and popped up with a question for me. One that I’m not quite sure how to answer.

“Mom, can you love and hate someone at the same time?”

When I asked him about it, he said he had been thinking a lot about my husbands sister. For reasons I won’t go into, she has put a chasm in him. One that is dark and angry, void of light. However, the man I see him in him, the one I’m raising him to be, still loves her.

He wants to talk to her and worries about her health, but in the same token, wants to take her out at the knees with his Louisville slugger. While I would never allow this to happen, as a parent I’m having a hard time coping with the fact that his emotions are so strong on either end of the spectrum and the middle is void.

My answer, for me, is yes. However, I’ve told him it’s wrong to hate and that we shouldn’t let those feelings consume us. But who am I to tell him how to feel?

What I want for Peanut is for him to be able to discern between his feelings, rationalize why he is feeling a certain way, before he says or does anything. Makes me feel like I need to be asking for chocolate without calories.

I know he has to feel, but it kills me knowing he feels this way. Am I adding fuel to the fire writing about it here? Not intentionally. I need advice from others that have experienced relatives being a key player in a role that nearly caused the world they know (mom and dad’s marriage) to collapse.

Talk to me. Because I need guidance.


  1. Awww *HUGS* It’s hardest when our feelings are so strong that you don’t want it to make an impression on our children, I get it, I totally do but I think you are doing all you can hun. You’re talking to him & being honest without revealing too much but also explaining hate is not something to take lightly. I tell my kids the same thing.

  2. I know it is possible to love fiercely but at the same time hate that person’s actions.I think that’s how Peanut is feeling. He loves the person she is but hates the actions she chose to do and the outcome that could have occurred.I understand that.

  3. Thanks babe. That’s been the hardest. I don’t want him to have hard feelings and I don’t let mine show, ever. But? He still has them. Part of human nature.

  4. What a great way of looking at it and one I talk to him about. I think you’re right. He hates her actions and it’s going to take him a long time. I just have to reassure him that we are all human and do things selfishly without thinking about the bigger picture.

  5. Keep doing what you’re doing. Validate is (and your) conflicted emotions. Talk about how it hurts to feel this way about a family member. Discuss what your expectations of a close relative are and acknowledge that she has no interest in being that person right now. It is okay for you two to not like her but love her as a family member should. XOXO.

  6. Yes Lisa I think we all make mistakes and sometimes that mistakes are costly.

  7. Great dialogue! Thanks for sharing…it’s tough.

  8. Elizabeth norton says

    Your a smart women and I know you are doing your best. This is a life lesson-heck I am l still learning this. This is life’s endless lesson and we all need to learn and relearn. And as parents we need to watch then learn! Hugs

  9. I am so impressed by this supportive group of women. I love Gena’s comment about how you hate person’s actions but love the person. Perfect response to a difficult problem. Also great to point out that there are always consequences to a person’s actions. I’m like to add something I tell my kids. I let them know that every single person they love will disappoint or hurt them at least once in their life. Nobody is perfect so it’s bound to happen. I love my kids more than anything in the world but I know if their lifetime I will hurt them at least once. Letting our children have realistic expectations of people promotes resilience and prepares them for reality. I enjoyed reading all your comments. You all seem like a great group of women.

  10. Oh no, I got so passionate about what I was saying, I forgot to double check for typos.
    1 hate a person’s actions
    2 I’d like to add
    3 I know in their lifetime

    Again, I just got too passionate about my thoughs…sorry if I sounded illiterate :o)

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