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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i want to talk about misconceptions or manipulations related to people's definitions of love.<br><br><br><br>
this was sparked by skylark's delimna regarding eating at texas roadhouse with her family. she asserted that for some members of her family, food = love, and therefore to forgo foods is to reject someone's love for you. thus, they wanted to manipulate her into eating something off the menu to 'accept their love' in the form of food.<br><br><br><br>
this sparked a memory in me about my MIL. she believes that control/management = love. if we don't want her control/management, if we reject that, then we are rejecting her love. thus, anything that we do of our own decisions is a 'slap in her face' because we are not allowing her to love us through management.<br><br><br><br>
what other ways does this manifest?<br><br><br><br>
and beyond this, how do we assert that love does not equal management, food, or whatever, and eventually come into a balanced relationship with our families while being autonomous and true to ourselves?
 

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I guess I would say that love is knowing the person whom is loved. To love is to put yourself in the other's place. (You'd then realize that what food is offered is important, why control is being rejected, etc.)
 

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I get this 100%.<br><br><br><br>
to my parents, Love = Obedience. and my mother is so highly critical of me there's no room for loving words.<br><br><br><br>
i've learned that I will never be the person she wants me to be, and i'm okay with that. the way i deal with it is to simply stick to my guns but don't fire.
 

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For my mother (and father, but to a lesser extent), the greatest expression of her love is in giving gifts. Mom wants a big, all-out Christmas replete with abundant and extravagant gifts. She spends a lot of time and a lot of money making sure she gives gifts that are real treats to their recipients. And she expects nice presents, too. This to her means that she is loved and that the rest of us appreciate her love.<br><br><br><br>
This makes Christmas (and birthdays) a bit difficult for those of us who do not need "stuff" to feel loved and appreciated. (I, for one, need verbal approval to feel loved. Don't buy me anything, but instead tell me that I'm doing a good job or that you appreciate me.)<br><br><br><br>
Once I realized that people have different ways in which they interpert espressions of love, life got a bit simplier. I buy my mother nice Christmas presents, and I wrap them beautifully - because that's what she needs, and I always go on and on about the beautiful presentation she gives. But for the other people on my list, I tend to make less of an effort in the gift department because their needs are different. I always try to give my husband something that includes both of us, because he likes "dates" with me - lunch certicifates, spa certicifates, etc. My daughter (who is disabled) only wants a ton(!)of stuff. That's easy to do - we buy puzzles, and coloring books and socks and just have a mountain for her to unwrap - that's what she thinks is fun.<br><br><br><br>
If you have a family where it's really important to participate in an annual meal - then I'd do my best to make that meal acceptable to everyone - and I think Skylark was trying to do that with bringing in her own portions. I've learned that if you can figure out what is important to a person, and try to accomodate that need, it makes for an easier relationship in the long run.<br><br><br><br>
Zoebird, perhaps you can let your MIL absolutely dictate some minor area of your life, and let her know how much you appreciate her wisdom and approach. She may be very happy believing she is in charge of some part of your life - or that you find her important enough to turn over some part of your life to her care.
 

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my mother can't be bothered to buy anything for me. everyyear she asks me what i want and every year she says that she'll just give me money instead. no effort there<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"><br><br><br><br>
i need to not read this thread because it's going to piss me off.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>purrpelle</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
my mother can't be bothered to buy anything for me. everyyear she asks me what i want and every year she says that she'll just give me money instead. no effort there<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"><br><br><br><br>
i need to not read this thread because it's going to piss me off.</div>
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<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hug:"><br><br><br><br>
no effort from Mom would suck. I'm sorry.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
that seems like a circle. can you explain it in another way?</div>
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If you're a rabbit, I am not going to love you with chocolate cake. I am going to see that you're a rabbit and give you a carrot. Seeing the world through your rabbit eyes, I might see that a bigger carrot is better. The "circle" just comes from my not knowing how to bend grammar to match my thought.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>purrpelle</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I get this 100%.<br><br><br><br>
to my parents, Love = Obedience. and my mother is so highly critical of me there's no room for loving words.<br><br><br><br>
i've learned that I will never be the person she wants me to be, and i'm okay with that. the way i deal with it is to simply stick to my guns but don't fire.</div>
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Ditto, but that's how my grandma is with me and my mother.
 

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I completely get how food is love in some ways. I can see it in things like when my parents bake me vegan goodies, or when I make my husband his favourite meal, it's because I love him and want him to have a good meal.<br><br><br><br>
As for love=buying you food in a restaurant, I think that's a little different, but related. The person wants to show their love by paying for your meal. But as froggy said above, you're not showing love to a rabbit by buying them chocolate cake. You're showing that you don't really care so much about what the rabbit wants or needs, you just want to give them something that looks like love.<br><br><br><br>
But sometimes, this is the only kind of love you get from certain people. And these certain people don't think it needs to be changed, or don't care to. And this is why so many people have love/hate relationships with relatives and in-laws. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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speaking of rabbit's - one pill makes you have it large, and one pill makes you small and the one that mother gives you don't do anything at all.
 

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Interesting thread Zoe. The love = stuff makes me think it's really not love but i'm not sure if i could define love anyway. My family cares about food. They're Italian and not to stereotype but Italian food was always a huge part of my household while growing up. But...I never felt like i had to conform to their ways either (as far as food goes). They've expressed offence at the idea of turning my DH away from meat products but I don't think they ever construed my resistance to a lack of love.<br><br><br><br>
Instead of food for my family, I think they might construe love as sacrifice of time to deal with their bullsh*t. I feel obligated to listen to them complain about the crappy lives they've created for themselves. If/when I make the decision not to participate, I feel guilty. I don't consider this love. My friend mentioned to me that it's more like using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
froggy:<br><br><br><br>
i get what you are saying, and it's similar to purrplle in regards to understanding what the other person wants and then fulfilling that within reason.<br><br><br><br>
purrple:<br><br><br><br>
i have a problem with having anyone have any control over any part of my life other than me. for me, it's part of autonomy and independence. i feel that her need to control/manage is unhealthy for both her and for myself. therefore, it is problematic to indulge it.<br><br><br><br>
i have no problem with doing things her way in her home, within certain limits, etc--particularly if they intimately involve her. For example, we're essentially doing christmas "her way" (even though i came up with a loose schedule of events for us--pizza for dinner, church service, bed time, santa time in the am, brunch, time with DH's friends, then family dinner, then home). she wants pizza from here, santa gifts have to go a certain way (and yes, i do them up in the way that she likes/prefers), we're 'managing' opie entirely ourselves (both ILs "hate" that Opie is "so slow" when she walks--they're terribly impatient about it, but we're not in a rush), etc. i'm certainly willing to 'play along.'<br><br><br><br>
but when she wants to tell me who my denist should be, schedule the appointments for me, etc (and they have to be where she lives, btw, which is out of our network and costs $$$ and time to get there it is 1.5 hrs away!), what i should wear, how i should keep my home, do my job, when i should get pregnant, who my doc should be, when i should schedule my elective c-section, how to do my hair, make up, jewelry etc, which menstrual products i should use, how i should eat, etc. . .then we're running into problems, no?<br><br><br><br>
yeah, so i have to assert those boundaries while still communicating that i care about her.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
but when she wants to tell me who my denist should be, schedule the appointments for me, etc (and they have to be where she lives, btw, which is out of our network and costs $$$ and time to get there it is 1.5 hrs away!), what i should wear, how i should keep my home, do my job, when i should get pregnant, who my doc should be, when i should schedule my elective c-section, how to do my hair, make up, jewelry etc, which menstrual products i should use, how i should eat, etc. . .then we're running into problems, no?<br></div>
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wow zoe! that sounds so difficult. you're going to be moving pretty far away tho right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
gaya:<br><br><br><br>
i agree that these are 'false definitions.' I understand that love equals respect, dedication, appropriate boundaries, care, and numerous other healthy things.<br><br><br><br>
so, i'm specificly talking about when people mistakenly think that food equals love or gifts equal love or control equals love. i know that these things are not really love, but are forms of 'insanity' and fictions about ourselves, our world, that we carry.<br><br><br><br>
my MIL's fiction is that control = love. to not allow that means we don't love her. she asserts this--tantrums, guilt trips, a myriad of methods.<br><br><br><br>
for me, the larger question is how do i communicate that i care about this person without giving into their fiction about love. and if i feel guilty about it, am i also living under/with this fiction at some level? and if so, how do i move away from it?<br><br><br><br>
along with this, i'm simply curious about which techniques may help people move away from their own fictions, or how to we work to accomodate them in a way that we can live with?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
but when she wants to tell me who my denist should be, schedule the appointments for me, etc (and they have to be where she lives, btw, which is out of our network and costs $$$ and time to get there it is 1.5 hrs away!), what i should wear, how i should keep my home, do my job, when i should get pregnant, who my doc should be, when i should schedule my elective c-section, how to do my hair, make up, jewelry etc, which menstrual products i should use, how i should eat, etc. . .then we're running into problems, no?<br><br><br><br>
yeah, so i have to assert those boundaries while still communicating that i care about her.</div>
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whoa - it must be very difficult to have that amount of "advice" surrounding your life! Yikes.<br><br><br><br>
Does you MIL treat everyone in her life like this, or is she particullarly worried that you can't manage without her?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
for me, the larger question is how do i communicate that i care about this person without giving into their fiction about love. and if i feel guilty about it, am i also living under/with this fiction at some level? and if so, how do i move away from it?<br><br><br><br>
along with this, i'm simply curious about which techniques may help people move away from their own fictions, or how to we work to accomodate them in a way that we can live with?</div>
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I guess I wonder if we have to give in - to some degree - to another person's fiction about love if we really want to communicate to them in a way that they will understand. But your example is very extreme, Zoebird, and I don't know how/if a little accomodation would ever suffice. Would she be open to family counseling?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
yeah, but even now we're a fair distance. they rarely visit us--it is about that control thing.<br><br><br><br>
when my SIL lived about 2 hours from them, they visited her every-other weekend. it's because she embraced their management (and there are perks--they buy groceries, clothes, pay bills, buy cars if you need them, etc) and they felt "accepted, loved, and needed" by her and her former fiance.<br><br><br><br>
since we don't want to be managed, they don't feel welcome to visit us. this past year, we've done a lot to try to help with this situation. first, we assert the boundaries with reasons. for example, mil says we need to go to dentist ken, her dentist, and we say "dentist ken is out of network, and it costs us a lot to go to him. dentist joe is just as good, in our network, and 5 minutes from home." she can 'go with' this.<br><br><br><br>
over time, we've asserted more and more boundaries, and i'm finding that they're starting to see the benefit of not having to manage. my MIL feels more freedom to go out of town, for instance, because we "manage" Opie and SIL for them (which, for us, means giving them a call while ILs are out of town to make sure they dont' need anything specific and just to say 'hi'--MIL calls every day). she doesn't 'worry' as much about us because she knows that we're 'taking care of ourselves.'<br><br><br><br>
and this thanksgiving was awesome. i made dinner, everyone came here. it was so relaxing--MIL loved not having to "do" thanksgiving. even she felt relaxed and really enjoyed it. It wasn't 'traditional' like they're used to (i made an organic turkey, no stuffing, green beans with carmelized onion, golden and red beets, and a goat-cheese sauce. we staretd with fennel soup and salad and finished with home made butter-pecan ice cream with caramel sauce and short bread.), but they really enjoyed themselves.<br><br><br><br>
so, i think that we are turning a corner. we have already asserted a lot of our baby stuff, without telling them the details. we told them that we want to homebirth, to baby moon (that is, retreat without family present for the first month/6 weeks), attachment parent, breastfeed, and homeschool. my MIL was very upset about most of these things (particularly the baby moon), but she also realized that her tactics of manipulation weren't working, because we were holding to our boundaries.<br><br><br><br>
so, it is getting better. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
poppy:<br><br><br><br>
everyone she can get her hands on, she manages like this. If she sin't managing, she isn't showing love. if you don't allow her to manage, you aren't accepting her love. So, this is how she approaches everyone--even her next door neighbor who just moved in "you should do this, you must do that. . ."
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
so, i'm specificly talking about when people mistakenly think that food equals love or gifts equal love or control equals love. i know that these things are not really love, but are forms of 'insanity' and fictions about ourselves, our world, that we carry.</div>
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I wonder if some really know what love is then or experience it.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">my MIL's fiction is that control = love. to not allow that means we don't love her. she asserts this--tantrums, guilt trips, a myriad of methods.<br><br><br><br>
for me, the larger question is how do i communicate that i care about this person without giving into their fiction about love. and if i feel guilty about it, am i also living under/with this fiction at some level? and if so, how do i move away from it?</div>
</div>
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Yea, I would think that those of us who participate in it via feeling guilty or whatever are living within the fiction on some level. Obviously if we are aware of it it's not to the same degree. When speaking with my gf about some of the issues i deal with re:my family, she's mentioned that i'm almost enabling their negative behavior and as you said, that's not positive for either party. I suppose it comes down to a matter of personal responsibilty for both sides. I know that when i enable my dad's complaining (for example), I'm not really helping him at all. I'm putting aside the real work it would take for me to help him stop his bologna and that's certainly not love on my end.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">along with this, i'm simply curious about which techniques may help people move away from their own fictions, or how to we work to accomodate them in a way that we can live with?</div>
</div>
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Recently I asked my dad for his insurance carrier so I could look up physicians under his policy. When i see him for the holiday, I'm going to speak with him about him getting some type of therapy. I'm going to voice my concerns as gentle as possible etc. I doubt this strategy would work with your MIL tho. It seems like she might flip if you would even suggest it.
 
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