Today's blog topic hits close to home.
**My late husband was a man who loved, yet could not love if that makes any sense. He was two people so I believe the concept of love to him was skewed at best. He could have never loved me the way someone without mental illness could have loved me. He had seen and suffered too much pain. I did my best to love him. I did what I was suppossed to do where he was concerned for as long as he would let me.
What can we do when the people we love can't love us back?
The answer: there is not alot you can do. I can tell you from experience you can't force a person to love you. You also can't force them to get help for emotional problems. I had to take a step back and look at my situation objectively. He could not love me like he wanted to, in fact, he was doing alot of damage to me mentally and emotionally. If I had stayed with him that would have progressed to more physical damage as well. I had to decide if this was good for me or bad for me in the long run. I decided (and I knew deep down inside) it was bad for me. I could no longer help him and frankly he was to the point he did not want any help. Once I made my decision to step away and leave my situation, I left. Many times, we have to leave and love from a distance. Sometimes that distance is never closed. Sometimes the distance only get wider because of the choices of other people. I had to come to terms with my circumstances and myself to get out of a bad situation.
If you are in a situation similar to what I have described, I need you to come to terms with two things: 1) you can't fix people, and 2) many times love is not enough. You can't fix emotional or mental baggage but you can suffer for it, from it and with it for a long time if you choose. Sometimes love is not enough because someone doesn't know what to do with love. When someone can't love us back, many times they give us no choice but to go away from them. I had no choice but to leave. I certainly could not fix my late husband's deep emotional problems. I was not going to live in fear or walk on eggshells. Did I love him? Yes, as hard and as best I could, yet he did not know how to receive that. I firmly believe his "love receiver" had been damaged from years of mental illness and early abuse. There are times I simply think he turned it off - that was easier than feeling things he didn't know what to do with at all. This translated into the spiritual areas of his life too. I honestly believe he did not know nor really understood God's love as his earthly father had been very unloving.
The best thing you can do for you in an abusive situation of any kind where love can't be returned is to leave the situation. You can't help your partner. You have done your best. You have loved the best you could love. You can't change them. You can't afford to live in emotional, mental or even physical bondage for the rest of your life. The time has come for you to work on you and to get you healthy again! I have been working on me for almost 4 years now and it is the best decision I ever made! I've had some blips but I am here writing this today because I chose to walk away from something I could not change. I am also alive today because I chose to walk away from something that I could not only not change but something that was dangerous to me.
I would like to have a loving relationship again and now I know what I can't and won't pursue. Until he comes, I'll work on me. I am incredibly content and happy right now! I trully do love myself and not in a selfish way. I really know who I am! You can't beat that!
When a person can't love you, you learn to love you. When a person can't love you, learn to walk away. When a person can't love you, acknowledge you have done your best and your best is all you are required to give. There is someone out there who will love you back and they will love you well. Don't settle for anything else.
Until next time,
**To read more about my story, see my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between You can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as on iTunes and Audible.com