Loving The Mirror

Let’s talk about love for a moment.

Content warning; I’m going to mention some bad people, bad actions and some church stuff.

There are a lot of bad people out there with bad ideas and bad ideology who claim to some extent they have a motivation derived from love. Ku Klux Klan people talk about their love of their race, reactionaries ‘love America,’ abusive parents love their children, etcetera.

What do they mean by love, though?

Are they lying?

Do they not REALLY love the thing they’re hurting?

It’s a question of what love means to the people saying it. It’s a contention between altruistic love and narcissistic love. With altruistic love, it is a love for the other for what they are; with narcissitic love, it’s a love for the other for what they reflect of you.

This is the root of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’ That idea is trying to square the circle of loving a gay person for the ways they do reflect what you want, the way they can be you, while discarding their not-you-ness.

Anyone who’s dealt with their own or someone else’s abusive parents will almost always be able to point out that this narcisstic love is at the very least emotionally unfulfilling and in all likelihood outright abusive. It’s the justification for and the base of a lot of abuse. The problem is someone is doing their best to elide the parts of you that don’t fit their narcissism, which means the act of being and being visible as what you are, being obviously of the things that separate you from this image of love, is seen as an act of violence.

Pedestalling people, manipulating their control over their own space, trying to force them to change, rejecting their choices and changes, these are all things that can be done out of this self-love, which ties it strongly to this selfishness. It’s the same basic problem as ‘I don’t mind what they do in the privacy of their own home,’ because that feigns acceptance, but it’s acceptance with a threat: as long as you do not make me notice your difference, you are as good as not-different.

There are a lot of LGBT folk who will tell you their family life ‘was okay’ until they came out to their parents and suddenly the shit hit the fan. This is because you make it harder for this selfish love to work, harder for the parent to recognise themselves in the other.

The thing is, those people weren’t actually okay – they were sad and repressed and invisibled, but that didn’t matter to the family because as long as the family reflected themselves, that sadness was tolerable. To break the mirror, to be yourself, was far more unacceptable. And thus you see with black people protesting injustice, the protest is seen as violence, because it breaks the mirror.

This is because most of these mindsets are fundamentally about strength. These mindsets are about how things now are good and do not need to change, about how these ingroups are powerful or good or whole and the other is bad and a threat to it from all sides.

Am I comparing the Ku Klux Klan with its antisemitic conspiracy theories and racism to the American Christian church? Yes. Not just because a lot of the former belong to the latter, though, because their mindset about what love means is the same. It’s strength.

And thus, you have to ask yourself:

Do you love something because it reflects you, and makes you feel stronger? Or do you love something because you can see how it is vulnerable, and you do not want it to suffer?

That’s a very rough fundamental example of the mindsets.

Try to love people kindly.

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