Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Opposite of Love is Not Hatred

A study on the concept of Nothing

How incredibly informative it would be if people could truly understand that the opposite of love is not hatred but indifference. It would force them to recognize the pathological relationships they are stuck in that are destroying their lives in some way. Many ACONs struggle for so long with their narcissistic parents because we all have memories of some apparently benevolent acts.

We look for "benevolent" acts in our history with the narcissist as a sign that they must love us "in their own way". We think that if they didn't love us then surely we'd know it because we think we would recognize the opposite of love. We think love's opposite is active hatred. I disagree.

Not to say that our narcissistic parents don't display actively hateful behavior, by the way. They can and do. But we are perplexed by the times when they seem to be acting loving toward us. (The operant word here is acting.) So we come up with explanations for the bad behaviors and give them a pass. Our narcissists tutored us well on how to do this.

I believe the hallmark of our relationships with our Ns seems to be the often overtly callous indifference we have suffered from them. They are indifferent to our best good. Indifferent to our humanity and individuality. Indifferent to our needs. Indifferent to our feelings. They nothing you.

Real love is other-centered. It is outwardly focused. (See 1 Corinthians 13 for a description of what real love looks like.) It involves self-sacrifice. It is always benevolent in its motivation. I've already pointed out how malignant narcissist means malevolent. Evil. Intent on doing harm. Please don't confuse anything the narcissist does as coming from a loving motivation. To do so is to continue to be their prey.

If we can understand the utter disregard of our personhood that is encapsulated in the word indifference, if we can let ourselves acknowledge the awful truth that these people are incapable of anything approaching real love, then can we see our way clear to cut loose even if these people call themselves our parents? I think so.

This indifference explains the sense we get of having our souls sucked out of us. Love fills us up. Indifference reduces us to husks. These people are toxic waste. Poison that will kill your soul first and then your body. We can forget ever feeling guilty for distancing ourselves from them because we think that on some level they must love us. Love is incapable of indifference because indifference is its antithesis. The narcissist does not love you. Never did. Never will. There is no room for such nobility of purpose and action as love in the narcissist's heart.

Indifference is what I feel for my parents. Bit by bit, as I began to understand the revelation of their narcissism, I was able to distance myself from them. Now I feel nothing for them. I don't have active, seething emotions that one would call hatred. No, I nothing them. They do not merit the emotional energy of hatred. They merit nothing. One can say that their indifference toward me all my life has finally come full circle back to them. My indifference is different from theirs in an important contains no malevolence. I do not stay in their lives and torture them with my indifference. I have completely removed myself from their sphere so as to not afflict them with it. My indifference is in place only to save me. Not to hurt them.

The narcissist feels nothing toward you. My recommended course of action is that you get the hell away from them forever before they completely corrode your life. Then set on a path toward indifference. There is healing for your heart there. The narcissist doesn't merit anything from you that requires as much energy as either love or hatred. The wages for their actions toward you has come due. What have they earned? Nothing. As in, you owe them nothing. You feel nothing. They are nothing.


Anonymous said...

I have been estranged now for 8 years from my N mother. My family reacted harshly to my decision at first, but I had to do it. I gave birth to my daughter and realized I could never put her through what I had to live through. I had to protect my daughter from her.

My daughter realizes now that my mother only gave birth to me but was never a real "mom". I give my daughter all of the love and kisses I had never received. I was never touched, never held. Such as it is, I am at peace now with my decision.

To this day, if my mom sees me on the street, she will try to say "hi" to me as if nothing is wrong. Therein lies the psychopath, unable to acknowledge I want nothing to do with her. I don't hate her, I just need to stay away from her forever. Indifference is necessary for your own sanity, there is no point in arguing with a N.

On a very bizarre note, I just broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years who I came to realize was one as well. I put up with him solely because I was so used to being treated the same way by her. Shame on me for that, I am grieving a relationship that never really existed...sounds too familiar. I must always keep my guard up, unfortunately being raised by one gives me a higher tolerance for crap than others.

The hardest thing for me right now is to try to undo the brainwashing. He was so good at that....I was such a fool. I will visit this website daily to remind me of what I am dealing with. Thanks to all of your writings, I am able to find the strength that he sucked from me for so long.

Anna Valerious said...


I admire your clarity of thought and love for your daughter which gave you the wisdom to cut off contact with your mother. I wish more than anything I had had the same clarity when my own daughter was a baby.

You said something as it relates to your ex-boyfriend that I want to emphasize, "unfortunately being raised by one gives me a higher tolerance for crap than others". You're thinking very clearly on this. Some adult children of narcissists make the mistake of thinking that they are somehow magnets for narcissists. That is not the case. You stated the truth of it...we simply put up with a lot more crap than normal people will. We are trained to be patient with bad behaviors in others. This means we don't toss the narcissist out of our lives like a normal person would. We put up with their shit and wonder what is wrong with us rather than wondering what is wrong with them.I am very gratified to see how you get that. Congrats on escaping the predations of first your mother and now your boyfriend. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

How do you become indefferent to your parents who abused you. Will time help you squash the guilt and pain? Everyday I fight the sadness, guilt, shame, pain of the thoughts of disowning my parents.

Anna Valerious said...

anonymous, 10.26.08 @ 11:58 PM,

It is a process that takes time and is fueled by knowledge and understanding. The more you can intellectually understand what the narcissist is the easier it becomes to distance yourself emotionally. Keep learning. Replace the old 'programming' in your head with new thoughts. You will find it easier and easier to shuck the guilt and pain and slavery.

Julie Holloway said...

I hate to ask you a question on the comment board, but I do not know how to quite navigate yet and I don't know how to email you properly. I have ordered many of the books you have listed as well as other books recommended on ACON sites. However, do you know of any book that will help me figure out how young children are affected by narcissistic parents? They were the same people then as they are now, and how on earth was I affected as a baby and young child? Perhaps this is why I have no memory of my childhood. If you do know of any books I can read or anything else, please do email to I thank you so much & I will donate to your kitty fund. Thanks, Julie

Anonymous said...

I can understand the idea that having an N parent would be horrible for a child- but what of us, like me, that didn't and still wound up with an N partner? I look back at my parents and see nothing to point to N. My mother was loving and supportive- though lived for a long time with an alcoholic mate (my father). Though that aspect pretty much ruined our childhoods- I didn't feel anything like N from him either. He was battling his own demons but I still felt his pride and love for us- such as it was, in his own way.

I am now in a very vulnerable spot in my life, at 48. I traveled across the globe to be with my N, only to find out what she really was- and to have our very futures held in her grasp. What should have been a life together is now me trying to convince the gov't/immigration that our relationship was real, that we were abused, & and that we still deserve to remain in our new home/country. I search, every day, for some way to know how to impart what I believe about her to the upcoming appt. with a gov't social worker assigned to my case. My two, young children consider this their home and I'm desperately trying to keep their futures here.

While I'm no Sam Vaknin fan, his site is the only one with anything related to how to go up against an N "in court" and such. Do you have any advice on just how to convince someone else- not being a "professional"-( all I did was live in this agony for 2 years)- how do I say what I believe without it looking like I'm the paranoid one? I mean, until I started to research her traits and behaviours towards me & the kids, I had never even heard of personality disorders. It' so hard to put into words what/how their actions/reactions are so far "off" from normal- to a normal person (if you know what I mean?). Any insight on this is very appreciated.