The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference

“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” 
– Elie Wiesel

I was on a call with my therapist, speaking about when a life situation had affected me in a not-so-good manner, and I wanted to process it with patience, instead of simply “moving on”.

During the call, she asked me a question, “What part of this life situation hurt you the most?”

It did not take me a fraction of second to respond: Indifference.

Here is how I elaborated it:

It would have been okay for things to not work out.
It would have been fine for me to be a failure to them.
It would have been absolutely okay for them to decide to not to have me anymore (PS: my words make it look like a romantic relationship but it wasn’t (fortunately), but this is just me reflecting on any other relationship equally, because I was invested in it.)

However, the fact that me being away from that relationship did not make a difference to them (at least apparently) is what made things a lot difficult for me to cope with.

We started off well.
We were each other’s back.
However, off-late, everything wrong that happened to them was my fault. Which made me quite fearful. And anxious. And waiting for their positive affirmation in any way. And blame myself for anything and everything that did not work out. And they knew of it. So they continued the cycle. Even subconsciously. Perhaps subconsciously. 

“We show people how to treat us,” says Oprah. So in a way I showed them how to treat me. That it’s okay to blame me for everything that is not working out. 

Now, to go to root causes, think of it like I am to be blamed for global warming because I have driven a car that runs on petrol as a fuel for thousands of kilometres and I have travelled in airplanes and I have used plastic products. However, if I work with Modi ji directly and he is to address global warming and I am Modi ji’s favourite and vice versa and yet Modi ji blames me for global warming, it is going to solve anything but the issue of global warming. It is only going to create a lack of warmth between me and Modi ji. 

But it is Modi ji. I cannot call out to him directly. Or indirectly. So I try to adjust. And adjust more. 

Until one day, Modi ji disowns me completely. Because remember, global warming is my problem.  

I am taken aback is an understatement.
I am shattered.
I simply cannot fathom the fact that Modi ji thinks global warming is my problem.
And now Modi ji is okay bringing in another mate who will solve the problem of global warming. Even if their road miles and air miles and plastic piles are way more than mine 🙂

Truth be told, global warming is not my problem. Modi ji’s indifference is. The fact that Modi ji forgot that I would never be a part of the problem but he couldn’t see is my problem. 

Which is what is difficult to deal with. Modi ji’s indifference. 

Coming back to the question that my therapist asked after my thesis of indifference: 

“What was it about indifference that hurt you the most? Is it some memory associated with it?”

It was this question of hers, that triggered a childhood memory:

In 6th standard, I had a best friend. She was my first “best friend” that I could recollect. We were a Venn diagram – strongly opposite in most aspects of life, and equally compatible in love for each other. 

Then one day, she all of a sudden changes her best friend to Poonam (name changed, for obvious reasons).

She eats her lunch with Poonam.
She sits with Poonam.
She goes to games period with Poonam.
All this while, she is indifferent to me.
She does not treat me badly, though. 

Rather, she does not acknowledge my presence at all.

And I am left alone. And friendless. And not mature to understand it back then, but can see it clearly now: Taken aback by indifference. 

My therapist asks me: “How did you deal with that indifference back then?”

I grow stronger.
I surround myself with other friends.
I do not make them my best friends. Because my intent is not to take a revenge of something to her. I still (probably) love her.
But I do not express anything to her. 
I am indifferent now.
Her presence or absence literally means nothing to me.
I create walls around myself. 
I sit with other new friends.
I form bonds with new friends, who were there all this while, however, I thought I wouldn’t need any other friend than her.

However, one thing I remember clearly is that I did not make best friends anymore, after that. 

If I recollect any good friend that I have made after that instance, it is only one – Chinar. 
I have not made any other friends. 


Oh no. 

Because I created so many walls around myself because of Poonam being seen and me not being seen, that I disallowed (forgive the CA terminology, your girl is one, humblebrag ends :D). 

As we reflected later in the session, it is so important to deal with something that was a trauma or a shocking experience to you.

It does not matter if it was a big thing for someone else or not, if it was big for you, it needs to be healed, in order for that big thing to not make bigger (and worse) differences to your life. 

We haven’t yet uncovered “how” to deal with it, however, the fact that it was an inner battle that kept me from making friends all this while, was so important. 

In order to fight your battles, you must begin with knowing your battles.