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#60131 - 02/10/06 03:11 AM Unconditional Love?
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Iíve seen a lot of posts that speak of unconditional love. Who thinks they have it; who wants it and who is desperately seeking it. I donít believe that unconditional love exists or even can exist between two adults. It makes me sad to see so many men and women searching for something so out of reach; itís simply a set up for failure.

Each and every adult human being has certain beliefs and morals that cannot be compromised. We have standards and we have rules of behavior that not only society but simple human nature and decency demand we adhere to. Every individual has a different set of these rules, but we all have them. At some point in our lives we meet someone that seems wonderful, they may be a friend, or a lover but then they cause us pain and heartache by their actions. Thankfully this hasnít happened to me often, only once actually, but it was horrible. If the person causing the pain doesnít do anything to relieve that pain and turn things around then at some point, the recipient has to say no more. I canít deal. Iím going to live for a long time so how on earth can I permit myself to live with only pain?

Iím not saying that there are not great loves. There are and they are wonderful. I believe I have found my great love and I will do everything in my power to nurture that love; to help my b/f whenever and wherever I can. Iíll do this because he is willing to do this. If he falls, OK, Iíll help him get up. If heís sad, Iíll hold him. Iíll be there with him through everything because I know that he is trying so hard to make his life and our life better. The joy my b/f brings to my life far outweighs the pains we are now going through.

But is that love unconditional? No way. I love him, yes, but the only reason Iíll do all of this is on the condition that he put as much effort into himself as I am willing to put into him and me and us.

Just something to think about.

ROCK ON........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60132 - 02/10/06 04:03 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Trish,

This is a really good post.

I think there is unconditional love-- but I do not think that unconditional love equates to nurturing or self-sacrificing actions.

I can say to someone, "I love you; I will always love you, no matter what you do" and truly mean it-- without compromising my boundaries or morals.

I can't think of a single thing my partner, or anyone in my immediate family, could do that would make me not love them or cause me to deny the love and connection that we have shared.

I can think of several things that would cause me to stop having relationships with these people, or limit my trust in them. I can decide not to see someone, or let them in my home, or give them money-- I can figure out what I need to do to stop being hurt or to stop compromising my beliefs, and do it-- without stopping my love for that person.

I feel the same way you do about your relationship. Love would not have kept me with my partner if he was not ready to change his behaviors and fix what was broken in himself so that we could have a healthy future. Had he not been willing to do these things, I would have left-- but I would still love him.

If he had fixed himself, and changed his behaviors, and decided that the "new" him didn't want to be with me anymore-- I would gladly let him go-- I would rather see him whole and without me than still broken and with me-- and I understand that this is a decision he could make even if we still loved each other.

To me, the idea that if you FEEL something, it obligates you to DO something you'd otherwise not do-- is pretty unhealthy. I think where people "set themselves up to fail" is where they take this idea for granted and don't examine why they think it, or where it came from... or when they make unhealthy choices and then hide behind what they felt, instead of looking at other factors that motivated their decision.

SAR


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#60133 - 02/10/06 05:05 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
SAR,

I agree with everything that you said, but I think you mis-interpret what I'm trying to get across, or maybe I just didn't express it very well

I still feel a certain amount of love for the men I've had past, long term relationships with. They were very special to me and always will be. Even my ex-husband, who I don't particularly like, has a piece of my heart because we created a beautiful child together. I will never not feel love for anyone in my family, they are all precious to me. As for my b/f, I will love him until I die.

But I think that what some people are looking for is almost the equivalent of a stepford wife/husband. They seek the person who will love them and do for them and STAY with them no matter what kind of hardship or crap is thrown their way. This is just an unrealistic pipe dream that in the end will hurt both of the people involved.

I truly believe that the only unconditional love that exists is the one between a healthy parent and child. {I'm very aware that there are survivors of parent perps, my b/f is one of them and those monsters are very specifically excluded} My daughter may piss me off - and she does - but she could flunk out of school, fail to get a job, fall on her ass time and again, even get involved with drugs or alcohol {please G_d NO} but I would love her and STAY by her side and do everything in my power to help her stand on her own two feet. I believe this is not only unconditional love, but the obligation of a good parent.

I don't think an adult has the right to such an expectation from another adult. And if such unreasonable expectations are there, then someone is not taking any responsibility for themselves or their part in making the relationship work.

Some may be using the words "unconditional love" simply to express a desire for a healthy, loving relationship - in that case it's no big deal. But I have known some people who, for both good and bad, desire that stepford wife/husband that just doesn't exist.

Does this make sense?

ROCK ON.........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60134 - 02/10/06 05:47 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
It makes sense... but what I am saying is that the problem is not with loving no matter what. It is with the idea that you can determine how much someone else loves you based on how much they put up with on your behalf. To me, that is an idea with its roots in abuse.

What would unconditional love be to someone who did not have their need for love manipulated as a child? How can I know? What I know is that children have a deep fear of being unlovable and unloved, and that all kinds of adults-- from monster perps to well-meaning but ignorant parents-- use that fear to meet their own needs. Instead of giving one-sided, unconditional love to the child, they turn it into a threat-- "if you want to be loved, you will prove you are worth it by doing XYZ." They basically train the children to believe that the best kind of love is the love that sacrifices for someone else-- because the child who believes that is better able to meet the need of the adult.

Is it surprising that these children grow into adults who think that because their spouses set boundaries and have reasonable expectations, the spouses must not love them unconditionally?

The concept of someone who STAYS and continues to be harmed, as the picture of unconditional love, is hurtful and unreal for sure. But I don't think the answer is to throw the idea of love out the window. I think the answer is to have that person ask him/herself "What makes you think this is what unconditional love looks like?" Because maybe that's not what it looks like.


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#60135 - 02/10/06 05:25 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
Some may be using the words "unconditional love" simply to express a desire for a healthy, loving relationship - in that case it's no big deal.
Well I'm certainly guilty of that, I use the term "unconditional love" - or "unconditional whatever" fairly loosely. I'm very aware that what I recieve from my wife, family and close friends does have conditions attached, as this whole topic has expressed so well.

I guess that the true meaning I attach to 'unconditional' is more like not being judged on what happened to us as kids, and what we've done as adults if we are prepared to accept, and be a part of making, boundaries and actively seeking help to change our present behaviours.

The fear that kept me silent for so long was mainly the fear of not being believed - either through ignorance or bigotry.
Disclosing to my wife after 25 years was terrifying to me because in all that time I was unable to gauge how she might react.

Happily she has never said anything that I could take as negative about my abuse or acting out, and together we created boundaries to help prevent the acting out occuring again, so I think that the creation of boundaries and the non judgemental acceptance of all my behaviours that we agree are abuse related are a kind of special arrangement that we have that includes some unconditional love.

I have no intention of trying this out as an experiment - but if acted out again, maybe in a time of depression or stress, then I believe we would stay together and work through it again,
But If I had a one night stand with another women, I'd be homeless quicker than I could "sorry, but ...."

Maybe "unconditional love" isn't the phrase to describe what I mean ? But I believe that love can have some unconditional aspects to it.

Does that make any sense? I'm struggling to express this idea a bit.

Dave

PS.
"Happily she has never said anything that I could take as negative about my abuse or acting out,"

She has obviously made plain her views about my acting out, she hates the very thought of it.
But she was obviously prepared to think it htrough, talk to me about about, and think some more, before she arrived at her viewpoint.
And that didn't include hating me, but she hated the act and everything that led up to it.

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#60136 - 02/10/06 07:51 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Funny, I had a thought, put it on paper and because of you, Dave and SAR, that thought is morphing all over the place. Not in a bad way and not really the bottom line, but the layers embedded in what I though was a simple idea run pretty deep.

I think what concerns me about people looking for what they believe is unconditional love, whether theyíve been trained by trauma or not, or whether they are seeking it from a good place or a bad one, is that I just don't believe it can be. Every individual bears responsibility for themselves and what they can ultimately bring to a relationship. Many are working very hard to make themselves whole again. Those are the people who will find love because they want it and are capable of it themselves. They are willing to bring as much to the relationship as they will ever receive and they will always strive to bring more. Thatís not to say there wonít be hard times, of course there will. Perhaps one party will retreat and the other has to lead, in a sold relationship, those two positions are constantly being traded. No one is on top of their game all of the time. But when itís all said and done, both parties work really hard to make life work and thatís healthy for both people independently and as a couple.

Some are looking for someone else to do that for them because they believe if they find ďunconditional loveĒ all will be well. Thatís a fantasy that just doesnít exist and if someone believes that it does, it can only be harmful. Love is a beautiful thing, but just like the rose, it has thorns too. The strength of both people has to be there in order for the relationship to withstand just plain life, never mind the really tough stuff that sometimes gets thrown our way.

I have so many words swirling around in my head, but I canít seem to complete sentences so that they make sense so for now, thatís it.

ROCK ON..........Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#60137 - 02/14/06 09:33 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Trish
I agree that those people who LOOK for unconditional love are on a hiding to nothing, dissapointment is the only possible outcome, and nobody has the right to expect it either.

Like you my ideas and thoughts change as I read this terrific thread, and I still think we can give and receive portions of love unconditionally.
That doesn't mean, to me, that it's given without thinking - far from it, or without boundaries when behaviours are concerned, such as acting out.

I look upon my wifes love, and attitude, towards my acting out as unconditional in the sense that she accepted what I'd done because she could see the drivers behind the behaviour and seperate them from the person I was striving to become.
If I acted out tomorrow then things would be different, I'd be history. That's down to boundaries set between us.

But back in 1999 when she discovered my acting out, after disclosure of my abuse and starting therapy, she made the decision to accept that I had to deal with it and she would support me in doing whatever it took.
I find it hard to describe that as anything other than unconditional love, but like I say it is only a portion or one aspect of her love.

For me the deal was to honour that love and support by being honest and doing everything within my power to ensure that acting out never happens again, I accepted my responsibity completely. I also involved her in everything I did, she was heavily involved in my support before that, but from that day on it moved up a gear for both of us.
Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#60138 - 02/15/06 07:14 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Trish,

I'll admit fully, I didn't read the chain here. I didn't even read your entire passage. But, I wanted to say what a very smart and thoughtful person said to me once; unconditionaly love can ONLY exist between a parent and child.

I know that sounds harsh, but I fully believe it's true. Let me explain.

When two adults enter into a relationship, there are absolute "conditions" that each other have to meet. There aren't that many.

The main condition that makes a romantic relationship conditional is safety. You should automatically assume that the one you entrust your life to will ensure that he/she will not hurt you purposefully. The operative word is "purposefully".

There are times when our loved ones cannot honestly help their actions when they are hurting us. However, there comes a time when there actions/inactions hurt us to the point that it is emotionally/physically hurting us.

I was once involved with a man who physically abused me. I loved him with all my heart. I thought I could "help" (i.e. change) him.

I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Finally, the fifth couples therapist we sought said, "Susan, I'm afraid you will end up on the ten o'clock news if you continue with Mike."

I replied with, "But I love him. I love him unconditionally."

She said, "But Susan, don't you think a condition to stay with him is that he doesn't hurt you? That he doesn't abuse you?"

I replied with a very sad, "Yes."

I can't equivalate what you are going through with that. I can't. But, you need to find ways to help yourself. You need to do what you CAN for him. And then you need to find a way to compramise within yourself to ensure you don't get too hurt through all of this.

It can work out. But, there is also the possibility that it won't. Jeez, I hate to be a stick-in-mud here. I am a realist, first and foremost.

Be as introspective as you can and LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. That's the most important thing. Listen to that and your life will see its destiny.

Warmly,

Susan


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#60139 - 02/15/06 08:36 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
unconditional love does exist and it is the most painfull hurtfull love of all because,like trish says it can only exist between a parent and a child ,which is why i still love my dad even though he was and is a weak ,no good son of a bitch ,who cared more about himself than his own son . unconditonal love make kids deny that their parents hurt them ,makes them stay in places where they are being hurt ,makes them hate themselves instead of the parent ,i hate that i still care about my dad ,i hate myself for not hating him ,unconditonal love is one of the perps biggest weapons to use against kids ,unconditonal love is a very dangerous thing . shadow

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#60140 - 02/15/06 09:03 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
on of the most dangerous things about unconditional love is it breeds unconditional trust which is what perps use to lure us in .

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#60141 - 02/15/06 06:46 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Adam,

Big safe hugs my friend. You needed to say all that and I am glad you did. Love and trust are such fragile emotions and so easily shattered in a survivor, and the only way we get them back is to talk about how we lost them in the first place. That's where we have to start.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60142 - 02/16/06 06:27 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
SilentLambsSO Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Atlanta
Quote:
Originally posted by Lloydy:
Quote:
Some may be using the words "unconditional love" simply to express a desire for a healthy, loving relationship - in that case it's no big deal.
Well I'm certainly guilty of that, I use the term "unconditional love" - or "unconditional whatever" fairly loosely. I'm very aware that what I recieve from my wife, family and close friends does have conditions attached, as this whole topic has expressed so well.

I guess that the true meaning I attach to 'unconditional' is more like not being judged on what happened to us as kids, and what we've done as adults if we are prepared to accept, and be a part of making, boundaries and actively seeking help to change our present behaviours.

The fear that kept me silent for so long was mainly the fear of not being believed - either through ignorance or bigotry.
Disclosing to my wife after 25 years was terrifying to me because in all that time I was unable to gauge how she might react.

Happily she has never said anything that I could take as negative about my abuse or acting out, and together we created boundaries to help prevent the acting out occuring again, so I think that the creation of boundaries and the non judgemental acceptance of all my behaviours that we agree are abuse related are a kind of special arrangement that we have that includes some unconditional love.

I have no intention of trying this out as an experiment - but if acted out again, maybe in a time of depression or stress, then I believe we would stay together and work through it again,
But If I had a one night stand with another women, I'd be homeless quicker than I could "sorry, but ...."

Maybe "unconditional love" isn't the phrase to describe what I mean ? But I believe that love can have some unconditional aspects to it.

Does that make any sense? I'm struggling to express this idea a bit.

Dave

PS.
"Happily she has never said anything that I could take as negative about my abuse or acting out,"

She has obviously made plain her views about my acting out, she hates the very thought of it.
But she was obviously prepared to think it htrough, talk to me about about, and think some more, before she arrived at her viewpoint.
And that didn't include hating me, but she hated the act and everything that led up to it.



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#60143 - 02/16/06 06:29 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
SilentLambsSO Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Atlanta
Explain to me "acting out" please.

Not familiiar what it means in this arena.

Silent


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#60146 - 02/17/06 05:05 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
My T also said that unconditional love doesn't exist. I think that saying this, however, is misleading and leads to confusion.

I do believe that unconditional love exists - not only between parents and children, but between friends, lovers, etc.

Just because you have definite conditions for how a person in a relationship treats you (no cheating, lying, betryal, etc) doesn't mean that you won't still love him if he breaks these conditions.

It just means that you won't stay with him. But more often than not, the love continues. There's a difference between unconditional love and the unconditional continuation of a relationship.

_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#60147 - 02/18/06 12:42 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
For me, the only unconditional love is what I feel for my children. Everything else has conditions attached to it. Peace, Andrew
P.S. great thread

_________________________
there is no courage without anxiety

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#60148 - 02/18/06 01:19 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Evanscentjoy

Quote:
There's a difference between unconditional love and the unconditional continuation of a relationship.
I think that sums it up for me, and says in one sentence what I spent volumes trying to express - and not get quite right!

How often do we hear about people who have seperated from people they still love but can't live with?
I still think there are aspects of love we both give and receive that are unconditional, but outside of that we're subject to conditions - break them and we face the consequences.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#60149 - 02/18/06 09:36 PM Re: Unconditional Love?
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
My issue with the comparison of parent-child unconditional love and the things Trish and others are saying about the expectations that adults bring to the relationship, is that I don't think that in a healthy parent-child relationship, unconditional love means the same stuff as those adults are looking for.

I know what Trish is saying and I don't deny it-- there are people out there looking for someone to save them from responsibility and consequences, to shoulder all the hard work of a relationship, to help them and give to them until, without any self-exertion, they become better people.

That's not what parent/child love looks like to me, as a parent or a child. First of all, having unconditional love doesn't save you from being hurt. I don't think I was abused because my dad didn't love me enough-- even if I can say that him doing X,Y,Z might have made it more difficult for the abuse to happen. I don't think that loving my kids 100% can keep them from the world (as scary as that is) or from their own bad decisions.

And I know for a fact that loving my kids unconditionally doesn't let them off the hook (and it didn't let me off the hook when I was a kid either) when it comes to most of life. It is one unconditional part of a relationship that is full of responsibilities and expectations.

Even when love is unconditional, respect and admiration are not, and I have never felt like earning those things is less important because I already know that someone loves me, or that hurting someone isn't a big deal because they love me. It feels TERRIBLE to let down people who love you no matter what.

My father has expectations of me, he still holds me to a certain standard and lets me know when I have made mistakes. If I committed a crime, I know he would still love me-- but I also know he would expect me to face whatever consequences there were for my crime.

If he didn't expect me to be responsible or face consequences, that wouldn't BE unconditional love. It would be something else... and I'm not sure what to call it, but I don't like it any more than Trish, and I don't like it when parents do it either.


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#60150 - 02/19/06 04:17 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Quote:
Originally posted by Andrew:
For me, the only unconditional love is what I feel for my children. Everything else has conditions attached to it. Peace, Andrew
P.S. great thread
I would like to add that unconditional love is not, as some would suggest, universal between parents and children, either; similarly, there are certainly parent-child relationships in which either the child, or parent, or both decide to discontinue the relationship because certain expectations or conditions have been broken.

I know of many cases in which parents certainly love conditionally, and children love unconditionally and vice versa.

Personally, I don't believe that everyone is capable of loving unconditionally and that goes for parent-child relationships, as well. But the fact that not all are capable of this does not deny the existence of this type of love in any variety of circumstances, whether parent-child, brother-sister, lover-lover, friend-friend.

Again, I'd like to make the distinction between loving unconditionally and continuing a relationship where the 'conditions' have been broken - these are not the same thing. Also, it's not to be confused with disciplining small children, which is a separate matter, altogether.

_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#60151 - 02/20/06 03:58 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
I have watched this thread with a lot of interest, and Andrew and SAR's posts tempt me to comment in support.

I would also consider my love for my children to be unconditional, but that means that I don't take the easy way out when trouble arises or let them do that either. That course of action gives them false ideas about how they will have to function in the adult world, and at the end of the day it's irresponsible on the part of the parent.

Unconditional love for a child means doing what you know is right even when the immediate result will be a shitstorm and a bitterly disappointed child. Compassion and caring have to include an appreciation for the need to teach lessons about that uncomfortable area called "consequences".

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#60152 - 02/22/06 03:46 AM Re: Unconditional Love?
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Wow, what an incredible meeting of the minds! I see truths in ever single post here. Thanks for making me think about this further.

Susan


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