Day 12 ~ where is the love?

warning: half-baked thoughts ahead!

I posted an article about the phenomenon of “gaslighting” on my facebook, and it has garnered one of the strongest responses of anything I’ve ever posted — not in number of “likes” or even comments, but in the heartfelt messages friends have sent me all day about their own experiences with it.

To keep things very vague: some worry that they are gaslighting others in their own search for “perfect”, others suddenly understand what they have been doing to themselves for years, and a few are dealing with serious relationship issues I can do nothing about other than let them know I’m here for them.

But in the byways of my folded brain, it brought to mind Heejin’s wonderful post about kissing and intimacy…what’s the link?

Love.

We put up with the untenable for love; we accept the questioning of our own reality, of our perceptions, for love. Are we all desperate for it? I think we are. There are flavors to love and, as with food, we need a whole spectrum of it to be healthy: romantic, platonic, sexual, familial, cerebral…you name it.

Love is often sold as a limited supply edition, though. We can only love THIS person, and only to the exclusion of everyone else; there is only ONE best friend; there is only ONE favorite aunt/uncle/grandparent; etc.

Relationships sour on mistrust and anger but we hang on because we want the love we associate with them, whether it is still there or not. In many cases gaslighting works because it taps into our deep need for approval, that if we protest too much the person we want to love us will cast us off. We fear letting go because deep down, we believe love is finite resource.

But it’s not.

Those who try to throttle relationships via manipulation and emotional blackmail and gaslighting are often (not always) working from their own place of fear and insecurity. That doesn’t make what they do because of that excusable or justified, but it does show the other side of the coin, I think.

When it comes down to the bottom layer under all the sin and shame and fear and betrayal, all any of us want is to be loved for who we are.

We want it so badly we hurt each other, or ourselves, in desperate attempts to control or in acceptance of the control of others.

I was talking to one of those friends in chat and I commented that pure love, acceptance and encouragement are some of the rarest comforts people give each other anymore. We’re stingy, scared of our own passions, scared of being hurt. We want a “sure thing” and for some that means controlling others and for others that means learning to doubt our own emotions because someone told us to.

When a person is being gaslighted, all they want is for things to make sense, and to be trusted. To be believed, and respected, and comforted. Isn’t all of that the core of love? Trust, respect, faith?

I don’t think the “free love” solution so popular in the past will fix things — aren’t we all still broken creatures? Hedonism will not fill the kind of elemental need for love we all have. Maybe it does all come back to our parents, our mothers…who knows.

Ugh. I haven’t thought this through completely, which should be apparent by now. But I ~do~ think there is a connection here. I’ll have to dwell on it.