To what extent do our thoughts and desires involving other people affect their karma? For instance, if someone holds a lifelong desire for vengeance against another, will it have to happen? Also, my mother has often said she wishes I could be her mother in a future life (her mom wasn’t loving). Will I have to do this in service to her? Or if my desire to work with my husband were not fulfilled now (it is), would he have to work with me in another lifetime?
—April Bryson, USA
The thoughts that one person holds toward another will indeed influence the other, according to the strength of those thoughts as well as the receptivity of the other person.
For thoughts to be binding in the way that you describe, however, there must be mutuality of feeling, which will create the magnetism necessary to create that outcome. Mutual vengeance is a good example: the two souls will be drawn back together life after life until one of them can let go of vengefulness. Similarly for mutual love: the two souls will be drawn back together life after life to cultivate ever-greater perfection in their love.
If that mutuality does not exist, however, then there may not be sufficient magnetic attraction to draw you back together in exactly that way. For example, if you and your mother love each other, you will share other lives together, although not necessarily in the way she wants. The law of karma demands that she someday experience the mother-love that she longs for, but if you don’t have the desire to be her mother in another life, she might find that mother-love with a soul other than yourself.
I hope this helps.