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What Is Behind Haters Behaviour

A hater can be defined as a person who uses expressions of hatred and violently insults individuals, usually taking advantage of anonymity and especially on the Internet and on social networks. What is behind haters behaviour?

Last week, Italian’s iconic Sanremo Music Festival took place. In 2021 the band Måneskin won and maybe that’s why you may have heard about Sanremo Festival. They are very popular all over the world now.

The 2022 host and artistic director was the TV presenter Amadeus. A woman co-host was on stage with him each night, all of them coming from the world of showbiz.

On the second night, Lorena Cesarini was invited and given the floor to make a speech. She reported episodes of racism after being invited to the festival. She found out at 34 years of age that she is not Italian as she thought to be.

Indeed, she was born in Dakar to a Senegalese mother and an Italian father. She is not “Caucasian”, namely she is not white.

However, she grew up in Italy, attended Italian schools and college, has Italian friends.

Her words reminded me that I did some research on the haters phenomenon some time ago, even though I am not sure they deserve so much attention.

Here are my findings

Haters address their negativity especially to famous people, or entire parts of population (foreigners and immigrants, women, non-Caucasian people, homosexuals, believers of other religions, disabled people, etc.).

Some researches have identified the following characteristics as typical of haters:

1. mainly express negative opinions in an aggressive manner;

2. make cynical or cruel comments and look for vulnerable people;

3. they try to gain visibility in the media thanks to their provocations;

4. usually, they deal with current issues to get the attention of a big audience.

The energy that the haters invest in their destructive action may have two reasons

1. envy and desire to become famous. The haters believe that the person who they turn their hate to does not deserve the fame they have. The hate message is stronger when the person carries out an activity in the same field as the hater, obtaining, however, a recognition that the hater does not receive.

2. psychological projection, namely a defence mechanism by which someone attributes their shortcomings or weaknesses to others.

In general, researchers found narcissistic and psychopathic personality traits, antisocial and sometimes even sadistic personalities in the haters who participated in the studies.

However, it is not easy to find haters willing to participate in research because they obviously prefer to remain anonymous.

Furthermore, wanting to participate in a study would mean that haters are aware of their behaviour, which is also quite difficult to find.  

The haters phenomenon can happen in two ways

On the one hand, if haters are ignored, and the recipients of the offences do not respond to their attacks, they tend to get bored and most probably they will stop. 

On the other hand, however, persistent hating behaviours can be truly harmful, antisocial and aggressive. This reflects real disturbed personalities.  

Therefore, if a person has aggressive and offensive behaviours that cease if they do not find an audience and therefore visibility, the solution would be to ignore them.

However, if the hater would act like this independently on visibility, then the only solution I can see is medical care. But we know that such people are not aware of their behaviour.

Last Saturday, when the festival concluded, one singer and one actor took the floor and read some hate messages addressed to some participants. Before leaving the stage, they said: Remember that if you are the target of hate messages, you will not easily forget, and you may suffer a lot because of that. Therefore, why don’t we try to be kind to each other?

What do you think of the haters phenomenon? Have you ever been attacked on the social networks?

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Hate Messages – Photo by Markus Winkler on

14 thoughts on “What Is Behind Haters Behaviour

  1. Before I even saw the word in your post, my first thought was narcissist. I personally know someone who would tell me every time they made a rude/hateful comment to someone especially in social media. They were quite proud of the stir it would cause. Because it gave them recognition and when I would point out how it was not needed, they would in turn attack me. But they know what their doing and refuse accountability for any negative effects. They finally learned not to say anything to me because I won’t support the behavior. So this stuff is so real, and I wonder if more people don’t bring attention to it because they don’t want to become the recipient.

  2. It is my belief, which arises from the writings of Thomas Merton, as well as articles like yours. There are those who lack the courage to examine themselves honestly. There is, within a flaw which cannot be acknowledged. The result is only being able to see the shortcomings in others, which must be pointed out. It’s sad 😢

  3. Wow – that sounds like a powerful end to the festival and I love the conclusion that we should all be more kind to each other. But your interesting research makes me wonder — did it give attention to the haters?

    This topic reminds me of a quote from Brene Brown, “Don’t try to win over your haters. You are not the jackass whisperer.”

  4. It’s an interesting one. Some haters simply have deeply held disturbing beliefs. There was a black man – I forget his name – who once sought to understand the KKK and why they hated simply because of the colour of someones skin. By befriending its leader and attending many of their rallies and getting to know them – he managed to get over 100 members to drop their robes. All he did was seek to understand them. He remained open minded and civil towards them the whole time. It wasn’t his objective to get them to turn. But by talking to and understanding him, they did. They changed their harmful limiting beliefs.

    Avoidance is one strategy – but understanding – if you can stomach it – is another one. What I am sure of is returning hate for hate only makes thing worse.

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King

    1. Beautiful story, AP2, and for sure you cannot eliminate hate with hate. Better said with Martin Luther King words: Hate cannot drive out hate, on,y love can do that.

  5. Great post. When I was younger and the internet felt more novel and I had less empathy, I participated in posting some hate-charged messages. I feel like, at that time, I considered it harmless. Perhaps thinking: it’s just a silly comment from a nobody — However, if many “nobody’s” think this way and the hateful messages pile up, that’s when it becomes a strong message. I also feel like interactions via web can create this sense of distance, like “we don’t even really know each other” so it doesn’t matter what I say, but of course, it does!

  6. l messages pile up, that’s when it becomes a strong message. I also feel like interactions via web can create this sense of distance, like “we don’t even really know each other” so it doesn’t matter what I say, but of course, it does!

  7. l messages pile up, that’s when it becomes a strong message. I also feel like interactions via web can create this sense of distance, like “we don’t even really know each other” so it doesn’t matter what I say, but of course, it does!

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