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Hibernate trying to insert recursive object - I don't want it to

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I have a class with a recursive association:

the parent is optional but I don't think I have the correct mapping. Every time I try to insert a record with a null parent, it tries to insert a new one for the parent once the child is created. The parent field should only reference a preexisting object in the database.

Here is the error message

I'm sure it's something silly in my mapping. Any suggestions?
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