Jeremy, you're not the only one. You don't sound confusing at all. I'm still learning how to love myself. I was raised in a very disfunctional family and love was not openly expressed. I have never so much as seen my mother and father hold hands or even talk to each other nicely for that matter. They are both gone now. It has been my experience that everytime I have opened myself up to allow someone into my life I've been hurt very badly. I learned along time ago to build that wall up around me. Unfortunately in doing that I shut myself off from my own children as well. Now I see my son doing the same thing. I'm learning now, one day at a time, to open myself up again and do not place any expectations on what I will receive in return but it's hard. Losing people who you love is very hard and I've learned to medicate those feelings because they were always too hard to deal with. That fear of abandonment still stays with me but at least now I'm facing it.
Because I'm not sure what it is like to receive it, I'm not even sure how to give it. I must say though, that when I go to an AA meeting with all the new freinds I have met I do honestly feel loved there. But there, I don't worry if that feeling is real or not. It doesn't matter. It just feels good.
My hubby still says he loves me all the time but he's leaving me. Still makes no sense to me. All I know is that he has his own inventory to deal with and if he needs to leave to be healthy and happy then I love him that much that I can let him go. I hold no resentment towards him for that although it does make me very upset that the marrage is over.
My son still does not speak to me and has been very nasty to me but he has his own inventory to deal with and I love him enough to give him his space. If not having me in his life makes him happy and healthy then I love him that much that I can let go. It hurts like hell sometimes because I have a new grandson too but I hold no resentment towards him and I will always be here for him.
Anyway, I really look forward to hearing the answer you received from that elderly lady. Don't wait too long to post it
The only thing I know for sure is that love can sometimes hurt but if you close yourself off from the hurt you close yourself off from the love too.