Loving someone isn’t supposed to be about playing games. It isn’t supposed to be about learning to be devious, or manipulative, or calculating. Yes, different people express love in various ways. There are a number of books that have been written about “love languages,” the different ways that people use to express their love, care, and concern for another person. Those five ways are gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time spent with the significant other (according to the experts). We each use the different methods, or ‘languages,’ in varying degrees, or amounts of each of the five, depending on which ones of the languages we value ourselves, and which ones of the languages we would ourselves prefer to receive. (https://www.5lovelanguages.com/)
Apparently, the combination of ways that I use to express love are toxic. And have been toxic, in every relationship I have been in, for the entire duration of my life on this planet. I am not stupid enough to blame the others in this situation. It is quite obvious to me that when I get involved in a relationship and express love to the significant other, that process fairly rapidly turns them into users and me into the used. Seeing this pattern develop over time and past relationships, and recognizing that it is happening again, clearly means that it isn’t them, it’s me. The fault quite obviously belongs to me. I am training them to become monsters, albeit unintentionally training them – but training them, nevertheless.
The twelve-step programs that many people use to help them get out of their addictive, sometimes abusive, and often self-destructive behaviors (Alcoholics Anonymous, AlAnon, AlaTeen, Adult Children of Alcoholics and other dysfunctional families) tell us that the first step of the twelve steps to recovery and serenity (WTF is serenity?) in fixing a problem is acknowledging that one exists. Well, it freaking exists. The problem has been recognized.
Now for the solution. I have to change the one person I can control – and that person would be me. I have to learn to NOT give love in the ways that are most natural to me. I have to learn to calculate what I give, weigh out my displayed affection in smaller, stingier doses, and guard, critically assess, and strategize what I express towards others. I have to play a game, and not be “myself,” because being myself demonstrably and historically hurts myself.
Building walls is wearisome work, and sometimes necessary for self preservation. They are called boundaries. Time to build them.