“If You Really Loved Me, You Wouldn’t…”

How often do you tell yourself that another’s uncaring behavior means that this person doesn’t care about you?  How often have you had the thought, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t…  Get angry, yell, curse, call names, say mean, untrue things about meProject your feelings and motives onto meWithdraw, run away, shut down, sit […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

How often do you tell yourself that another’s uncaring behavior means that this person doesn’t care about you?

 How often have you had the thought, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t… 

  • Get angry, yell, curse, call names, say mean, untrue things about me
  • Project your feelings and motives onto me
  • Withdraw, run away, shut down, sit spaced-out in front of the TV
  • Resist doing what I ask you to do
  • Look at other women or other men, have an affair
  • ____________________ (fill in your own)

I used to have this thought all the time. If someone yelled, blamed me, shut me out, didn’t see me accurately, or went into resistance, I would think, “You don’t care about me. If you cared about me, you wouldn’t treat me this way. How can you say you care about me and then treat me this way?” Sometimes I would even say this out loud. And always I would feel deep loneliness and heartache at being treated this way.

Then one day I suddenly saw all this uncaring behavior in a completely different light. I saw clearly that it had nothing to do with me! It wasn’t about me at all!

This thought totally stunned me!

It’s not that I previously didn’t understand that I shouldn’t take others’ behavior personally. I had known this for years and thought I was practicing not taking their behavior personally. But I didn’t realize that I still had the unconscious thought that if someone loved me or cared about me, they wouldn’t act that way in the first place.

Sometimes we learn something and then suddenly we learn it on a much deeper level. And when we do, we realize that we had never quite gotten it before – even though we thought we had. This was the case with this deeper understanding. In that moment, I went from understanding that others’ unloving behavior was not about me, to feeling this truth deep within me. And this deeper level of knowing shifted everything for me.

This kind of deeper awareness is a moment of Grace.

At that moment, I went from feeling like a victim of a loved ones’ uncaring behavior to just being able to observe it without taking it personally. I was able to see that it was coming from their fear and insecurity and to have compassion for whatever difficulties they were having. I saw it as a 5-year-old acting out, rather than as an adult being abusive. I became able to be compassion – if they were available to compassion – or easily walk away from this uncaring treatment, without the hurt I used to feel.

Sure, it still feels lonely when a loved one acts this way, but now it just sort of sails by me. Inside I’m peaceful, as I see the absurdity of acting like a 5-year-old trying to control – and I feel compassion, as I realize how often I’ve acted out in the same absurd way.

What a relief to no longer feel uncared about when a loved one acts out!

What a relief to know that he or she actually does really care about me – just not in the moment that they are triggered into some fear and need to control. What a relief to no longer tell myself that this person doesn’t care about me. Knowing deep inside that the other person’s behavior isn’t about me – that it’s 100% about them not dealing with their feelings in a loving way with themselves and with me – feels incredibly freeing!

Our ego wounded self loves to believe that others’ behavior is about us. I hope the next time someone is uncaring toward you, you have the moment of Grace that allows you to see below the surface, so you can experience the inner peace that comes from knowing that it’s not about you.

Margaret Paul holds a PhD in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, consultant, and artist. Heal your relationship with Margaret’s relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...



by Melissa Kiss

Chef Lucia E. Robles: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”

by Phil La Duke

Is Your Relationship a Priority?

by Stuart Fensterheim

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.