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Author Topic: Is it Natural to Hate your Parents?  (Read 3343 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 01, 2013, 02:25:42 AM »

I mean to literally harbor an inner, dark resentful hatred of your parents and despise who they are as people? Not the typical teenage you-won't-let-me-borrow-your-car-OMG I hate you-thing, but to literally hate them, view your childhood as being messed up because of them and feel absolutely no emotions for them at all? I mean--as bad as it sounds--if they were to die right now, I would honestly feel no remorse or pain, and would go to sleep feeling no different than I do any other night. I think I would be more troubled by the fact that I would practically have to raise my siblings now than the fact that they are dead. What's odd is that my parents don't even know this. I don't openly tell them I hate them or constantly disobey and disrespect them. I follow all their rules, always comply and on the outside appear contempt with them, yet, on the inside, I could be thinking about how much I resent them while I am externally giving them a hug.

I've tried as hard as I could, but I honestly cannot say that I love my parents or find anything admirable about them. They've never been behind me on ANYTHING in life! They still don't even support my conversion to Orthodoxy and remain hostile toward me about it, even after I constantly pray for them and show nothing but kindness to them. I've been as patient as I could; always sticking up for them, always trying to find something good about them to say. But what for? They don't support me, and they stab me in the back by belittling my faith at any opportunity they get. But more so, combine this with the childhood they gave me and I feel even worse.

I don't get how my parents could honestly act as if I OWE them respect or if they have some sense of authority over me. The way I see it is, why should I obey them, comply with them or honor them if they've never really acted like good parents? Does my dad deserve respect even though he constantly expressed his volatile temper in our home growing up and broke things, yet never paid any attention when I cried? And oftentimes left and came back whenever he wanted? Why should I take him seriously now in modern times when he tells me to "listen to him when he's talking"? Wasn't I already forced to listen to more than enough of him growing up when I had no option? And what, now that I am older and he can't force me to listen to him, it angers him? Or when he likes to threaten kicking me out every time I make even the slightest mistake? Big deal. I've already made it very clear to them that I have plans for getting out when I turn 18, eventually reimbursing them with the money they spent to raise me and then never having to talk to them again. What right does he have to tell me what to do when he did drugs and I had to assume his role in many aspects when he was gone?

None of it makes sense to me. I always obey them--as hard as it is--and very rarely come out with these true feelings (unless they really provoke me every once in a while), but this is how I feel inside and obeying them is only getting harder and harder because of all this. In a sense, it almost turns into pride and manipulation. I see my father, tell him I love him and act obedient when in reality I am probably laughing in my head "I can't believe that -censored- fell for it, I hate his guts" etc. I also feel the same way toward my mother, although admittedly my hatred for her is less severe. She burdened me with WAAY to much emotional baggage growing up since I was the only one she confided in, and never did anything to really make my situation better with my dad nor stop the violence and anger. She's also insulted me in deeper ways before, like questioning my sexuality, teasing me for my short height or telling me I'm stubborn and will never find a woman one day. And then you have her blatant hostility toward my conversion when I've done nothing but pray for her and my father and try to be as non-offending as possible. I just don't see how I can handle them any longer, nor do I know what the proper Christian response is.

How could I continue praying for people who I view as nothing more than an obese loser (my father) and a selfish whore (my mother)? Especially when they don't even support my conversion on top of all this I had to endure from them?

/rant
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 03:01:56 AM »

It's not natural for everyone, but some people have better parents than others.

But nobody as perfect parents and can always find reasons to resent them.

If, for the time being, you cannot line up your thoughts towards them in a respectful manner, you should continue ensuring your actions are perfect.
I find that actions, even when the feelings behind them do not match my actions, tend to influence my feelings and thoughts. I have especially found this to be true in dealings with my wife. Choosing to act the right way towards her even when I feel very much the wrong way to her, helps me to feel more rightly and think more rightly of her with time.
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 03:20:35 AM »

I don't think you should nurture these thoughts, even if they do arise repeatedly because of objective circumstances like the ones you describe.

Even if your parents were indeed the way they seem to you now, it's still not natural (i.e. according to what God intended a parent-son relationship to be) to hate them. Commandments like "honour your father and mother" or "love your neighbour (enemies included)" are not contingent on whether these people "deserve" our love and honour or not (if such things can be deserved at all).

Things might change between you (people do change), but not if you allow yourself to go down this slope. It can be helped, you know. Even if it's hard, try not to always see them in the light of those hurtful memories from the past. In a way, you have "new" parents every day. The past needn't determine the way you interact with them in the present. If you allow it to do so, the wound will only grow deeper and deeper, on both sides. At least, try to view them with compassion, not disdain.   

Hating your parents is not a burden you want to carry all your life, like Kafka. There have been Saints who were killed by their parents for embracing God's way.

When praying the Jesus prayer, try adding "for the prayers of my father/mother N., have mercy on me a sinner".   
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 03:42:57 AM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 04:13:18 AM »

From Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica:

Q. How can one stop oneself from committing a sin against one's parents who oppose the Church, who blaspheme against Christ, and who even threaten to disown us?

A. Parents have a great influence over their children. Whether they are good or bad is their own problem, and they will give an answer to God.
    There is a lot of evil in the world because people have lost respect for their Heavenly Father and for their own parents. I did not know this when I was young. I take after my mother, as most men do, and like her, I am overly sensitive.
    I thought my father should do more for his children. I was his oldest son. I was born in 1914. These kind of thoughts almost ruined my life. I should not have had such thoughts about my father. These thoughts had such a negative influence on my life–and the fact that I was a bright child did not help at all.
    We must pray to the Most Holy Theotokos to give us the strength and the will to love our parents, and these difficulties in our life will disappear. The Lord will open our path and give us what is best for us. The Lord is great and He is good. He will forgive all our sins. We must love our parents regardless of what they are like. If our thoughts are good, they will have a positive influence on our parents. We must have good thoughts for the whole world. If we quarrel with our teachers and parents, we will have hell in our souls. It has happened many times: one learns to love his teacher, and the teacher gives him good marks. If you sin against your parents, you will suffer grave consequences. Our parents have a great influence on our lives.
    The Holy Fathers say , "It is impossible to have peace, yet to be full of envy and malice." Those are the properties of hades. If we can free ourselves from them, we can live a happy life. Let us pray to the Lord, for He alone can change the state of our soul. For if we bear an insult, we can still keep our peace; but if we insult someone, then our conscience will not give us peace.


From this elder's own testimony, he struggled with this sin for a long time, so these are not to be taken as mere pious niceties but the fruit of a great struggle. Perhaps you could pray to him for help with this.

Also, it occurs to me that the season of Lent is approaching. Maybe you could build into your prayer rule the prayer of saint Ephrem, with prostrations of course, mornings and evenings, specifically mentioning your parents during the prayer? Run it by your priest first. But either way, pray about this to the Lord; We know that He honors our intentions, and will grant His grace according to our feeble efforts, regardless of how resistant out hearts are in the beginning.
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 04:50:46 AM »

I can't answer this. I mean, if all there was to the OP was the title, I'd say "no, it's not natural." But obviously there's a lot at play here. I don't know what to say, honestly. You've got my sympathy, even if it isn't worth anything. I wouldn't say "time heals all wounds" or whatever, but perspectives can change. I'm not saying "well when you get older you'll understand," just that sometimes we change our minds and perspectives. I hope you are able to come to some kind of change in that regard.
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 10:48:56 AM »

No, it is not natural.  But the question stands as to whether it is their fault, yours, or a bit of both.  I am not qualified to answer that.  If this really is a struggle for you, perhaps think of things that you might have done wrong and fix those - they are the only things you have control over of in this situation.  Perhaps there isn't anything.  Once again, this is for you to figure out.

The law says to honour thy father and mother.  If you are obeying their rules, obedient to their commands whilst under their roof, I'd say you have your bases covered.  Now, Christ adds that we should love one another, so any hatred is contrary to his will.  But this does not mean you have to stay in this situation longer than necessary.  When you hit 18 you can move out.  So long as you are willing to accept the responsibility for yourself, this is probably the best option in this situation. 

God be with you.
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 11:02:48 AM »

I don't think it is natural to hate one's parents at all.  In fact, I cannot even conceive of such an idea.  Granted I had wonderful loving, tender and affectionate parents.  Perhaps this is hyperbole, but I think they were the greatest parents in the world and I love them dearly. I cannot imagine hating them or even disrespecting them. My dear mother (may she rest in peace) reposed 15 years ago and I still remember her at every Divine Liturgy.  She was a wonderful, affectionate, very self-sacrificing woman. Certainly she was not perfect and she did have a temper, esp. when I was a rebellious teenager. She once slapped me across the face when I was a cheeky 16 year old boy when I said something to her that was quite disrespectful. But, you know, I don't hold even that against her.  I was in the wrong, and she clearly did more than enough good to atone for that. My Father is still alive at 89 years old and is one of the sweetest, most gentle, Christ-like people I know.  I love him dearly and we have always gotten along very well together.

If you hate your parents, pray that the Lord God would give you a merciful heart to love them, in spite of all their faults and shortcomings.
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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 11:59:21 AM »

Tikhon, that's the difference.  You and I both had loving parents and thus the thought of hating our parents is abhorrent.  I have met plenty who have not been so lucky.  Anytime you have hate this is something that you have to work on inside of you, but I don't want to entirely crap on James over it.  I have known plenty of people who have not been given the same blessing of good, loving parents.  Parenting is a huge responsibility, but I like to think that God will reward those who gave up their own wants and desires for the benefit of their children, both in this life and the next.
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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2013, 11:51:44 PM »

It may not be natural, but it is a commandment.
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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2013, 12:34:36 AM »

Your main point of contention with this (that you talk about here) seems to be they don't accept Orthodoxy and you see them as heterodox and awful. Look at it this way, if it wasn't for your parents you probably wouldn't be Orthodox. They may hate it or despise it or whatever, but it seems clear they raised you to believe in Christ.
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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2013, 12:59:18 AM »

It's easy to see someone's bad qualities, but not so easy to see the good ones, especially when it's our parents and we're living under their roof and we're dependent on them.

People are complicated. They have weird contradicitons, et cetera. But we have to learn to live with and work with these things and to see the good that is obscured.

Very few people have completely dysfunctional parents who didn't love them and actually tried to harm them. Most people just have flawed parents. And we ourselves are flawed, sometimes inhereting the flaws of our parents.

Resentment is not good. It's like poison for the heart.

I think you're being a bit melodramatic when you say your parents have never been behind you on anything in life. You can feed yourself, walk, go to the bathroom by yourself, sleep in your own bed, read and write (a lot), use computers. Did you have to do all these things against your parents' desires? Probably not.

Religious conversion is not easy. It hasn't been easy for you, has it? It's been just as difficult for your parents, maybe moreso, even if they were not very religious to begin with.

If you already have a history of religious animosity with your parents, like maybe you argued with them over dogma or something, this could have made things worse. It's difficult, but it helps to practice measured silence on religious topics if they're at variance with one's family. I haven't always done this, and always wished I had. If you're able to be civil and polite in the face of opposition, to not return anger with anger, to not let negative reactions get to you, it may help.
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 01:21:52 AM »

There are some parents who mistreat and even abuse their children and in those situations, feelings of anger, hurt and resentment are completely normal. Hating them isn't the answer though, it's not healthy for you or your spirit. Honouring your parents doesn't mean allowing them to mistreat you or thinking their behaviour is okay, but they do deserve whatever respect you can muster up for them. Remember that hateful feelings are a sin, and pray for mercy that God will help you let go of them.
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2013, 12:04:04 AM »

James, being a Christian is about doing the right things and feeling the right way despite how your "flesh" feels. 

Honor your father and mother, even if it feels as if you may have to bear a cross to do so.

Life is tough and so is Christianity sometimes.
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2013, 01:04:32 AM »


You shouldn't "hate" anyone...especially your parents.

It's one of the Ten Commandments.

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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2013, 03:13:07 AM »


You shouldn't "hate" anyone...especially your parents.

It's one of the Ten Commandments.



Oh?  I think Jesus disagreed.
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2013, 03:35:39 AM »

Maybe, if you take his words at face value. But I think it is more sensible to treat this teaching figuratively, as a way of indicating the length to which we must go if anything in this world were to keep us from following Christ our God (much like the teaching in Mark 9 about what to do with your hand if it causes you to sin). And anyway, that still wouldn't say anything about it being "natural" to do so...if it were, why would Christ teach in such a way? If people already hate their parents, then it is nothing to receive a command to hate their parents...
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2013, 09:58:25 AM »

I haven't been around here long enough to know your full family situation, but as a parent myself, keep in mind that even though we try to act like we know what we are doing, we make tons of mistakes, we don't listen to our kids like we ought, we are prideful and arrogant and think we know better, and generally just selfish.  I did not get along well with my parents when I was a teenager, but as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that the mistakes that they made were generally not malicious, they were just being thoughtless, just like I have been to a countless number of people and how I often am to my own children.  There are also many instances looking back that I see at the time they seemed to be very off-based, but in reality they were probably right.  It's a funny thing.  Once you get out of the environment for a few years, you can look back with a much more dispassionate review of the situation and hopefully learn from their mistakes and forgive them for their blunders.

In regards to love, that is a decision.  I don't always have warm squishy feelings for my wife, but I must make a concious decision to be devoted to her, respect her and honor her.  Feelings come and go, but how we choose to respond to those feelings is the more important thing.
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2013, 12:06:47 PM »


You shouldn't "hate" anyone...especially your parents.

It's one of the Ten Commandments.



Oh?  I think Jesus disagreed.

If you refer to Luke 12....being divided from....is different than hating.
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2013, 05:19:34 PM »

If you refer to Luke 12....being divided from....is different than hating.

Luke 14, which has the word 'hate' in most English Bibles. But of course that has a specific context, and not in any way applicable to what James is talking about.
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2013, 08:57:03 PM »

I used to hate my parents, especially because they separated and then divorced. And I hated my mother's father exponentially because I saw him as the wedge that forced my parents apart. There are times where I didn't talk to either side of my family for some offense they probably weren't even aware that they committed.

However, as I grew older I realized that my parents were in some pretty crappy situations and things happened that should not have happened. Does that excuse them for all of their faults? Not at all, but do I forgive them just the same? Absolutely. Why? Because we are commanded to, and because I want my children to forgive me when I screw up.

You might not understand everything that is going on right now in your life, and you might come to understand better later on - so do not hold a grudge, take all the good they have taught you and use it, throw out the bad.

Life isn't all bad, at least you don't have to deal with your parents living on opposite sides of the country, you still have them both right there. Many people are not as fortunate as you.

Lastly, go talk to your priest.
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2013, 09:40:44 AM »

If you refer to Luke 12....being divided from....is different than hating.

Luke 14, which has the word 'hate' in most English Bibles. But of course that has a specific context, and not in any way applicable to what James is talking about.

Wait, are you saying the Bible wasn't originally written in English?  *mind blown*
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 12:17:31 AM »

Well it wasn't, but the King James Version corrected all the errors that crept into the so-called "original manuscripts" so that should be our ultimate point of reference.
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2013, 12:37:46 AM »

James, we all have resentment towards our parents.  You all know that I do, from what I've shared here over the last few years.

You must try to love them.  I want to be more sympathetic, but it doesn't sound like they're abusing or neglecting you (not past what's normal, anyway Wink )  It sounds like they're not bad people, just not your kind of people, and that's okay.

Let me share something.  I have a huge amount of resentment towards my father for leaving us, screwing us out of tens of thousands of dollars while we nearly got our electricity and water turned off, and for making me feel like I wasn't manly enough when I was little.  I have a huge amount of resentment towards my mother for her immaturity, her lack of respect for my religious and political beliefs (which are more conservative than hers,) and so much more. 

If I think about these things too much and let them consume me, I can genuinely hate my parents.  The thing is, I have to love them.  They're my parents.  They provided for me and raised me.  They love me, even when I can't realize it.  Just because they can't understand and stand behind every choice I make as I grow up is no reason to start resenting them.

When my father is in Church, he stretches and touches his toes during liturgy.  As much as I want to drag him out by his ear, I laugh to myself and remind myself that he's my dad and I love him.

My mother goes to her boyfriend's house four nights per week, and I don't think it's to watch TV and drink coffee. Wink  I would never go so far as to call her a "whore."  I just remember that she's her own person.  An adult, able to make her own decisions.  She's still the same person, and I love her to pieces.  After all, she's my momma no matter what.

I can easily let bad feelings boil up and hate my parents.  The same can happen for any person or situation in life.  We have to look at all things with Christ's love. 

Realize that you are your own person.  Your parents don't have to approve of everything you do, and you don't have to approve of everything they do.  You're at an age where you're grown up enough to stand up for yourself.  So do what you want.  Just don't expect your parents to change themselves as you change. 
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« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2013, 02:11:28 PM »

Oh wow. I genuinely feel sorry for you two.
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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2013, 02:19:27 PM »

Oh wow. I genuinely feel sorry for you two.
For who?
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2013, 02:23:57 PM »

Oh wow. I genuinely feel sorry for you two.
For who?

James and you. Compared to you guys even I have normal parents.
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2013, 02:25:56 PM »

Oh wow. I genuinely feel sorry for you two.
For who?

James and you. Compared to you guys even I have normal parents.
Don't feel bad for us.  Our parents are who they are, and love us.  Our crosses are to accept and love the people they are, and be obedient children.  While this is a struggle, it might lead us to heaven if we persevere with Christ's patience.  Looking at it this way, I'd say that we're the lucky ones.  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2013, 10:28:06 PM »

Can't you desire good and salvation for people without liking them in a chummy friendly way? Or, to phrase it differently, what does the commandment to love others really entail? What does the commandment to honor our parents entail?

Do any of the adolescent posters on this board have normal relationships with their folks? Cyrillic?
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« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2013, 05:46:26 AM »

Do any of the adolescent posters on this board have normal relationships with their folks? Cyrillic?

Well, I rarely speak with my father even though we live in the same house. We don't really share any interests. My mom complains about every little thing all the time and calls me stupid. But beyond that it's OK.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 06:17:55 AM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2013, 02:22:47 PM »

I've tried as hard as I could, but I honestly cannot say that I love my parents or find anything admirable about them. They've never been behind me on ANYTHING in life! They still don't even support my conversion to Orthodoxy and remain hostile toward me about it, even after I constantly pray for them and show nothing but kindness to them. I've been as patient as I could; always sticking up for them, always trying to find something good about them to say. But what for? They don't support me, and they stab me in the back by belittling my faith at any opportunity they get. But more so, combine this with the childhood they gave me and I feel even worse.



This kind of reminds me of Jesus and how he was persecuted for His Word that he spoke concerning His mission. He was spat on, cursed, whipped, to say the least. And ultimately put to death for simply proclaiming his love for all.

I am so sorry you're going through this. Through your posts, I have felt that you're highly intelligent and warm-hearted for your age, most of the time Wink (joking,) but now I understand why/how your feelings of certain issues are as such.

I think the fact you have embraced Orthodoxy, on your own presumably, shows that you looking to find the Truth of what's out there. I'm so glad you are led down the right path.
Have you ever tried speaking to an Orthodox priest? For direction and such. He will help you greatly. Don't be afraid. Seek him as a spiritual father and ask him questions. And try to become Orthodox as quick as you can so you may partake in our Holy Sacraments.

We must pray for everything, unceasingly. Just because things have not improved doesn't mean God isn't listening or that are prayers are not heard. I'll pray for your situation.

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« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2013, 02:29:55 PM »

Can't you desire good and salvation for people without liking them in a chummy friendly way?

Yes.

Quote
Or, to phrase it differently, what does the commandment to love others really entail? What does the commandment to honor our parents entail?

It partially entails not going on the internet and badmouthing them in a juvenile manner.
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2013, 01:25:08 AM »

Redacted.
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2013, 05:07:39 AM »

Before I can answer, you must clarify what you consider "natural".
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« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2013, 05:41:16 AM »

there's a clinical term for having a deep seated antipathy towards your parents- we call it "being 17".
the treatment consists of living on your own and seeing what life is about for a few years.

to quote a song from a musical i saw in the 90's:
"everybody hates their parents, but i confess, you grow up, you grow old, you hate less..."
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