Making Sense of Conditional Love

In Alfie Kohn's book Unconditional Parenting, he shares the following quote by Alice Miller:
"Many people continue to pass on the cruel deeds and attitudes to which they were subjected as children, so that they can continue to idealize their parents."
Kohn adds:
"We have a powerful, unconscious need to believe that everything our parents did to us was really for our own good and was done out of love. It's too threatening for many of us even to entertain the possibility that they weren't entirely well-meaning -- or competent."
In light of these thoughts, it makes sense to consider religion a coping mechanism. It provides a way for mankind to justify the behaviorist practices (read: conditional love) of forebears -- by attributing the approach to God.


Urban Koda said...

I so need to get that book!!

I wonder if perhaps that too explains the desire of people to stay with the religion of their parents as well - Although if it does, it's likely amongst a whole host of others.

simplysarah said...

Yes, the book is so thought-provoking! I'd happily loan it out to you and your wife. :)