It’s a humbling experience to realize that your idea of love was just the product of generational trauma. The love I thought I felt so strong, secretly being my deep-rooted abandonment and co-dependency issues.
You develop these issues when you grow up seeing the women in your family beg the men to save their marriages. When the men are expected to be the center of your world regardless of how they treat you. All the toxicity and disrespect are brushed off under the disguise of keeping a “stable” family life. But if it’s so stable, why do you need to beg someone to stay with you?
My idea of unconditional love for others turned out to be me hurting myself trying to make them happy. My willingness to be “understanding” was me overlooking every hurtful thing done to me just to keep living in a false reality. It makes me wonder, why did I kill off parts of myself just to make them happy? It’s a lot more confusing when they didn’t even try to satisfy me in any way.
But the question that actually keeps me up at night is why did I think this was love?
It’s like the saying goes, you can’t love anyone until you love yourself. Maybe it should have always been obvious to me. But then again, any idea of love I had was influenced by my childhood experiences. The “for better or worse” and the “till death do us part” had me in a chokehold. If marriage equates to love, then maybe this is love?
I chased after people that felt like home to me. I completely ignored how unloved and unsafe I’d felt as a child. I didn’t mind fighting for people to stay with me. They’d walk out of my life after betraying me, but I’d still hold the door open for them. And I’d wait for years to take them back without them needing to feel an ounce of regret.
The concept of “earning” someone’s love was normalized to me. I’d do everything to acquire someone’s love, for them to barely acknowledge my existence.
I suppose I did that to myself. I made a fool out of myself. If I wasn’t going to respect myself, then who would?
If I ever received love without doing anything to work for it, I didn’t trust it. Little did I know it was one of the only times I’d gotten what I wanted so badly. Pure unconditional love. I rejected anything that seemed too good to be true. Because I just couldn’t comprehend the idea of me deserving it. I couldn’t fathom being loved.
On the bright side, it makes me feel a little better for how things ended with my past lovers. They saved themselves from the emotional baggage that I unknowingly affected them with.
Now I need to properly learn how to love myself. Only once I master that will I invest in someone else’s romantic life.