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By April 23, 2008 51 Comments Read More →

The opposite of love is … what?

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel is just one person who has said the following: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference”. In other words, the opposite of love is not hate, as might have been expected. We’ve all heard this contention and been struck by it. Yes, we’ve thought, it is terrible to be ignored. (Pretty awful being hated too, of course.)

But I’m grateful to Dawn Eden for mentioning another powerful proposition.

Eden, promoting her book ‘The Thrill of the Chaste‘, is currently visiting Canadian high schools.

The students seemed interested when I told them what Pope John Paul II called “the opposite of love.” It’s not hate, as some of them guessed when I asked them what they thought it would be, nor is it indifference. It’s use.

“People sometimes use people because they hate them,” I said. “But you don’t have to hate someone to use them. That’s why use is more dangerous than hate. You can use someone while fooling yourself into thinking you love them.”

On reading this I immediately thought of the life stories told at Lovefraud. This concept of love vs use seems to have much promise when it comes to making sense of life with a psychopath. For instance a minor change of the last sentence by Eden goes as follows: “You can use someone while fooling them into thinking you love them”.



51 Comments on "The opposite of love is … what?"

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  1. OxDrover says:

    Orphan,

    If you choose to live your life trying not to “hurt” others no matter what they have done to you, that is your right as an adult to make that decision. If you choose to live with a man who beats you, that is also your right to make that decision.

    I don’t think it is a healthy one for me, and I choose not to spend my life trying to keep from hurting people’s feelings when they are disrespectful or mean to me.



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  2. LilOrphan says:

    Oh, no, I was just agreeing with your quote – that if we fail to ask out of fear of hurting someone else we fail to get what we want, even in the best and closest relationships.

    And that I have failed in the past with those in the inner circle out of fear of hurting them.

    That’s all. I’d never choose to be hurt by someone. I just need to learn when to cut the cord and be sure I am going to be ok with that, in the long run, and not allow guilt to kill me.

    Right now, I’m either having a near-breakdown from guilt (can’t sleep, am tormented when I do sleep, can’t really eat) or I’m having some sort of bizarre but great religious conversion that will leave me forever changed in its wake. Not sure which. Just wish I knew.



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  3. almost_free says:

    Boundaries… I set them, I thought I was doing well, once again, and bang, I get re-traumatized again. I guess some of us just have to learn the hard way.

    He phoned this week, just wanting to talk… the old “how are you?” and “I care about you”, and “I guess I have some problems”, and “I need your help with the kids when they come over”, and on and on… playing the pity game. Now he’s the victim. And, what do I do?? Totally fall for it. Tell my family he needs help. I feel true, genuine pity for him.

    Then, BANG!! He leaves me a message about something, I call him back – I hear he’s at the airport, he tells me he’s picking someone up, and I can FEEL the smirk on his face. How sick is this man?? This was his weekend with his children, but he didn’t push for them to come over tonight. He continues to have sex with women that work for him… women that live overseas. He’s been doing this for 13 years.

    I actually thought this week that he was going to seek help for himself, that he was at a low point and “needed” me. And, in one swift moment, it all comes clear to me again, he is nothing more than a very bad, sick man, who enjoys tormenting me and causing me pain.

    My entire body starts shaking yet again – I thought I was over this. I realize this is PTSD, and I was re-traumatized so quickly, so easily.

    So, yes, once again, I am going completely NC.

    LilOrphan – I also need to learn when to “cut the cord”. I must just be a slow learner. Or, he’s just an incredibly good manipulator, which he is. He’s had years of practice and he has mastered it. I cannot tell you how sincere he seems – although, all of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.

    I need to drill it into my head, he is BAD, EVIL, CRUEL. I need to stop tormenting myself with this man’s toxicity. Life is too short to let someone have so much control over me. Enough is enough.



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  4. OxDrover says:

    I am so frustrated with myself that I went so long before I started to even see the “trees” for the “forest”–and realize that I wouldn’t set proper boundaries on my family (close friends too) and I was always letting things build up until I went into a “secret” rant–I didn’t explode on them, I exploded on myself. It never made me feel any better though! DUH!

    Now, I don’t let it build up. If you stop the irritation when it is just that, then there isn’t any reason to feel “put upon” (assuming that the person you are setting boundaries on is cooperative). If there is a REAL BIG problem all you have to do is say to yourself “this is a DEAL BREAKER” and do not look back.

    For me now, a LIE is a deal breaker—enough already with the lies. If someone doesn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth, then I don’t need them in my life! Cursing me, name calling, etc are also deal breakers.

    Almost_free, that’s the thing, if we are not careful to maintain NC (at least emotional NC if not physical NC) to get SUCKED in again.

    It doesn’t take much to re-traumatize me at this stage, which is one reason I am SO leery of taking on other people’s problems or being around anyone who is behaving negatively. It will take TIME (how much? ???) for me to build my “reserve strength” up, just like if you had been sick a long time your physical “reserve strength” would need to be regained slowly so that you could be like you were before you got sick. I think it is the same with “emotional strength”—

    In a way though, it is helping me to be willing to set boundaries without guilt as I know that I MUST TAKE CARE OF ME, or no one will. I got so “low” on strength I almost lost my mind and I do NOT want to go back there again. It was worse than the worst pain of child birth, and I didn’t even get a baby out of it! LOL

    If I have learned nothing else out of all this, I have learned that I MUST SET BOUNDARIES IN ORDER TO BE HEALTHY. NO MATTER WHO THE PERSON IS—did they give birth to me? Did I give birth to them? Are they my brother/sister/uncle/aunt, husband/wife, best friend? Doesn’t matter that does NOT give them a right to abuse me, use me or disrespect me. I want to be nice to the people I love, and I expect them to “play nice” as well. Doesn’t mean we will never have disagreements, but we can BE NICE ABOUT IT. I don’t think that is too much to ask of anyone who says they love me.



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  5. OxDrover says:

    Free, that is very profound, and deeply touching.

    Yesterday and today has been sort of hard for me, reading about Amy’s children being murdered because no one would listen to her. I guess maybe it triggered in me the feelings I felt when Iwas trying to “save” my mother from the Ps ripping her off financially and/or killing her and no one would listen, the judge only partly listened, but in the end allowed the P to move back into mom’s house. I was so frantic, and ended up having to run myself in order to keep from being killed myself.

    I could not even imagine how it would be to try to defend your KIDS–at least with my mother I could say, she is an adult, even if she isn’t totally functional, I could “let go” and take care of myself, but with KIDS it is a whole “nuther ball game”—I have always had a great deal of empathy for parents who are trying to raise kids with even limited contact with a P, a not “lethal” P even, but to be terrified for your kids’ lives, and have no one listen, to be compelled by LAW to allow them into the maw of the lion…I can’t even imagine the pain, the fear, the terror, and then the reality of it all. It really struck a cord in my heart and I was angry and tearful all day yesterday. Still tearful and sad today.

    I am doing my best to “bleach the bitterness” out of my soul, to reflect, recognize the lessons that are to be learned and to internalize them into myself, but when something so horrible rings my chimes I do know that I react more to it than I would have before all this chaos in my life, I think, than I would have prior to my own horrible experience last year.

    My Trojan Horse P will be getting out on parole May 21st, and I have done all I can to prevent it, and the SYSTEM has apparently ignored it. I plan to go to the governor’s office personally this next week, and may still, but we had a tornado hit down along a rural road about a mile north of us and wipe out the farms, barns, fences and homes of many people, so I am helping with the relief efforts and that is taking a great deal of TIME which I would normally have used fighting the system, but I feel like these people who have livestock and no place to put them, injured animals and no barns to house them in, etc. need my help and time more than me pounding on the governor’s door for what will most likely be a FUTILE effort, and these people can use my help NOW.

    God spared me and my farm, so I feel like it is my duty to put forth effort to assiist my neighbors in their hour of need. We lost 2 people to death, 4 to serious injury, but many people lost their livelyhoods as well as their homes so a minor amount of inconvenience on my part will be a godsend to them. I’ve got truck loads of horses coming today and tomorrow, and some that will get back from the vet’s next week that will need shelter in barns until their wounds heal.

    My visitors from Texas and my son and I drove by the devestation yesterday and it is heart breaking as well. The storm went right down the country road for over a mile wiping out everything on either side, then across a forest, twisting every tree either out of the ground or in two, jumped the highway and continued on down the road, so0me places you can only see foundations where the houses or trailers or bars were, and the few pieces bigger than a dining room table are all up against a treeline a half mile away, the rest is in tiny pieces over the pastures like pieces of confetti.

    But like most rural areas, armies of men with chain saws turned out, tractors and bull dozers, so there is an outpouring of help for these devestated people. I can’t use a chain saw but I can shelter the animals on my farm to take that much stress off people whose pastures no longer have fences, their homes no roofs and their barns gone.

    Maybe that will help me in my anger and sadness about Amy’s children, but I know it touched me more deeply than any other “news” story I have heard since 9/11.



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  6. OxDrover says:

    Thank you Free, I appreciate it…on top of that though, my friends from out of town and I went to the local Saturday night auction and WHO SHOULD WALK IN BUT MY X-BF-P OF ALL PEOPLE—he lives 400 miles away—what the HECK WAS HE DOING IN MY NECK OF THE WOODS? This is the jerk that burned the home of his former GF to the ground to “get even with” her after she dis’d him–talk about revenge.

    I called home and told son D to lock our gate, and to chain the “bad dogs” out by the aircraft hangar so that no one could get up close without setting them off.

    My reaction to seeing his nasty face was…???…. I’m not sure what the feeling is, anger, ? revulsion ? Not sure just what word describes it or if there IS a word.

    I hadn’t seen him since a year and a half or two years ago, and at that time seeing him didn’t upset me too much. Tonight I was more upset at seeing his ugly face. He spoke like “old friends” I ignored him. Then he and his two friends sat right in front of us, instead of taking seats which were available across the area. He stayed about an hour or so, then got up and left alone. I was glad that I had called son D and put him on alert.

    A year to the day after I had broken up with him, he called me in the middle of the night to gloat over the emotional injury he had done to me—I answered the phone because I was asleep and didn’t check to see who was calling.

    As he kept sitting there in front of me I kept thinking of what I would “like to say” to him—tell him off—but I didn’t. I kept physical and verbal NC, but sure didn’t keep emotional NC. I think it might have been the surprise of seeing him in my area, and I am still unsure why he would be up here.

    Yesterday and today had been emotionally difficult days anyway, so this was the TOPPING ON THE FRUIT CAKE! (sigh) but I will weather this storm too, but it does seem like it comes in WAVES and then you get paranoid and wait “for the other shoe to drop” I KNOW what this SOB is capable of and how he likes revenge.

    When we split up, I told him that I knew he had burned his X’s house and she did too, that we couldn’t prove it, but that if my house was struck by a lightening bolt and I witnessed it, I was still going to assume HE burned my house and take “appropriate” action. I also got “word” to him through a third party that I had installed video surveillance on the place and that I was watching out for him to “try something.”

    He knows I am not a shrinking violet as well, so hopefully, it was just a fluke that I ran into him. He and I had gone to that auction when we were dating and it is a regular Saturday night affair. So I hope it was just a fluke and that he had not come here to do something nasty, but with Ps YOU NEVER KNOW what they can get up to….and “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” LOL



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