One of the biggest lies that get people in trouble nowadays, is that everyone deserves unconditional love. This is only true of babies and other severely disabled people who have never done anything wrong to anyone on purpose, and have no control over what happens to them.
The moment someone does have control of their behavior and choices, they can either disqualify or qualify themselves for love. You are free to love yourself as much as you like or as you can, but others are not obligated to love you. How they feel about you or anyone else is their business and their choice or impulse. It is not for you to say whether they should or shouldn’t, just to accept whether they do or don’t.
As someone who often walks the road less traveled, and says things many people do not want to hear, I understand and accept that few people are going to love me or feel benevolent towards me. Some are going to hate, dislike, or be totally indifferent to me. I did not earn those people’s love, and do not wish to earn love from them, and I am not entitled to it.
If anything, I do hope that they will at least respect me, and respect my “right” to live and to speak. I earn their respect by respecting myself, and respecting their right to live and to speak. So generally, I am respected. When someone brings me their disrespect, I earn it another way by making it clear that they will not cross my boundaries. When they try, they get pushed back. If they try again, inasmuch as it is in my power, they are rendered incapable of making another attempt. I am sure that at that point, I still haven’t earned their respect, just their fear…and this is good enough to pass.
…but love? No.
If you treat people in an unloving way, express hate towards them, hurt them, use, abuse, or exploit them, you don’t deserve their love. If you are not considerate of others’ needs, you don’t deserve their love. If you make yourself repellant, you don’t deserve for people to be attracted to you.
It is important for you to maintain your integrity, and it is good for you to have self esteem, but none of your inner world can be forcibly imposed on others. If you are treated unfairly, this is good to recognize, but it is only unfair if you are not getting what you are giving. If you are getting back what you give, then that is fair.
If you give others hell and make life miserable for them when they are with you or under your authority, and they don’t punish you blow for blow, and just choose to be away from you, then they are being generous. Nobody has to take your abuse.
If you abuse people, you do not deserve to be loved. You deserve to be hated.
How The Lie Gets Good People Into Trouble: Unconditional Love, Trust, and Loyalty
When an abuser wants to justify or avoid responsibility for their bad behavior, they turn it around on the receiver. They make it your fault that you were hurt by what they did. It’s not that they are wrong for calling you out of your name, hitting you, neglecting or betraying you, or otherwise harming you. According to them, you were hurt because you aren’t loving, loyal, or forgiving enough.
How that works is that they don’t have to be even minimally courteous, considerate, or loyal to you, but you are supposed to be those at the maximum for them. If you question them or ask for any assurance, you are committing a mortal sin of distrust, and they feel insulted by this. You are told that if you don’t trust them implicitly, you are not worthy of them.
It is common for abusive people, once confronted with bad things they have done to say some version of either, “You made me do it,” or, “I never hurt you.” This is often the case in the passive aggressive sort of abuser who uses the silent treatment and neglect as primary weapons. They behave as if they don’t understand unspoken and sometimes even spoken social contracts or agreements that a 5 year old would get. Because they didn’t actively do something like curse you or hit you, they claim ignorance and innocence when it is clear that they did intend to harm their target and enjoy the fact they have caused someone confusion and pain.
Actively aggressive people do this too. They will say something really messed up, blow something way out of proportion, go off on you, or hit you. When you respond by addressing what they did, firing back, or walking away, then somehow you are wrong. They act as if you are supposed to be apologizing for their misdeeds.
Avoid The Trap
During the initial conversations, when most women are “shit testing” and most men are “compliance testing”, be aware of some red flags of abusers who exploit the “everybody deserves love” lie.
These are all bad signs:
Saying that “everybody deserves love”. This would count out most Christians and other “love everybody” religions, on the surface. So if they’re of one of those faiths, ask for clarification about the difference between someone being entitled to, and this being an ideal that the loving person is supposed to be striving for. Ask them if this means someone should stay with an abusive spouse despite being beaten, etc. If their ideals are unrealistic in that, this person is setting you up to be downgraded or mistreated, and if you don’t take it, they will condemn you instead of taking responsibility.
The inconsiderate sort of bad personal hygiene, and not even trying to be presentable are a signs of anti realism in romance. A person should accept themselves and their limitations, but they should shine through them, not wallow in them. There is flawed, and then there is ugly. If a person tolerates too much physical ugliness in themselves, they will probably expect you to tolerate too much emotional ugliness.
As with their body, same with their home. If you can’t sit down, breathe without the scent of decay or other nastiness, or use their bathroom without cleaning it first, then they don’t and won’t care about your feelings. A man will need to touch the toilet seat to lift it to pee. A woman has to sit on the seat, and that her clothing may graze the bathroom floor. The sink should not smell like there was a war with bodies laying around for three hot days. Some people let some things slip because they’re busy, or depressed from being alone too long, but there’s a limit.
As a sidenote, a single bed is also a bad sign of something related, but not specifically the “unconditional” problem. An adult who is stable and doesn’t have issues around sex, has a two-person bed. A single bed means they are unstable, or they are banking on moving in with you.
They treat themselves and their partners like porn. If they collect photos and/or videos of themselves and/or their partners nude and/or engaged in sex acts, run. RUN!!!!
Nude photos you give to a person almost never stay just between you and them, even with relatively normal, sane people. Sane people’s computers and phones are compromised and stolen every day. An abuser doesn’t care about this because it’s all about their immediate gratification. They exploit the “unconditional” the same way the trust demand abuser does. If you don’t make porn of yourself, they threaten to lose interest in you, dump you, or degrade you by saying that you have trust issues or you aren’t “liberated” enough.
The photos or video will become a way that they will try to control you if you disobey them, and after you are discarded.
They demand that the sex or other features of your relationship mimic porn or any other fiction. This includes Disney or any relationship guru with overly idealistic views. It is normal for abusers using the “unconditional” trap to accuse you of not opening up enough or not listening or not caring enough about their needs if you don’t do something exactly the way they want you to, or don’t feel about something the way they imagine you should feel about it.
They convince you to do things that you say plainly that you are not entirely comfortable with or don’t enjoy, and then become angry when you feel exactly as you said you would. They may have stereotyped you in some way (such as you must be more promiscuous because you are a red head), and express angry disappointment when you do not live up to that. They say that you are not “in sync” with them when it is clear that you could just as well be a robot following orders for all they care. You are not allowed to have your own needs, or to be offended that someone would cast you in a fantasy character role and then demand that you be what they fantasized without knowing you, instead of who you are…but YOU are the one with the problem in their eyes.
They are currently abusing or neglecting someone. How they treat others is how they will treat you. The way they use the unconditional game is to claim that their relationship with you is different, and they would never treat you how they’re treating this other person.
Someone from their past, or one or more of their exes behaves in a way that indicates they are recovering from that person’s abuse. If people in their family have gone “no contact” with them, or speak to them in a way that sounds like a therapist coached them how to talk to a person with XYZ condition that abusers usually have, be aware. Abusive people don’t just fall out of the sky. Most have a history, and make a bad reputation for themselves.
In this case, the unconditional game is, “Don’t hold my past against me.” They will say it was a long time ago, when they just did or said something horrid to the person or people less than a week prior.
Demands that you trust them, or go farther than you intelligently should for them. This is a disgusting misuse of someone’s attention that is far too common in this age of over entitlement. It is usually men demanding that you give them sex or a kind of sex that requires a lot more than usual trust. With women, it’s usually that you give them money or buy them things, or trust them with your property earlier in the relationship than this would be appropriate.
They make it a major crime that you don’t trust them when you don’t know them very well. They will also make it a crime that you don’t trust them after they have broken their word. “Give me a chance.” “I need a man/woman who trusts me.” Then there is the big curse, “You will end up alone/always end up with liars/never be able to have a relationship,” if you don’t open your spleen to them.
They feel insulted when you state that in a certain situation, you are watchful or put off. If you say that when X happens, you are watchful or you take it as a bad sign because this often indicates Y, and they behave as if you personally insulted them, you probably hit a nerve. Even a smart abuser will at least pretend and say that they are not like that. A person who is not an abuser may say the same, but they will have examples of their behavior, and other indicators that this is truly the case. It’s usually the dumber ones who get bent out of shape over hypotheticals that wouldn’t apply to them if they had good intentions.
People who play this sort of mindgame are only getting you to open up your soul so that they can take a squat and poop in it.
Your love is yours, and nobody is entitled to it who doesn’t love you. Even if you love your enemies, you don’t have to *express* that love to them. It is yours to give or not. Don’t let anyone use your kindness against you.
Credits: Thanks to Arden Keren for help with this article!