Feelings Can Die

If someone has hurt you repeatedly & deliberately, your good feelings or even love for that person can die.  It isn’t a matter of hating that person, or wishing them bad things.  It’s a matter of feeling complete indifference towards them.  If you hear that person is suffering, you feel nothing- no pity, no desire to help them, no concern.

 

It sounds strange if you haven’t experienced it, I’m sure, but I would guess it happens more often than people care to admit.  After all, saying it makes you sound bad or un-Christian if you don’t care about the pain of another human being.  In spite of how it sounds though, I don’t think it’s abnormal to reach this place in certain bad relationships.

 

People say the opposite of love is hate, but I believe it to be indifference.  If you love or hate someone, you have very strong feelings for someone. If you love them, you are glad when good things happen to them or sad when bad things happen.  If you hate them, you are sad when good things happen to them & rejoice when bad things happen.  If you feel indifferently towards a person though, you literally feel nothing for that person.  No joy or sadness at their blessings or trials.

 

I felt indifference towards my mother in-law, even when she was diagnosed with serious health problems then later died.  Does that sound awful to you?  I’m sure it does, but consider some background information before judging..

 

From the moment we met, I knew she didn’t like me.  She was civil & even pleasant sometimes in front of others, but when we were alone, she was cruel.  She constantly insulted me, my family, my pets, my car, everyone & everything that meant anything at all to me.  She talked to me like I was stupid & not good enough to be a part of her family.  Not long after we got married, she told me how terribly disappointed she was that Eric married me instead of an ex of his.  (A woman who cheated on him & treated him badly, mind you).  She told me I needed to get rid of my pets- I had too many.  She called my granddad stupid for living on his own at 84 years old, even knowing how important he was to me & never having met him.  Upon seeing me replace a burn out turn signal bulb in my car once, she told me I needed to get rid of it- it cost me too much money.   (The new bulb cost $.97 & had been in my car for the entire 9 years I had it at that time.  It was the only repair my car had needed in a long time.).  One evening in 2002, she called to talk to my husband, but he wasn’t home from work yet.  She screamed at me for this because she thought he should’ve been home at that time of night.  She also yelled at me because his allergies were bothering him.  This conversation made me realize she wasn’t someone I could work things out with, no matter what I did.  She blamed me for things I had absolutely no control over- how could I work things out with someone like that?  Anything I felt for her died then, & I cut ties with her shortly after.

 

So after reading that story, doesn’t it make sense that in extreme circumstances like this, your feelings for someone can simply die?

 

If you’ve experienced this, please know you’re not alone & there is nothing wrong with you.  This simply means you’re human & have been through some unfair, cruel things.  It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or even a bad Christian.

 

In spite of feeling this way, I started praying for my mother in-law a few months before she died.  I didn’t want to, I frankly didn’t care about her salvation or anything else going on with her.  However, I felt in my heart God wanted me to & doing so helped me to feel a deep peace.  I would recommend you do the same, Dear Reader, for that person you feel nothing for.  Praying for them may bless them as well as you.  It can be difficult at first, but I promise- it gets easier the more often you do it.  I believe it will give you peace in your heart as it did me.

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9 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

9 responses to “Feelings Can Die

  1. ibikenyc

    Oh do I hear you about the Hostile Mother-in-Law!

    There is nothing like being married to a man whose mother lets you know at every opportunity that she believes with every fiber of her being that she did not gain a daughter but rather LOST A SON.

    I tell my pseudo-stepdaughters and every other young girl with whom I have conversations about love, men, and marriage to NEVER marry someone whose family does not love you like one of their own!

    I’ve recently had to AGAIN remind myself that so much of what is rightly considered “conventional wisdom” in The Real World has nothing to do with The Cluster B World. I am always so afraid of letting myself off the hook about anything; those of us from dysfunctional homes also have that hyper-responsibility thing going on along with that horrible, sickening, soul-depleting fear of abandonment.

    I guess what I mean is that maybe, sometimes, the death of feelings you’ve achieved IS the righteous thing.

    Like

    • Did you have my mother in-law too?! lol Seriously, I’m so sorry you went through that with yours too. It’s rough, isn’t it?

      Good thing for you to talk about that with other young women. It seems to me things like this aren’t taken seriously yanno? I never knew a mother in-law could be so incredibly hostile until I married my husband. I was completely unprepared!

      Maybe so.. maybe the death of feelings is a righteous thing in this kind of situation. It surely beats hating the person- there’s no point in that. Just makes you miserable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ibikenyc

        The abusive in-law has been a staple of sitcoms going all the way back to (at least) “The Honeymooners.”

        For people with “normal-crazy” in-laws, it isn’t something to BE taken seriously: They can watch (for instance) Marie Barone and be rollin’ on the floor laughing, whereas I’m sitting here screaming inside my head, “DON’T LET HER MANIPULATE YOU LIKE THAT! ARE YOU CRAZY?!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • ibikenyc

        PS: I think maybe also that death of feeling is or could be likened to Forgiveness, wherein it’s (essentially) about just letting go.

        PPS: I, too, was a young girl once, and NOBODY coulda told me ANYTHING about who to marry or why, but I just have to try!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela

    Thank you for this Cynthia. My mother-in-law has behaved in the same way and there came a time when I realised that whatever I did it wouldn’t please her so there wasn’t any point in trying. I then tried making polite conversation when I saw her but the stories that came back to me through other people bore little relation to what I’d told her. It seemed to me that she took a few words of what I’d said and then made up her own untrue, uncomplimentary and derogatory story. Since then I’ve avoided her as much as possible and stopped telling her anything.
    Now she really does have health problems and needs help. I see her very rarely at family get togethers but feel it’s best not to get involved with her care. If I wanted to be insulted, criticised and called a liar I know where to go. However this situation has been niggling at me. I feel you’re right, praying about it and for her is the best and probably only solution but what should I pray?

    Like

    • Ugh.. no wonder you avoid her. Mothers in-law like this are just impossible to deal with! I’m sorry you have to.

      That’s no doubt best, not getting involved with her care. Praying is good though. When I prayed for my mother in-law or others who have hurt or abused me, I ask God to meet whatever needs they have, bless them abundantly & save them if they need it. If I know of something specific they need, I pray about that as well.

      Like

      • Angela

        Thank you, that helps. God knows what she needs and what he has planned for her. I don’t but I can pray for her needs to be met and for her to be blessed.

        Like

        • You’re welcome. This is what God said I should pray for mine, so I often pray that way for people, especially ones I haven’t talked to in a while or don’t know well.

          Yes you can. 🙂 I don’t often pray for specifics because I believe God knows best what people need.

          Like

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