There is no doubt that love has become the most used and abused word in our language. Advertising plays upon erotic and parental love – desire and fulfillment of needs. Subliminal messages say – if you love them, then you will buy them this product or that, depending on the season. It is important when trying to give an addict help to remember that money can’t buy love.
Love between people has nothing to do with the money that you spend, the value of the home you live in, or your position in society. Nor is the value of a person in any way dependent upon his or her ability to perform. When giving an addict help it is important to value them as a person regardless of their current behavior.
For adults the main social criteria are your income, location of residence and your occupation. It is natural for parents, in wanting the best for their children, to encourage and support them into areas which society tends to value more highly. There is of course some reflected glory from a child who has done “well”. Some children seek refuge in addiction because they feel that in some way they have “failed”.
Integrity of the family unit and bonds of love and caring are not always there for some children. However, poverty and lack of family support is not a determinant of whether a child will be loved. Self respect and respect for the other is at the core of love.
When relationships are built upon mutual respect, different viewpoints can be taken and different choices made without people becoming distressed that the other is not “supporting” them, and giving them what they need. To give addicts help they have to know that you care, but that you won’t jump down their throat for expressing their own opinions.
For a loving relationship to be truly unconditional, needs both parties to be free and independent individuals. When one party is or has become overly dependent upon another to fill their needs, compliance can result in unhealthy “bondage”, and people can easily become bitter or resentful when another person does not do what is expected of them.
Unconditional love needs to be free of demand and command for the other to merely be your “puppet” – words of praise and love only uttered in return for strict compliance. Unconditional love also means that people are not used or rejected on the basis of whether or not they give you pleasure and satisfaction.
Unconditional love is based upon emotional maturity. A person needs to be able to contain and be responsible for their own emotions and feelings. In families some members are too dependent upon others and the others want a life of their own. Parents may enforce compliance. The result can often be a token obedience, but it is done without feeling or respect. Sometimes it is called “duty”, and lead to drug addiction as a means of escape.
Parents need to be able to tolerate the challenge that raising children brings. Children are not “yours” as if they are property. Every child is different and that must be respected.
Unconditional love means loving the other person as they are, not as you want them to be. When differences of opinion and life choices occur, and when you want to give addict help, simply ask yourself when dealing with issues: is this about them, or about me?