Topic: Do you love your own children

English Alexithymia Forum > Questions and Answers

Do you love your own children
24.08.2020 by JulieDegraw

i don't have kids and I've always from a very early age know that i wouldn't want to. Ppl around me always told me that i would for sure change my mind as i grew up. They were of course wrong.

My question is. Do you love your own children ?

26.08.2020 by User67701E37

lt may be difficult to believe but l love them. l love them very deeply. there is sometimes an ambivalance about being dependent to them and love freely them. When l had my children, l didn't know what Alexi was. But, l realised that Being a mother was the hardest thing under these circumtances. Now, they have been learning how important is to express their feelings. l am grateful to God because of this gift. Otherwise, l wouldn't have known the real love. Thank you for this beautiful question. lt reminded me what love was. God bless you.

30.08.2020 by JulieDegraw

Thank you for your answer :)

08.09.2020 by Alexej

To me this raises the question of what is love and how is it expressed.

I may love my children but be dreadful at expressing it. They may not feel that I love them at all, but that is surely the difference between having an attitude of love and expressing it. They would turn round and say that love unexpressed is not love - which seems perfectly understandable to me.

As a person with alexi I think they have missed out because of my alexi

16.10.2020 by elained

I wanted a child (married two years) because it was the thing to do, and I was curious and probably driven by biological impulses? I knew nothing about babies, had zero experience.

I was dazed and amazed at how strongly I bonded to my children, and how fascinating I found them. I loved them, in my fashion. I was a cuddly mother! And I am not a cuddly person in general. But my children broke my barriers.

I observed their emotions and tried to be the best possible mother. But my strength was in teaching them about the world and teaching them to think logically. When they were teenagers I found it easy to 'let them go' and accept that they were separate from me. Amazingly I wasn't controlling at all.

Now one child has lived in Europe for 35 years. I have never 'missed him' in the way other people seem to do. I know where he is, I know he is safe, well, and 'happy', and recently we began to meet weekly on Zoom and our younger son joins us, as well.

In Myers-Briggs I am a Thinking person, but all three of the men in my family are Feeling people. I know they think I'm cold and insensitive to some extent. But there isn't anything I can do about that.

Even when I 'understand' other people's emotions, that still isn't the same as "feeling' other people's emotions.

I honestly do not understand people who are highly emotional. It seems senseless to me, and even destructive some how. I also don't understand how anyone makes decisions based on emotion. Sigh.

19.10.2020 by Alexej

Thank you @Elained for your reply.

I can relate to the aspect of letting go and being at peace knowing they are well. Also being at peace with that and not needing that frequent contact jives with me.

11.02.2022 by Barb-User

I love my kids and grandkids passionately. My greatest fear is that they don't understand how much because I don't know how to interact with them. I have never been able to figure out chit chat so I get joy from having them around me. I can be reading in the same room as them or listen to them laugh and talk to each other and be so happy to be together. I just don't want them to think I don't care because I can't interact well.

26.04.2024 by MariErizo

I’d love to say I love my daughter, and maybe I do, but in fact I genuinely don’t know whether I love her or not. I want the best for her, and wish her no ill, and would never hurt her or allow anyone else to hurt her, and I look after her to the best of my ability. At the same time, I don’t miss her when she’s at school (I don’t miss anyone ever), or when I’m at work or when she’s having a sleepover at someone’s house. We didn’t bond when she was a baby, and I know she doesn’t like me, so I let my partner do all the fun stuff with her and I do all the responsible, necessary stuff with her. I don’t enjoy being a mother. I don’t understand people who say they do. I want her to be safe, happy, healthy and fulfilled, but I don’t really understand what else is required of me to be able to fulfil the criteria that would definitively enable me to say that I actually love her, but I get the impression that something else IS required.

29.04.2024 by Alexej

As I read your post I think that you are looking for a feeling of love, but for folk with alexithymia love is often shown in ways that do not fit the conventional model ..

Here is an article that might be of interest.

Horses Live to Run

Since the days of Job and the psalmists, people have been asking, “What are human beings?” I once had my own easy answer to this question—something like this description by Martha Beck: To me, being human was “the part of us that makes our brief, improbable little lives worth living: the ability to reach through our own isolation and find strength, and comfort, and warmth for and in each other. This is what human beings do. This is what we live for, the way horses live to run.” The capacity for relationship was, I thought, the most valuable aspect of human experience, and how we reflect the image of God.

Bob and Christine GuthMy Asperger family led me to throw out all such assumptions and start over. After both our children were diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (a condition on the autism spectrum), my husband Bob also claimed the diagnosis. Surrounded by people on the autism spectrum, I began to wonder how God’s good creation could include people with brain differences that limit ability to form relationships. What could it mean to be human when some folks cannot relate in ways that meet our expectations? I concluded in frustration that the people I love with all my heart are a completely different kind of human being, incomprehensibly Other.
Family life was often chaotic, especially during the kids’ teen years. I felt pulled apart as sole peacemaker between three people who seemed constantly in conflict and hard-wired for inability to take another’s perspective. The resulting volatile atmosphere repeatedly activated my vulnerability to depression.
Two aspects of the faith community embodied God’s love to me during those tough years and inspire my ministry in the present. My studies and the faculty at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary helped me to wrestle productively with searching theological questions raised by my daily encounter with disabilities. And a few members at Eighth Street Mennonite gave tangible emotional support for getting through many a tumultuous episode. Depression made it hard for me to reach out for support when I needed it, so a friend coordinated a support team for me. She made sure one of the team invited me to an evening out once a week. The team was available for regular email support and carried our family in prayer. This arrangement brought the presence of Christ to me in a way that was sustainable for the long haul and enabled me to share that presence with my family, however imperfectly.
Long before we had a name for it, Asperger differences were already coloring Bob’s and my relationship. During our courtship, Bob and I had caused a pastoral counselor to wonder at his lack of being “in love” and to worry about our future together. For decades to follow, including the trying years I described above, I wondered too. Where was the love in this strange relationship? Now, after twenty-eight years of married life, I know that love is here, too. Though his love for me has pulverized my preconceived notions and stereotypes of love, who am I to say it does not qualify as love? Bob’s version of love is marked by dogged commitment, persistence through agonizing struggles, willingness to give and take, enjoyment of companionship, and other treasured aspects of shared living.
Folks with Asperger’s thrive with predictability, so their love may shine in predictable routines. Bob’s commitment to spending the last half hour of every evening with me, reviewing the day’s ups and downs, has, in its very reliability, breathed new life into our marriage. Likewise, I have learned that Bob values when I express my love for him predictably. When I make sure the refrigerator always holds the items he invariably carries in his lunch, he feels my care. Who says you need roses for romance? Bob finds it—and I gladly provide it each day—in romaine lettuce, unsweetened yogurt, whole wheat bread with apricot jam, and golden delicious apples.

29.04.2024 by Alexej

I have had to come to terms with an absence of heartwarming moments in my marriage that match media images of being in love, but I have learned to appreciate other qualities: Bob’s rock solid commitment, unswerving integrity, and shared faith convictions and intellectual interests. I have had to give up expectations that Bob will intuitively know my needs before I can voice them. Yet as I have come to recognize and tell him what I need, Bob surprises me with how far he is willing to go to support me.
The closeness of shared emotion does emerge, albeit idiosyncratically. When I least expect it, I might catch the thrill Bob feels over weather, trains, birds, numbers, or another passionate interest. It means a lot to both of us when I can share his enthusiasm for a moment. When he calls me in to watch the news with him, we often share a tender moment as he weeps over the pain of some public figure.
What is it that people live to do, the way horses live to run? My family members on the autism spectrum show me that we dare not limit our definition of humanity to a single trait. Human beings live to share emotional closeness, yes. We also live for the thrill of learning, the comfort of daily routine, the pleasure of intellectual challenge, the joy of creating functional items and works of art, the satisfaction of analyzing and understanding systems, the pursuit of passionate interests, and more. The diversity that folks on the spectrum bring to the human race explodes our narrow “universal” pronouncements.
The richness of God’s image is greater than we understand, far greater than we imagine. These phenomenal people who think and act and love in such different ways than I do are still part of the humanity that God created, without exception, in God’s image. Our faith communities benefit when we create room for their gifts. Our world is a richer place because they share it with us.
* * *

Christine Guth is a writer and speaker for Anabaptist Disabilities Network.She provides leadership for an Asperger-Autism support group in Goshen, Indiana, and for a group working to establish a certified clubhouse in Elkhart County for people with serious mental illness. She and her husband are parents of two young adults.

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