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Bullies are often parental rejects

Earl Middleton No Comments

bullying, prejects, pain, back to schoolHas your child ever been bullied?

Have you?

As our children return to school I know firsthand the anxiety many parents feel as they are forced to release their little gentle souls into the potential path of campus bullies.

I was bullied for a short time as a rail thin kid growing up in Brooklyn after moving there from Belize. Even though it was 1969 my colorful, plaid, high water pants and blindingly bright, stripped shirts were still considered weird; almost as weird as my thick accent. That combination just screamed, “Bully me! Call me names! Chase me all the way home!”

Today I am a full-time author-speaker and run prejects.org, a non-profit dedicated to healing families. I do a lot of work with foster parents and children, and lead Foster & Kinship Care Education workshops in the California Community Colleges system. I also have three children of my own, including a 12 year old boy in the 7th grade.

Between 1969 and now I’ve learned something revelatory about bullying that can make a difference for your child and school this year.

A preject is a parental reject; a person who has been neglected, abused, or abandoned by at least one parent and consequently lives with a cracked, broken, or shattered soul. The preject personality is organized around preject syndrome, the leading characteristic of which is hostility.

Many, many bullies are actually prejects acting out in hostility as an expression of the pain of their parental rejection. The only way to effectively deal with this kind of bully is via adult intervention. (And our preject test, available at http://theprejecttest.com, can identify whether or not someone is a preject, and at what level of prejection they might be operating.)

There is no magic phrase or behavioral response (outside of meeting force with force) from the victim of this kind of bullying that will make a difference to the bully or stop the bullying behavior. The preject bully needs an adult who will speak to the parental loss the bully is experiencing, express genuine care and parental concern for the bully, set limits and consequences for the bully’s behavior, and hold the bully accountable.

Hopefully your school’s campus is populated with administrators, teachers, and campus life guardians who can provide this kind of adult intervention. Sadly, with more learning communities forced to battle greater problems with fewer resources, it’s likely that your school’s staff is stretched thin as it is. But every problem is an opportunity for impact.

You can make a difference!

Why not volunteer to be one of those adults who provides a presence on campus once a week specifically to make an impact in the life of a bully. Better still, why not organize a team of adult intervention volunteers to meet the bullying problem head on. Patrol the playground and lunch areas. Keep an eye out for aggressive behavior. It will certainly make your child’s campus a safer place to learn, and just might lead to a defining moment in a young preject bully’s life.

Visit my website (http://prejects.org) and my amazon author page (http://amazon.com/author/earlmiddleton) to learn more.

Colorado shooting suspect exhibits classic signs of parental rejection

Earl Middleton No Comments

colorado shooting, colorado shooter, james holmes, parental rejection, preject, columbine, virginia tech, tom mauser

As the smoke clears after the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado on July 20th, a familiar and disturbing picture of the alleged shooter has emerged. Like his large scale predecessors in Littleton, Colorado and at Virginia Tech, this shooter evinces classic signs of preject syndrome: a surprising public demonstration of violence; disconnection from parents; emotionally insulated and isolated; a generally negative view of the world; and a well concealed but gnawing sense of personal failure and the low self-esteem that goes with it.

A preject is a person who feels rejected and disconnected from one or both parents, and as a results lives with a cracked, broken, or shattered soul. The key word here is feel, for those feelings can arise despite a parent’s best efforts to communicate love and support to a child. In extreme cases broken or shattered prejects can become ticking time bombs who eventually visit catastrophic destruction on themselves and, often, those around them.

It is estimated that by the time they reach age 21 as many as 100 million Americans will have felt rejection from a parent to some degree and as a result developed preject syndrome, which has been shown by research to adversely affect performance in school and lead to unfavorable outcomes in every major area of life. The clinical components of preject syndrome include hostility, dependency, low self-esteem, emotional instability, emotional unresponsiveness, and a negative worldview. People afflicted by this syndrome will typically manifest several of the components while others may be less noticeable to the untrained eye.


Because there is currently little public awareness of the existence of prejects, and virtually no educational infrastructure in place to identify them, this problem, as Tom Mauser, a parent of one of the Columbine victims predicts, will continue to take us by surprise. “I think that there’s a real serious problem in this country with disaffected youth, disturbed students,” he told The Early Show’s co-anchor, Russ Mitchell, back in 2007 during an interview about the Virginia Tech mass shooting that claimed 32 lives. “I don’t think we’re doing enough to address it. Unfortunately, I think it’s probably going to happen again.”

It’s said that Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter, didn’t have a good relationship with his mother and that they hardly ever spoke. Classic signs of parental rejection. “We have to find something we can do about people like this,” Mauser said.

In response to the Columbine shooting, the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) convened a symposium in July 1999 and presented a systematic procedure for threat assessment and intervention. One intervention recommended to be taken in schools to strengthen their threat response program included: “Develop programs to help parents recognize when their child may be in emotional trouble or socially isolated or rejected, and help parents become more knowledgeable about where to get help and more willing to seek it.”

There have been more than 100 major school shootings in the United States since Columbine, and a Secret Service study and report on the phenomenon reveals that more than half of the shooters were likely prejects. If there was ever a generation that needed to invest in the emotional education of parents and their children before they become unreachable, and consequently a real danger to themselves and their school communities, it’s this one.

Help for Homosexual Children Rejected by Their Christian Parents

Earl Middleton No Comments

Fall is just around the corner. It’s time for school supplies. But for one segment of the student population the item they will need most won’t readily be available at their local office supply store.

I am a Christian parent. To my knowledge none of my children are currently practicing homosexuals. So, to some degree I write more from an understanding culled via study, revelation, and biblical conviction rather than from insights gained in the bowels of experience.

My parents were also Christians parents. And one of their children was, and still is, a practicing homosexual. So, to some degree I do write from insights gained while in the bowels of experience.

What I have seen in my own childhood, and what I see happening in the Church today, as well as some of our schools, is a painful demonization and wounding of homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents. I don’t challenge the authenticity of these rejecting parents’ Christianity anymore than I challenge the authenticity of the homosexuality of their children. What I challenge is the hurt, the harm, and the horror of the rejection; and I view the healing of these wounds and wrongs as a significant part of my life mission.

I am a Christian minister. A Christian theologian. A Christian author. A former Christian pastor. And a current Christian champion of healing for prejects, including homosexual prejects. A preject, as I explain in my workbook When My Mother & Father Forsake Me…, is a person who has been emotionally rejected by and homosexual children rejected by christian parents, healing, LGBT, acceptance, rejection, Godphysically disconnected from a parent. We are increasingly becoming a nation of fractured families. It is estimated that 100 million Americans experience some level of rejection and disconnection from a parent by the time they reach age 21. Research has shown this kind of rejection to have significant impact on academic performance and school socialization. A growing segment of this preject population is LGBT teens and young adults coming out to their parents as a result of the rise in available support groups and more sympathetic legislation.

My biblical convictions are that homosexuality is a sin and misses the mark of God’s basic and best design for our lives. My biblical convictions also are that Jesus would have and does embrace the homosexual, or anyone deemed by the law to be in a place or lifestyle of sin. Therein lies the tension of redemptive faith. Those seemingly polar convictions beg the question: How does a bible-believing Christian, be it an educator, classmate, or parent, embrace someone who is behaving in a way that God disapproves of and rejects?

Well, I have come to believe that the very question is really a product of bad theology.

Sin matters. Love matters more. The law of love supersedes the law of sin.

God is love. He loves all of His creation. Loves it so much that He sent His son to model in a corporal and costly way His love for all of His creation (Jn 3:16). So, the God of the bible embraces everyone. And that love teaches us to embrace our own kids even when they misbehave. Biblical love demands that we love everyone, not only as a point of legality; but from the heart. Because biblical love is transforming. When a person has a true encounter with the God of love one cannot help but to become love as well, from the inside out, from the heart; because love supersedes the law, and is in fact the only law. As Paul said, owe no man anything but to love; for he that loves has fulfilled the law (Rom 13:8). And if my faith is going to work it must be anchored in and activated by love, for the same Apostle Paul also said that faith works by love (Gal 5:6).

So, I am not called or sent to condemn the homosexual. I am called and sent to love the homosexual. And the pain of homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents demands a response. LGBT young people who are highly rejected by their families are likely to attempt suicide as many as 9 times in their lifetime. I cannot turn my head and walk on, like the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan. The love of God constrains me to be a good neighbor. The pain of homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents is my pain, and I believe God has a word of help and healing for them that will transform their pain into power. For years I’ve watched my sister suffer this pain. In my heart I believe that by ministering healing to homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents through my books, workshops, and seminars, I am also ministering healing to her…and ultimately, to myself.

As LGBT young people head back to school this fall, let’s equip them with the tools they will need to endure their rejection experiences, overcome the hate, and transform their pain into power. Let’s put a copy of When My Mother & Father Forsake Me… in the hands of every LGBT student who needs it, and in so doing, tangibly demonstrate the love of God.

How My Son Broke My Scorched Heart & Changed My Life

Earl Middleton one comments

angry dad, abused child, meeting my father, forgiving my father, how to forgive my father, getting along with my father, reconcile with my father, parental rejectionI left my son in our box seats at Dodger Stadium to go take a private cell phone call, and he broke my heart.

When I returned I couldn’t see him, or our seats, or my jacket, which contained my wallet, and the key to our ride back home. I found him in another section down front with a group of other boys his age. I remember stalking toward him and motioning with gritted teeth, “Get over here!” The wide grin on his face from the joke they must have been sharing dropped to a pout even more puckered now by his new braces. When he finally reached me I yanked him by the collar over to a corner of the stadium concourse and shouted into his face, “I’m doing this here so I don’t have to embarrass you!” as usual, not realizing the damage had already been done.

And that’s when it happened.

Now, I know you must be thinking, what was he going to do? Lecture him? Or even worse, spank him, or beat him? Well, before I could do any of those he looked me in the soul with an eyeful of pain that could gut a gorilla and asked, “Is it over? Daddy, is it over?”

In that moment I could feel his innocence, his helplessness, his total loss of hope. It didn’t matter to him what I was saying to him, it mattered what I was feeling to him. To his eleven year old ears all my words during that entire encounter were like the inscrutable squawking the peanuts characters on television heard when any adult spoke to them. But what he was feeling from me was rage. And disapproval. And disgust. And rejection. The same things I felt from my own father when I was eleven. And the same thing my father must have felt from his. And like me, he just wanted it to be over.

All of that fell into my spirit in that one instance, and my heart crumbled. And the tears rushed to my eyes. And something died in me. Hopefully, for good. And something else was birthed. It was like I was having an out of body experience, standing there watching a grown man bully my son. He suddenly looked so small to me. Not his body that was just beginning to fill out, but his soul. It was like Yahweh had given me soul vision. I could finally see my son’s so clearly. And it was shrinking away from me with each breathe, like a lost man falling off a cliff while reaching up to his last hope for survival.

Boys need discipline and structure from their fathers—I totally get that—but what they want and need even more is gentleness, encouragement, and loving hugs; all fruit of the spirit that aren’t basic issue in our daddy tool kits when they are born, but have to be grown inside of us one day at a time. I’d already raised two girls and thought I was daddy deluxe. I’d preached about this and even written about it in my novels and parental rejection books. But I’d never really understood it until that very moment.abused child, meeting my father, forgiving my father, getting along with my father, reconcile with my father, parental rejection

“Behold, therefore, the goodness and the severity of God.”

Parents have a special call on their lives to model both. I had the severity part down cold, it was the goodness thing that escaped me that day at Dodger Stadium, and so many other days before that. The soil of my heart had been scorched from my own childhood, so nothing was really growing in there. What had been passing for spiritual fruit in my life was really just wax. Decorative stuff. With zero nutritional value. Nothing I could feed my son.

I damaged my son’s soul for a jacket, a wallet, and some keys, all material things that could eventually be replaced. I was in the middle of making a bad trade when the Holy Spirit showed me myself. The tight fists balled up around his collar eventually relaxed, then morphed, into a tight, wet hug around his neck; and it didn’t matter anymore how or when we would get home. All that mattered was that finally, we would get there together.