You Can Love Someone and Not Like What They Do

The Taboo Carnival

Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON’T ALWAYS LIKE YOU! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on the concept of loving versus liking our children and their behaviors. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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mírame - look at meTo say we have a dysfunctional relationship with my in-laws would be an understatement. They tend to be unintentionally disrespectful and blatantly disrespectful when it comes to us. Our choices, whether about birth, breastfeeding, gentle discipline, using sign language with our children, buying a house, having a pet, politics, religion, clothing, furniture, paint vs. wallpaper, and the list goes on, have all been met with criticism and ridicule at some point or another, most of which is on-going. The idea of treating others with respect, something which is ate the core of our beliefs, just doesn’t register with them.

We haven’t ever cut them out of our lives, though we have been close multiple times after over the top behavior. We want our children to have the opportunity to make up their own minds when it comes to their relatives. If we were completely honest, part of the reason (perhaps a large part) is the fact that my husband and I are family people. Family is very important to us, despite the fact that our extended relatives (at least those living) are lacking. We would love to have large family get-togethers with cousins running and playing, aunts and uncles for the kids to look toward for support, and grandparents who care more about the kids than what the neighbors think about how the yard looks.

So we suffer through visits, grit our teeth at a lot of things which are said and done, step in for the major transgressions, andprevent opportunities for damage. When we reach our breaking point and discussing cutting off contact, we are reminded of one thing: something we tell our children after every visit with them.

With as much as they have done, my husband loves his parents, my children love their grandparents, and while I wouldn’t say love, I do care about them. So many times our society combines like and love, as though they are different degrees of the same thing, when the concepts are completely separate. Loving someone does not depend on liking the things they do. That’s where unconditional love comes in. We love. Sometimes the toxicity of a relationship necessitates firm boundaries in order to protect one’s self, but unconditional love doesn’t stop.  “You can love someone and not like what they do.”

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Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

5 thoughts on “You Can Love Someone and Not Like What They Do

  1. Mandy, you are a saint for what you “grin and bare” when it comes to your inlaws! I think you are the walking definition of love and acceptance! Thanks for sharing so honestly and let’s hope that one day your inlaws realize the damage that they are doing and work hard to make the changes they need to make!

  2. This is so very true and perfectly said. Even when it is necessary to remove contact with someone, that doesn’t mean we no longer love them. Cutting ties – in cases so extreme that it comes to that, is deeply painful because we love them despite the way they hurt us.
    Good for you for giving your children the option to choose for themselves. That takes immense strength. 🙂

  3. Yes, we’re dealing with similar (though smaller) challenges when it comes to extended family and respect for our decisions, and I agree that I always come back to the idea that there’s value in staying connected, despite the roughness of the relationships. Thanks for writing honestly about this.

  4. You’ve said it all so eloquently! I think you’re also setting a fine example for your kids in the sense that you’d like them to continue to visiting YOU when they’re off living their own lives (though I am sure you’d never be so disrespectful as it seems your in-laws must be).

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