|My footsteps, Cape May, New Jersey|
A man came into my office. I did not know him. He was in his forties. He said:
"I was looking for someone like you to talk to. My father is in a coma in the hospital. I was just in his room. I put my hands around his neck, and squeezed. I was crying, and saying, "Why did you do it to me? Why? Why?" I wanted to kill him! Before that happened I took my hands off his neck and left. I hate my father. Can you help me?"
Yes. I'll try. There's a lot at stake here. This man will never amount to anything when it comes to relationships if he does not get this raging bitterness against his father fixed.
Until then, for the rest of us...
Never marry someone who hates their parents.
Pastors: Never hire someone who hates their parents.
Never covenant with someone who hates.
Because: their inability to forgive their parents will soon come down on you. You will become their new parent-figure. You will soon remind them of their father, or mother. You will hurt them in some familiar way (it won't take much), and their unhealed wrath will be triggered. You will displace their parents and become the hated one.
Psychologists call this "projection." Like a movie projector sends the internal image to an external blank screen, the unforgiving unconscious, looking for its release from the inner prison, projects its unresolved anger onto the external world, and the issue is suddenly seen in someone else. In this case, you.
How many times have I consoled a counselee by saying, "I know they are hurting you. But their hurt is not really about you." Hurt people hurt people.
Unhealed people project their stuff onto us, and conclude that their stuff really has to do with us. They treat us as if their projection was true. (See this article in Psychology Today, e.g.)
Pray for the parent-hating person's healing. Pray for their release, but don't live in their prison. This will only happen if they learn forgiveness from heart, and discover A Forgiving Life.
My new book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.