Just reading Elizabeth Buchan’s Perfect Love – in the bath, just before Thea fell in! She observed that “our characters are shaped as much by those we hate as those we profess to love.” Interesting – perhaps hatred warps us more than love sculpts.
And, thinking more, are there two kinds of hatred: offensive, where hate fuels smoldering cruelty, and defensive, where one is the shrinking recipient. Certainly, being on the receiving end has made me understand the power of witch doctors. The evil eye is truly named as being icily watched distorts, diminishes as surely as if the person loathing were sticking pins into a wax image.
Yes, it shapes us. Do we break? Do we descend to their level? Or, if we try to bridge the enmity, in desperate determination not to become like them, does this make us stronger or merely self-righteous? But changed we are.