Love Is A Taught Construct



How do you know how to love? Did you sit wide-eyed in front of 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 ever 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.



Is it Love?

23 thoughts on “Love Is A Taught Construct

  1. A Victor says:

    This is so sad. So many of these statements ring true in my own life too. There is a Narc Detector forthcoming. This is the reason I don’t “feel” love. I just know to act on it, but not in these ways. Wow. And yet we ended up on opposite sides of the coin. I’m so sad for us both but if I’m honest, more sad for you.

  2. Another Cat says:

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

    Unfathomable that a child has to go through this. Burning inside of anger reading it.

  3. Summer says:

    Love is contributing to the AAF

  4. Whitney says:

    I wish I was there for you

  5. Asp Emp says:

    Hmmm. Therapists should read this and take it on board. Ok, it’s not the only way a child can be “conditioned” and fked up by parents who should not have created a child, never mind ‘creating’ more than one.

    This article could explain, in one way – why the ‘creature’ is created.

    It is also – on my part – unconsciously – of my decision not to have children of my own. I didn’t understand it fully but yet I knew at the same time. Losing the one parent that loved me at very young age contributed to my own ‘darkness’. Having a narcissist as the surviving parent added to the ‘creation’ of me as a person. No fkg therapist can change that.

    1. Eternity says:

      So sorry to hear that! It must have been very difficult for you. Big hug to you!

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Ah, thank you. Yeah, it was difficult. It’s interesting that finding my way to this site also led me to understand myself. I can now close the doors to my past and feel I have no need to re-visit or to understand any further. That includes narcissists of my past too. Knowledge & understanding is freedom, I suppose. Thanks again for your hug X

    2. A Victor says:

      My situation didn’t create a creature, as a narcissists would apparently, but it did create a person with a huge void in them.

      I understand your decision not to have children, way too difficult given that I had no idea how to raise one except not the way I’d been raised. Going through an irresponsible time as a young woman, drinking heavily, I did end up with one and took on the challenge, daily, of doing pretty much the exact opposite of how I’d been raised. It was extremely difficult work. I did go on the have 3 more and it got a bit easier with practice but never became really second nature. My brother succeeded in his decision to not have any, same thinking I’d had but he was more aware and thus more careful.

      I wished on many occasions that my parents had opted not to have us as well as wishing they would divorce and we could live with the alcoholic parent, not the other one who was even more terrible. Lol!! Wow. Yes, therapy did help. Learning things here is helping more.

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It is somehow easier to know others have had the same experience as I and are here, learning, as well, even as I am sad for all who’ve had such experiences.

      1. Asp Emp says:

        Thank you for sharing some of your experiences. I understand what you mean about ‘second nature’ – it’s not easy after your own childhood experiences. It’s good that therapy is helping you & that you are using this site to understand more about yourself. It’s not always easy to look inwards within yourself and when you do, it becomes easier to look outwards on a lateral level. It takes longer for some people than others – I know from personal experience. Anyhow, I hope you get there sooner than later 🙂

        1. A Victor says:

          Thank you for your kind response. I am not in therapy currently, not for close to 25 years. I took what I could and moved on. I considered it after this experience but have found this site, the learning here to be of much more value. HG, for whatever he is privately, is doing a huge benefit publicly.

          And, can I ask, I’ve been so curious, hope did you come up with your name? Very unique.

          1. Asp Emp says:

            I agree – the learning & resources HG provides is better than any ‘therapy’ encyclopedia available anywhere else. All the information in one place.

            Well, thank you, Asp Emp = Aspie Empath. My real name is also unique (named after a Danish ex of my dad’s, so doubt that pi**ed my Mother off, LOL) 😉

          2. A Victor says:

            Lol, your poor mother! I also have an unusual real name but my parents chose it together.

          3. Asp Emp says:

            Not poor mother – she was the narc. 🙂

          4. A Victor says:

            Oh, I’m sorry. My mother is i believe also. It is horrible. I sent a narc detector to HG yesterday, about her.

          5. Asp Emp says:

            Oh. That should be interesting. I knew from reading about narcissism – I began to recognise the traits in a number of people. Anyway, hope the NDC results will enable you to make progress forwards 🙂

  6. lickemtomorrow says:

    Love is none of the above.

    It’s true nature is sacrificial.

    Love is a giver, not a taker.

    1. A Victor says:

      Agreed. It is also a choice many times, rather than a feeling.

      1. lickemtomorrow says:

        Absolutely agree, AV. It’s a choice you have to keep making day after day in some instances. But to rely on feelings alone is never going to bring out the true meaning. Same as bad days come and go, good days wax and wane as well. It’s what’s underlying it those days, causing us to persevere, that’s indicative of true love. And, as always, actions speak louder than words. The word love holds so much promise, but unless you see that in some kind of sacrificial action (e.g. I’ll make the dinner because you are tired, etc) it’s meaningless. And it’s possible to choose to love even the unlovable. There are so many ways to contemplate the notion of love, but what is a sad certainty is that some people never receive or experience the love they should, and are eminently deserving of as well. This story of HGs is always a hard one to read for that reason. He deserved so much better.

  7. Sweetest Perfection says:

    As if I needed any more reasons why I don’t really like Keats. I loved you made “Ode to the West Wind” your coda in Autumn. Perfectly splendid.

    1. Truthseeker6157 says:

      When I listened to Autumn I had it in my mind that Ode to Autumn might be on it. Sure enough, there it was.
      I really tried to listen to it. I thought, ‘He’s sat in that chair at his white desk and he is reciting this from memory.’ Then all I could see was a little boy shivering in the cold trying to get it right. That was enough for me, I got to the second verse and that was it. I moved past it to the next part.

      I am supposed to listen and think, ‘Well done. Something positive out of something horrible. Middle finger up to Matrinarc.’ That’s what I should think. I don’t. I just see the boy in the cold.

      1. Sweetest Perfection says:

        TS, I don’t like that poem for many reasons, but I love the musical composition HG chose for it in the selection.

        1. Truthseeker6157 says:

          The general feel of the Autumn piece is lovely. I agree SP, in the main I found it really soothing and I agree the music selection was perfect. I play part of it to fall asleep to, and actually, I sometimes let it run when I’m working or online reading. I’m not always concentrating on the exact words as such, I just like having it on, it’s relaxing.

          In a different package, HG underlines smell as being a key ingredient to a sense of well-being also. I have always liked perfumed candles but I also have a lavender pillow that I place under my pillow each night now too. I’m nocturnal, don’t need a huge amount of sleep but if my ET goes up I have conversations through the night whilst sleeping. I half wake and my mind is whirring, ticking over in a loop. The lavender helps with that, seems to keep me under.

          I’ve narrowed down a specific fragrance that I adore for my candle too. A local candle maker has the most amazing fragrance combinations. I burn that for a couple of hours before I try to sleep. I really enjoy that too.
          These suggestions by HG aren’t throwaways. They do help.

  8. Eternity says:

    Can I please adopt this little boy and show him love ? HG I am so sorry you had to go through this in your life . I am tearing up reading all you went through. Love should come naturally and we should never second guess it. Either it is there or it is not! If it is not there how can it be taught?
    I know you hate hugs but I am giving one to you.

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