BY: T. Franklin Murphy | March 2018
A mature, emotionally stable mother loves unconditionally. Unconditional love as adults has downfalls; and shouldn't include unconditional acceptance.
Finding a willing partner in a disastrous drama isn’t a picture of unconditional love—nor is it healthy. It often isn’t love that keeps the partner from leaving the chaos; it’s fear. Connection isn’t unconditional. Human connection is dependent on connecting behaviors. Selfishness damages closeness by exploiting vulnerabilities. Healthy love doesn’t tolerate a one-sided relationship—all give and no take. Sometimes we love, by enforcing boundaries and leaving.
Expecting a partner to unconditionally accept betrayal of trust, disregarding their desire for reasonable need fulfillment, scrounging for a few crumbs of acceptance from the baron heart of a narcissist isn’t realistic nor is it the path to intimacy. We must routinely examine our relationship in honesty for balance asking, “Are we respecting our partner’s personal boundaries and are they respecting ours?”
Unconditional love is a great accomplishment, sometimes requiring loving from the heart but retreating for safety. Manipulators seek security from hurtful behaviors. They preach unconditional love and then act in unlovable ways, acting without scrutiny but retaining the right to an unshaken commitment. These broken souls possess a narrow vision of love, disrespecting a partner’s autonomy. Sadly, they impose their will by twisting their victim’s emotions, igniting guilt, magnifying shame, and dominating the victim of their warped version of love.
If we are unresponsive to a partner’s needs, then true intimacy will evade—forever beyond our out-stretched hand. If we are unresponsive to our own needs, then again true intimacy escapes. Some pathological disorders—whether biological from birth or learned from experience—limit connections, preventing empathy for others’ emotions; these limitations create dangerous relationships. For others, empathy and relationships are natural; they easily bond and fearlessly march through connecting processes. Most fall in-between the extremes--they have the capabilities for healthy relationships but must consciously attend to relationship skills, grappling with balance between autonomy and belongingness.
"These broken souls possess a narrow vision of love, disrespecting a partner’s autonomy."
Healthy connections with trust, mutual kindness and security are possible. Unconditional love is a fable if we believe we are free to act with impulsiveness, selfishness, and recklessness without consequence. Unconditional love exists but rarely. The lover possesses great wisdom and a wide view of life, when continually wronged they continue to love but wisely leave the injurious relationship, hoping from a distance that the misguided lover will find peace within themselves and recover from their selfishness.