Monday, November 15, 2010

I Hate You

One day a couple weeks ago, Molly very calmly and without obvious emotion said, "I hate you, and I want to live with Grammy."  I have reached a point in my life where I know that I should not take such comments personally, and really the words did not upset me at all.  I was, however, a bit concerned about the "sky is blue" tone of voice with which she said it.  Of course, the very same night at the end of the bedtime routine, she clung to me and said all dramatic like, "I'm never going to leave you."  Again, I understood the polarity of four year old feminine emotions.  I just kept wondering what it meant, that calm voice that seemed more interested in starting a conversation than getting a rise out of me.  She didn't seem angry, and not even really cold.  What does it all mean?  I wondered. 

I told Molly at the time, that if I let her go live with her grammy, she would end up feeling disappointed in me for not taking care of her and doing right by her.  She didn't believe me, of course, and has repeated her request to go live with Grammy several times since.  I'm sure this is normal.  I'm sure I wanted to go live with my grandmas when I was a kid too. 

But my thoughts keep going back to that moment when she sat on the toilet while I ran her a bath, and she said, "I hate you..."   I think I know what's missing besides anger.  Fear.  She doesn't have to wait until I've made her mad to express this emotion, and she's not afraid of me. I think this means that I am succeeding in my goals as her mother.  Somewhere along the way I decided I didn't want Molly to be afraid of me, because I think a fear based morality is, in the end, counterproductive. I think this means that I'm on the path I want to be on.  

Of course, no one can tell the future, and I could totally be raising a psychopath.  But I don't think so.  And I guess we'll see what she does with the kitten we get her for her birthday.  :0)


  1. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate... leads to the dark side.

    I think all little kids (and little girls, especially) seem to daydream about living with someone else that they perceive as less strict. Before she said, "I hate you," the little kid mind has already thought, "I want to do something bad. Mommy won't let me.... I hate her. Maybe if I say it, she'll let me stay at Grammy's. And then I can eat all the cookies in her pantry."

    Little kids never know the true meaning of hate. The words "I hate you" and "I am frustrated" mean the same thing to them. If only they knew the hate that resides in my black heart, they wouldn't use that word so flippantly... :)


  2. While she doesn't fear you in a direct, physical or emotional sense, it sounds like she still fears your absence. I think that's healthy, because she recognizes that there are certain unknown factors in the larger world, and that you protect her from them. On the other hand, you don't want her to be too afraid of the unknown... it's such a balancing act.

  3. @Anthony, I think she didn't want to take a bath.
    @Dan, Everything is such a balancing act, isn't it?

  4. It makes me happy that K feels safe enough to say "I hate you." As for me, I love her so much that I don't mind if she hates me.

  5. Totally. Molly totally threw a tantrum this morning because I threw some stuff away and she realized she wanted one of the things. She ended it with I hate you. I have to make room for all the crap she's going to get in the next month and a half.

  6. Well, there you go. I think she imagines never having to take a bath if "someone else" was taking care of her. It's so interesting to watch their little egos develop from nothing to self-centrism. And you can't help but wonder when they start regarding other people's feelings, while also fearing that they won't ever do this...