With time, I have learned and observed how we all deceive ourselves. The stiff defensiveness of someone who hides unresolved and often traumatic past. Someone who has fought to remain sane in all the confusion of horrible and traumatic experiences that they have experienced, can appear to be what we fondly call touchy. There is an inbuilt wall of resolute will, forever hiding and fighting vulnerability. I am humbled as I observe the person slowly opening up at the same time reverting back to defensiveness almost as if on autopilot as soon as a little something that seem to be challenging their personal space or vulnerability. Fighters thrive and survive but not without the scars. I wait patiently to understand the complexity not only because of curiosity but also concern.
I realize we operate on predefined reflexes developed overtime and we tend to believe that is what and who we are. We are afraid to admit that we are afraid. Lowest of times, they believe they deserved it or tell themselves it is how it's supposed to be and at the highest they retreat citing multiple reasons such as "I need space, he used wrong tone of voice, he was too emotional, and/or She is too sensitive, She is looking for a someone to take on her family, she has some motive to say she loves me" and such other excuses to put in a wall between them and any emotional intimacy and connection. All the while harboring a deep need to find the other person walking away or blow off because that will validate their long-held belief of people abandoning them or hurting them in some form or other. They are incapable of accepting love hence not able to love either and when I say this, I do not mean they are incapable of feeling it. I mean they are incapable of recognizing love as a positive emotion coming from a healthy place. I may sound harsh here, so let me elaborate a little.
The emotion of strong attachment that fuels on the negative complexity of the other person, needing to get his/her approval and acceptance regardless of how low you have to go, low esteem, needing to get validity from opposite sex of your desirability and getting a kick out of it, being on fighting stance on everything because you have not been in touch with your own self to know that there are some things which do not require to fight back, you just have to let it go. Needing to win and hanging on to something not because you want it but because you cannot let it go, I see them as a twisted side of misinterpreted emotion such as dependency, fear, low self-esteem, and self-delusion which some of us define as love depending on our past experiences and conditioning. If our experience so far is blotched, it is quite normal to question any genuine person. This is where healthy self-esteem is needed to let us know, that yes even though it might look astounding, we are worthy to be loved like this. We learn to accept love in its sincere form, consequently we learn to love in a healthy way ourselves.
We learn from our experience mostly, Many of us have to actually touch the fire to know it burns and then we develop aversion to anything that looks like fire even if it would mean warmth. Only few of us would actually sit down and reflect why we behave the way we do when we see anything similar to fire. Many of us would simply go on avoiding fire for the rest of our lives even if we have to freeze out there in the cold. With chattering teeth and shivering visibly we justify that we like cold and we are meant to be cold and that is how we are. I have also learned that we cannot make another person understand something as simple yet complicated truth of life such as this, they would have to uncover it themselves.
We cannot change the past of anyone, much less change the future, all we can hope to do is to support them while keeping our self-respect intact. I am not saying that you are right or they are right, I am saying even though there is love and togetherness we have to understand, we cannot walk or choose each other's path; we can only choose and walk our own path alongside them and at times we have to understand, it is necessary to walk away because you have to know that you can only love until you are there with a healthy dose of self-esteem and self-love else you will get sucked into a vicious circle of unattainable, consequently losing your sense of self. You cannot burn your home to warm your fellow traveler because at times that is the worst thing to do for them if they are afraid of burning, and getting over that fear is something only they themselves can do, and there may be some who may not even be walking to the same destination then you naturally aren't going anywhere with them. In such situation the best thing you can do for you and them is to wish them good with love in your heart and go on to your own journey because your journey makes you who you are and their journey makes them who they are.
Unless you both are going to the same destination with same values towards your relationship, having equal commitment to complete it while supporting each other when the road is rough and respecting each other when the road is smooth, your journey together shall become a nightmare as you/or they pursue it in the name of love that originates from low self-esteem and unhealthy place of negative conditioning, eventually making journey of life merely something that you survived not lived. The past conditioning can be worked upon but that is an extremely personal transformation which requires awareness and mindfulness of a person himself/herself, we cannot heal each other, you can only support their effort to heal themselves. You can only be there for them or vice versa and all that is effective only if they are willing to work with you and are willing to acknowledge that there is an issue that needs to be addressed and worked upon and this goes both ways. Love yourself enough that you can love someone else with the same intensity and honesty. Importantly love yourself enough to walk away when you need to. Loving someone does not always mean holding on, it also means letting go for the good of both you and your loved one.