You know, when I was growing up, my dad used to put people in a mental category from which It was impossible to escape. If someone didn’t keep their car clean they were “lazy” – and it was inconceivable they could succeed in business, or be a great father, or feed the homeless at a shelter on Sunday afternoon.
As an example, obese people had no willpower in my dad’s thinking, despite presenting him with mountains of evidence that many times obese people don’t eat any more food than other people. He also wouldn’t be able to accept that judging people globally on that one dimension of excessive weight had nothing to do with exceptional abilities they may have had in other areas of life. Someone could have been the greatest violinist in the world, or the doctor that found the cure for cancer, but in my Dad’s mind they would still be categorized as “that fat person.”
Once he resented you for something, or was angry at you for something he thought you might have done to him, you had no redeeming qualities. Suddenly, all your good qualities, good deeds, and accomplishments went out the window (sometimes forever) or until he was no longer in an angry state.
Through the years, I have seen many of my patients do the same thing which creates mountains of resentment, especially between relatives, that doesn’t have to exist.
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