Love Intervention

I was watching an episode of Intervention yesterday. It still has me thinking about unconditional versus conditional love.

The addict was a regular guy. He was a good husband, father, son and brother. He was in a car accident and became addicted to prescription pain killers. Through the years of his downward spiral, he emptied his parent’s savings and retirement accounts. He stole, lied to and was abusive to his family. He took and they gave. They knew they were contributing to his addiction and thus the dysfunctional family dynamic.

He stopped working. He no longer contributed anything positive to his family. His wife worked a minimum wage job and they had teenage children. His family was being evicted and he stole the money his wife saved to put their things in storage.

During the show, I wondered why his wife stayed. Why she didn’t move and get her kids away from the chaos? Where was her self-love? Why didn’t she make herself and the kids the priority? What was the message that she was sending her girls?          So, yes, I was feeling judgy and confused.

The family staged the intervention. They hoped that a display of conditional love and support would convince the addict to love himself and them, enough to seek help. I’m questioning why after all the abuse, they still loved him. The addict’s father was an old, craggy faced guy who probably worked hard his whole life. It was his turn to set conditions to his love. (If you don’t go for treatment, you will no longer be allowed in my life) He couldn’t do it. He could barely speak. He held his son, while he cried and kept telling him “I love you”.

How can you love this person who has hurt you so much? Were they holding on to who the addict was before the accident and ignoring the now? Did they lack the self -love/ ego gene that helps us survive?

I couldn’t let it go. Conditional versus Unconditional Love.  Is all love, real love?

I called my friend, Karen and spoke about it with her. She is the most loving adult I know. She reminded me that our common goal is to accept, love and integrate all parts of ourselves. We are all comprised of darkness and light. We have different percentages at different times.

She went on to say, if our job is to accept and love ourselves, in Unity consciousness, it follows that we must love others the same way.  She suggested that this family was not lacking self-preservation skills  but rather are highly evolved with this concept of love.

That gave me a very different perspective. I think Karen is correct about the big picture. In my humanness, I have walked away from people who routinely were behaving unloving towards me. I am better for it and know it was the correct decision. I suppose that my love response is based on the intention of the one that is bringing challenges.

Conditional love says I love & accept you as you are today. I also love myself and will not be able to share  in this negativity with you. I will love and pray for your safe return to the light.

Unconditional love says No matter what, I will love and support you. I will sacrifice myself for you.

 In the end, the addict agreed to treatment. So did his wife. They completed the counseling and are on the way to building a better life. I’m so happy for them.

I am grateful to them for challenging my thinking on love and judgement. I am also very grateful to Karen who continues to pick up when I call.

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