Why Do We Hate Love? Commonlit Answers

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  • 11th Grade
  • Lexile: 1310

Source: Why Do We Hate Love? by Robert Firestone, Ph.D.

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
PART A: Which of the following best describes a central idea of the text?Love can be painful or hard to accept; sometimes it even arouses hate.
PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?“… many people are unaware that being loved or especially valued makes them feel angry and withholding” (Paragraph 2).
PART A: What does the word “punitive” most likely mean as used in paragraph 5?Harsh
PART B: Which of the following phrases best supports the answer to Part A?“to act in ways that hurt the lover” (Paragraph 5).

Explain how childhood affects people’s responses to love and romantic relationships in later years, according to Dr. Firestone. Cite evidence from the text in your answer.

According to Dr. Firestone in the provided text, childhood experiences significantly influence how individuals respond to love and romantic relationships in their later years. This influence is largely rooted in the psychological defenses formed early in life in response to emotional pain, rejection, or trauma, which subsequently affect how love is perceived and accepted in adulthood.

  1. Anxiety from Being Loved: The text explains that being loved can arouse anxiety because it threatens long-standing psychological defenses formed in early life (Paragraph 5). This anxiety is due to the vulnerability that comes with accepting love, which contrasts with the childhood experiences of emotional pain or rejection.
  2. Activation of Painful Childhood Memories: Dr. Firestone notes that being treated with love and tenderness can ironically activate memories of painful childhood experiences and fears of abandonment (Paragraph 7). This connection suggests that close moments in adulthood can evoke feelings of loneliness or hurt from the past, impacting how individuals react to love in the present.
  3. Painful Identity Crisis: The text also discusses how accepting love can provoke a painful identity crisis, particularly for those who have been hurt in the past (Paragraph 10). Accepting love conflicts with the negative self-concept formed within their family, leading to confusion and resistance against positive acknowledgment.
  4. Fantasy Bond with Parents: Accepting love in reality disconnects people from a fantasy bond formed with their parents or primary caregivers in childhood (Paragraph 13). This fantasy bond, created to compensate for emotional deficiencies in their environment, makes real love in adulthood seem threatening and unfamiliar.
  5. Recreation of Childhood Emotional World: Finally, Dr. Firestone points out that people often attempt to recreate the emotional world they lived in as children (Paragraph 19). This means that the experience of being loved in adulthood can disrupt this familiar, albeit negative, psychological equilibrium, leading to resistance and negative reactions towards love.

Overall, the text underscores that childhood experiences and developed psychological defenses play a crucial role in shaping how individuals perceive and respond to love and romantic relationships in their adult life.

Discussion Answers

Have you ever seen or experienced negative emotions in response to love or admiration? Why do you think that was?

As an artificial intelligence, I don’t have personal experiences or emotions, so I haven’t experienced or observed emotions in response to love or admiration. However, I can provide insights based on psychological theories and research.

Negative emotions in response to love or admiration can occur due to various psychological factors.

According to psychological theories like those mentioned in Dr. Firestone’s text, such reactions often stem from past experiences and established defense mechanisms. Here are a few reasons why this might happen:

  1. Childhood Experiences: If an individual experienced trauma, neglect, or inconsistent affection in childhood, they might associate love and admiration with vulnerability and fear. This can lead to negative reactions when faced with these emotions in adulthood.
  2. Self-Esteem Issues: People with low self-esteem may feel unworthy of love or admiration. When they receive it, they might react negatively due to feelings of inadequacy or disbelief.
  3. Fear of Intimacy: Some individuals fear closeness and intimacy due to past experiences or an inherent disposition. In these cases, love and admiration can trigger fear and lead to negative reactions as a form of self-protection.
  4. Past Trauma: For those who have experienced traumatic relationships or events, positive emotions like love or admiration can reactivate past traumas, leading to negative emotional responses.
  5. Identity Conflicts: Love and admiration can challenge a person’s self-concept, especially if they have internalized negative beliefs about themselves. Accepting positive feelings from others can create an internal conflict, resulting in negative emotions.

Understanding these reactions often requires introspection or professional guidance, as the roots of such responses are usually deeply embedded in an individual’s psychological history.


Do you agree with Dr. Firestone’s analysis that childhood and the bond to one’s parents affects the way we experience and respond to love?

Yeah, I totally agree with Dr. Firestone’s analysis. It’s like, our childhood and the way we connect with our parents really set the stage for how we handle love later on. Think about it, when we’re kids, our parents are our whole world. How they treat us and the kind of bond we have with them – whether it’s super close, kinda distant, or even a bit rocky – that’s our first taste of what relationships are like.

If you grow up in a home where love is given freely and you feel secure, you’re probably gonna be more chill and open to love when you’re older. But if your childhood was rough, like if your parents were super critical or kinda distant, you might find yourself being skeptical or even freaked out when someone shows you love or admiration. It’s like your brain’s wired from a young age to expect certain things in relationships, and breaking that wiring is tough.

Plus, Dr. Firestone talks about this idea of a “fantasy bond” with our parents. It’s like this imaginary connection we create as kids to feel safe. If we’re still hanging onto that as we get older, real love can feel threatening because it’s not what we’re used to.

So, yeah, I think Dr. Firestone’s spot on. Our early experiences with our parents or caregivers play a huge role in how we deal with love and relationships later in life. It’s kinda wild how much our childhood shapes us, you know?


In the context of this essay, how are people changed by love? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other art or literaturein your answer.

In the context of Dr. Firestone’s essay, people are changed by love in complex ways, often influenced by their childhood experiences and emotional defenses. The text suggests that love can be both a source of happiness and a trigger for negative emotions rooted in past traumas and fears.

From the essay, it’s evident that love can provoke anxiety and bring up past pains. For example, being loved or valued brings about anxiety because it threatens the psychological defenses that were formed early in life (Paragraph 5).

This means that even though love is typically seen as positive, it can make people feel vulnerable and scared, leading to reactions like anger or withdrawal.

In personal experience, you might have noticed friends or even yourself reacting strangely to affection or praise. Maybe someone got super uncomfortable or even defensive when complimented. This could be because they’re not used to being treated kindly, or they don’t believe they deserve it based on their self-image formed in childhood.

In literature, this concept is a common theme. Take, for instance, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë. Jane’s difficult childhood and lack of affection affect her relationships as an adult. She’s hesitant to accept love because she’s not used to it and fears losing her independence.

Similarly, in “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby’s love for Daisy is more about his obsession with a past ideal than genuine affection, showing how past experiences can shape and sometimes distort our approach to love.

So, love can be transformative, but our pasts often complicate it. It can bring joy and fulfillment but can also resurface old wounds and fears. This dynamic is what makes human emotional life so rich and complex, as depicted in literature and observed in real life.

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