Hate Breeds Quickly In Loveless Situation

Hate Breeds Quickly In Loveless Situation

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

All newspapers and TV programs are currently analyzing and commenting on the Littleton, Colorado, tragedy, the worst school violence ever experience in the nation.

The given causes of violence and the measures proposed to control it are shortsighted and tunnel-visioned. Easy availability of guns, violent music, violent videos, fascination with Hitler, anger towards athletes, participation in a hate-based group, and isolation at school are all examples of secondary factors. Such factors may contribute but are hardly ever the primary cause of an obsessive, long-held hate or cold and calculated violence.

I must mention at the onset that my observations and reflections on hate and violence are in general. They are not in any way specific to what might have happened in the lives of the two children who went on a mission of suicide and death in the Columbine school. Not all the information is available about these children, and it will be unfair to them and their families to apply these general observations without knowing all the facts. With this caveat, I shall proceed.

We have long known that abuse and neglect can cause violence. It is now common knowledge that children who were exposed to or subjected to hate and violence are likely to perpetrate violence on others, as they grow older. We should now move to the next level of understanding. Being a victim of lovelessness is even more significant and damaging than being a victim of violence. The cause of obsessive hate and persistent, violent thoughts is a persistent lack of healthy, loving, and nurturing relationships.

Understand that I am not referring to a momentary rage or an isolated violent act. I refer to a pervasive and persistent hate that consumes and the violent thoughts that seize the mind of an individual. The individual ruminates over the actions of the hated person or group and spends a lot of time thinking about hurting, and in extreme cases, of destroying the object of his or her hate.

The person who hates another with a passion or obsession may be showing a basic lack of love for one's own self. If you don't love yourself enough, you can make a career out of hating others. People who love themselves and care enough about their own lives don't waste their lives hating others. They make positive goals and plans and work on them to nourish and augment their lives.

So, how does one come to love and respect one's own self, and have love and respect for others? I believe it begins from the primary human bonding, the foundation of all relationships, that is, the pair bonding between a child and a mother. As this bond is nurtured for the first couple of years of a child's life through undivided attention and devotion from the mother, the child becomes truly attached to, and in love with, the mother. Once the foundation of love and attachment is in place and secure, the child bonds with father, siblings, other adults and children, and thus develops attachment and love for everyone else.

The primary bonds of love between children and parents are most significant for a child's later capacity to love others. These bonds should remain intact and continue strengthening as long as the child needs them. A child's emotional needs for parental love are likely to persist well into adulthood. If children lose a parent due to death, they are less likely to suffer from hate and rage as they would from parental neglect, abuse, or conflict.

If we believe that hate and violence result from a lack of healthy and nourishing relationships, we must look beyond the absence or presence of abuse or neglect. There may not always be some dramatic event that turns people into perpetrators of hate and violence. Therefore, ask how many hugs did they, as children, receive every day. Let us not let our children become the victims of lovelessness. Children who grow under the poverty of love, parental attention, and involvement have nothing to steer them away if they begin to tread the path of hate and violence.

It is not enough for parents to provide a roof over the heads of their children, feed them, and keep themselves out of their children's way. To prevent children from becoming obsessed with hate and violent thoughts, we should ask how much time parents spend helping them with their homework, playing games with them, and listening to their ordinary problems and accomplishments every day.

If you are a parent and wondering what you should do as a parent, keep communicating with your youngsters. Instead of telling them right away what they should have done or should do, listen to them when they try to say something. Try to understand what is troubling them without being judgmental.

Many parents don't want to know about personal matters of their children's lives, thinking, "It's not my business, it's their business." They never enter their child's room, in order to respect his or her privacy. But, part of parental care and responsibility is to know what your children are doing and how they are spending their time. Remain interested in their interests and hobbies. Remain involved in their lives and also respect their boundaries, instead of telling them right away what they should have done or should do.

Return to Self Help 

Copyright 2003, Mind Publications 
Posted July 2003


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