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London Letter: Destructive Intervention

"Human happiness is fragile, at best. It takes very little to disturb the equilibrium of a balanced life, but practitioners of Destructive Interference are shielded from, understanding what effect it has on others, even on the innocent, because they shelter behind a solid wall of selfishness,'' writes Ronnie Bray.

The history of humanity is liberally sprinkled with stories and legends of Divine Intervention where a kind God has taken note of a particular human condition and dispensed his favour to ameliorate and bless the recipient.

Examples of this include the infant Moses rescued from the waters of the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter; Elijah raising of a widow's dead son; Elisha’s miracle of continuously replenishing the poor widow's jar of oil; and the raising of the four-days dead Lazarus. These examples of Divine Intervention are grand themes of God’s reaching out of heaven to do things for people that they could not do for themselves, and are among the grand themes that inspire and motivate the faithful.

Equally grand, but less notable, are instances of where a parent’s prayer has kept a sick child alive against all odds; restored love to broken families thought to be beyond repair by human experts; and the restoration of joy and love to one whose heart has been sunk into the depths of despair by the tragic loss of a loved one, by the divine provision of a loving person with power to bind up and heal. In each of these examples, the principle element is either the saving of a life that seemed doomed to be snuffed out, or the restoration of vitality in someone whose life lay in ruins before them. The motive behind them all is love, which is God’s primary motive in all he does and longs for for his human children in order that they can fulfil their divine destiny.

There is a much less worthy kind of motive at work in cases of Destructive Interference that marks it as the direct polar opposite of that which God seeks to introduce into the lives of his children. Try as we might, we cannot find anything honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; virtuous, or praiseworthy in it. As God’s motive for Divine Intervention is unparalleled love, so those engaged in Destructive Interference are moved by ungodly and fundamental hatred. This hatred does not care what it costs as long as it gets its own way, nor who it hurts, as long as its fundamental aims are accomplished.

Human happiness is fragile, at best. It takes very little to disturb the equilibrium of a balanced life, but practitioners of Destructive Interference are shielded from, understanding what effect it has on others, even on the innocent, because they shelter behind a solid wall of selfishness. At worst, it is crass unkindness, and at worst, it is significant pathological evidence of a diseased, unsocialised mind.

The most often noted instances of Destructive Intervention are those arising after the death of a spouse, when the surviving partner finds comfort, perhaps love, in another person in a similar position, and the children of one or the other objects to the new friendship.

Often these occurrences are met with such hostility from children that the friendship is forced to end, leaving two people that have already suffered from the death of a loved one have little recourse left to them in order to keep the peace with their unruly and thoughtless children other than to withdraw their friendship, affection, and support from the newly found friend, following which withdrawal they are left to descend into another cycle of despair as hope is snatched from them and all that is left to them is an event that closely resembles bereavement.

It has been suggested that a reason for the children’s Destructive Interference is the fear of losing inherited property or cash benefits. Others have excused their behaviour by claiming to be loyal to their deceased parent. Yet those that claim the latter are often found to have themselves remarried after their partner’s death, or else to have divorced and remarried without any regard for their own loyalty to their previous partners. It is sad to note that in almost every case where objections have been raised to surviving parents finding new love and joy, the objectors do not employ the same level of sensitivity when it comes to their own lives in similar circumstances.

Discourteous efforts to adjust to a bereaved parent’s remarriage often induce or exacerbate what is called Surviving Parent Alienation Syndrome. Underlying dynamics include hostility, fear of losing property or wealth, narcissistic outrage, desire for revenge, children's unskilled attempts to resolve their own conflict, and parent-child boundary violations. In some cases these and similar feelings are aroused because children, of whatever age, have not learned to regard the feelings of the bereaved parent as either significant or important.

The simplest method of learning to cope with irrational feelings at the potential remarriage of a surviving parent is to put oneself in their place. This permits a clearer and more reasonable understanding of the awful plight in which survivors of a loving and happy marriage find themselves. Perhaps only those that have stood in their shoes can fully understand the dreadful emptiness and misery they experience. No amount of explanation will enable another to know exactly how it feels.

Even their own sorrow at the loss of their parent seems unable to be transferred to their surviving parent, so that no fellow feeling exists for their grief: only the cold certainty of their own loss, and, perhaps, the impression that their own grief can never be assuaged. Where this is present to a pathological degree, the prevailing notion becomes that the if the parent shows interest in another, then the grief expressed by that parent at the death of his or her spouse was counterfeit, and so betrayal extends beyond the dead parent to the children. This conclusion, however, is patently false. Yet it has blighted the lives of good men and women for many centuries and its race is not yet run.

The ultimate penalty for non-sanctioned remarriage is utter and outright alienation. This is, ipso facto, a declaration that the survivor is dead. This conclusion may be reached by diktat from a powerful sibling, or by a democratic process in which the accused and rejected is not a part, or by a combination of similar processes. The result is always the same: it abandons the rejected parent and forms the siblings into an uneasy and always suspicious alliance that often runs counter to the individual mores of the weaker members of the group.

What is certain is that the terminated parent will be the continual subject of self-justifying discourse by the group, and even false or invented memories will be invoked to justify the decision of the ‘court’ that has handed down sentence on the rejected. The failure of any self-censoring faculty allows the charges to be deepened and darkened as time goes on, and eventually matters over which the discarded had no control will be laid at his or her feet as if they were somehow culpable of ‘crimes’ against the group.

While the effects of this rejection often bring harm to the one outcast, the deeper injury is done to those that act thus. Hatred that is cradled, nurtured, expanded, and treasured lives like a canker inside the hearts and minds of those that gave it birth, and whose energies are directed towards its continued existence.

The saddest part of such behaviour is that it is often conveyed into the hearts and minds of little children who are taught thereby that love is nothing, and that hate is worth embracing. As it says in the Bible, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge." How true it is that hate is an easier legacy to bestow than love, for love questions, but hate never does. We can only weep for little ones led astray by insensitive adults who are careless with what they instil into their young ones.

Just as only those that have felt the love of a beloved companion can know what it is like, it is equally certain that only those that have been subjected to the injustice of alienation by their children for affirming their God-given humanity can know the ineradicable pain it causes.

Throughout all these bitter experiences, we will always find God ready to ease our distress, lessen our pain, and breathe comfort to us, if we will be patient, trusting, and ready to hear him.

Copyright © 2012 – Ronnie Bray

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Read Some of Ronnie's Religious and Spiritual writings at:

Historical Novel In Preparation:
"Luddite Spring: The Huddersfield Luddite Uprising of 1811 - 1812

Answers to Anti-Mormonism:


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