I HATE You, Daddy!!!, Larry James

I HATE You, Daddy!!!

When my daughter was about 10 years old she went berserk. Well, maybe not berserk, but it sure felt like it to me. She moved into a total stage of rebellion.
It was so bad that I heard the words, “I hate you” more than I care to recall.

When asked to do something she didn’t want to do, she would have this sudden burst of anger. It was like a knife going into my heart. When this began to happen, my initial (angry) response was, “Don’t talk to me like that!,” etc.

I never went to “Daddy School.” I was at a loss as to how to handle this kind of outburst.

One day while driving my car, I was listening to an audio cassette (remember them?) and I heard the speaker say, “When someone treats you badly, calls you names, etc., always remember, ‘that is them expressing as much love for you as they can at that moment in time.'” It was the voice of Werner Erhard. I pulled off to the side of the road, hit rewind and must have listened to those same words at least a dozen times.

I immediately thought of my daughter’s harsh words. I made a decision that day.

I decided that the next time I heard her scream, “I hate you,” I would respond differently. I was committed to listening to her differently.

Instead of hearing her say, “I hate you,” I would listen as if she were saying, “I love you, Daddy, but only a very little bit.”

It didn’t take long. Later that afternoon, she had just gotten home from school and I reminded her to clean her room before dinner. Her response? “I hate you!” as she stormed off to her room.

Instead of my usual response, I followed her to her room and said, “Kelly, I love you and no matter what you say or how you feel about me, I am your father and I will always love you. You have my permission to hate me.”

Her response? “I don’t need your permission to hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” By this time she was in her room about to slam the door. I quickly put my foot in the door and as she continued to try to shut the door, I said, “I understand, and you need to always remember that I will love you no matter what you say or how you feel now.” I removed my foot from the door. It slammed and a miracle occurred.

The miracle? She never said, “I hate you” to me again. I’m certain there were times when she thought it but the magic was, she never said that to me again.

It took another 11 years – on her 21st birthday – when she finally said, “I love you, Dad.” It was worth the wait. I got tears in my eyes, gave her a big hug and today have a terrific relationship with my daughter.

So… what’s the point? Be a committed listener and listen differently. Respond differently. In a committed relationship disagreements occur. Anger sometimes rises to the surface and we are tempted to call our partner names; to say things that we will later regret.

When we do it’s important to remember to:

STOP! Before you respond, remember they are expressing as much love for you as they can at that moment in time.
THINK! Weigh your words. Think about what you will say and how you will say it.
REQUEST a Time-out! Take time to cool off. Waiting to respond is worth the wait.

Treat each other with kindness. Withhold calling the one you say you love bad names. Be the one to take the first step toward healing the hurt not perpetuating it.

Demonstrate your love!

by Larry James

James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on his Relationships BLOG.

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