Berate (v): to scold or criticize someone angrily.
My wife’s parents didn’t like me.
They had good reason.
I lied, cheated, misinformed and did a bunch of crap which forced them into the role of being critical defenders of their daughter.
Yet I had the excuse of being intoxicated by adolescence. They were supposed to be mature and understand my weakness, but instead, berated me, telling me I would never be anything of quality.
Being very young, I felt it was my duty to verbally attack them also, leaving a chasm of misunderstanding, which I believed would be taken care of over time. I thought that once their daughter and I were married and had children, matters would miraculously transpire to turn us into a family, laughingly remembering former days of conflict.
It never happened.
Matter of fact, I can recite several events in my life when I was berated–or was the berator of others myself–where those relationships have never healed, but have instead settled into an uncomfortable silence of unacceptability.
We are civil.
I suppose there are even moments of kindness.
But the grudge that is still carried leaves both parties breathless, if not hopeless.
So what I have learned with each passing birthday is that the less I confront those around me, the greater the possibility of maintaining the warmth of fellowship.
I suppose we should be a race that is forgiving, gentle and free of resentment.
We are not.