Some folks, because of their raising and emotional stuff, have a hard time saying, “I love you.” or showing their love physically through hugs n’ rubs. Their kids, spouses, and other intimates sometimes develop issues because they are not demonstrative of their love. Their intimates question their love for them because they do not show it. They sometimes feel a void or emptiness because of the absence of verbal and physical manifestations of their love. This can create a great deal of frustration and tension in the relationship. So, just like WE have issues and shortcomings…we have to recognize these folks have their own issues and shortcomings…and the lack of verbal and physical acknowledgement of their love for us…happens to be one of their shortcomings. So, instead of continually questioning whether or not our loved ones love us…we ought to look at the Big Picture of their behavior towards us…how they prove their love in other ways…like the things they do for us and the way they treat us. I believe that love is an action…that when people love us, it is apparent in their behavior towards us.
But this brings up another point. Some people because of their upbringing and trauma experiences, may act in VERY unloving ways towards us. For instance, they may be physically or emotionally abusive. I believe that many of these folks actually love their people, but their emotional issues result in very unloving actions towards us and other loved ones. They act that way…not because they don’t love us…but because of Emotional Mind dynamics…and being abusive is their destructive coping behavior…they yell n’ scream and cuss n’ fuss and they may hit us. Their behavior is not a manifestation of love or lack thereof, but a manifestation of the ugly inside them…all the pain and anger and ugliness from their past. It’s like they “throw up” or vomit that ugliness on those closest to them. Why? Because they have all this toxic stuff inside them…and when they get “Big-Time in Emotional Mind,” the poison is bubbling up inside them…and they blow up…and this stuff blows out…and all over those around them. Why the family and those they love? Well, we are the safe objects…the safest place for the emotional tension to be released. Because we’re safe, we stay with them…and they can “get away with it.” They can explode on us and around us. Point…it’s not about their love for us, it’s about their emotional baggage…their past relationship experiences…their history of trauma…and how they learned to cope with negative emotions. That’s what makes abuse intergenerational. That’s how it gets passed on from one generation to the other. It’s about social learning, trauma, emotional pain and intensity, and destructive coping behaviors.
So, this brings up another point. If our loved one truly loves us, but they are abusive towards us…should we have mercy…forgive them…and continue to stay with them even though they are hurting us…and emotionally destroying us? Should we practice “love is an action” and stay with them? I believe we should protect ourselves and others and get out of the situation…because we’ll never be okay IN this toxic relationship…and if we have kids, we have a responsibility to protect our children and not allow them to be victimized…and exposed to poison. If we remain in the situation, we are just enabling the perpetrator to continue their destructive coping behavior and we are setting the stage for this destructiveness to pass through the generations…to our children and grandchildren. If we have been victimized and have emotional issues because of this, we need to get therapy for ourselves and the other victims to work through this so we are not living our lives…living this out. We have to do something to stop this destruction both in the here-and-now…and in the future. We have to stop the cycle. It will be healing to know though…that the one who hurt us…probably really loved us…but their emotional stuff got in the way of demonstrating that love in all ways. We ought to understand that what they did, had less to do with love…and much more to do with how they cope with pain and stress. They were desperate for relief in the moment, the emotional moment…and they did what “came natural” to them. They did what was “bred into them”…what their role models did…what they learned to do…and what gives them immediate relief in the moment. It’s like their drug of choice.
We all have some undesirable ways of releasing the pressure of the emotional moment. I believe we all enact destructive coping behaviors…some more so than others…and some of these destructive coping behaviors are more destructive than others. Some people are abusive to others and some are abusive to themselves. Some smoke, drink, drug, or overeat. Some over-shop, over-golf, over-work, over-play, over-Facebook…over-sex…etc. Others may withdraw, isolate, under-work, under-eat…etc. We’ve all got “stuff” and our challenge is to find healthy ways of releasing stress and pressure and dealing with our emotional issues and concerns. We’ve got to find Life-Enhancing coping mechanisms and to refuse to do our “preferred” or overlearned destructive coping behaviors.