I love you…but I don’t like your behaviour!

We often realise through therapy and talking that people, who have hurt us in the past, are always popping up in our thoughts.  Why can’t we just forget them and move on?  Because we love them.  You might hear someone tell you about an abusive relationship either from a partner or family member and we just can’t understand why they didn’t walk away…why they didn’t stand up for themselves….why they stayed in a toxic environment.  How could you love someone who treated you that way?

One day a lightbulb moment happened.  I looked back on when I first had my girls – how to discipline them.  What words to use.  I think it was the health visitor who told me to put my child on the “naughty step” and give them a time out.  When their time was up I was to go up to them and explain why I put them there and to follow up with “I love YOU but I don’t like your behaviour.”  It was reassuring to my  daughter that although I didn’t like her behaviour I still LOVED her.

Could this be true with adults?

Could this explain why we still have feelings for those who have treated us so badly?


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