What is love?

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I have always believed that people show love in different ways.  I love mailing greeting cards for every occasion possible…it is one way I let the people I care about know that I am thinking of them.

During the 41 days my father was in the hospital and nursing home and ever since he got home a week ago, my mother has been glued to his side.  Without knowing it, both my sister and I spoke to our respective therapists about my mother’s weird devotion to him.  He has treated her so badly for so many years, it is hard to understand why she even cares about what happens to him.

However, my sister and I were at the hospital and nursing home all the time, too- even when he had psychosis and was acting so horribly.  We brought him milkshakes and food he liked.  My sister brought her toddler to visit “Papa”.  We basically all put our lives on hold to take care of him.  Clearly this is learned behavior because I did the same thing when my exboyfriend was in the hospital for 28 days…I sat by his side, putting my life on hold.

I have never doubted that my father loved me (and my mother or sister).  I never doubted my exboyfriend loved me either.  They both just had such a hard time showing it because of their addictions to alcohol.

My dad showed me love by providing for our family, for making sure my sister and I had every opportunity possible, including going to college.  He showed love by making sure we had a beautiful home.  He showed love by buying my mother, sister and me matching bracelets for Christmas one year.  He showed love by building me a dollhouse that I can pass down to my niece. He showed love by crying when I told him I was miserable and getting divorced. He showed love by helping me with my mortgage for the summer so I wouldn’t have to worry about money after my boyfriend moved out abruptly.

My exboyfriend showed me love by supporting me working through my anxiety.  He showed me love by convincing me to give up a summer job that made me unhappy.  He showed me love by getting me “just because” flowers.  He showed me love by sending me cards, because he knows I love getting mail.  He showed me love by embracing my sister and loving our niece.  He showed me love by caring about my mother.

Neither of these two men loved me in the ways that I necessarily wanted or needed, but they showed me love in the way THEY knew how and I try to be appreciate of that.  I am very happy right now to be with someone who is able to show me love in the way that I need (physical affection, open communication, security) and who accepts my love in the way I give it.

2 comments on “What is love?

  1. Elizabeth Trujillo says:

    I love how you express yourself and are so open with your struggles. I have been a cheerleader of yours for a while now. I read everything you have posted and felt all of your struggles. My father wasn’t an alcoholic, but growing up he was abusive. In his later years, he became so loving and gentle. I always say that he was a horrible father, but an amazing grandfather. I realized as an adult that he was struggling with a mental disorder and as a family we helped him get on medication and see a counselor. It was not easy. As a child, I often wondered why my mother did not leave him, but she loved him and he loved her, and they loved us.

    So last note, I went back and looked at all your posts to see if I missed something. You met someone? Did I miss this, or are you sneaking it in? Either way I am happy for you and want nothing but the best.


    • Anxious ACOA says:

      Thank you! This is the nicest reply! I appreciate what you wrote so much and the fact that you take the time to read my blog means so much 🙂 My dad has not drank since he went to the hospital on Christmas Eve, so I am enjoying having a “normal” dad while it lasts. I have struggled often with why my mother never left him, but I don’t even know if she knows why she didn’t.

      You are VERY insightful…definitely snuck that in. It’s only been a few months, but with someone I have known and trusted for 20 years. I am so, so happy, but am still being a little cautious because it is new. I feel like he is the first man I have been with that I don’t have to “fix” or take care of…he wants to take care of me (that’s such a weird change for me!)

      Thank you again for your sweet response. I am glad that you were able to get to a point where you understood your father and why he acted like he did. And I am so happy that he turned out to be an awesome grandfather 🙂 xoxo


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