Love Is A Taught Construct



How do you know how to love? Did you sit wide-eyed in front a large screen as colourful costumed characters hugged one another to a saccharine sound-track so this imbued you with the concept of what love was? Did those cartoon characters explain to you what it is to love? Did their exaggerated voices and crazy antics, followed by the moral of the story teach you what love is? Perhaps you read about it in love, heard it in songs and studied the many ways in which this ultimate emotion appears and affects people. Chances are that you have been affected by those hugely affecting passages from the great works dedicated to love. Chances are you have been captured by haunting lyrics and catchy jingles which also profess to tell you what love is. They have all played a part. You may have learned about love from the version churned out by the media, of Hollywood romance, dashing heroes, fair maidens, tarts with golden hearts, the good man who rides to the rescue, the wayward soul saved by love. Love may have been explained to you from the pulpit as a higher love, something which transcends all earthly manifestations, a love so powerful and complete that it sacrificed its only son in order to demonstrate its love for humankind. This godly love is all around you, it touches each and all and is mighty in its effects. Love may have been learned from furtive fumbles down alleyways, sneaking into bedrooms when so young, the exploration of warm and urgent body parts accompanied by those every so sincere protestations of love. A haphazard journey through galloping teen years as nothing and everything makes sense all at once. Then again, love might have appeared to you in the form of something small and furry, an unconditional (so long as it was fed) love which was loyal, giving and ever so cute. So many erudite tutors, learned lecturers and wise proponents of what love is. Love thy neighbour, love yourself, love is all you need, woman in love, it must have been love, crazy little thing called love, to know him is to love him, we found love, how deep is your love? Love is all around us, in us, between us, lifting us up and letting us down. It is everywhere and you may well have been taught by many of the above and more besides as to what love is.

However, love most likely will have been taught to you by those who created you, those two people who came together and through their own pleasure created you. Two people who decided that they would shoulder the responsibility of creating life, nurturing it and bringing a new person into the world. Those two people accepted many, many responsibilities from such a decision and act. Chief among them was the responsibility of teaching that person what love is. Through their offices they have furnished each and every one of us with the notion of what love is. A deep-seated and visceral understanding of this is how love feels, this is what it looks like, this is what it sounds like. This is love. From those two people more than anything else we are first grounded in the concept of what love is. This grounding lasts a considerable time and whilst there are other factors to be considered, as I have mentioned above, it is this lesson which is learnt invariably first and the one lesson which resonates beyond all others. So often we are in their hands when it comes to being taught about love. So, what is this taught love? It has so many, many facets.

Love is being told to never trust anybody.

Love is being made to re-write the entire essay because of one spelling mistake.

Love is being sent to stand outside on a cold winter’s day until all three verses of Ode to Autumn are recited correctly.

Love is knowing nothing is ever good enough.

Love is understanding that someone else knows better than you what is best for you.

Love is turning away from the reality.

Love is standing straight against a wall for several hours for speaking out of turn.

Love is for the weak.

Love is being told that when I am gone nobody else will look out for you.

Love is succeeding.

Love is building a wall as high as possible.

Love is trying until it hurts and gaining that final curt nod of approval.

Love is being seen and not heard.

Love is fulfilling your potential and securing that legacy.

Love is hurting you even though it hurts me, but someone in this household has to do it and it won’t be him will it?

Love is reading to yourself than being read to.

Love is living in the shadows and hoping not to be noticed.

Love is being the best.

Love is the preserve of the powerful.

Love is being denied a birthday party because the other children are too stupid.

Love is being undermined in order to prevent conceit.

Love is a begrudged recognition and the injunction to try harder, go further, climb higher, run faster, study longer.

Love is burning your hand but not crying.

Love is don’t tell anybody about our secret.

Love is a righteous beating.

Love is being distant and pretending things never happened.

Love is being sent away.

Love is not being told.

Love is splendid isolation.

Love was taught this way.



  1. I think many of us here could probably write similar lists. I know I could.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t tire of slapping HG’s MatriNarc though… actually, come to think of it, I wouldn’t tire of slapping my own.

  2. I missed this posting!
    Little you must have been so scared and confused!
    Did nobody show you love at all? No friends or a kind aunt, or a cousin, a good teacher?

    It’s heartbreaking reading that, truly. I experienced some of this, but I was shown love prior. I knew different to the way I was being treated. I knew inside I was loved but hated by one.

    HG during your childhood, ages 0-10, do you recall a loving moment ever? If so, by whom and how did it make you feel?

  3. Wow….this one did me damage just reading it…. and I didn’t even have to live it… HG Tudor, we ALL love that little boy you are, I wish that could make up for what you were deprived of ….

  4. My narcissistic mother almost killed me once, she gave me a sip of milk before yanking it away the morning I was going for surgery at the dentist. I woke up in the dental chair to a nurse slapping me, and the dentist yelling at my mother in his office. Of course she blamed it on me.

    I can identify with some of the things on the list. I guess we all react and survive differently. I always felt like the little puppy everyone wants, but nobody wants to take care of. There were so many basic things I was never taught.

    But love & empathy came naturally to me. I thought Mom was a little crazy & a real sourpuss, but I overlooked it.

    Since most narc are men, it may have something to do with male ego.

    One thing though, it’s not our fault what you’re mother did. We were victims too, and we still are.

    (I’ve read elsewhere that the creature might be an imaginary grandiose phantom)

    1. I was sent out of state to my grandparents where I could start First Grade at age 5, so my mother could get a job. She was always a workaholic.

      Being an inexperienced mother myself, my mother ridiculed me with my first child, rather than helping me. She stole her away from me. But I was always there to put my foot down, and to undo the damage my mother attempted.

      She did mean things to pets, and allowed an old blind one to be run over. She lies about it. She has feelings of guilt, but never admits to the real story.

      I’ve always been told I’m a fast learner, but that’s because I had to be so my mother didn’t get mad.

      Geeze, HG, this is like sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch. I never put the pieces of the puzzle together before. Sorry if I bored you, but thanks for the sounding board.

  5. This is a sad one to read but also dangerous for us empaths. Unfortunately showing sympathy to the narc is a weakness used against us.

      1. Dana, after reading this I felt urge to text him and say “I know it’s not your fault your like this. I’m here for you blah blah”. Haha then I slapped myself in the face with reality and that sympathetic moment passed .

        1. Mercy
          Such is the beauty and power in HG’s writing. Glad you let the feeling pass and held your ground.

          1. NA, thank you. Your support means alot. And I agree very powerful….I have to say I love your random one liners. You are definitely a colorful contribution to this site!

    1. Some of us who are subject to such abuse turn into pathological empaths. We mostly hurt ourselves because we think that it is all our fault and if we are just obedient enough, we will be loved.

    1. Yes we do sometimes forget that they were abused too. Then they open their mouth and we’re back to: oh yeah, fuck you, game on.

  6. HG,

    – Would you mind if you answered what school & cadre of narcissists does your mother belongs to?

    – Do you have a work where you explained further about this? As I have read somewhere that it is very difficult to break free from a narcissistic parent, if this is true then you have done a great achievement!

    – Do you believe that if you have been treated fairly, you wouldn’t have become a narcissist?


      1. I mean by fairly, if you have been treated with justice and fairness. Shown love and appreciation for your effort as a child. Would you have developed NPD? (Sorry, we can’t say “if” for something that have been already done, just curious).

        And that brings another question, what is your definition of justice?

  7. Hg having read most of your books ,the description of the creature worries me .Is this self hatred ,I believe so , the creature is you , buried under all the constructs ( which is false)
    .You are not a slinking creature without the ego manifestation of status ,greatness ,wealth social standing etc ,you are a vulnerable little boy who deep down didnt feel good enough .Note I said FEEL .You feel HG and its shame you are feeling deep deep down under layers of BS.I would never describe a little boys feelings / soul as a creature , you can feel real love but you must first accept the little boy you were.
    When you said in the book revenge when one topples the narcs pillars you see a powerless creature and you will be horrified by the weakness
    NO NO Hg no one would ever be horrified by a real vulnerable hurt person.

  8. Hg the above are not love , what they are is the manifestation of the social / political construct we live in today which is driven by materialistic greed and ego.

    Love is not sexual activity( that is animal instinct) love is finding joy in nature ,self contentment , the ability to remove hatred from our hearts.reaching out to others in a kind way and being non judgemental accepting that we are not perfect but still lovable .It is positive and uplifting and makes everything feel better.You just feel it swell up in your soul and it can make you cry when you feel it as it makes you feel so humble .
    Love is not driven by ego if it is this is where the pain comes from NOT love.Man struggles with true love , most of what we call love is not ,it’s attachment or ego .Control is the ego again.
    The ego will NEVER be satisfied or happy ,it is reliant on external validation .
    Christs words as they nailed him ,tortured and half naked to the wooden cross were ” Father forgive them for they know not what they do ”
    Who can honestly say they would have the power to do this in such a horrific situation.This is a Godly power and in my opinion is the only true power .

    Was he ridiculed , tortured , humiliated YES but look at the power in those words to God the Father.
    It is a spiritual place of pure magnificent love most ( prob all of us ) will NEVER reach as we are too weak and trapped in our own egos .

  9. Lots of tears while reading this. HG, thank you for such a good article. Every parent should read it.

  10. This is a great article. It is well written and never fails to evoke emotion (and rightly so), yet I am always struck that it is so easy for people to see and feel how this treatment of him was wrong but yet accept it for themselves.

    1. sadly we can’t do anything about it people get all bent out of shape for the you look at them funny cuz they smack their kid. we acted up in the store we were getting spanked and it didn’t matter. now it’s who the hell are you to tell me what I can do to my kid it’s none of your business but it should be everybody’s business that’s what’s so sad about everything it’s just terrible. but like I said earlier this is why my roommate extra me is like this cuz his dad and his brother did to his mother was always at work she on her own business so he doesn’t get the attention he was getting and he wanted to get being picked up by his pops and brother in the fact that nobody saw this growing up or how do you not see it but something’s off with your kid because him and his mom are tight very tight he’s a mama’s boy big time so it’s just kind of weird to me was she really that busy or just is he hiding it that well. sadly they still don’t see it you can tell now how does he all of a sudden love me I’m his best friend were buddies to the end and the next day he hates my guts and I done all these horrible things its all fabricated. so they thought I was wonderful and then they’ve just agreed with him that I’m not I don’t get it I just don’t get it but I don’t really care again whatever it’s just amazing to me that nobody think something is really wrong again how do you love me one minute the next day you hate my guts and makes no sense and then I’m jealous of this ugly girl, 7 years later never flirted made a pass at you and all this time and how why am I jealous now I’m not I’ve seenI’ve seen what you’ve been with and it scared me yikes I just don’t get it but whatever I guess I’m not meant to just trips me out .

    2. Yes that’s true NA. I guess that it’s because of that empathy. My mother is still with my father, even though he terrorised all of us. She used to tell me what a terrible childhood my father had, and that he couldn’t help being this way. Not caring about her own (and my and my brothers’)wellbeing. I’m a lot more assertive, yet still, I accepted quite a bit of bullshit from a certain person.
      When it comes to narcissism, knowledge is key. But even then, not everyone follows the rule “once you know, you go”. A shame.

  11. This article made me feel sick. I just can’t understand how a parent can treat their child (or anyone) like that. The irreversible damage they do. It’s beyond me.
    What I also realise, is how powerless we are when we see this happen before our eyes. I know families where little narcissists are created, but what can I do? It’s often invisible for others, and not always recognised as abuse.
    It’s unfair.
    I wonder if EMDR therapy can have some effect on people with NPD. It’s used here for treating trauma.
    I’m sending the little boy this article is about a warm hug and a kiss on his forehead. I wish he had been loved the way should have.

    1. Me too Joyascending. It is very difficult to digest fluency in collateral emotional damage and know the origins meant such suffering for a child.

  12. The power of this article is fortified by its truth, the importance of this article is beyond measure.
    The meaning of true nurture is not understood to its entirety by the masses, however its absence is a scar for so many.

    This article needs to be read, re – read and read again, it needs to be heard, when it is truly heard, it is heard by the soul, it is felt.
    It’s significance is infinite.

    1. Quasi, I truly feel this one. I admit it hurts like hell. It’s as if life itself, or the powers that be who have put this stuff out there makes me feel like nothing more than a trained animal. Like we all were made like HG was made. It angers me greatly, because I don’t want any of it to be the truth for any of us. Yet it is, and leaves our hearts open for nothing but damage. It makes me wonder what love really is? Does it really exist or Not?
      None the less, it still hurts and severely angers me how we’ve been fed lies.

      1. Tammy,

        Love is real, it comes in many forms, and it is felt. It can be expressed in a relationships where an attachment is formed. Ideally this attachment is reciprocal, but unfortunately this is not always the case.

        Love stems from empathy, you need the ability to care for another, to see the light and dark in them and accept them for who they are, no black and white, but Technicolor- all the shades. It is based in valuing the other persons whole being.

        The nurture we experience In childhood, the attachments we form and the attachment others form to us, shape us; our experiences shape us. But they do not necessarily define a person. People can, and do transcend their childhood, they know they will be a different parent, they will love, they will nurture- they know this and feel this without being taught how to love, they do this based in their empathy, and innate strength.

        In my post I expressed that nurture is not understood fully by the masses. The meaning of this statement to me is that many people are born and raised with secure attachments and love, and they most often take this for granted,and see it as just normal, it should be normal but it should not be taken for granted.

        You may have read other posts of mine which advise that I had that “normal childhood”, empaths are not made through experiencing trauma or lack of attachments/ nurture in childhood.
        Empaths are born as such.
        We are born on a sliding scale of sensitivity/ empathy. Empaths are born high in the scale.

        You were born an empath Tammy, you may have narcissistic traits and these can be enhanced and strengthened through experience, and being what is known in childhood; or extensive experiences with a narcissist in adulthood. Your empathy is who you are in the core, it brings the pain and and the realisation that what you have experienced was wrong. You know this because you felt it.

        The ability to feel in this way and to the extent that many empaths can feel, can be crippling when what is felt is pain/ sorrow, but it can also bring a depth of feeling for joy, love, compassion, and gratitude- it brings meaning to the real, the good the bad And ugly.

        We are all guided by multiple systems- rational conscious thought, emotions and senses.
        When these systems are fed lies either by the self or others, they become maladjusted, and they do not guide us properly.
        Being truthful to ourselves and others sets our systems right, even when the truth is painful.
        If we lie to ourselves and others, the intrinsic systems that guide us will never lead us properly, and we will not find what we seek.

        Articles like this are fundamental to understanding what lies beneath, and the creation of a person who hurts without care. Doing on to others what was done to them. A cycle.

        Apologies for the epic long response Tammy, and thank you for reading and responding to my post. You have a beautiful soul, and I so wish you well in your journey forward in getting to know you again. You are what is important now, not you in the past or the future, but you in the now..
        Take care lovely Tammy, and remember that there is good in this world too, and it is most importantly within you.

        1. Quasi! Wow. Thank you. I believe what you’ve stated as truth.
          I can’t thank you enough for your clarifications. Sometimes I get so lost. What you wrote helped me see a little clearer.
          I don’t want to get all mushy here, but I can’t thank you enough enough.
          And epic is good. I’m saving this so I can keep re reading.
          But God, sometimes it hurts right now to be an empath.
          But we got this.❤❤❤

          1. Tammy,
            Anytime ❤️
            You have definitely got this, and don’t worry about being mushy, I’m the queen of mushy! long posts and mushy.. lol..

            What I have written is the truth as I see it, but there will be lots of different views. My lens is open to a lot of possibilities, and definitely open to the good and bad in this world as they bring balance. Order and chaos!
            You have your own lens and instincts, and senses that will lead you right – if you are truthful with them and trust them.

            You will have overwhelming moments as you move forward, sometimes they will feel like they are too much to tolerate.. but you will.. you can say to yourself that life is not static, “this too shall pass”..

            You can go into the arena and fight for something different. –

            “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly.
            So if he fails or falls he does so daring greatly” – Theodore Roosevelt.

            You may not believe this but you have a great deal of power and strength in you.. right now it’s just about where you focus it. Have the focus to you again..
            it’s your time now Tammy- those ******* had their time in your life – it’s your time now – ( this sounds abit like the goonies.. lol- great film! )

            A song dedication for you now Tammy, just because it’s awesome, and I think if we need to do crazy at times, we may as well do crazy with an epic song – turn it up and dance like no one is watching ! Lol..


          2. Tammy … I have a confession – gin was involved in my original response to you.. lol..
            Prince was on heavy rotation that day, kitchen dancing before going out, out .. with children staring at me thinking I’m crazy, and then joining in.. but crazy just needs to be done sometimes!

            when choosing the ultimate prince song to share with you that is awesome for dancing and expression it was a toss up between this one and “I wanna be your lover” …
            Clearly intoxicated merry me still had a sensible hat on, and did err on the side of caution when choosing the song. 😂
            I clearly did not want to freak you out, so good sensible head… yes I just patted my own head 😂
            Im glad you liked the song though… ok shutting up now -promise … Qx

          3. Quasi,

            You (or your gin-influenced ‘you’) have good taste in music…I could use little of Prince on my playlist.

            Thank-GAWD my narc did not like 80’s music. All is not lost; if that were ruined for me…not sure what I would do!

          4. Hi WhoCares,

            All of me likes prince ! I like quite a variety of genres / types of music and it’s Definitely my thing..
            I am probably giving an impression of going out all the time ! this has been relatively new to me in the past couple of years. I was a hermit when the kids were babies/ toddlers. It’s been a complete overhaul of who I am in the last two years.
            Job change, weight loss, much improved social life and reconnecting with very dear friends who make up a huge part of my world. And of course meeting/ dancing with a narcissist who has taught me more then he will ever know or even consider.

            Music is massive in my world, It nourishes me..
            If I could share my Spotify with you I would.
            I’m very pleased to hear that the narcissist you knew did not like the same music you did, definitely a plus.

            Unfortunately the narcissist I knew did like a lot of the same music, we both liked one Particular British group, that I have seen a few times live since I was 15, he plays a lot of their tracks too. ( he liked prince too).

            So he really had an easy in with me on the music front, and did not need to do much mirroring re – shared interests. It was evident that his like of music was there and used before I showed up, it was not for my benefit.

            I made him loads of compilations, initially as payment for the music lessons he gave me, although it was clear he wanted a different payment down the line.

            I also worked for 2 hours on compiling 2 cds with the set list for a gig he had coming up ( earlier on when we were just “friends”) I know – idiot, but it was the classic test of what will she do for me thing. I did it once and wrote out a guide for him, with instructions on how to convert music from you tube to hard drive and burn to cd.. essentially saying I’m not doing it again. One test I passed ish! I’m pleased that I did not pass many others though. Saying that it all lead to the same outcome of him getting what he wanted from me in the first place – ah well we live and learn .
            Even though a lot of music still has a link to him I refuse to let it take away my love of it. He won’t take that from me.

            ( I would apologise for the monologue but I feel you know me by now, and have learnt to expect a decent length😂)

          5. Quazi! I love Prince, gin, and needed to dance around! In fact I’m putting on more today!!! And it’s ok, sometimes we need a good shock! One that’s good!!!

        2. Quasi, reading this again.
          Thank you, it’s really awesome. God Quasi, I’m hurting so badly.
          I just wanted a normal, functional life. It seems so far away to have that kind of thing.
          I’m finally beginning to get angry and hate his guts. I need to hate him. It’s better than magical thinking that he’ll change. I want to do t o him the things he did to me.

          1. Tammy … I hear you! and I am going to come back again this evening when I have a moment to give you the time you deserve, and hopefully some advise that will help… Qx

          2. Hi Tammy,
            I have had a think.
            My automatic response to reading your post initially was a want to help and advise and knowing I could. ( this is typical of me)

            There is a difference between my want to help and the appropriateness of this, as much of the advise I could provide would be clinically lead, and I do not want to interfere with or dilute the therapy that you are currently supported by.

            So I will stick with reassurance and support, as a long distance quasi friend !

            Firstly let’s start with normalisation –
            Anger is absolutely something you would and should feel. Anger is a very strong and powerful emotion. Anger is indicative of your realisation and understanding that what you have experienced over you lifetime was abusive and wrong.

            Anger needs to be expressed as repression of this emotion can damage further.
            Anger does not need to be expressed through physical or verbal aggression to another, it can be released with exercise, physical sport/activity.
            Boxing, martial arts, or more relaxed things like tai chi.
            It can be expressed through written word , a letter to the narcissist that you never send but burn.

            Anger is a stage of grief, grief is felt when we loss something valuable to us, it encompasses more then physical death of a person close to us.

            You may also be going through some of the defence mechanisms that can develop due to trauma and abuse. You may be experiencing identification as a mechanism now “ I want to abuse him as he abused me” ( become the abuser)

            The thing with this is that it won’t deal with the real core issue and will not serve future you very well.
            Having morbid thoughts of hurting him is totally normal – what you do with them is key- tell yourself
            “it’s normal for me to think this as he hurt me to an intolerable level. But I am not him, I will never be him, I am better, I am stronger- it takes a very weak cowardly man to physically abuse a woman, he was nothing and he is not worth my thoughts or my focus or my time- he will never find what he seeks, he will remain lost, I can regain my life”

            It does not have to be that, try writing one of your own that feels right to you.
            Right now feel it, release it in the most effective, yet self caring way you can.
            Hurting others would be punishing yourself twice over, I know these are just thoughts and your not likely to hurt anyone, but the reality is that you are going through a process and it will take the time it takes for you as an individual. What is real is it won’t be static, it will shift and change, you will evolve and grow.
            You are on a bespoke journey, and you have support here. However the most important person in this for you – is you.

  13. What you mentioned love is to you I get it. I was told as a child I love you/I don’t love you. This is why I can love and cry ( for example) over the movie ” The notebook. ” then relate to all the times love made me realize how imperfect I am, and it literally makes my body burn with anger. I believe this is why I have strong narcissistic traits and stronger empathetic traits. I’m not sure why I never turned straight narcissist. Maybe it was magical thinking that would snap me out of it? There are times I’m evil and enjoy it then the empath inside causes me a load of guilt about it.

  14. Do you think this is why there is a rise in Narcissism in general? Narcs raising children with their own skewed views of love (and many other things). Children in general will have many self centred qualities as are expected with their ages, and our Job as parents is to teach qualities like love, empathy, respect for others and their boundaries etc. And if, as a child, the world view of these concepts your parent/s are teaching you is of an un-empathetic, conditional, take but not reciprocate type view, then are we not teaching, grooming, many from a young age to be narcissistic?

    1. I think there has been a shift in the laws, culture, and biological/environmental factors for this as well. In the past, the courts used to primarily award custody of children to women. This would leave children especially vulnerable if there was a Narc mother, or Narc Stepfather. Narcissistic men would often coerce women to get abortions or compartnentalize children born out of wedlock. The laws have changed and now Narcissist are fighting for Sole Custody in protracted custody battles. The younger the age of the child, the easier to create a narc-mini-me. Our culture today supports narcissism and high conflict attitudes.

  15. Wow, that’s hardcore. Ouch! So sorry. I grew up in a household with some sad parents cuz my two sisters passed away young 17 + 19, so needless to say holidays were very depressing at my house I didn’t really care about having holidays just cuz my parents were said I felt bad for them but I had to grow up I had to take a lot on my shoulders at the young age of 11 my parents basically got divorced because of that issue. They still loved each other up until both of them passed away they would call each other on what used to be their anniversary after they were divorced they were pretty but I never had anything like that, that is terrible how could someone do that to somebody that’s awful I am so sorry. I definitely had their support and love growing up even as sad as it was in the house they were always there for me.

      1. that’s why my roommate acts like he does cuz his dad and his brother picked at him and picked out of and pick that up until he just became what he is now . That’s pretty screwed up too cuz he’d be a great man awesome he’s a great guy when he’s faking it but that’s just a shame that’s a shame that somebody would do that to their kids. Kids don’t have enough bullshit to deal with the school and bullies and shit there feel bad. I’ve actually watched my extreme his brother do that to his kids mostly to the oldest son he’s kind of screwed up already my cousin’s the same way he got all screwed up to he’s a nut.

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