I’ve experienced a very odd thing a few times in my life. I would guess I’m not the only one who has dealt with it so I thought I should write about it. Sometimes, after being treated very badly by someone, the love & compassion I once felt for that person died suddenly. This doesn’t mean I wish someone harm or harbor any anger towards them- it just means I feel nothing. It’s indifference, which I believe is the opposite of love.
As I write this, my mother in-law is in the hospital. I wish I could say I was concerned, but I feel nothing other than concern for how this situation will affect my husband. This sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But, the fact is that for the first eight years of our relationship, she was extremely verbally abusive to me & that took a toll on me. Then one night in 2002, she called to talk to my husband who wasn’t home from work yet. She screamed at me because he was still at work & for his allergies that were flaring up. That wasn’t even our worst conversation, but still, something in me shut down as she was screaming. I wasn’t even angry- I just felt nothing for her at that point. I haven’t spoken to her since & have no desire to do so, even though she isn’t doing well.
Something similar happened with someone else I was close to. She once told me out of the blue that I needed to get over my “childhood hurts”. It was the last of several similar hurtful comments she’d made over the years, & it killed the love I’d once felt for her. When she died about a year later, I felt virtually nothing.
No one seems to talk about this sort of thing. It seems acceptable to say you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, but not to admit that the love you once felt for someone died because of their hurtful, abusive behavior. However, I think it must be normal.
Everyone has what I think of as a love account for each person in their life. It’s like a checking account, except it doesn’t hold money, it holds love. Gentle, sweet, thoughtful actions put love into the account, while harsh, thoughtless ones take love out of it. If someone is good to you, that account stays on the positive side, building up a good balance. Yet, if someone is cruel to you, withdraws are made. If too many withdraws are made, your love account balance can go into the negative. At this point, hopefully that person will flood you with loving gestures in an attempt to repair the relationship & bring the balance back up. If he or she doesn’t though, this is when your love can die for that person.
If you have experienced this too, Dear Reader, please know you aren’t alone. I’ve been there! Don’t beat yourself up for it. You can ask God to help you to restore the love you once felt if you like, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t. He hasn’t with me. I have learned to trust Him. Maybe this happened because it was time to end the relationship. Or, maybe if the relationship continued as it had, things would have gotten worse. I don’t know, but I do know to trust God in this area. He truly knows best.