Unconditional love. Did you have it? Do you have it in you to do it? Is it a good thing?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SomewhereOutThere, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This topic came up at work today when somebody was talking about how her mother did not accept her son-in-law's child as her own child and was snitty to her because she treated this child the same as her DNA kids. I know a lot of us did not grow up with unconditional love. No reason for me to say I certainly didn't. You played your role or you were unloved. But there ARE fakmilies that help their most vulnerable, rally around them, do interventions, are always there. Did you have it? Can you love unconditonally? Who? Your kids? your spouse? Your family of origin? Your pets? Deep, I know. (KIdding).

    My answers: Yes, I can and do love my kids unconditionally. There is nothing so horrible that they could do that would make me not love them. Be sick that they did certain things, be heartbroken if they left, but I'd still love them and do. Spouse? Already divorced once.We did part on good terms, but I left him, not the other way around. This hubby is a keeper...would I love him still if he hit me? Hard question. He'd never do it, but what if he did. Would that put a crack in my love? Family of origin? Mother? Father? Siblings? I loved them all, except for my father who I still love, far beyond how long I should have and it hurt me. Since it took me so long to really feel so dead inside that I can't say I love them in a family way anymore, I'd have to say, no. They did not love unconditionally and I can't love them unconditionally.

    Which brings up, is it good to love unconditionally? I have no answer, but my gut (which is just a feeling) wishing I had been loved unconditionally and think it's a good thing to overlook stuff unless it is dangerous to your life. And there is no up side.

    By the way, I love my animals uncondtionally and a lot more than I love some people. Some people may think that's shocking and wrong, but my beilefs are that animals are equal to humans. Dogs in particular certainly have sweet souls.

    Any thoughts? Anyone care? LOL. We did have a nice discussion about this at work this lunchtime, sitting outside, sharing examples of conditional and unconditional love. Was very interesting. I love my co-workers. Unconditonally? Hmmmmmmmmmmm...;)

    I didn't know if anyone was interested, but thought I'd find out. Can't hurt.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is profound, SWOT.

    This is the heart of the issue for all of us. I think about this alot, actually. I posted a quote once about looking up at the stars and being aware that, all over the world, there are animals looking up at the stars, too. Reptiles, birds, elephants.

    Spiders, maybe.


    Surely, plant life knows the difference between the day and the night. The nature of its respiration changes in the night.

    So all at once, reality shifted.

    Somehow, that beacon of unconditional love fits in, here. It has something to do with Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, but is even more encompassing.

    Tolle is writing about our fascination with our own stories, and with our need to be right, to feel justified in hurting or in demanding healing or whatever.

    It has something to do with time, too.

    What I am trying to say is that there is no such thing as unconditional love, but that there is a changed perception of what we thought everything was and means, and is.

    And once we get there, that is unconditional love.


    Okay, so I just got it. You were asking about how that would feel, what it would have meant to us, to have been seen and identified as someone to be cherished and taught, instead of having been identified as one of those it is appropriate to victimize, and to lie to, and to shame.

    All I know about that this morning is that our locus of control was shifted from in here, in the heart of us where it belongs, to out there, where the abusers get to have at us for free because we still don't exactly know how to stand up for ourselves.

    Not without accusing ourselves of being them in our hearts, we don't.

    I don't even know that I love anyone. There are people and animals I am so enamored of that I find everything they do endlessly fascinating.

    These people can hurt me, when they are hurt, or when they do not reflect a good person, a job well done, back to me.

    They are that important. Much of the time of my life is freely given for them without regret.

    If that is loving, then those are the things that I love. If that is not loving, then I don't know what that is, love.

    I only know that once you break through, it is difficult for me to know where you are and what is me. That is why I feel best myself when we are together and everything looks and feels and smells and sounds beautifully, the way it should.

    Anything less is dangerously chaotic.

    And that is when the monsters come. (There are still many places inside where I am afraid reality will be blown to smithereens. F blah, blah, blah, mom.)

    Sacred horror, right? Like Elie Wiesel.


    I am taking the muffler off my motorcycle today, and capitalizing my personal needlepoint motto. The more clearly I see the hurt of what happened to me, and to all of us, the more determinedly, stupidly and irresponsibly evil abusive people seem.

    It's about that win thing, again.

    What in the world did they win, to justify what they did and then, did again, and never, ever stopped doing? And wouldn't whatever they won feel tainted?


    And I know we are supposed to forgive, and to understand they do these things from a sense of hurt, or from having been hurt. Maybe, from having been hurt worse than we were, so that what they did to us was actually a triumph, given whatever it was that happened to them.

    But I swear, there is informed intent behind the repetitively destructive patterns of a life.

    But then, I cannot see my own destructiveness either.

    So that is the dilemma of human, I suppose.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh for heaven's sake.

    Now I am feeling wrong in labeling my mother for what happened. Interestingly enough, that sense of forgiveness does not extend to the things I witnessed her do to those it was my intention to protect.

    It has been a long, determined quest to establish my legitimacy, to establish within myself a coherent whole.

    "Love is not a victory march. It's a cold and it's a broken halleluiah."

    That's Leonard Cohen, of course.


  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    I went back and read your original question. So actually, this had nothing to do with whether or what kind of animal may or may not be looking up at the stars or like, pondering the meaning of life.




    Not to belabor a point here, but unconditional love would be the agape love described in Christian mysticism, right?

    That's a pretty tall order, then.

    We would have to be very healthy ourselves, to know that.
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I believe love can be unconditional, but I don't believe it's indestructible.
  6. elizabethanne

    elizabethanne Member

    Cedar and Lil....now those are two vastly different takes! The two of you tickle me, in two vastly different ways!:hapydancsmil:
  7. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I love my children unconditionally. Once I acknowledged that fact I stopped judging my son's lifestyle and my life improved dramatically.

    I do not love my mother. There. It's said. That also makes life easier, as I stop having any expectations of my relationship with her.

    I love H, but not unconditionally. Having survived one divorce I do not think I am capable of loving a man unconditionally. I have to keep a part of me safe from the repurcussions of another possible marriage breakdown, however much I love him.

    Animals? yes, I love my cat, but it's not the same, I have a symbiotic relationship with my cat but it's not the same as a complex relationship such as the one I have with my son.
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  8. elizabethanne

    elizabethanne Member

    I don't believe Love (capital L) knows how to love with condition.
    Love doesn't know how to do anything other than...Love.
    In my view,
    human love says, "I love you, but...."
    It is conditional, subject to change, wavering, not always reliable.
    Divine Love, always says, "I Love you, and....."
    It is without condition, never changing, unwavering and altogether reliable.

    We do know how to love and we do. We are human and we don't always get it right. We need to forgive ourselves and others for not knowing how to love, without condition, under all circumstances.
    I think that's what we're here for.
    To learn more about Love.:beautifulthing:
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    That is a good term.

    Oh, wow, nlj.

    Given the description of love I posted, I must love my mother.

    Healed must be when we stop thinking about them at all.

    But aren't we trying to get to that place where we can understand why they did what they did so we can feel compassion for them and for us?

    I mean, don't we need to know the why behind what happened, even if the why of it only makes sense to us?

    Or maybe we only need to know what happened. I don't have the emotions surrounding so much of what I remember. When I do get them ~ whew.

    To stop judging is a real gift.

    I torment myself with the judgments I make about every single thing.

    Maybe that has to do with external locus of control.

    That would make sense, if the purpose of judging a thing is to define and limit its impact.

  10. elizabethanne

    elizabethanne Member

    I agree Cedar, to release judgment IS a real gift. Easy to understand, in theory. Incredibly challenging to put into practice.
    Maybe that's why nlj is able to say she loves her children, without condition. She said she gave up judging her son's lifestyle.
    Isn't it interesting as mothers, we can get to that with much less effort with our children.
    With our mothers, significant others, siblings, "friends", we find it so much more difficult to give up the judgment.
    The price we pay is that we are only able to love them (or not love them) on OUR terms.
    I am keenly aware that the biggest barrier to loving other people is ME, and the judgment I continue to hang on to.
    So sad to me how we push love away, and go through this life living "half way"...all because we don't want to risk being betrayed, dismissed and abandoned....again. :not_fair:
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  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'll speak for how I feel my mother felt and what she got out of it, since she is gone and can't read my blogging...lol. But, in all honesty, it is a serious issue. As I said, until the very end, I would call her and try to make things right. That was my reason for contacting her. She never once called me back in about ten years. I'm surprised she talked to me at all. Perhaps it was part of her game to let me think she was not or had not rejected me. She knew I'd find out soon enough. Even when I told her we'd be driving through Indiana and could I see her, she sounded very snitty and finally said, "If you want, but your husband can't come." She clearly didn't want to see me at all. I would have gladly seen her without my husband if she had seemed at all enthusiastic. It turned out we did not make the trip and my mother never asked me if I was going to come because she didn't want me to.

    At the very end of my mother's life, I was the last or second-to-the-last one to speak to her. I forget. I know she was not in her right mind. She was very sick with brain cancer and did not know me. She was unaware that it was me and so she was nice to me. Although I did not visit her while she was sick (by then I was far enough along to realize that, no matter how hard I had tried, I had failed), I did call her. Even after everything. Then I found out that she had, for all intents and puproses, not had disowned me. And it wasn't just me. She had disowned her own grandchildren too because they were mine. This doesn't always go together, but it did with her.

    She had her excuses. I didn't let her be the way she wanted to be as a granda (how would she know since she never was?) Her mother had never babysat for her so she was never going to babysit for her grands. But she did for my sister. And I saw her waring a shirt once that said, "Grandmothers are for Spoiling and Babysitting." Interesting. Right after my baby was born I got very sick and was bleeding internally and had a very high fever. I called and asked if she'd babysit for my son and she said, "I am never going to babysit for you for any reason." This is pretty much how she said it too. We had to get my husband's mother, who never forgot it and never stopped talking about it as long as I was married to her son. I know she felt sorry for me. My mother willingly and cruelly withheld her love although she did understand that, especially in my early years, I was very sick with mental illness. I had been in the hospital for ten weeks and she kknew. My brother had a serious stomach disorder. That counted. He was hero because he went on with the pain and, trust me, I agree with her. I even now think he is very brave and, even behind all my hurt, I am proud of him, although he wouldn't care, because he has a life in spite of a devestating physical illness. But mental illness isn't a romp in the park either. It's hard. I worked hard to get so much better...and I thought perhaps I had had borderline, but was told that NO. I did not have enough traits. I did not self harm. I did not do suicice or use drugs. I had long term relationships. I did not have it. I suffer from a serious mood disorder that kills many peoeple, but I moved on too and am proud of me for getting better every year. So...back to the question. What was the payoff for my mother's total dismissal of her firstborn child who was mentally ill, but not a monster? Who loved her so much? Who loved her sister and brother? Who had temper tantrums at some times as did she? Who looks ljust like her (sometimes I want to scratch my face to not look so much like her).

    The payoff is she won. She did win. She hurt me so badly that it took a good two years of therapy to get over realizing how I had been played and abused and had wasted my time and my heart and my love. She was the winner and is still champion. She won. She got my sister and brother to think horrible things about me. Whatever she said, they obviously bought. She was good at persuasion.

    The point of these people, who are our flesh and blood, is to hurt us and they usually do so they win. It's a contest to them. There is absolutely nothing I have done to my sister that her abusive boyfriend has not done by tenfold, hurting her on a daily basis, not wanting what is best for her, never giving her the love she wants...hurting her day by day. One day I got mad and friended my sister's FB friends. She had sone something first, but it had been a childish way to fight way. It had also been harmless. Not one bad thing came of it. But every single day this man hurts her. And she doesn't cut him off or laugh at him or spend a day without speaking to him. I'm sure she tells him she loves him. It is very personal regarding me. She also forgave her friends for biotching about ehr and tossing her off their facebooks. She forgives everyoen but me. What does that mean?

    It means it is personal.

    It is sibling stuff too deep to dig up and fix. It isn't the little tiffs you had. It is deadly personal. And there is nothing anyone can do when the feelings go so deep that they suddenly feel you have ruined their lives, although you ahven't made one bad difference in their lives at all.

    That is why I am so afraid for people who say they are going to try to make things right with somebody who has decided to dig in his/her heels and refuse to have a fair give and take acknowledged conversation. That is why I think that with family it is uglier. How many times have friends or boyfriends done things to them that they easily forgave?

    The object of their anger/abuse/refusal to try to listen or understand/their gang ups/their feelings are to hurt you. And, yes, they usually win. Which was their goal. And we allowed it.

    Our object has to be to get on with our lives and leave people who have such deeprooted disregard for us behind us, even if we wish it were different. It never will be. Don't be the one who almost kisses her mothers feet to find out that she was laughing at you all the time. She even told my siser that I just called to bait her and tick her off and maybe, because she thought so incredibly negatively about me and didn't know me at all, she really thought so. At any rate, I know that wasn't the reason and I know you all believe me. I just wanted my mother to love me, like everybody does. And most mothers do, unconditionally.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am thinking about this. In one sense, true. How we see is what we see. But you know elizabethanne, just lately, I am seeing things differently. I can see...hmmm. I can see the wrongness, always with the same bias toward exclusion and ridicule and contempt, in the choices my sister or my mother made and continue to make.

    Always with that same bias, whether it is employed against family or friends.

    What if it really is true that there are people who will hurt us if they can.

    And of course, that is true. All that is necessary is dehumanization of the victim. Which is what occurs in war.

    We comfort ourselves by assuring ourselves that the capacity for evil lives in every heart...but maybe that kind of comfort was only required in the first place because we suspect that there are some hearts where a kind of lonely heartlessness is the preferred modus operendi?

    Generations of Roman rulers or Romanov czars or English kings who were kind and good...and sprung from the same genetic line, the insanity of a Cesar, a Peter, a Henry VIII.

    Just as we are sprung of the same genetic lines as our hurtful, so impossible to understand, relatives.

    Or maybe we are the ones who are impractical, and they are simply pragmatic realists.

  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Do you know this for a fact or did your sister tell you?

    My children bait and tick me off and laugh at me and love me and hate me all the time. We are battling our way through some off the goofiest, most horrifyingly bad things that could happen to any family, ever.

    But somehow, we are all still hanging in there for one another.

    Well, except for my son this week, I guess. Actually for three weeks.


    It will be impossible for him not to love me. I am his mother.


    Where was I.

    Even if you called your mom and said terrible things she would, unless there was something deeply wrong in her hard wiring, want to love you. If what your sister said is true, then your mom's hard-wiring was at fault.

    Not you.


    And if these things were true, if your mother really said that...what would motivate your sister to repeat them to you? Only to destroy you.

    How do you know your sister did not manipulate your mother into doing what she did regarding the disinheritance?

    I mean, do you know different?

    Why is she so determined to destroy you? There has to be something, some reason she wants you discredited.

    There has to be, SWOT.

    Nothing else makes sense.

    What is she afraid of?


    Our difficult child kids here do the most terrible things to us all the time and we are all right here trying to figure it out because we love them and cannot just turn that off. Nor do we want to. Not really. Not forever.

    It is good to have a look at these things.

    You know what they say: Nothing is as it seems and the center doesn't hold. Whatever. I will find the correct quote tomorrow, maybe.

    It is beautiful.

    Something about a gyre spinning and the center not holding and nothing being what it seems.

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. You pack a lot of good questions into a post, Cedar. I will try to explain.

    Even if you called your mom and said terrible things she would, unless there was something deeply wrong in her hard wiring, want to love you. If what your sister said is true, then your mom's hard-wiring was at fault.

    Not you.

    Her. It's her. She didn't love me and it is simply not normal not to love your child, even the child does always agree with you. Heck, even if the child is a criminal, which I was not. I know it was her. Thanks for the validation. We all need that!!! Although I promised not to diagnose anybody anymore, I am going to come close and say that I am pretty sure she had some type of personality disorder and honestly had a very vicious, mean side to her that she mostly pointed at me. She told me she had not had feelings for me while I was in her womb or after I was born and she never held me to feed me. This SHE told me. I stiffened in her arms so she propped a bottle in my crib and be done with it. Obviously, she never attached to me and was a very lazy mother.

    And if these things were true, if your mother really said that...what would motivate your sister to repeat them to you? Only to destroy you. I know I was talking to my sister about calling Mother and she brought up what Mother said. I believe Sis. This is EXACTLY what my mother would say. And it is also what she may have actually thought. She was demented when it came to me.There was simply no good in me. That was how she felt. The motivation for my sister to repeat it? To tell me saintly Mother's side and my guess is Sis believed Mother. And so me and Sis had no chance at all, but it was perpetrated by mother. Sis did not start it. She just kept it going.

    How do you know your sister did not manipulate your mother into doing what she did regarding the disinheritance? MY sister had nothing to do with it. You have to understand, this family's dysfunction was my mother's game, not m sisters. She had no power to tell Mother what to do with the little she had. I didn't care about the inheritance anymore than I care if my father disinherits me or not. It's not the money. I've never HAD money and Mother didn't have much. It is just what disinheritance says. It says, "You are nothing to me." She did give a few things to sister's kids, I believe. But not me. It's the ultimate kiss off, even if there is very little to give and I believe she had very little to give. It was never about a huge estate or gigantic amounts of money to me...or to my sibs. It wasn't there. It was that deep, deep, deep hatred that only a family of origin seems to be able to hang onto and never forget and my mother felt that for me, although there was no reason for it. She was my mother. I more than tried to make up for it. A real loving mother, who is normal, would have forgiven everything long before she died. She wasn't a normal mother. Sister seems to, of late, picked up Mother's gavel and I have not one good trait in me and have never done anyone a good turn ever, especially her. It's so goofy and it's distorted thinking. The people in her life now who are truly toxic to her are the ones she aches to be with...again, twisted thinking.

    I mean, do you know different? I know how the family worked. Actually, Golden Child was in charge of her Estate and he's the type that would just do what she asked, but I can't see him telling her to forget me. This was her orchestra. I don't even know if she had a regular will. I did not even think to contest anything and dredge up that ugliness. Many have asked me why not. I just didn't want to do it. It's not worth the resentment and anger it causes. So I never found out details.

    Why is she so determined to destroy you? There has to be something, some reason she wants you discredited.Ok, so this is the present with my sister. I'm not sure except that her life socks. Big time. It's miserable. And mine is good. It's not supposed to be that way, in her mind, but it is. I am in a loving family in a great little town with peace and serenity most of the time. Drama free. I can only think she is jealous. Other than that, she wants and needs to feel mother was not abusive so I'm making it up. Let her think so.

    There has to be, SWOT.

    Nothing else makes sense. It makes sense in her twisted way and it made sense to my disturbed and unnatural mother.

    What is she afraid of? I have no idea why my recollections, memories and thoughts bother her. If she truly believes they were fiction, then she is angry because her interactions with the family were way different from mine and she is 100% sure she is the one with t he truth. She is a black and white thinker. There is no way I could have been abused when she feels she was not and no way things were different for me. I'm not sure why she thinks so. Maybe mother told her tall tales. Who knkows? At this point, who cares?
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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    You sound much stronger.

    I do, too.

    Good for us both.

    It could be that your sister cannot look at what really went on with the mother. I think it takes courage to risk looking at it, and we have to really want to know, good or bad, what happened to us before the memories are released.

    I think that is true.