Welcome back to the Therapy Spot, everyone, and happy May! I’m excited as always to bring you a new episode of the podcast. For this month’s episode, I want to talk about something we’ve touched on before… but in a different way.
Today, I want to talk about what I like to call the hater parts inside of you.
What is a “hater part”?
I remember like it was yesterday: the first time I felt someone’s unjustified hate towards me. I was only 12 years old, away from home and excited to compete in a junior amateur synchronized swimming competition. My teammates and I went through our routine in the locker room, just like we had a thousand times before. All of us felt excited to perform after all of our hard work to get there together.
Then, my coach walked in for what I thought would be a pep talk. Instead, she pulled aside two of us: my alternate, and me. She informed us simply that my alternate would swim in my place — no explanation.
I wasn’t going to swim.
My excitement dissolved into confusion and hurt. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. Even now, years later, I still remember that feeling!
What I didn’t know then, and wouldn’t know for a long time, is that her actions that day weren’t about me at all. My coach was angry for reasons that had nothing to do with me at all, and she took that anger out on me. Many of us, I’m sure, have had an experience like that before.
But what if the person taking their anger out on you… is you?
That’s a hater part.
How your “hater part” shows up
Through my work with individuals and couples, I meet some incredibly brave people. They want to feel better inside, and relate better to their loved ones. They work so hard!
But sometimes, when we work together, I meet a part of them that causes more pain even as it’s trying to help. This part feels hate towards other parts — particularly, the sad parts.
Remember the movie Inside Out? In that film, we meet the “parts” inside of a young girl named Riley. One of her parts, Joy, thought that another part, Sadness, ruined everything. She wanted Sadness inside of a circle so that Sadness would just stop touching things.
Eventually, Joy realized that Sadness was important, and that they had to work together to help Riley feel better. But before that could happen, Joy had to stop behaving like a hater.
When I feel badly, now, I take the time to ask myself an important question. This question helps me decide which part to talk to next. I ask: Is there a part of me that doesn’t like how I feel right now?
From hater to mentor
Of course it makes sense to not like feeling sad. But that isn’t the same as not liking your sadness — or, as many of us do, trying to push it away.
I know I’ve talked to you before about curiosity, and specifically about being curious towards your sad and vulnerable parts. Today, however, I want you to get curious towards the hater part, the one who resists your sadness, or tries to push it away. This part definitely won’t show up in a vulnerable way! But just like all of our parts, it is only trying to help.
It is so important to learn to connect with parts like these, and learn what they are worried about. Maybe this part is worried about what might happen if you feel too sad for too long — that you’ll stop exercising, or spending time with friends. No matter how strong this part shows up, it has fears and worries too.
When this part feels heard, it can shift out of the role of hater, and into the role of mentor.
Resources for stopping the hate
Extreme parts, just like extreme people, do extreme things. But you can stop the hate. If you’re living with one part of you hating another part of you, that might be because it doesn’t recognize the other part’s value.
Hate hurts. So let’s stop the hate by bringing in those Self qualities of compassion, curiosity, and calm, and start your inside healing.
I’m happy to share a few resources with you which I think will be helpful.
- For new listeners, welcome! I encourage you to go back and listen to a few of my past episodes on the subject of Self compassion.
- I recently did an exercise in finding my Self compassion voice. You can listen to what that sounds like here, and learn more about that exercise here.
- I also have a workbook which helps you get to know your different parts by writing from them! With over 100 journaling exercises, you will understand the who, what, when, why, and how of all of your reactions to life, and learn how to make choices that fit your life better.
- Also, I highly recommend books by renowned Self compassion researcher Kristin Neff.
As always, thank you so much for joining me on the Therapy Spot this month. I’ll see you again soon with another new episode. Goodbye for now!