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#357710 - 03/26/11 02:32 AM Conditional Love
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
My boyfriend told me about his childhood sexual abuse 3 months into our relationship. 3-4 years later he started to have flashbacks and his issues went into full swing. So, I read Mike Lew's book, I found this website and I think I may have read every single post here. I made a decision to stick by him and I formulated a plan.... I was going to love him unconditionally. After all, isn't that what you do for someone who has been hurt? You offer him love?

I want to state how much I respect the men and women who have stuck with their survivor and together have made it work. It truly takes a special kind of person with an inherent sense of balance, compassion and fairness... an inherent sense of right and wrong. Part of the plan was to become this person, I wanted to be like one of the many women who post on this very website.

My boyfriend lied. He cheated and then he cheated again. I would be devastated and then he would apologize. He would ask, beg, plead for me to forgive him. After all, I told him I would love him unconditonally, I told him I would stand beside him and see him through therapy. He'd been hurt and needed love and compassion. This happened in the span of two years... lying and cheating twice, along with a few internet incidents. Starting therapy, stopping therapy. Eventually, I started to see a therapist. WalkingSouth gave me the best advice... he told me to stop obsessing about my boyfriends issues and focus on myself. He told me to find out why I would be so attracted to a man so badly broken. He also gently told me that my survivor friend probably held me quite dear but maybe not in the same way I held him. In a nutshell, many of these men were wounded by someone who claimed to love them, someone they loved and trusted. Until they have years of therapy, how could they possibly know what love is?

In order for me to be any kind of help, I had to also be healthy. There had to be conditions for him to receive my love. I wanted a man who wouldn't cheat, I deserved that. I did not want to be lied to again. I told him over and over that what he thought or felt didn't have to make sense but he had to tell the truth. I would never judge him and I would always tell him the truth. I told him he could trust me. I told him he deserved to be treated with respect too.

When he lied and cheated again, I was out. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. He pleaded and begged. He promised me it would never happen again that he was honest to God trying. Wanting to fix him (but not seeing that at the time), wanting him to love me like I loved him was so important that I couldn't see how I was keeping us both unhealthy. That was the broken in me. I wasn't helping him by loving him unconditionally.

I read in one of the posts where a survivor had said that he was told that he was hurt in relationship but that it would be in a relationship that he would find healing. I wasn't keeping my word by staying with him when his behavior was unacceptable... when he was acting out and doing relationship deal breakers. You have to say what you mean and do what you say. You have to show them by example that people have a right to be treated with respect. That leaving an unhealthy relationship is not selfish, it is self love. And when he said if I loved him, I wouldn't leave him I told him how could I stay in love with someone who lies and cheats, who sees me cry and hurt and does it again? I told him if you want to be truly loved there are things you cannot do... you don't get to lie, or minipulate to get what you want. You don't get to use people for sex or hurt them. I told him his uncle didn't deserve his love when he was a child... he didn't have a right to lie and minipulate him, to molest and rape him. I told my friend, you were too good for him and you are too good of a man to go through life without your word meaning anything. I won't be a part of your failing.

That was almost two years ago. He is in therapy now and from time to time I will hear from him. We were childhood friends and there is safety in that for the both of us. He is slowly gaining insight and has a better understanding to why his past relationships have failed. And I am seeing why after therapy some of the men on this website decide not to stay with their significant others, sometimes they heal but the spouse/girlfriend refuses or simply can't see her/his part in the unhealthy relationship. Some survivors get healthy and realize that they have grown while their significant other has not.

On my last birthday he called and told me that someday when he was confident that he could be the man I deserved, he was going to ask me if I'd marry him. He told me that I was the bestfriend he has ever had and then he said, "I deserve to be loved by someone like you". And I realized (in my case) by leaving my boyfriend..... I am a bit closer to being like some of the women I was so inspired by. The women here who sat boundaries down and balanced the no horseshit rule with gentleness and love.

After reading many posts here, I felt I wanted to remind the significant others that might find themselves wrapped up in the notion of unconditional love that they forget to look after themselves and that sometimes unconditonal love isn't always the answer for men who have no real sense of what an intimate healthy love is.

Good luck to you all.
Love,
Julia




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#357717 - 03/26/11 09:46 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Julia]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6424
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
R U open to a survivor's perspective?

_________________________
This nation has lost its mind!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#357722 - 03/26/11 11:06 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Still]
sally123 Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
Julia, your post is so honest, wise, and heartfeLt(tears) ... Thank you for your wisdom, and inspiration. wishing you the best!


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#357737 - 03/26/11 02:28 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: sally123]
head&heart Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 17
Loc: Chose the hard place--left the...
Many thanks to Julia for her beautiful post regarding love and its boundaries and conditions. I am the wife of a survivor. We have been together for 27 years. I have pondered the nature of love and its limits and boundaries for many years. Here are my thoughts.

I have experienced unconditional love and have realized it exists in only one form of relationship…as mother of my three children. As parents we do not expect children to reciprocate emotionally nor do we expect children to fulfill our needs. The two year old who missed his afternoon nap and throws a tantrum while at the grocery store is not thinking of the fact that his mother was up all night with a colicky sibling. Nor should we expect him to do so. The job of the parent is to guide the growing child to eventually appreciate and internalize the social, cultural and interpersonal norms of a mature adult relationship. This means that the child must learn his own boundaries or he runs the risk of being abused by others. It also means that the child must learn to respect the boundaries of others or he risks becoming an abuser himself. I believe that most parents would agree that this process takes at least a couple of decades.

Secure, healthy, loving adult relationships require these boundaries. Love between adults is always conditional. I think we all agree that physical abuse is a boundary that must never be crossed, once crossed the most elemental conditions of love have been violated. Sexual abuse, emotional abuse and psychological abuse belong in this same category. They are boundary violations. The sexual abuse of a child is among the most severe of these boundary violations. It confuses love, sexuality and trust with betrayal, pain, and fear. The consequences of this particular egregious violation are why we are all here on MS.

However, loving adult partnerships are also about the loosening of boundaries between two individuals. This is the very nature of true sexual and emotional intimacy. That is why it is so special and reserved for the very few. Intimacy absolutely requires that two individuals trust one another. We must trust that one another’s elemental personal boundaries will not be violated before it is possible to achieve the intimate heart and soul connection we all crave. The adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse have problems with defining boundaries both for themselves and understanding the boundaries of ones they love. Sometimes they attempt to recreate the unconditional love between parent and child that they failed to receive. Sometimes they fall into a pattern of boundary testing, cycling between the extremes of trust and betrayal.

It is incumbent on all of us, partners and survivors, to closely examine our personal intimate relationships and ourselves. What are my boundaries? What are the boundaries of my partner? How do I define those boundary violations that constitute the conditions of love? For me, after 27 years, it is still a work in progress.

H&H


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#357745 - 03/26/11 04:32 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: head&heart]
Lost Spark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Chicago, IL
My love is unconditional... but, Julia, you have really hit something deeper into my soul than I think I ever wanted to realize.

I lost myself unfortunately. I became a lost and weak woman who took on my husband's buried emotions (sadness, betrayal from his brother, the pain and the anger (he expresses no anger towards to his perp. Contrary, he defends him because HE was abused by their older brother). I took it all on and just drowned. Emotional and mentally wrecked. When he came out to me as now believing he is gay, I was devastated. I thought, "what?!?! But I've been here all along...I've loved you unconditionally! Been here and now you want to go off with a man! You said you need MORE?!?!" There it was. I lost myself. No identity. No self-esteem. I begged. I pleaded. I denied that he was... I think it's turned him away.

He now rejects me. Completely. Even taking his friendship away too. So, after 15 years, I'm left with nothing to show. No husband. No friend. Nothing. He rejects me and tells me it's best for ME. That he not be here anymore...

I felt abandoned. but, with help from my therapist. I realized, I deserve more. He won't get better if I am here I guess. He'll always lean on me and continue to cheat, act out, lie and reject me. I am not a punching bag. I am not someone to rely on to always cheat out of happiness. If he doesn't love himself, how can he really love me?

Right now, i'm picking up the pieces. He's on his Weekend of Recovery and I keep having visions of him meeting someone during that time (I know there's one survivor there who just came out, getting divorced and living on his own... will my husband be influenced and swayed? Will he fall in 'love' with someone like him because he is going through the same...?) The thought just haunts me right now.

Or is he with someone already and that's why he spiraled, acted out continuously with no stopping for the past 6 months SINCE he started therapy..? He sprung everything on me within one month. A month ago he said we were working on us as well. AS ourselves also. But, that went out the window quickly...

How can I still have unconditional love? That's my battle right now.. It's a whole tirade and painful question...

I always thought I had unconditional love. Always.. But, now I'm being tested. Even being cruelly rejected.

Thank you Julia for the thoughts

_________________________
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon

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#357747 - 03/26/11 04:48 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Lost Spark]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
Wow, Julia. That really helps me. I have been pondering how can I "unconditionally" love a man yet also expect him to treat me a certain way. I still think love itself can be unconditional...we can always love the PERSON...but we do not have to love the actions that hurt us and we can set boundaries.

I'm still working this out in my brain. I think I will always love my ex as a person unconditionally, but I will not allow myself to be treated badly, especially when he is not seeking help. I agree that there is a healthy balance between compassion/love and boundary setting. I am learning the boundary part now. I have walked away for the time being...forever maybe? It is not my job to convince him he needs help. It is not my job to convince him I care or love him. He knows I do. It is HIS job to get help if he wants to heal. It is HIS job to come to the realization that I was a loving partner and friend and that we could have been happy. He may realize it too late.

Like Lost Spark said, I lost myself. I took on his feelings. I put him first even when it meant abusing myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Somehow I had the strength to walk away a few days ago.

@Robbie, I would like to hear what you and other survivors have to say. You can PM me if you like, until Julia responds to your question.


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#357761 - 03/26/11 08:33 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: hopeandtry]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Robbie,
I am open to anything you want to share.

Sally and H&H,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You both are still in your relationships so you must have gotten the balancing thing right! Wishing you the very best of everything!


Hope,
There are so many degrees of love. You can have many people in your life and love them all differntly. My boyfreind told me many years ago that he didn't think he ever loved anyone. How does one go about trying to explain that concept to a person who feels/thinks not only that he's never felt love but that he's incapable of love. Funny, I blew that off at the time and steam rolled straight ahead with the relationship.... Hell, we were going to eventually get married and stuff, why sweat the small things??? DAH!!!

It does help knowing your not alone, that there are people who understand and who are willing to unselfishly share.... thank you for sharing.

Lost Spark,
I am so sorry that your hurting. I have read some of your posts and I can relate to so much of what you must be feeling. Of course you are married to your survivor where I was not... I imagine it makes it all the more devastating.

I also got lost in the relationship, I was reduced to a person I hardly recognized. My boyfriend's issues became all important and everything revolved around him and finding a way to get him to act right. If he was angry, I was anxious and nervous. If he cheated, I was anxious and nervous he'd do it again. If he was obsessing over sex, porn, the internet and/or another one night stand, I was anxious, nervous and obsessing about him. What I came to realize is that my boyfriend and I were two pieces of the same thing. We completed and enabled a perfectly dysfunctional relationship. It wasn't always that way between us, but when he took to spinning, I spun right along with him.

Like your husband, my friend turned very cold after I found a woman's number he'd had. He told me that he liked her a lot and that he didn't love me anymore. He was cold and robotic... he made up his mind and it was, what it was. In fact, he had known for a long time that he didn't love me but wasn't sure he wanted me gone for good. After loving him as much as I did, after growing up with him and being friends he no longer wanted my friendship. I didn't know who he was any longer. He had changed numbing tactics on me. This silence was worse than the rages. I felt that it was done. That was one of many breakups we had. He came back later and told me that he didn't know why he did that to me. That he loved me more than anything, blah blah blah.... I accepted the apology because I guess I plain hadn't hurt enough to want more for myself or him.

I don't know if your husband is homosexual or not. He probably doesn't know for sure. He is probably confused and overwhelmed with it all so he's going to shut out feeling anything your handing him. Same as my friend, he could feel for this woman he had just met but nothing for someone who has loved him since he was 15 years old.

I'm not sure if you are in therapy but it will only help you if you are. We don't know what will happen with your husband, most importantly he doesn't know. He has no idea who he is, he isn't even sure of his own sexuality. In all this mess there is a positive... he took away your option to try and work on your relationship, that leaves you the luxury of working on only you. In doing that, you will refocus all your attention on yourself and worry less and less with what he is doing. You will become healthier and stronger. If he comes back, your problem won't be so much about if he'll slip up again or if he'll stay dedicated to healing but more about you and what makes you happy.

I use to be afraid of letting go, of loosing him because for my entire adult life.... to different degrees.... I have loved my friend. I was afraid that I put all this time into him and if he ever stayed in therapy and continued to improve, what if some other woman got to enjoy what I should have coming to me?! I didn't want him to love anyone else, I didn't think I could love anyone else. Lost Spark, I wish that I could take my head off and put it on your neck so you'd know that I'm not feeding you a line.... it doesn't have to always be this way. You will get through this and be all the better for it. I know you know this, sometimes it helps hearing it from someone else.

We are all vulnerable souls making our way through life but we are also, powerful spiritual beings who are resilient and brave. Believe in yourself enough to let go and what is meant to be, will.

Love to all,
Julia




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#357762 - 03/26/11 08:44 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Julia]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6424
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
I've got to keep it short as i'm in bad shape tonight.

I basically agree with you position on this. I do not think any acting out can't be avoided. Self control has got to be a priority with him. I just hate to see you sacrificing too much time and energy. You'll always be his frnd, but is this something you really want to get involved in for the long term (as in marriage)?

I will never re-marry nor have another relationship as I'm poison to others (don't tell me 'no' either). I think CSA truly ruins some of us beyond healthy relationships.

_________________________
This nation has lost its mind!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#357763 - 03/26/11 08:47 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Julia]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Robbie, I'm open to a survivors perspective..


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#357765 - 03/26/11 08:57 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: worldscentre]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Never got to finish..
So thanks for answering. I know in my soul what I need but in my heart what I want, there's the conflict!
Julia, I have those feelings. What if he moves to someone fresh, someone who isn't a reminder? But I suppose we have to be confident in us, who we are and how strong we are. I think we loose that, but we are strong. We stood by those we love but how about we stand by us? How about we say, now I will stand by me. It's terrifying and as I say it I weaken. I love him and always will but I need him to be strong and stand by me. Can he do that? Not yet, but I hope he will. I'm sorry if I'm rambling. I just need to keep sharing. And I find understanding and support in people I've never met so perhaps someday I'll find that in him.


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#357767 - 03/26/11 09:50 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: worldscentre]
sally123 Offline


Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 54
This post hits so close to home, it is both inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time.... Such is the conflict of our relationships... The best lesson we can all learn is that in any healthy relationship we must love ourselves and protect ourselves first. This is for me a life long journey to full accept. I am so thankful Julia for this post, and this conversation...we can all learn and grow from eachother...much love xoxo


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#357770 - 03/26/11 10:33 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: sally123]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
Wow, wow, and WOW. It is comforting, though heart-breaking, to be reminded that others are going through the very same feelings that I am. @worlscentre, I thought some of the same things as you, and yes, you just have to trust that if it's going to work out, it will. I just decided for me that means not WAITING on it anymore. If something changes in the future, fine. If not, then I'm not spending anymore time waiting for it to change. I put in that time before...I did what I could on my end. I kept up hope, but now it's time for me to move on with my life.

@Julia, I'm really not "with" my ex anymore even in the friendship sense. I walked away just a few days ago and though I haven't necessarily closed the door for good, it will probably be a long, long time before we ever talk again.


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#357772 - 03/26/11 11:02 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: hopeandtry]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
Forgot to say, hope you feel better, Robbie.


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#357775 - 03/27/11 12:25 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: hopeandtry]
Lost Spark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Chicago, IL
@Julia: thank you.. Your words hit me more than anything lately... Even more than what my parents, therapist and friends have said to me. I feel EXACTLY to a T, every feeling you described. I am taking care of myself, for once. It's going to be a long process, but I think I deserve to be healthy, again.

I'm not closing my chapter... Just putting it on hold. We'll see what happens. I love him dearly. I just leave it all in God's hands...

You all amaze me.

Robbie, my heart is with you right now. I wish I could give you a real hug right now.. Trust me.

_________________________
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon

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#357889 - 03/28/11 03:02 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Lost Spark]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Robbie,

Thank you for your perspective. My ex and I will probably be no more than friends. Too much has been said and done. I was feeling a world of hurt for a very long time after we broke for good.

Bitter is an elusive bitch, it seems to come too late... after all the crying, begging, trying, fighting.... after wanting something/someone so badly, you think you can't go on without them/it. Bitter comes after all self respect and pride have flown out the window.

Time has past and I have had a chance to reflect on all that happened during the years we were together. I can see where I played a part in our failing. I can now see that I hurt him at times and that his intentions weren't always bad. Time has a way of bringing light to all things.

I don't know what happened in your marriage. But I think I understand that you have children? I too was divorced a long time ago and even when it is the best thing to do, I believe it is never easy... especially when there are children involved. I don't believe any woman would have/share a child/children with a man she thought was poison. Maybe she hasn't had enough time to look back on your life together and see without resentment and bitter. Maybe she hasn't a lick of insight, or maybe she's hurting too.

All a body can do is to learn from their mistakes and try not to repeat them. I don't know you personally but I know you are here working towards healthy. That if you were poison you wouldn't be over here on the friends and family forum trying to help us. And somewhere under all your hurting you still want better for yourself.

I guess I am trying to let you know that things have a way of working out. I'm not meaning to make light of what you are going through, I believe anyone who works towards something better will eventualy have it. We all deserve to be happy, Robbie. Sometimes it has to be a conscious choice.

Love,
Julia








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#357916 - 03/28/11 11:43 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: worldscentre]
SoniaDx Offline


Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 21
Hi Julia,

I wanted to thank you for reconfirming what I thought but wasn't able to articulate or put into words. In my case, before I learned my husband was a survivor we were already in counseling for other relationship issues. The reason was that I didn't want to be with him when he was acting badly and this was sort of an ultimatum. At the time, unaware that part of his behavior did have a deeper underlining cause I set up boundries and always felt guilty for what I thought was being unfair. But looking back expecting respect and to be treated the way I deserve isn't being unfair at all.

Now that I know about his trauma Ive been able to not take his behavior personally but it was hard to know the balance between my needs and his needs to be healthy. Thank you for validating my feelings of self preservation. I never really looked at our situation as conditional or unconditional I sort of looked at it as both of us contributing to the relationships failures and successes. And if we couldn't tackle major failures than we really didn't need to be together because it was harmful to both of us.

Your post put a lot of it into perspective. I've come to understand thar being a little selfish is okay too. After all, you're the only person who can make yourself happy. And you can't make anyone else happy either.

Thank you again.


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#357955 - 03/28/11 07:54 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Julia]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6424
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
Julia,

I'll send you a PM. You'll get a "chuckle."

_________________________
This nation has lost its mind!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#357957 - 03/28/11 08:01 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Still]
Lost Spark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Chicago, IL
Robbie,

Love your new signature... It made me laugh!

Stay strong, love.

Lost Spark

_________________________
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon

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#357969 - 03/28/11 10:10 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: worldscentre]
An Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 151
Loc: usa
Julia's post here triggered two reactions in me -

they overlap.

Mike Lew's ("Victims No Longer" author and my personal model as a therapist..) had one "golden rule" for F & F- esp partners-our ultimate responsibility even to the survivur (and primarily to ourselves) is to model healthy being that comes only with healthy boudaries.. It's not the partners unconditional love the survivor needs most, it's their own unconditional love of themselves- and as a wonderful survivor once wrote to F & F - an open letter to us all and primarily to his wife- the only thing worse than the survivor not making through recovery would be to have his wife also be destroyed by the csa-

We can't give unconditional love to others that we haven't first learned to give to ourselves- it's a mutual challenge for our Very Selves and the survivor .

A thought, another angle /perspective- isn't unconditional love the responsibility first of parent to child? Are we falling into the temptation to try to be that parent instead of the dignity and honor we'd show a survivor by treating them as an equal?

When an abused child gives a parent or other abuser their unconditional love, is it love, or is it not the necessity of dependent need? Ultimately the damaged child within need to reparent themselves. Even if just friendship support- is it truly friendship if the support is not mutual? or is it then parasitic. That's not to say there won't be times of ebb and flow support- it's the balance, the in-time flow of that river, not the waterfall of one side's neediness .

I think too of the "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"- I'd not want anyone to let me continue acting abusive towards them should I have fallen into such behavior- were i truly their friend, calling me on it would be exactly the friend behavior i'd want from them.

"unconditional love' for that which is the Divine in self , would make continued acceptance of disregard from another a violation of their own inner Sacred Self - they may be out of touch with their own power and divinity at the moment, but for me love is not accepting the devaluing of their own Power and Potential by accepting maltreatment. Setting boundaries is a Circle of Love between both.

Is it unconditional love of an Individual or unconditional acceptance of standards that dishonor both -definitely an angle i have on "cheating"- it's very definition is taking what i haven't earned, what is not mine to take- so where's the logic - would that be love? to say i believe you're only capable of less than i have committed to - again true and appropriate in a parent-child relationship- and if we as a partner are comfortable in a parent-child type dynamic, what is that saying about our own need for control. it always makes me see the survivors acting out as the toddlers tantrum/ the adolescent's seeming defiant independence- each saying " I want to know I can be ME, and a powerful Me". From an adult relating to another adult, what would be more appropriate than saying I want to know I can me me- and sometimes, ... even often, for the survivor that means being apart to develop their own reparenting, to as, an adolescent does in time, leave home to become their Very Selves.
just a perspective. Certainly my own past "unconditional love" feelings were driven by need to be needed.. cause at the time, loving myself without the need for validation of my need by others, seemed impossible.

Another last of those "golden rules" we heard one way or another- Love thy neighbor (thy partner, thy fellowman/woman on this earth...) as ThySelf. It wasn't presented as Love thyself as thy neighbor. We can't give what we don't have to give... a one way street is not a circle, a circle returns to us from where we came- unconditional love returns unconditional love. One way unconditional love leaves us at the end of the street with no way home....

I've always felt that it is Not that the survivor is unable to trust us, instead it's trust in their own trusting they fear, because of the past betrayal and the current increased drive to trust to make up for that damage- so the awful struggle for them is balancing that knowing that we're trustworthy but that their ability to trust their trusting feels waaayy too dangerous, given the past. When they can begin to believe again in themselves and trust themselves, trusting another becomes possible.

it took me a long long time to understand and accept that I could not do for another what they could only do for themselves- and that my desire to do otherwise, to "rescue", -had more to do with my needs than theirs. And that for me, the greatest form of Unconditional love for them was to recognize and respect their Self Power, and accept whatever choices they make, even those choices that meant separation from them so I could give myself the unconditional love I wanted them to show themself- as Ghandi said it SO much more briefly LOL "You must be the change you want to see in the world". (I must be the unconditional love for myself- complete with healthy boundaries- that I want the Survivor to experience within himself. ) Ultimately then, that becomes your world, your rich inner world, your deepest reality.
Hope and Healing and thank you for this strand~~~~



Edited by An (03/28/11 10:21 PM)
Edit Reason: typing correction

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#358141 - 03/30/11 10:30 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: An]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
I often think of things in terms of being the soundtrack to my life. What songs do I remember at certain points in my life? As I read this post, it is hard not to imagine a theme song that accompanies it. To me it is "Grenade" by Bruno Mars, Grenade :

Gave you all I had
And you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did

To give me all your love is all I ever asked,
Cause what you don't understand is

I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah, yeah , yeah)
You know I'd do anything for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)

Oh, oh
I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for ya baby;
But you won't do the same

I know that seems unfair to think that way. I know there are reasons for his behavior -- reasons for why he felt he had to walk away and why he thought that was for my own good. When we were together, he was a different person -- not this automaton that is emotionless and detached. He was loving, showed emotion, and his friends and family described him as never being happier than he was with me. But then I decided to look out for me and not give up everything for him, and ultimately, it all fell apart.

Recently, someone who doesn't know the whole situation (about the CSA) said to me that it just sounded like he wasn't ready to commit to me. In the most basic terms, that is it. It doesn't necessarily matter why, but ultimately, he just is not at a point where he can commit to me. As a result, I find myself on a path not of my own choosing because I had thought my life was with him. But that does not mean I am without power. Maybe life is not taking me where I thought it would, but I still can control much about the direction I'm headed. This same person who gave me some advice recently sent me an email. It had nothing to do with my current situation but I found his signature line so compelling. It said:
"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself."



Edited by SunnyGirl (03/30/11 10:31 PM)
_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#358142 - 03/30/11 10:47 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: SunnyGirl]
An Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 151
Loc: usa
Originally Posted By: SunnyGirl
I often think of things in terms of being the soundtrack to my life. What songs do I remember at certain points in my life? As I read this post, it is hard not to imagine a theme song that accompanies it. To me it is "Grenade" by Bruno Mars, Grenade :


yes re Soundtracks/ music of all kinds, voices of many souls......
you gow====
Gave you all I had
And you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did


I wasn't sure there if your answer Sunny G was in response to my multiperspectives but i super agree w/ your intro but have differenct percetion of part two--

To give me all your love is all I ever asked,

FOR ME THAT WAS DIFFERENT- I'd say it was "to give YOU all the love you need is all i ever asked

and to Give ME all the love I need- - well that'sMY primary mission , no w
Cause what you don't understand is

I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah, yeah , yeah)
You know I'd do anything for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)


but how would that help him?? earnest question.

Oh, oh
I would go through all this pain,
Take a bullet straight through my brain,
Yes, I would die for ya baby;
But you won't do the same

I know that seems unfair to think that way. I know there are reasons for his behavior -- reasons for why he felt he had to walk away and why he thought that was for my own good. When we were together, he was a different person -- not this automaton that is emotionless and detached. He was loving, showed emotion, and his friends and family described him as never being happier than he was with me. But then I decided to look out for me and not give up everything for him, and ultimately, it all fell apart.

Recently, someone who doesn't know the whole situation (about the CSA) said to me that it just sounded like he wasn't ready to commit to me. In the most basic terms, that is it. It doesn't necessarily matter why, but ultimately, he just is not at a point where he can commit to me.

i so agree with the profoundness in that above understanding

As a result, I find myself on a path not of my own choosing because I had thought my life was with him. But that does not mean I am without power. Maybe life is not taking me where I thought it would, but I still can control much about the direction I'm headed. This same person who gave me some advice recently sent me an email. It had nothing to do with my current situation but I found his signature line so compelling. It said:
"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself."


like the quote too- & I'd claim in too with You cannot teach a Woman anything; you can only........"

tired, . need to sleep smile Hope and Healing, An



Edited by An (03/30/11 10:48 PM)

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#358145 - 03/30/11 11:19 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: An]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
I guess my situation may be a bit different than some supporters. I've never been the co-dependent type, which in part is the reason I think things fell apart with my ex. I looked out for me and refused to sacrifice everything for him. I had my own aspirations and goals in life and couldn't give it up for someone who wasn't willing to commit to me. We had conversations about marriage and sometimes he spoke in theory about marrying, but ultimately, he was afraid. He asked me whether I could ever be okay with knowing he would always need to hold back a part of himself because the abuse prevented him from being able to fully love me -- he had to hold back to protect himself.

I wanted him to fully love me like I loved him. It is not to say that I actually would give up everything for him. I did not. But I allowed myself to fully love him and when we were together, he blossomed. He grew. He felt emotion and allowed himself to be vulnerable. People who knew him the best said they'd never seen him happier. During that time, it was easy for me to discount the damage the abuse caused because he seemed "okay." Yet he could not commit to me. Ultimately, I could not give up everything in my life to move away with him without a commitment. Without me in his day-to-day life, he retreated behind the walls of protection established during his childhood. Shortly after that, he called it quits despite all his prior assurances that we were in this for the long-haul.

Therefore, to me, this song does not exemplify me actually making these sacrifices for him. Rather, it speaks to the extent of my love for him -- I loved him with my whole being, but he couldn't let himself love me that much. All I ever asked him for was to love me with all he had and he couldn't do that. That hurts, but I cannot force him to go where he is not ready.

_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#358162 - 03/31/11 02:56 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: SunnyGirl]
Julia Offline


Registered: 11/05/08
Posts: 59
Sunny Girl,

Before my relationship with my Survivor, I didn't see myself as the co-dependent type. I divorced when I was 20 and with my baby girl in arms, I moved to a new state to start a new life. I divorced a successful man(12 years my senior) and walked away from a beautiful home and financial security. I didn't ask for alimony but I did take child support and banked what I could ... my daughter will be a junior in college next fall.

I don't want to speak for all the significant others here but I am speaking for myself when I say, my friend wasn't always emotionless. He was loving, affectionate and fun. Even towards the end of our relationship there were times the man I fell in love with would "show up". Sometimes he'd turn on music and dance with me in the living room while he sung to me. And I would hold his face and say, "there's my Sweetheart". I knew about his csa early on but didn't realize how it would effect our relationship later.

By the time he started having flashbacks, I was already in. It was too late because we did have a life together. Some of the women here have married or have a commitment with their Survivors... some have children before the issues hit full force. That is where it gets tricky. Knowing the man they are with and/or are married to, may or may not be underneath the lying raging maniac or worse (in my opinion) the emotionless stranger that seems to have replaced their loved one.

You learn all you can about why they are doing the unthinkable to you because you trusted them, you had trusted your own judgement and there has to be a reason for why this is happening. And there is. So now everything you thought you knew about love is put to the test. I always believed that when you love someone and they are hurting, you don't leave them all alone. You grab hold of them and you love them and you stay.

There were times he pushed me away and who knows... if he would have stayed gone it may have been easier. Maybe if we hadn't been in each others day-to-day life one of us would have ended it and it wouldn't have gone on for two more years. But he didn't go away, I had to walk away.

By the end I did realize I was in a co-dependent relationship with him. I also realized that someone can betray you in just about every way possible, they can break your heart and damage your own ability to trust and you can still feel love for them. I also feel that in ways I am more compassionate, more aware of the evil that exsits but also of the courage and hope... of the forgiveness that human beings are capable of. I have learned never to say never. Sometimes the very best life lessons are learned during your most difficult times.

I have stated before that the man who claimed to know nothing of love taught me more about love than anyone I ever knew. I still stand by that.

Love,
Julia


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#358169 - 03/31/11 08:21 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: Julia]
SunnyGirl Offline


Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 79
Julia,
Thank you for starting this thread. I find your responses so insightful.

I, too, feel I have learned more about love from this man than from anyone else I've ever known. The irony of learning so much from a man who claims he cannot completely love is not lost on me.

It was my love for him that led me to this site and on this journey to learn about CSA so I could understand why he was reacting in a way that seemed irrational to me. I was willing to walk into the dark world of CSA if it meant helping him, but he made the choice to walk away from me rather than face his past. Instead of working on this together, I have been learning about CSA on my own to bring some sense to what happened. His reaction to leave was such a shock to me because for the several years we were together, he hid the pain so well. It wasn't like there was a moment here and there where he was fun and seemed happy. The moments of sadness were the things that were few and far between and were often just offhand remarks about movies that were sad and how he could identify with them. He did such a good job at hiding the pain that he didn't let me see the crisis he was in until it was too late.

I know now that his choice to leave me is about control (and also protection -- of himself and of me) and his reaction has become easier to understand, but that understanding doesn't bring with it relief from wishing things could have worked out otherwise.

We have not spoken in months. As much as I tried to convince him that he could heal, my words fell on deaf ears. I know now that the only thing I can control is me, so I have been pushing myself very hard to do a lot of soul searching. Only I will know when I am able to trust or love again -- not my friends, not my family. The situation is the same for my ex -- only he can say when he is ready to deal with his past -- that is not for me to decide.

SunnyGirl

_________________________
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - H. Keller

"Change & growth take place when a person has risked himself & dares to become involved w/ experimenting w/ his own life." - H. Otto

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#358173 - 03/31/11 09:05 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: SunnyGirl]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Beautifully said Sunnygirl and unfortunately on many levels spot on. If I may one thing you said might be more perspective than factual:

“my words fell on deaf ears”

I have no doubt that this is how it feels but the very fact that he moved away from you, to me, would suggest he was hearing and what he was hearing was too painful to contend with. Though, sadly, you may never see the benefits of your love and support for your CSA loved one does not mean he did not hear you or will not benefit from the immense love you have and continue to give. Earlybird

_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#358181 - 03/31/11 09:49 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: earlybird]
worldscentre Offline


Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 36
Loc: Ireland
Julia,

you said 'I always believed that when you love someone and they are hurting, you don't leave them all alone. You grab hold of them and you love them and you stay'.

I only recently realised I thought the same. When things got bad I'd think to myself if I love him a little more it'll be ok, instead of getting angry at him and knowing it was ok to be angry. My love smothered him, he needed me to confront him but I didn't. Its a big regret. Although I am certainly learning to do so now!! And in a good and constructive manner.


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#358193 - 03/31/11 01:01 PM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: worldscentre]
hopeandtry Offline


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 476
"I have stated before that the man who claimed to know nothing of love taught me more about love than anyone I ever knew. I still stand by that."

Okay, that just about made me cry. That's exactly how I feel. Not that he himself taught me how to love, but him being in my life (and of course my willingness to learn) has taught me more about love than I ever thought possible. And just the fact that he is an amazing person and I never had a clue that I could love someone like that...well, I guess he DID teach me about love. So true.


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#358292 - 04/01/11 11:05 AM Re: Conditonal Love [Re: hopeandtry]
Lost Spark Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Chicago, IL
"I have stated before that the man who claimed to know nothing of love taught me more about love than anyone I ever knew. I still stand by that."

I don't think words have ever really hit me as hard as these... And as those of An.

An,

what you wrote. Just made me stop in my tracks of mourning, grieving and questioning as to 'why?' and made me say to myself, "now I see..."

You're completely right. I have no unconditional love for myself. In fact, I have always had my own Identity problems (not sexually, but just about who I am, what my purpose is and so on..) Whatever little identity I DID have, I brought into our marriage. A Survivor married me, hiding his sexual identity issues, burying them and hoping that he could figure them out along the way... He brought me to the Altar with confusion. That makes me furious!

And so, I brought myself in and immersed in 'being there' for him, being his 'savior', his 'angel' (as he once put it), his best friend and loving him no matter what. Unfortunately, I lost myself and we both went spiraling down.. He's been taking me down with him. And on top, he's lied, cheated and shut me out. It's like a process and he's completing it now with telling me he's Gay. If all other aspects such as his abuse, acting out and other issues haven't been resolved, how can he just declare he is Gay now. I don't think it makes sense, but it's a whole other thread.

Everyone around me (or as it has been described to me, I'm in a glass house and they're all looking in on us) has told me that I have become his 'punching bag' for all his pent up emotions and unresolved issues. I let myself get there, sadly. They all see him as just being self-destructive, spiraling and needing much, much therapy. So much more there, and I can't do anything without helping myself first.

CSA has pretty much destroyed our marriage, our friendship and, ultimately, me. I can see that now. Will I ever come back as a friend or whatever, I don't know.

I cannot help him, without helping myself first. And ultimately, will I want to help him later on anymore? Do I deserve these confusions, questioning tendencies if he likes/loves me at all? Is that what I deserve in this world? Or more?

I'm in therapy now but something just turned on in my head today.. Thank you An. I think you helped me 'heal' a piece of me right now.

And all you beautiful Partners/Spouses, stay strong and DO NOT lose yourself.

Lost Spark

_________________________
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." - John Lennon

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#358307 - 04/01/11 12:57 PM close [Re: SunnyGirl]
cantinsr
Unregistered


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