When Love Becomes Torture!
Sit with the title of this blog for a while. What comes to your mind? Do a few scenarios come to your mind or do you feel that’s not possible? Love becomes torture when it is no longer love; when other emotions take over under the garb of love. And, every other emotion that stems up which is not love, or from love, is from fear. Here are a few scenarios where love can become torture for one or both, a few or all parties involved.
1. A loves B and B loves A so they decide to commit to each other. For a while, things are hunky dory and then A gets possessive about B. When they bring up the subject, B is horrified. B brushes whatever A claims as nonsense and is being true when they say so. A is not satisfied. B decides to let A into B’s world to see for themselves. A is appeased. A few days later A is triggered again. Doesn’t B know how much they love them? Why is B spending time elsewhere or watching too much TV or on the phone? B likes space. A doesn’t understand. A is all suspicious. They fight. A is miserable. B is feeling tortured.
Here love is replaced by “neediness and codependency” unknowingly under the label of undying love. People often feel possessiveness is an offshoot of love. It isn’t. I was told by more than a couple of friends that love and possessiveness go hand in hand!! When I discussed that with my mother, who isn’t a fan of suspicious or possessive people as a rule, shocked me when she said that I didn’t love my husband enough if I wasn’t possessive of him to an extent and that there should be a decent degree of possessiveness between a couple to keep them glued. I was horrified. A possessive husband/wife/spouse/partner/friend/anybody is a HUGE RED FLAG. Many relationships get by happily with both parties being a tad bit possessive and a few flare-ups every once in a while. Is that okay then? NO. Possessiveness stems from insecurity and lack of self-worth. Fear of abandonment and the fear of not being able to make it on one’s own is the underlying cause of this possessiveness irrespective of gender or relationship. It has, unfortunately, been glorified in movies and almost seen as a courtship ritual!! Possessiveness is a recipe for pure torture and disaster.
2. The dynamic of a helicopter parent and their child. I have been guilty of the same for quite a while and it is a dynamic which runs in a lot many Indian and perhaps Asian families. Being so involved in the nitty gritty of your child that you do not realise that they are no longer toddlers and that they may be teenagers, to adults to parents of young ones…and you continue to tell them what to do and what to know every teeny-weeny detail about their life controlling it in any which way that you can!! Pure torture for all parties involved. The parent is never satisfied and micromanages in order to protect the child from everything, taking away their joy and more importantly the skill set that they are dying to see them possess. The child is underconfident and unhappy while the parent is anxious and unhappy but this torment goes on generation after generation with a few odd exceptions.
Here, the need of/to control is the issue. Under the purview of parental love and duty, a parent’s insecurity of their own failures is unknowingly passed on in controlling dictums. Intentions are noble but the underlying cause needs to be addressed. Each one born is a unique soul. Don’t pass your own worries and your own negative experiences onto your child to protect them. Understand that no matter how hard you try, they will have to face challenges and you cannot shield them but trying to shield them for the longest possible time actually denies them of their skill set called survival. You unknowingly pass on your fear and negativity on to your child and wonder why they aren’t confident and adept at problem solving!! Another reason for this especially in the Indian scenario is parents not living their life fully; trying to bend backwards for their child/children thereby unconsciously expecting to be taken care of in their later years by them. It is an unwritten way of life passed on from generation to generation. Sacrifice and never living for yourself is glorified. Living for oneself is seen as selfish to the nth degree. It is Wrong. Never rob yourself of an opportunity to live life to the fullest and let your children know that you deserve a full life too so that they don’t end up being thankless. More often than not, children see your sacrifices as their entitlement. And who is to blame?
3. You have a lot of love to give and animals have always been a weakness. You want to take care of them and have them in your life or you want your child to grow up with dogs to learn love and loyalty from them or your kids want a pet. Depending on how affluent you are or even on a whim, you decide to own an alpaca or a Pomeranian, a cat or turtle or whatever else. I have no doubt that most of us do our best to take care of our fur babies in the optimal manner that’s possible but is that enough? We have a Labrador retriever. This is his third summer. The climate change has been ensuring that we move into summers right after winter with no spring in between. He has lost all his vigour and sticks with me the whole day because the air conditioner is on wherever I am since I am battling hot flushes! He pants so much after his walk and is forever looking for a cool spot. Electricity bills are pretty high. Plus, a lot many times there is no electricity and even though there is standby power there is no air conditioning. In another month or so Hyderabad will be beautiful thanks to the monsoons and life will be good again. How mean we can get to have furry dogs in countries such as ours! Someone owns a Saint Bernard and a few have Huskies. Do you realise how tortured they are for our need to love? As long as there is demand there will be supply. It is time to have rules internationally as to what breed can live in what climate and temperatures and these should be strictly followed. I have a dear friend who has adopted strays for the second time and what a beautiful soul to do that. They are just as affectionate and loving and lovable. They deserve a home too. Most importantly, they are local dogs and thrive in the Indian climate. We need to shift our mindset so that we don’t torture the very same babies that we love. Same applies to plants.
The lesson goes back to something I read and shared before about the fact that loving fish did not translate to eating them but allowing them to live and loving flowers does not mean plucking them but growing them. In the same way, Labradors are my favourite breed but my being in love with them does not mean I need to possess them. Eating the fish, plucking flowers and owning pets or plants in places that are not conducive to them tells us that we think we love them but we actually just love ourselves. Yes, we didn’t think that way then but we know now so let us change this hereafter and pass on this information to anyone we meet, who plans to buy a pet.
So, what do we take home from this blog? Just two pearls of wisdom. Up your Self-Worth so as to feel so complete in yourself that even if, starting from the day you stumble upon this blog till the last day of yours on Planet Earth, you have to live alone, relying only on yourself, you will do so in style and happily. When you reach that level, you will attract a partner just like you and you will have happy and fulfilling relationships. You will never have to worry about your love being torture for anybody else and you will know where to put boundaries so as to not face torture yourself. Second pearl is about pets and plants. We grow and thrive in certain habitats for a reason. Just because plants and animals cannot verbalize their stress/distress, let us not put them through it in the name of love.
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” which translates to “May all beings in all worlds be happy and free. And so, it is!”