I love someone who has no capacity to love anyone in return.
My own dad can’t love me, but that doesn’t prevent me from loving him. Despite the worst things he has ever done, he still holds a place in my heart. I get asked “how” or “why” quite often. “How could you possibly still love him?” Truth be told, I’ve asked myself that many times over.
I don’t know how to stop loving someone who was there for 27 years of my life. My dad was my abuser, but he was also the person who wiped away tears and cleaned up scraped knees. The same man who hugged me, told me he loved me and how proud he was of me. My father taught me many life lessons, hard work, pride, and to never give up. He was the one to take me fishing, four-wheeling, and joke around in the car with me. My dad was my biggest cheerleader, the person who encouraged me most when I doubted myself, and who moved mountains for me time and again. My dad might not have the ability to love, but he played the part for a very long time. And I thank him for it.
I’ve talked to my therapist about this a million times over, and her response is always the same, “It’s okay to love him. There was both good and bad, and it’s okay to hold onto the memories that were good. The only thing to remember is that it’s not safe to go back.”
We get this notion with abusers, sociopaths especially, that everything about them is evil. But nothing is ever black and white. Even a sociopath has good qualities. Most stay under the radar, they lead normal lives, work normal jobs, interact, joke around, have fun. They do feel, just not in the same way you or I do. They spend an exorbitant amount of time hiding the truth of who they are everyday, and it is exhausting. Please don’t think that I’m condoning my father’s behavior, he was done some horrible truly awful things throughout his lifetime. None of it is excusable, and from my perspective, some of it I cannot find forgivable. What I am saying is that within every person, there is some good. There is something there to appreciate and love.
I’m not sure if I love someone who exists or someone who puts on a persona (probably the ladder). But honestly, I don’t care. My childhood and young adult years was formed with this person in it as he was at that time, persona or not. I’ve let him go. I’ve walked away because I know that he is neither healthy nor safe. But I’m allowed to be contradictory and say that I love him and I want nothing to do with him at the same time. It’s okay to hold both realities in my hand.