“If love is tainted or toxic, can it truly be love?

Anonymous: If love is tainted or toxic, can it truly be love? I don’t have a great relationship with either of my parents, and I have been thinking more and more about them lately. Should I forgive them for all they have done and be open and receptive to them in my life or should I love myself for now and focus on the unconditional, non-toxic love that I can give myself?

You, my good friend, have just hit the nail on the head. Yes, you should focus on the unconditional, non-toxic love that you can give yourself but also on forgiving the past hurts and experiences inflicted upon you by your parents. And I am so happy to say that I am very proud of you.

I can tell you’ve worked through a lot of the experiences and the pain that you’ve experienced from the relationship with your parents. I know it took a lot of courage, strength, mental acumen and dexterity to look your pain and fears in the eyes, so once again, I am so very proud of you, but I am also humbled by your truth, your honesty, and your authenticity.

And no, if love or a relationship is toxic then it isn’t love. When I think of toxicity, I think of manipulation, abuse, control, dependency, all traits that are not characteristics of love. And I’m happy that you’ve recognized and realized that the relationship between yourself and your parents was not healthy. Now, my question for you is, where do you wish to go from here?

You could, of course, reach back out to your parents, but I honestly do not think that is what you truly wish to do. I think you just needed someone to tell you that your feelings and your thoughts are valid and accurate and that there is nothing wrong with loving yourself and loving yourself enough to say no to the demands others, your parents, have and may place upon you if you were to go back. So, I’m telling you, there is nothing wrong with how you feel and your choice to choose yourself and an unconditional love instead of a toxic one.

And I’m truly sorry that your relationship with your parents is strained, even non-existent, but I’m so happy that you know, for a fact, that the problem does not lie with you or within you and that sometimes, people cannot give us what we need and desire, and when that happens, we give it to ourselves.

So, my advice, focus on loving yourself and continue healing. Whatever you are doing is working, and confidence, self-love, self-respect, and self-knowledge look good on you! I wish you the best on your journey through life and kudos to you for choosing to walk away from the table and forge your own path and fill up your own love tank. Bravo! Way to go!