We all have a deep need for love and when we find it, it can make all the difference in the world. Whereas before we lived for ourselves, now it seems that we would do anything for our partner. Anything? Well that is the question we consider here. What does it means to say we’d do anything for the sake of love?
Love makes the world go round. At times passion becomes a force that fills our world, but it can also make us dizzy as our partner keeps us going in circles. In some relationships the circle has become a treadmill. How many relationships do you know where one partner is hell bent on taking abuse from the other who is hell bent on giving it? In one sense they are a perfect match for each other. We may of course sympathize with the victim, but we might also wonder if the victim isn’t simply encouraging bad behaviour.
Much negative behaviour has been justified in the name of love. However, taking the name of love is not the same as loving, and many people who believe they bearing cruelty for love’s sake are acting from other motives. Those who become victims of abusive relationships often have very low self-esteem. However, rather than confront that fact that they don’t feel good about themselves, they speak about how much they love their partner.
When we love someone, it’s because we are attracted to some trait or quality in them. We can’t turn love on at will like a faucet. So if we love someone who is cruel, just what is the quality that we find so precious in that person? You say I love in spite of the cruelty. Ok but that still doesn’t say much for the one you love. Are you sure there isn’t something in you that isn’t attracted to cruelty?
Those we despise deserve punishment, or so we feel. If we despise ourselves, we automatically look to others for punishment. To call this tendency love only masks the problem of low self-esteem. Relationships that destroy self-esteem are not based on love, but on power. By confusing low self-esteem with love we give our partner permission to continue to indulge in hurtful behaviour. The problem is that we believe that by submitting, our partner will someday come to appreciate our sacrifice. However, this will never happen, not because our partner is heartless, but because in the end we have made no sacrifice. We are simply looking for punishment. It’s only when see this that we begin to make changes in the pattern of our relationship, that we can get real and stop being a victim.