1. Mike

    There are lots of things you can do towards other people if you don’t love yourself. You can need them, you can obsess over them, you can be codependent towards them. You can depend on them or define yourself by them or stick them on a pedestal and build a life around them. You can even experience the “feeling” of love for them, just as deep and soul-rending and genuine and healthless as the unrequited crushes you develop for celebrities and fictional characters.

    Whether or not you can engage in love actively with another person, rather than just feeling one of these counterfeit versions towards them, is questionable.

  2. Mike

    What you’ve got to ask is whether the tail is wagging the dog. Love has subjects, fetishism has objects.

    Is their loving self-negation an unconscious side-effect of the degree to which they value you independently from themselves?

    Or is it their own self-negation that they’re in love with, and the value they hold in you is based on how well they can use you to service that goal?

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