"We love you but right now we don't like you."
This could be the single most confusing thing I've heard in my life, and it is one that I have consciously tried to understand for years. I still cannot. It baffles me. It confuses me. It makes no sense.
I understand loving a person and not liking their choices, but this statement always had me believing that love was an obligation and that liking someone was more of a character judgment, a choice. The obligation of loving was somehow expected and desired, required even.
However, being able to say I love you was mysteriously separate from actually liking that same person...eh? What? Let me wrap my mind around this, if I can, that you can 'say' you love someone but then be also able to 'say' that you do not, in fact, like that person. What sort of twisted mind came up with that bit of emotional barbed wire?
For anyone who doesn't really know much about it barbed wire is a terrible thing. Once you get tangled up in it the harder you struggle to get free the deeper you get cut and the more you bleed. People and animals have died from being tangled in barbed wire. The only way to get free is to carefully disengage each barb, cut each wire where you can and gently pull yourself free.
HOWEVER...this is the hardest thing to do when you are actually tangled up in it! Emotional barbed wire is just as deadly, just as wounding and just as likely to kill you.
The "love but not like" lie is a whole rotten, rusted fence line of emotional barbed wire, and although it has been said since I was a little girl I still don't understand it. I don't think it is something that is really understandable because it was only meant as a means of control, of power.
Love is something that is given freely, love is something that shouldn't have a string or price tag. You don't really have to love everyone you like. That would weigh a lot! BUT, can anyone who truly loves say there is love in their heart for someone they don't like?
There are people in my life that I love dearly and we don't always agree with or like the choices that the other makes. If my little boy makes a bad choice, do I tell him he is a bad person? NO! I still love and like him the person, his choice is something else. It is a choice to agree to disagree, it is not a judgement call on them as people. I have many people who I genuinely like and a few I deeply love - seems simple to me that when I don't agree with their choices (and some have been shatteringly bad choices) I still care for them as people, I still value them as people, I still hold their person in my care and in my prayers.
Emotional barbed wire is everywhere, and when we are recovering our lives, when we are finding out what life is like as a survivor, there are rolls of it everywhere! Rusting on fences, shining on rolls, tangled in the bush, draped over our doorways and beds...emotional barbed wire ready to tangle, twist, cut us and make us bleed.
I wish I could give you a pair of fencing pliers, some side cutters, a hacksaw for heaven's sake so you could cut yourself free when you feel the barbs digging in. Do you know the signs of emotional barbed wire in your life? Once you do it is easier to avoid, and easier to untangle from. It has taken me many years to untangle this lie from my life.
I promise myself, every day, that I won't be stringing wire.