Love and hate at the same time

22.12.2020
Caring for someone, but hardly ever wanting to see them. Loving our partner, but wanting some time alone ... Emotional and relational ambivalence is a constant in our lives. Why does it happen and what is it due to?

Love and hate at the same time. Appreciate someone, but know, in a way, that our well-being improves when we have that particular person away. Ambivalent relationships are frequent and that is something that in many cases causes us a certain contradiction and even discomfort. The problem is that we do not know very well how to handle this series of links.

Friends, family, co-workers ... Emotional ambivalence is a well-known phenomenon in the field of psychology. In fact, it is a sensation that we experience almost constantly in many areas of our reality and in multiple areas. You may, for example, love your children very much but need a few hours of solitude from time to time.

We love our partners with all our soul, but there are days when we would love to take a trip in solitude to enjoy ourselves, to enjoy a small space of privacy. The funny thing is that having these thoughts is easier for us to feel bad, even guilty .

The problem arises on many occasions from understanding emotional ambivalence as negative. In fact, it is part of what the human mind is, what has defined us since the beginning of time. The dissonance and contradiction are, in most cases, completely normal . We analyze it.

"How sad it was to love and hate at the same time!"

-Leon Tolstoy-

Ambivalent relationships: definition, characteristics and how to handle them

Ambivalent relationships (like ambivalent emotions) generate psychological distress . The reason? The mind is not prepared to filter out ambiguity, wherever it comes from. Thus, in a world as full of stimuli as ours, the brain has a very clear purpose: to filter, label and simplify to reduce all the chaos that surrounds us to the maximum.

What does this translate to? Basically in experiencing stress when, for example, we appreciate a friend a lot, but we prefer not to spend a lot of time with him because he bores us. We also feel bad about ourselves because, even if we love our brother, we would like to get away from home as soon as possible so that we don't have to argue with him every day.

The relational contradiction weighs on our consciousness when, in reality, it falls within what is expected, within our emotional universe. As much as it may surprise us, people can love and hate at the same time, feel affection for someone, but prefer their distance, love our baby madly but want him to fall asleep at once so that we can rest for a while on the couch without doing nothing....

Ambivalent relationships place us in a permanent state of doubt

Ambivalent relationships can cause more pain than a "bad" relationship . At least in the latter, we know what to expect and how to act. However, when we navigate in constant contradiction, when we have that cousin or that co-worker who makes us laugh, who exudes grace and sympathy , but whom we distrust, the brain suffers.

We often wonder if it would not be better to cut the contact forever . Because dissonance, both emotional and cognitive, destabilizes. Thus, and to appease that internal conflict a bit, sometimes we find ourselves in the obligation to make decisions, such as putting an end to that bond and not reinforcing it, moving away.

However, the problem that defines this type of relationship is maximum . Because, generally, we navigate between affection and discomfort, between sympathy and antipathy, between positive and negative feelings.

Learn to ride the waves of ambivalence

The brain does not like contradiction and less emotional . In his internal universe, he prefers everything in order. But let's face it, life is incredibly complex and relationships even more so. As Walt Whitman used to say , "we have crowds" within us.

To accept the daily contradiction is to assume that things cannot always be as we believe or wish. The people who surround us, as well as ourselves, are complicated beings and it is difficult for them to always satisfy us, that we like everything about them at every moment and circumstance.

Accepting that evidence reduces suffering. Furthermore, studies such as those carried out at the University of Michigan (United States) show us something interesting. The ambivalent mind is a wise mind because it improves our judgments . That is, when we accept that something or someone can arouse us (at the same time) feelings of positive and negative valence and that this is normal, it makes us appreciate reality more intelligently.

In life, things are rarely black or white. People rarely make us happy at every moment and in every second of our existence. Our reality is full of grays, chiaroscuro . Sometimes they disappoint us, other times they excite us. We are all fallible and sometimes successful and even brave. Other times we tremble with fear and at certain times, we are extraordinary ...

Ambivalent relationships can be uncomfortable for us, it is true, but that is something we must always live with. Accepting ambivalence is being able to tolerate our conflicting emotions . And in doing so, the mind finds its precious balance ...

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