The Opposite of Love.

The opposite of love is?
Until about a week ago, I thought so.

I am asked on a fairly regular basis if I hate my mother. I have a hard time answering that one. I used to. When I was younger, I hated her more than I can even express. Her words were like daggers and her actions sliced me in to pieces. I hated her for the damage she did and continued to do throughout my whole life including even now.

I broke off all contact with her in 2004 and grieved her loss like a death. Why it was so hard to let go of such a monster? I have no idea. The only reasoning I can come up with was that I was grieving what I wanted to have in a mother. Not what I actually had. Breaking off all contact removed that slim hope that one day she would see my worthiness and find a way to love me.
My head was a messed up place back then.

After the first year of true suffering and grief, all that emotion began to fade. I no longer really hated her. I really didn’t expect her to change. I stopped waiting for her to become a human being with feelings. I gave up on waiting for her to see my worth. It has taken me a long time but I am no longer dependent on her or anyone else to tell me that I am a worthwhile person. It feels wonderful. Thank you therapy!

So where does that leave the answer to that question? “Do you hate her?”
The answer is actually no. I don’t have enough energy left in my mind to give her that power. I’ve given up. I feel deflated. I feel sad that things couldn’t have been different. I wish she’d been able to be even a tiny bit of a mother to me beyond giving birth.
So what do I say? That has always left me confused.

Then my friend and I were talking and she said something very profound. Her words were “People think the opposite of love is hate but it’s not. The opposite of love is indifference.”

So how do I feel about my mother? Do I hate her? No.
I am indifferent which is actually far worse than hate.
I think hate still implies that you have feelings for that person. Good or bad, they have some power over you. My mother has lost that power over me. Feeling hurt by how she speaks about me is another topic altogether but that is not her power. That is her weakness.

I still get blown away by her actions which a decade later are still mean and taunting. I am afraid of what she may do one day. I know she is capable of anything at all. She has no moral compass. I just wish she would go away and leave me alone as I have done with her.
I am done. So very done.
I am indifferent.


46 responses to “The Opposite of Love.

  1. I believe when you love someone, they potentially have the power to hurt you. That’s why I’m cautious about letting people in, but when I do it’s wholeheartedly. The same can be said for hate; hating someone gives them way too much importance in your life, and that’s why hate is often thought to be the opposite of love. Your son was right Heather – the polar opposite of love is indifference. When you are indifferent to someone they lose power over you. To become indifferent to the woman who hurt you so badly is a massive achievement Heather. Bless


  2. Great insight, I couldn’t agree more.

    Whether you deeply love or hate someone, they will occupy a large space in both your heart and mind. There is a “bond”, whether you want there to be one or not.

    When you feel truly indifferent towards a toxic individual you no longer want in your life, you have completely released yourself, from any power that toxic individual had to drain your emotional energy, and steal from your happiness, health, joy and serenity.

    Indifference is most definitely the opposite of love.


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  28. I think indifference is a good place to rest on the journey of no contact with mom. I get that, been there. Sadly, it still gnaws within and you find yourself recreating her in your life. I have come to the conclusion that the opposite of love is fear. The fear that if we love her in spite of how sick she is, it will somehow weaken us, as we have always only tried to survive her sickness, giving her all of our power. Oddly, only this year, after 30+ years of no contact, one morning I had the distinct feeling she had died. I felt so much love for her as a soul who had a hard life being her, so insecure, so angry, so mean, so out of control and full of hate, unable to feel love or empathy, only lack. I thought, good, she will finally feel love now that she is gone. Turns out, she’s not gone, but my feeling of love for her has remained. I will never contact her in this lifetime because she will behave as she always has, but I feel I am in a better place because of this odd experience.


  29. Yeah, it took me a few years to get over feeling enraged and guilty and hating and all the other Big Awfuls after my dad and stepmom cut off contact with me (until I “recant / forgive”). But over time, my feelings have morphed into indifference. Yes, it would have been nice to have a good relationship, but man is my life ever smoother and less stressful without them in it!


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