Abuse victims often wonder how their relationships turned so toxic. When they met their significant other things were different. That person wanted to be with them. They seemed happy to be in their company. They brought them presents. And, they did things for them. Many things. And everything they did seemed to say they loved them. So, how could things change so drastically?
Abuse Victims Mistake Interest for Regard
Just because someone sees something in you they like doesn’t mean they care about you. It can simply mean they see something they desire and hope to possess. (Read more about “possessive thinking” in Character Disturbance.)
Unfortunately, folks who end up abused and exploited often mistake great interest for high regard. But nothing could be further from the case. Someone can desire you intensely merely because they see a situation they want to exploit. Perhaps you’re stable and financially responsible and can afford them security and lifestyle. Or, perhaps, you’re so physically attractive that your mere association with them feeds their ego. When someone appears to desire you intensely, it can really flatter. However, it can also make you think they value you in other, more important ways.
Learning the Hard Way about Genuine Regard
If real loving were easy, everyone would do it. There would be no need to command it, as every spiritual leader in history has. Desire is different from love. We desire without effort. We see things we like or believe will bring us pleasure. Then, we go after those things, sometimes with great passion.
Abuse victims learn the hard way that interest doesn’t equal regard. Unfortunately, they learn it after they’ve been exploited or mistreated. Eventually, they learn that real character reflects the capacity for true caring. When empathy, openness, genuineness, and free self-giving combine, true love manifests.
Genuine Love – Unconditional Positive Regard
Loving genuinely does not come naturally. But our hearts are made for it. Sadly, our minds have a hard time grasping it. We enter and grow in a hostile world. It’s a world where everyone is grasping. In such a world, we learn to grasp ourselves. And we learn how to protect and defend. In so doing, our hearts inevitably close. It’s the way of the world.
My upcoming book on the “10 commandment of character” is all about learning to truly love. And, as you know, its release has been repeatedly delayed. That’s because I’m trying to convey some of the deepest psychological and spiritual truths in it. The task has challenged me as writer like nothing before. Changing hearts is how we’ll change the world. And that change always has to start with ourselves. I hope my book will speak well to that.
We may be close to a deal for a relaunch of Character Matters. The format might change some, but the main focus will remain the same. In the meantime, you can access the podcasts on the UCY.TV YouTube channel.