Is hate too strong a word when you’re talking about a mother’s relationship with her children?

Is hate too strong a word when you are talking about a mother’s relationship with her children?

This thought-provoking question, and many more, were raised at my speech to the Sydney chapter of the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University.

My answer was that “hate” is an uncomfortable word which is full of emotion. The dictionary defines it as “intense dislike” and I use it to describe the fleeting feelings that mothers experience, which, in turn, actually strengthens their love for their child. It’s a moment; not a fixed state.

Indifference, which is a disconnection, a cutting off, is the opposite of love, not hate. 

My studies over the past 10 years in this area shows that ambivalence is the mark of a healthy and evolved individual and it encourages the acceptance of all feelings.

There is no good or bad or right or wrong; rather there is good and bad, and right and wrong. 

We need to normalise our troublesome feelings and talk about them more.

You can read more about my view on the need to talk more about the gritty side of motherhood here.

Dr Margo Lowy

Maternal Ambivalence
New Book ‘The Maternal Experience: Encounters with Ambivalence and Love’ out now!

margo lowy profile

As featured in...

australian financial review logo
the british psychological society
bounty logo
mum for mum logo
wildlings forest school logo
bar ilan university logo
stony brook school of social welfare
lecture at tel aviv university