This is such a very small word we use, but it has many connotations, many meanings. So often it is a word misused, open to abuse, people using it so lightly without thinking. To describe so many different levels of feelings, it has just hit me that in its purest form. I really do not understand what it means what is love really all about? How is it born? I find myself thrown into total complete confusion when asked to describe what it really means to love, I scarcely comprehend what God's love is really like never what it means to really love myself, nor even how you then love your neighbour alike, what does this word 'love' really, really mean? Can someone please explain it to me very, very simply.
As a child ‘love’ for me was something extremely negative and full of contradictions. As an adult ‘love’ is been something I’ve been totally terrified of.
‘Love' is something that’s kept me running away very fast every time I’ve encountered it.
‘Love’ is something I’ve been completely unable to allow into my life. I’ve often wished I could be ‘normal’. I so long to love and to be loved but am so terrified of ‘love’ that instead I’ve been alone, so very alone and so very afraid. I never knew ‘love’ as a child only cruelty and rejection. That wrecked my life because ‘love’ was something I grew to fear from a very early age.
The abuse I endured defined ‘love’ for me in the following terms:-
For me ‘love’ means pain, powerlessness, having to do things I don’t want to. ‘Love’ means manipulation, control, obligation. ‘Love’ means having to comply regardless of its effects upon me. For me ‘love’ is something dangerous, phoney, something to run a mile from in the opposite direction. ‘Love’ means pretending and playing games. ‘Love’ is about having no choice. ‘Love’ is something that is not real. ‘Love’ is about being false. ‘Love’ means rejection if you don’t comply or when you’re no longer of use to your abusers. ‘Love’ in meant instant obedience. ‘Love’ meant compliance. ‘Love’ meant doing what was required without comment, reaction or response. ‘Love’ meant being whatever they wanted you to be at any given time. ‘Love’ meant keeping your mouth shut. ‘Love’ meant keeping the secrets secret. ‘Love’ meant you belonged if you complied; you were wanted if you complied – but all in the wrong ways of course.
As an adult I freak out inside if anybody ever says “I love you” to me, or writes it. It starts a panic and ‘fight or flight’ reaction within me. I cannot cope with hearing or seeing those words because they mean danger to me.
I’m always testing those who say they care about me, wanting to see proof, but all I end up doing is pushing them away, putting huge walls up or keeping them at arm’s length. Even my closest friends have been kept at arm’s length.
I cannot afford to let people close because love, intimacy, vulnerability means you get hurt.
When your ‘family’ who are supposed to ‘love’ you did everything and anything but ‘love’ you it leaves confusion and dysfunction in its wake.
The ‘love’ I knew as a child was false love. But it was the only kind of ‘love’ I knew.
It ruined me for the rest of my life. It made it impossible for me to love or be loved because I learned to fear love. Even all these years later I cannot get past that fear.
One thing is for sure - I don’t know what love is. I’ve got a lot of healing to do in this area, that’s for sure. I began thinking about the issue of love again after coming across a blog post called “If Love Is The Answer, What Is Love?” on the ‘Emerging from Broken’ blog site.
Here are short excerpts from the article.
“In reality however, at least in my reality, love hurts, love is mean, love means nothing. I love you means obligation, ownership, disrespect, putting up with being devalued, manipulated and accepting that I am not as important and my needs are not important, but only the person who says that they love me, is important. This is quite a mixed message and makes love a word charged with many different feelings and fears that are triggered just hearing the words... I love you is a phrase that is thrown carelessly around; When a child wants love and acceptance so deeply it becomes easy to ignore the red flags from some people and it is also very easy to accept the wrong definition of love... It helped me immensely to realize that I had the wrong definition of love all along. It also helped me to realize that controllers and abusers NEVER love you with the same definition of love that they want you to follow when it comes to them... when I was able to apply the true definition of love to myself, everything came together.”Darlene Ouimet
To read the entire article go to http://emergingfrombroken.com/if-love-is-the-answer-what-is-love/.
As I read that post and the comments other readers made about their experiences and definitions of false love, I was encouraged to realise I’m not alone in my confusion about this topic. I’m also not alone in trying to re-define what ‘love’ actually is.
I realised the first step to re-defining ‘love’ is defining what ‘love’ isn’t.
In doing that I apprehended the fact that it is okay to say that the ‘love’ I knew as a child from my abusers was false ‘love’; it wasn’t real ‘love’ and there is going to be no punishment for saying that.
Only then am I able to start to reject those old definitions of ‘love and begin to redefine it more healthily and realistically.