i can’t love me, so i can’t love you

painting by Ruthie Helwig

“I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’  There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” –Maya Angelou

geez Maya Angelou, hit us where it hurts, why dontcha?  stop being so wise and crap.

but sharideth?!?  what about Miss Insecurity and everything you said about her potential awesomeness?

chill out.  i stand by that 100%.  but there is a big difference between being insecure and not loving yourself.

insecurity comes from a place of fear and not recognizing your own worth, but there is still a sense of basic decency in who you are as a person.

if you are someone who does not love/like yourself, you live daily believing you are a person who is no good, a bad seed, so busted that you don’t deserve love.

again, BIG difference.

getting rid of insecurity can be learned.

self-loathing must be confronted; sometimes by a professional.

the reason to beware of someone who claims to love you but does not love herself is because she doesn’t really understand love.  love is something that comes from within.  if what’s within is broken and dark, she cannot understand what it is to give you the kind of love you deserve.  please understand that i am not saying these girls are worthless.  they absolutely are not.  i’ve known a few.  they tend to be exceedingly intelligent and even have a highly developed sense of humor.  what i am saying is that they will hurt you.  they tend to get so uncomfortable with real affection, they will begin to sabotage the relationship.

on purpose.

this isn’t someone who doesn’t know she’s doing it.  it is no unconscious lashing out.  she means it.

and she hates herself for it.

she won’t want to do it.  she won’t want to hurt you.  but she will be powerless to stop it.

when something, namely you and your caring for her, begins to touch that place in her where she believes she keeps the worst of herself, she’ll panic.  she’ll be compelled to drive you away.

she doesn’t understand that what she keeps hidden there does not define her.  it is not the only part of her.  she is convinced if you know how truly terrible or dirty she is, you would never stay.

she doesn’t understand how wrong she is about that.

without some real introspection and a confrontation with whatever it is that makes her loathe herself, she’ll never really be able to love the way she wants to.  this is not your fault.  there is no “enough” you can give her to make her better.  she believes her darkness is complete.  it isn’t, of course, but that thought is off her radar.

i am no psychological professional.  let’s be clear about that.  the things i say and talk about here on the blog are only based on patterns i see in the world around me.  those patterns are telling me these girls are often the victims of abuse.  they need to get some real help to begin the process of not just learning their own value, but to go deeper to begin to learn they have any value.

Ms. Angelou is right; as is the African saying.  you should be suspect of someone who claims to love you but does not love herself.

but neither Ms. Angelou, nor the African saying tell you to turn and run.  only to be careful.

on a friendship level, i have chosen to love the friends i’ve known who do not love themselves.  many of them are in varying stages of the process that is leading them to healing.  some of them are not.  i can only be there when they allow it and encourage whatever progress they are making.

when it comes to dating, it is no crime to hold someone like this at arm’s length.  but i would encourage you to not abandon her entirely.  she’s probably had plenty of that.

just don’t push too hard.  let her say what she’s willing to say when she’s willing to say it.  the more she reveals and the less you cringe, will make all the difference.  but beware, she might tell you something horrible from her past just to make you leave.

this is the one time i’m going to tell you to disappoint her by staying right where you are.

wait her out.

be stronger than she is, make no judgments and don’t try to fix it.  without saying so, your attitude should be “okay, and…”

it’ll shock the crap out of her.

she thinks she’s alone.  don’t prove her right.

of course all these things can exist in men, too.  all the same principles apply.

this blog has gotten away from me.  it became something i never intended.  i had a completely different idea in mind.  it was lighter and a heck of a lot funnier.

too bad.

sometimes it happens that way for me and i can’t apologize for it.  i didn’t even have a title for it until it was finished.  strange that.

all i can do is hope that there’s at least one person out there who i wrote this for.


how’s your Tuesday?


31 comments on “i can’t love me, so i can’t love you

  1. withheld to protect her. says:

    I can’t tell you how glad I am to see someone out there understands this. I spent the last decade of my life doing what I thought was the right things to help someone like this. I did it wrong, or I was just ill equipped to help her. Not till I snapped, love broke, and I began to hate myself did I finally leave. Fortunately she got the help she needed. Unfortunately the time I spent trying to prove her wrong was eventually validated with my leaving and I’ll probably be seen as the last great demon in her life. The marriage is over, but I think she is finally better.

    • hindsight can be a bummer, but it can also bring some peace. i hope you don’t blame yourself too much. it’s a rough spot to be in.

    • Kp says:

      If your situation is anything like mine (I was the damaged one), losing someone who loved her so much probably made her realize that she needed the help or she was going to live the rest if her life unfulfilled. I was married for five years to a man who loved me until I pushed him away. I’m the one who fulfilled the fears that have always driven me crazy. If she’s any kind of self aware, she knows.

  2. Kp says:

    Don’t marry this person unless you really mean it. That’s my biggest piece of advice. Especially if you don’t believe in therapy, or will be willing to support their self help journey, if they come to that realization…and they will have to come to it on their own. If you wind up to the point where you love someone like this so deeply some serious conversations have to happen. The harder you push them to realize that they are beautiful, the harder they will push you back. They have to be willing to help themselves before they can ever really understand how to have a healthy, loving relationship. They can say they want it, but make sure they follow up with action.

    I mean, I’m not speaking from experience or anything.

  3. Jen says:

    You made me cry. I don’t want to talk about it. :-/

  4. asoulwalker says:

    My tuesday was going swimmingly until you told me I was a naked girl. I would say something… but I’ll go look for a shirt instead.

  5. MichelleK41 says:

    For Sassy, hit Alt and the number three ♥

  6. Lynelle says:

    I’m half naked. The naked part is a work in progress. 🙂 ♥ ♥ ♥

  7. susan says:

    yes i think it is true that it is easy to push someone away without really realising…and equally as easy to remain closed off to another without being aware of it…but I am also coming to the conclusion that none of it actually matters or counts when you meet that person that you actually do want to be vulnerable with.
    eg the guy who really is into you won’t actually care if you text then ten times a day….the girl that is really into you won’t care about your insecurities.
    it’s 99% luck and 10% timing;)

    • i think to a certain extent you’re right. however, even the most loving and understanding of partners can be wore down to the point of burn out when there is something that never changes and that they can’t touch or help with.

      i’ve seen the unfortunate fall-out of this.

  8. susan says:

    p.s. it’s true too that those women you’re referring to have probably been pushed away too much and too often…but until the meet the guy who is really into them…loves them…wants them…they are all going to do it anyway.

  9. Jennifer C says:

    “she is convinced if you know how truly terrible or dirty she is, you would never stay.”

    did you read my diary? I told myself I wouldn’t cry while reading this post or writing this reply, but I swear I am all in this post. I hate it. I took the depraved sinner thing too far. I feel it in my gut.

    I’ve never been in a romantic relationship, and now I can see that God wasn’t only protecting me but whatever guy may have wanted to get close.

    I also managed to find a doctor who listens (if you remember my WTHeck single guy letter). We’re working on my whole self. Physical. Hormonal. Emotional. Spiritual. I hope that all of this self hatred and self doubt will ease up. I desire to be married, but I never want to out a guy through a hell like trying to fix me.

    • Jennifer C says:

      last line out =put

    • you are so much farther along than you know. being aware of why you do the things you do and making steps to do the hard work is light years beyond where you started.

      you’re going to be fine, Jennifer. just keep your eyes open to your own reality and your heart open to healing.

      i’m so happy you have a good doctor.

  10. asoulwalker says:

    All terribly lame jokes (my specialty) aside– this is a very thought provoking post. I know I have felt like “that girl.” Interesting…

  11. Mandie Marie says:

    Thanks for having giant balls, Sharideth! Figuratively speaking, of course.

  12. Jenn says:

    I realize the nature of this blog is to address the self loathing in women, but I think women, especially the “I can fix him” women need to be very very careful around this issue in the men they love too – because fundamentally as you’ve noted about women, if you cannot love yourself, the thing you call love that you’re projecting or attempting to project will fall apart or even worse manifest itself in all sorts of nasty behaviours. Looking back I know my ex-fiancé loathed himself, but I think he had also gotten to the place where that had become his form of self-care/love – for every public self condemnation came waves of “but you’re…”

    I also second Mandie’s statement

  13. […] kind of feel like maybe i left those hanging who might be like what i described in the first post.  so this post is for them.  it won’t be long and it won’t be full of platitudes.  […]

  14. sarah says:

    oh my oh my. perfect timing that i came across this; God is currently healing me of this.. disease. i don’t have much else to say, but thank you.

  15. ManWhoKnowsWomanTooWell says:

    What an insightful analysis of a personality of a woman which I can I say I have had the privilege of knowing very closely. As you describe very well, I have had to endure the many damages that such lack of self-love can bring into a relationship. Jealousy is one key destructive tool on the way. I thought I grew out of jealousy in my late 20s, but the push-and-pulls of standing by such a woman means that you often end up feeling the same way she might feel. And jealousy translates into the fear of losing that last one (me) who sees your value in favour of someone else, even though you (she) don’t believe in your own value. But not only jealousy. The past plays such a destructive role too. Figures from the past have never left. And so like a Seance they are there to haunt, remind of the pain, the parts of her personality that have never evolved into something strong, better, healthier. She has now reached out for professional help. I keep standing by her, but I can’t be as strong as you suggest, I fall into rage, and threaten to leave at any time. Love is too painful, and yet it is too great to leave. How can I cease being suspicious and accept the most dreadful that is yet to be disclosed?

  16. valentina says:

    I’m this kind of woman,I suppose. It’s not really nice,I know. I think it’s possible to change,but I don’t know how.

    Thanks for your words,kiss from Rome

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