You see, for me, "defense" and "love" go hand-in-hand, one can not exist without the other. When you love something or someone, you practice basic defense techniques when verifiable harm comes their way. But, if that's true, you might ask, why are there people out there who would jump to defend someone else's child from some perceived threat? I can't speak for everyone. But for me, I do have a genuine love for all children, and an even broader love for the rights of all humans. So in defending a child that is not mine, love is still present, it's just a different kind of love than what I feel for my own children. But the instinct is still there to protect those who are being attacked or threatened. I feel that it is my job, my duty, my responsibility to defend the innocent from harm when it is within the realm of possibility.
A narc reading the above statements would, no doubt, turn around and say, "Well, I love my son/friend and therefore I am trying to defend him from his evil, manipulative, cowardly, heinous, ugly, stupid, crazy, [on and on ad nauseum] bitch of a wife." Let's be clear that this is not the type of defending I am referring to. When my husband says he is happy with his choices, he loves his wife, and that people need to put an end to their viscous attacks "in the name of love" then he is calling a cease-fire on those behaviors because they are no longer legitimate defense techniques. I am well aware that people like NMIL and EFIL, OG1 and Exhibit A are all acting under the notion that they are "rescuing DH" from my "evil grasp." The problem is that he asked them not to, and they are choosing to ignore his request because they have some lingering sense of entitlement. That means they are not defending him, they are attacking him and his choices. They are attacking me. They are continuing to claim "ownership" of a person who never should have been objectified in the first place. The following is an example of "bad defense" where NMIL was attempting to defend her Self by pitting one child against the other, demonizing me, and objectifying DH. In an email to DH prior to the birth of our DD, she wrote:
I think SIL feels left out a little – you know it hard to lose a brother when he becomes a man and not a big toy.
At what point was DH ever a "big toy?" And why, pray tell, is SIL supposed to feel included in the birth of our child or our marriage? Furthermore, when does a brother getting married and having a baby mean that he has been "lost?" Again, NMIL is a woman who claims her actions are a direct result of her "pure" intention to "protect" and "help" her son. In reality, she's just protecting herself from whatever threat she has perceived on her person. The threat she sees is, of course, me.
So the above is NOT the kind of defense I am talking about - when a person perceives that their own Self is under attack. Acting in the name of love for another human being in order to protect yourself from some perceived threat is not really loving, it's selfish. Instead, I am referring to the kind of defense that occurs when you take the hit so that your loved one does not. True defense starts with an instantly alert, almost panicked feeling that springs up when you see genuine harm making it's way toward your loved one. I'm not talking about forcing your kids to wear gloves outside because you are afraid they'll pick up germs and catch a cold. I'm talking about the split-second decision to stick YOUR arm in the way of the door to prevent it from slamming on a child's arm.
Defense sometimes starts with words, but it must always end with action. I know this concept must be a really hard one for ACoNs to understand, because you have been trained to take and take and take and never defend. When you have trouble defending yourself, it must be an even more difficult of an undertaking to protect someone else. But when we get down to the wire, really loving someone means that you are willing to put yourself in the direct line of fire to protect that someone from being hurt. True defense happens when you accept your own pain and suffering, when you rise against your own fears, and when you acknowledge that you may be hurt in the process. When you are ready to take the bullet, then you are practicing true defense and are showing your love to the fullest extent.
OG1 opened up her conniving criticism at DH by claiming to "really care" about him. I saw no caring in her words. Instead, I saw a person who felt some threat to her Self, and sought to lash out at the husband of the offending party. I saw a person who never once asked how DH felt about the situation or acknowledged his request that she talk to me instead of attack him. I saw a person who believed an explanation was owed to her because she feels ownership of DH for having known him longer than me.
It seems that DH was surrounded by people who revoked their love when he defended himself, and so he just learned how not to. But I have this to say: he is unlearning those unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors and teaching himself what it means to "defend." He has found that love and defense go hand in hand, because it's what I have been showing him all along. Love trumps hate, every time folks. You can't force us to drink your Haterade. DH may have struggled with putting up his shields and going on the offensive in the past but not anymore. I know that DH loves me. And with love, defense is not far behind.