from Rachel: I Just Want Everyone to Love Me

Anyone else want to join me here?

“Yep, I have belonged to the ‘just love me’ club too.”

Looks like you agreed with the author that you are conflict-avoidant, risk-averse, and easily pushed (although you preferred the term ‘manipulated,’ for all the difference it made). You did not consider yourself easily-bullied, work-yourself-into-oblivion, or a big chicken, however. And I’d say that’s more than fair.

Do you think two women could do the exact same act with different motives – one with a healthy desire to serve and the other with a pathological need to please?

“Of course.”

If so, how can we discern the difference in our own motivations?

“careful evaluation – self-examination – introspection”

Why do women struggle with wanting to be loved by everybody?

  1. “We like peace and love and feel bad if anyone is upset with us.
  2. “We don’t want to disappoint anyone or let anyone down.
  3. “We fear rejection and social loneliness.”

Would you describe yourself as having been filled with the knowledge of God’s love for you? Why or why not?

“Yes, I’m sure largely this is easier for me than for some because I grew up with parents who were so grateful to have me and so proud of me and so open about how much they loved me. I am very blessed!”

Dearest Rachel –

You know, it never crossed my mind to discuss the fact that you were such a ‘late in life’ baby to your folks, and the effect that might have on your life. It was just something that was true about you, and nothing more. It didn’t define you in terms of my own perspective (any more than the correspondent fact that you were an only child, since their success in having you was all they wanted, like Indiana Jones retrieving his hat from under the closing wall in the nick of time, you were enough for them, and they were satisfied); it just happened to be something that you were.

But the fact that your parents married so late in life (yes, Jo had been married previously, but that had nothing to do with you), and thereby made a relatively energetic and concerted effort to have you before either of their biological clocks went off and the window of opportunity closed on them in terms of having a child, really did make an impact on you. Just as how my parents made it clear to me that, by dint of being adopted, I had been ‘chosen’ by them, so too you had been deeply desired by yours as well, and they let you know about it. You weren’t unwanted our unplanned, like so many other children (even, it’s embarrassing to admit, our very own Daniel). And this may very well have given you a psychic boost of confidence that would last your entire life.

Of course, this didn’t necessarily preclude your wanting to be loved by all those other people that you would encounter later in life. We all naturally seek affirmation from people around us as we go through life. But it never occurred to me until now that your situation (like mine) would have been put you at an advantage over so many others.

And you were aware of this, and grateful for it. Guess I should be, too.

And even though more of your life was spent with me than your parents – and I’d like to think I made it abundantly clear how much I loved you as well – their influence during your formative years would have had an outsized effect on you and your developing psyche, allowing you to become the girl I fell in love with.

Interestingly enough, even as we had parents that loved us unconditionally – and made it abundantly clear to us that they did – we both turned out to be throughout our childhood that much more desirous that they be pleased with us. Between academic achievement and our walk of faith, we tried harder to please our parents than I think most kids did (or do). I wonder if there’s a connection there…

Anyway, I should thank you for your observation. For all that this series of letters was meant in part to remind myself of all that you were – and all that I loved about you – this was an aspect of your life that was fairly unusual about it, but it never crossed my mind that it was worthy of comment. And yet, in fact, it may have had a tremendous impact upon you and who you eventually turned out to be. Funny how that happens.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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