Author Topic: Unconditional Love  (Read 324 times)

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Offline Asche

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Unconditional Love
« on: July 30, 2020, 09:14:29 pm »
Someone recently recommended a book to me (Love Lives Here, by Amanda Jetté Knox), which is by a woman who has a child who came out as trans (and then a year or so later, so did her spouse....), and there's a passage which is really, really resonating for me.  Her child has just sent both parents a text, saying, essentially, "Please don't be angry, I'm a girl trapped in a boy's body."  She writes:
And here's what I knew for sure in that moment:
  • Our child had just told us something critical.
  • Our child needed our support
  • The love we had for our child was unconditional

I keep reading this and rereading it, especially the last line, and I'm realizing that when I was young, whatever passed for "love" was always conditional, at best.  Everyone around me, especially the adults and especially my parents, made it clear in deed and often in word that I wasn't acceptable because I wasn't measuring up to what they wanted of me, implying that they would accept me if I would just do and be what they wanted.  In a way, it was worse than being flat-out rejected.  If I had been unconditionally rejected, I could have gone out looking for support elsewhere.  Instead, I remained in thrall to the (I now believe illusory) promise that love and acceptance and support and happiness were there waiting for me, if I could only just jump high enough, so to speak.

And so I spent most of my childhood jumping -- and failing.  I eventually learned to not expect it, to turn my back on my parents and make a life for myself, but I was forever left with the feeling that if I wasn't getting my parents' love and support, it was really my fault for not doing whatever the heck I was supposed to.   In fact, when my mother died (my father predeceased her), I felt no grief, only relief, because I was relieved of the burden of that false promise.  It was freedom, in the sense of "freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

I still have trouble wrapping my head around what they did and how they related to us children.  I have raised two children to adulthood, and I can't imagine not loving them for who they are, just for being who they are, and supporting them to the best of my ability, no matter what.  It's what every child needs, as much as food and clothing and visits to the doctor.  It's what gives them the foundation to grow "straight and tall."  And, really, it's what every child deserves, just for existing.  Seeing other parents give that to their children puts a name to the pain that I've carried around with me my whole life.

Unconditional love.  It's the only kind of love that is real.

Parents who reject their children for being gay, or trans, or not the doctor or football player or cheerleader they'd pictured in their minds are giving, at best, conditional love, which isn't really love at all, it's just posession.

This is the mantra of  real love for a child:
  • Our child has told us something critical (whether or not in words.)
  • Our child needs our support
  • The love we have for our child is unconditional

[Edit: New wording in blue in the last paragraph.]
"...  I think I'm great just the way I am, and so are you." -- Jazz Jennings

Complex PTSD

Offline AllieSF

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Re: Unconditional Love
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 09:21:41 pm »
Thank you so much for such a wonderful heartfelt story with so much meaning and life lessons in it.  I am so sorry that you had to live that life.  I could never fathom me or my children being in such a despairing situation. 

Thanks for sharing,

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Offline RandyL

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Re: Unconditional Love
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 11:07:56 pm »
Asche, I'm so glad you could break the cycle of emotional abuse you suffered for so long, and raised your own loved (unconditionally!) children. It is one of the greatest things we can do in life, is to make the world a better place, and you have. I'm sorry for what you endured, but glad for what you've made of it.
Hugs, Randy

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Offline Froodah

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Re: Unconditional Love
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2020, 02:29:53 am »
I believe in unconditional love for all living beings, no matter who they are and what they do or where they come from!