Almost everyone has at least one person they deeply love, but at the same time, can barely tolerate. There was a USA Today headline some time ago titled, “He Loves Her, He Loves Her Not.” It was about a celebrity couple who was often physically violent with each other, but avowed their love for each other, and they stayed together through it all.–funny way of showing love.
Most love-hate relationships don’t make headlines. Theyre more like Rhoda’s relationship with her mother. All of her life, Rhoda has tried to win her mother’s approval–all to no avail. Her mother is controlling and intrusive. When Rhoda was a teenager, her mother would take it upon herself to cancel Rhoda’s dates if she felt uneasy about either the boy or Rhoda’s attitude.
Often her mother would secretly follow Rhoda to places just to observe her behavior. Rhoda wasn’t allowed for think for herself. She became convinced she wasn’t good enough to do so. When Rhoda protested her mother’s intrusions, her mother insisted it was all done because she “loved Rhoda so much.”
All through her growing-up years, Rhoda was trapped between her feelings of love for her mother, and her feelings on intense rage and hatred at being controlled by this belittling parent.
If she doesn’t confront the confusing feelings she has in her relationship with her mother–her love-hate person–she will end up doing one of several things:
1. She will shut off our emotions as a way to “escape” the bind she is in.
2. She tried to find ways to escape, and for Rhoda, that meant marriage.
3. She typically grafts a replacement into her life that ends up just the same as the one she tried to escape.
Rhoda did all three. She found a hero that would take her away from it all. She met Larry and “lost herself” in him. It was all so romantic and freeing. What Rhoda couldn’t do by herself–separate herself from her mother–she could now do because of Larry.
You can guess the rest of the story. After the wedding, Larry, for all practical purposes , became her mother. He was intensely jealous of any attention shown to her by anyone, even by her girlfriends. He began to monitor her activities and limit her contact with friends. Within a year or two of their marriage, Rhoda felt as if she was living in the same prison she had experienced in living with her mother.
The problem with the love-hate relationships in our lives is that it will never be solved by She depended on another person to fix it for us.
In part 2, we’ll look at what Rhoda needed to do to break the cycle before she met Larry.
Who is the love-hate person in your life? How have you tried to resolve the emotional confusion you experience in your relationship with this person?