Police were called to an apartment somewhere in the metro Portland area. Neighbors had noticed a smell. In the apartment they found a baby, maybe two years old, wearing a disposable diaper packed with waste. Bowls of milk and stale peanut butter sandwiches were on the floor.
The mother, it seems, was afraid her new boyfriend would leave her if he found out she had a child. So she didn't tell him and when they went away for a weekend or a week, she would put out bowls of milk and plates of sandwiches. And put on a clean diaper.
She was indignant that she was charged with child neglect, even more indignant at people who said she didn't love her baby. As near as I can remember she said, "Of course I love my baby. Anyone who has seen us together will see that!"
I'm going to make a value judgment here: Immature people confuse their feelings with the world. And feel that the feelings are more important than the physical world. You feel a swelling chest and your throat gets dry when you see your main squeeze. Must be true love, so it's okay if you slap her around occasionally. Bullshit.
Feeling good doesn't make an action good. People who feel pretty damn good about themselves (anti-social and narcissistic personality disorders, for example) leave trails of broken hearts or broken bodies behind them.
It hit me hard in New York City. Everyone I talked to loved the The City. They gushed about it. They told me all the ways it was wonderful.
Not once did I see a single person, except for me, pick up some trash. It may be wonderful, but it was filthy, with people throwing bales of advertising leaflets to the wind and puking in the streets. A lot of people expressing love, no one showing simple caring. Is it really love if it never involves lifting a finger to help? Or is it the natural self-centerdness of people who can feel their emotions and decide the feeling is enough. "I feel love, so I don't need to express it."
Thoughts tangle here-- people who have never volunteered to help in a major disaster but need therapy for that disaster, even though they weren't there and knew no one who was. People who express a rage about a group or political party, but they express a rage about the other's rage that they only imagine, sublimely showing that they are, at a very deep level, what they claim the other to be. Is it their righteousness that makes their animosity and bigotry acceptable in their own minds? Or do they simply not see it? People who want to be loved and appreciated and feel oppressed when asked what they have ever done that is worthy of appreciation...
Dark thoughts, perhaps.
Self esteem, self love, increases violence in people who are already violent. Of course, the counter argument is that high self-esteem that increases violence isn't self-esteem at all but narcissism. Tomayto, tomahto.