Hatred is a Mental Illness
I read an opinion that we as a society cannot say that all acts of terrorism and violence are a result of mental illness, that to do so makes real mental illness invalid. I can’t agree with this and here is why.
Mental illness covers a wide range of issues from schizophrenia to suicidal impulses to depression. It covers addiction and PTSD. It also covers disruptive behavior, impulse control and conduct disorders.
It covers quite a bit.
I think the mistake many people are making is not understanding what a mental illness is, and thinking that mental illness means you aren’t responsible, that you couldn’t control yourself. Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.
When someone commits violence, when someone has a deep hatred, I truly believe they are mentally ill. It doesn’t mean I excuse what they do.
I also think we should take this one step further and recognize that we as humans have poor social skills. Some of us are so bad at it that we commit violence on our spouses, families, acquaintances and strangers. This goes beyond poor social skills into what I think of as social illness.
What’s almost as bad are those of us who look at a rapist and blame the victim.
Who look at a mass shooting and deny that the shooting happened.
Who watch a violent attack and transform the perpetrator into a monster and then transfer the blame to anyone who resembles the monster.
Hatred is a mental illness.
This is me back in 2003 in front of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.