Why do we hate when we love?

Development Theory

Lots of it has to do with frustration, frustration tolerance and even notions of survival. For example, babies clasically depend on their mothers for breast milk and therefore survival. A psychic bond develops, that some would refer to as love. However, if the baby is fet very irregular, it will begin to reject the mother including her breast milk and in doing so turn love into hatred. Hatred hereby is the babys means of survival (let’s say in extremer cases of irregular feeding).

At the same time there is also frustration. Frustration means to depend on the mother for nurture and survival. Therefore, only the mother can give the baby something that it can’t give itself. The baby depends, and therefore frustrates, as much as it bonds or in other words loves. Yet in love it very much hates, because of the frustration “the inability to give itself something one very much depends on.” One or more specifically Melanie Klein possibly calls it envy.

The definition of envy used by Klein is the angry feeling that another person possesses and enjoys something else desirable, often accompanied by an impulse to take it away or spoil it. Contemporary writing also recognises envy as a painful affliction. [Melanie-Klein-Trust, 2022]

Love and hatred in adulty.

In most notions that we share on love today, love as a means of nurture [psychological/physical], we want and need something from someone that we seem to not be able to get from ourselves; similiar to the baby we depend and on that dependency with the inability to get what we want (think about a partner or other situation in which the word no sufaced), what we can’t give to ourselves suddenly comes with frustration. Eventually frustration becomes so high so that as a means of self-protection; the object (the woman or the man) we love most, turns into the object we hate most. Even from loving man we begin to hate man; from loving woman we begin to hate woman. Though we love instead of hate. It’s called “modification of object.” a means of self protection and of course in different intensities and for different reasons.

Needing something, the other won’t give, love turns into hate. I needed to use the bathroom, he didn’t get up, I hate man.

Seemingly, we could possibly love, when instead we hate as a means of self-protection too “not wanting to be alone, therefore choosing to love instead of to hate”. For example; loving a job as a means of survival, when instead it possibly is hated.


Klein, M. (2011). Envy and gratitude and other works 1946-1963. Random House.

Training session at the International Society of Applied Psychoanalysis

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