What can you do when love is not returned?

When a client turned up unexpectedly yesterday we ended up with the tables turned!  I was expecting my teenage daughter home who had spent the day fuelling her fire of hate  for me for 'ruining her life' and the poor client ended up listening to my tales rather than vice versa.

This morning however, up popped an email with something that I needed to see - funny that!

"In the beginning, the price of giving great love, is running the risk it won't be returned"

Hmm!  This echoed the conversation of yesterday evening where I was trying to explain to said teenager that the rules we put in place were to keep her safe because we loved her - the response being, "Well it doesn't feel like you love me!"

Sometimes we do things with very positive intentions and get floored when the desired outcome falls way short.  We then question if we did the right thing, or indeed, if we are good enough.

Taking my parent head off and putting my therapy one on, the answer is that if you do something to the best of your ability then it is good enough.  Yes, you can continue to learn, you can make changes, but doing your best is the best you can do.  On top of that, if the motivation comes from a place of love then you are already flying high.

We can't control other people's reactions, we can only control our own.  If you don't get the response you wish, you can change your strategy but it may just be that the person you are interacting with is not ready or perhaps even able to react in the way you wish.  So just love them and be patient!

And this is how that post I saw ended....."In the beginning, the price of giving great love, is running the risk it won't be returned.  In the end however, great love is always returned!"

My teenager is not ready to accept the rules being placed on her.  She has not got the skills yet to know when is the time to stop fighting.  I am doing the best I can as a parent and will continue to learn how to get the best out of a teenager.  And in the meantime, I will continue to love and know that in the end, (and even now in her own way) it will be returned!


Caroline Cavanagh is author of anxiety alchemy, and a national award winner: APCTC Consultant of the year

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