I Love You Because You Love Me

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    I used to discreetly roll my eyes at talk of “unconditional love.” Then I had kids. Biological imperatives are amazing things.

    It even affected my understanding of theology. God as parent is not the only metaphor used in the Bible to explain our relationship, but it is the most common one. Having kids pushed me on the road to universalism. We hear talk of God as our loving parent and talk of God condemning us to eternal damnation for any of an endless list of offenses. These two strains of thought are mutually incompatible. Pick one. Keep in mind the aforementioned frequent Biblical discussions of the parent-child relationship between God and mankind.

    As for “I love you because you love me,” if that helps your daughter then by all means go with it. But we love our children between their synapses have developed such that they can love.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      I try not to focus on the biological imperative angle. I remember nursing my third baby as a newborn and while it was probably just a touch of PPD I kept thinking “You only love this baby because of the influence of oxytocin on your brain that your ancestors evolved over countless generations.”

      Science is at times a harsh mistress.Report

  2. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    I wonder if it’s a brain-wiring thing. I am also very anxious about “losing” the love of people I care about, to the point where I caught myself feeling sad that I had been “replaced” in my parents’ affections by their granddaughter (my niece).

    I mean, that’s silly and stupid, but, lots of emotional things are. I think also growing up I feared “disappointing” my parents in some way, because I was afraid they’d withdraw their love. Not that I had any evidence they would, so I again I wonder if it’s a brain-wiring thing.

    (I also wonder if it was early training from my peers; many of my friendships turned very “conditional” when some of my friends learned I would do stuff – like, give them part of my lunch at school – if they threatened to “stop being my friend.” Or I would change how I dressed and acted. I guess I was lucky I never had an early boyfriend who did the “If you loved me, you would…” thing)

    Though I don’t know that I have ever experienced unconditional love from another mortal being, and that’s sad.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      I wonder that too. Over time I’ve come around to a way of thinking where I now wonder if many things we perceive as being caused by some sort of trauma, are actually just brain wiring.

      As it was for me I did have quite a bit of hot/cold running parenting so I always assumed that my fear of losing affection was caused by that. But now seeing my daughter manifest the same sort of fear makes me wonder if it’s more hardwired into us.

      Recently I’ve had to face a notion exactly like what you describe with the school lunch thing. I feel like I’ve been surrounded by people who take advantage of me pretty much my whole life and I wondered what it was about me that attracted bad people. I’ve started to wonder “maybe these aren’t bad people, they’re just regular people who take advantage because I let them” and since IRL I loathe conflict I suspect there is a little something to that. People will eat you alive if you let them.Report

  3. Avatar Maribou says:

    I really like this essay a lot, and have been trying to come up with something smart to say … but I’m not, so I’ll just say I really like it.Report

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