childhood sexual abuse

The Myth of Unconditional Love

Myth of Unconditional Love

by Jennifer Stuck

I’ve been bombarded with the idea of unconditional love for as long as I can remember. Everywhere from home, to church, to Valentine’s Day commercials, people have pushed the concept that I should show love with no strings attached and expect nothing in return. People throw around phrases like “Blood is thicker than water”, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, and “Love means never having to say I’m sorry.” But what does this type of thinking do to my personal boundaries? And more importantly, why SHOULDN’T my love have conditions?

I’ve recently become aware that the belief in unconditional love has interfered with my healing from childhood sexual abuse. In the past, I found it difficult to express anger towards the people who hurt me. My abusers weren’t my family and I never loved them, but I did care deeply about the people in my family who failed to protect me. The positive feelings I felt for my family coupled with the anger I felt about them neglecting me was confusing.