you're supposed to tell them the truth. You don't like this part of their behavior because this and this affects you this way and therefore it makes you uncomfortable. Never use the word 'you', always say I, and keep the feedback to specific behavior and don't generalize it so it becomes a personal attack. Allow for a reaction. Find a solution together. (I'm not making this up, these are actually the feedback rules from the f**ing manual )
You know, normally I would, but this is a situation where answering honestly makes me risk, well, being fed, having a roof over my head, etc.
So..it's a family member? hm well then i can understand why it would be hard to answer honestly. My stepmother asked me the same question a few years ago. I'm pretty sure i said "it's not that i HATE you...you just aren't my favorite person"
it was a lie, i hate her.
still the truth may work, as long as you are..nice? about it.
Oh, wow, just seeing this title made me cringe a LOT. No one should ever ask this question of you in the first place. It's annoying and whiny. Grrr.
That said, if it's a parent, I wouldn't acknowledge that you actually do hate them, if you do. They probably don't think you actually hate them; they're probably just being dramatic, and then getting an answer would crush them.
I'd probably try and turn it around a bit and say, "Why would you ask me something like that?"
I remember going through this with my kids. (Well, actually I remember going this this with my own parents also. But they would have never asked a non-question like that. The issue would have never been discussed at all.) From my perspective what that question is saying is, "I wish we could have an honest discussion about why you aren't more loving toward me?" I'd see it as a clumsy attempt to stay connected in a positive way.
Not sure if that's what's happening for you. It sounds manipulative as though it obligates you to "be good."
I'm trying to remember what feelings were under the thought that my children hated me. And they did, in times of anger, say that to me.
First one is that I had failed them. I had wanted to help my kids grow up to be contented and well-adjusted people and instead they seemed angry and rebellious. And ungrateful for all the sacrifices I had made to provide for them.
So I think there was some neediness on my part to be recognized as a loving and devoted parent at that time.
Maybe there's some inability to initiate the conversation about why you appear angry to them? Guessing here.
It's touchy stuff. And it's basic. You're supposed to be detaching physically from them and they're supposed to be learning how to let you go. Hard work. Especially hard when probably both sides want to keep a sense of appreciation of the other.
One of my children had borderline characteristics and the only way she knew how, at that stage of her life, to separate from people was to get angry with them and split in a huff. Ouch! For both parents and children.
Does any of that help?
"No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer