Monday, January 02, 2006
What is Love
Reading through these posts and going through my own story lately,I've thought a lot about what love is. Really, what is it? Myparents say they love me, I disagree. I say I don't love myparents, why? And before some people get offended by that, I thinkit's because my defination of love is vastly different.When I love someone, I want to spend time with them. I enjoyhaving them in my life. They give something back to me that is notmaterial. Support over a loved ones death, happiness at amonumental moment in my life, advice asked for or not that is notpushed on me only offered, showing an interest in my interests, andI return these things to the people I love and more, as they do me.I am not saying that this happened the first instant that a parentof mine did something disappointing. Certaintly friends and otherfamily members are not perfect, we do not see eye to eye, but whenthat crisis occurs, when I need them, they are there. In my eyes,my parents have failed me at critical times, times that don't comeup every day but were once in a life occurences and I needed them,and other people (even strangers) were there to comfort me.Over time, my "love" of childhood worship started to erode away tothe knowledge of an adult that other "loving" families did not actthis way to their "loved" ones. That appearances, presents,control issues, et were not the ways other families defined how muchtheir children loved them, or how much they loved their children.That these actions were not "trivial" to other people.My parents have complained that I didn't tell them sooner. Well, Idid, but the arguments that ensued always ended with me backing downand figuring I would just let it roll off my back in the future. Ican't decide whether this was a big mistake or not. It's six ofone and half dozen of another as they say. On one hand, I probablywouldn't have been talking to either of my parents for the last 18years, and would probably have a lot more doubt about that than Icurrently do. On the other, the is the slight possible chance thatthey may have shaped up sooner (in my opinion) and we would havegone on with our lives. Knowing them and their personalitiesthough and the current conflict, it is my opinion that they are whothey are, and are not very nice or loving people. That they infact do not know what love is in the first place, so a declarationof "love" to me means nothing, as actions speak louder than words.Course I still like to hear the words on occaision from people thatI feel both tell and show me love.Why wouldn't a child be able to verbalize this or a young adult?So I'll tell a story to illistrate this. When I was in firstgrade, my first grade teacher used to hit me or pick me up by theskin of my arm when she was upset. Did I tell my parents? No,why? I didn't know this was unusual behavior. My parents didnotice that I had sleep walking episodes during this time where Iwould walk to the living room sit down and start crying. Iremember vividly the dream, this teacher was the devil chasing medown the three decker to the basement where she was going to drag meinto hell.In third grade, I must have been telling a story of how I would getback at my teacher (putting catapillers in her shoes if she tookthem off) when my parents asked me "why I was getting even withher?" They were completely confused as to why I didn't tell them.So my whole life, my family experience was the one I knew. For allI knew we were a loving family, this is just how it happened. Isee now that I was pulling away even then, preferring to take mymeals away from the pre-divorce fighting et, and not being able towait until I was old enough to "escape" the house. I didn't have aparticular reason why in my head that this was the case, any morethan I knew why I was having nightmares about the first gradeteacher.Even now when I hear Robert, my husband, talk to his parents, or asktheir advice, I feel a bit of jealousy. Not that I want to dothis, but that I should want to do this with someone who is myparent.It's something I feel extreme guilt about, but when I am honest,there it is. Yeah, and I have felt grief too at the loss of theserelationships, but it's grief over the idea of what a child (grownor child) should have with a parent, and what I will never have.On the other hand, it's these dysfunctional relationships that haveallowed me to be independent, successful, and happy in the rest ofmy life. It has given me a blue print of what I don't want anddon't stive to achieve.Now it's my belief, that a parent may do this to a child on a short-term basis, and be completely loving. That's a way differentstory. So, I don't want mothers or fathers out there to bethinking "oh my gosh", is there no hope now. Course, yoursituation is completely different than mine. I think it'simportant to see how some actions can be perceived though, and ifthey continue past a certain length of time, how a child can come tothe conclusion that I came to, and eventually shut down that part ofthemselves.That being said, it may be all in the definition. May be mydefinition isn't what love is. May be the correct definition is theability to be mistreated and back down all the time. May be thedefinition is different to everyone as religion is.Just some thoughts that have been banging around in my mind.