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?