Why The Fear Of Not Being Loved Appears, And How To Deal With It

Fear of not being loved.

Let’s do a little experiment. Let’s try to remember a hug, a kiss or an act or situation in which you knew that you were loved. Let’s remember the situation, the internal warmth that comes from the chest and expands to the rest of the body. If we talk about love, let’s relive the sensations that ran through every part of our being.

Now let’s imagine that this situation is not going to happen again, that no one will reciprocate your affection or even that what you experienced is nothing more than a lie. How would we feel? That’s what happens to those people who are afraid of not being loved

The need for love and affection

We all need to love and be loved. Feeling affection is a need that the human race has had since the beginning of its existence, and that is ultimately a basic survival mechanism in a gregarious species like ours. It is a need that we have had since early childhood, and it will mark the way we perceive ourselves, others and the world in general.

So that, Affection is one of the elements that helps us understand the world and our own identity, being a basic necessity. But not everyone loves us and not everyone likes us: throughout our lives we are going to be rejected, ignored or avoided by someone, just as we are not going to love everyone either.

It is something that generally does not keep us up at night, but that under certain circumstances some people sometimes extrapolate to their immediate environment and to humanity as a whole: it can awaken the fear of not being loved.

However, having on occasion the fear of not being loved or of being rejected It is not something strange depending on the situation we are experiencing. The fear of not being loved can arise in practically anyone at some point in life, but if we are faced with a constant and persistent fear over time, it becomes a problem that causes serious difficulties for the person who suffers from it.

The fear of not being loved: basic aspects

The fear of rejection or of not being loved generates, as is evident, great personal suffering. The person begins to focus on pleasing others and seeking approval from those around him, or avoids putting his fear to the test. In many cases the way of acting is even molded and adjusted to what others demand, becoming chameleon-like to please.

You may be interested:  17 Games for Two People (fun and Very Interesting)

It is common that although these people want to be loved and cherished, they unconsciously look for signs that confirm their fear, and are much more likely to attribute gestures, ways of speaking, jokes or attitudes to the dislike that they consider others to have for them. Thus, the fear of not being loved goes in most cases together with the fear of being rejected.

Another aspect that can be relatively common is that those who have a permanent fear of not being loved feel strange, out of place, as if they do not belong to any of the environments in which they find themselves. They may also feel empty and lacking in anything that makes them interesting. It is usually linked to a lack of self-esteem or self-acceptance.

Likewise, in some cases relationships with others based on the fear of not being loved stop focusing on what we like about the other person to focus on what he or she will think of us and on making these thoughts favorable to us. . In other words, the relationship stops being sincere to be a (sometimes desperate) search to be loved by someone. In short, it can go from “I want you close because I love you” to “I love you because I need you.”

How can someone act with fear of not being loved?

One of the most frequent consequences of the fear of not being loved is that the person who has it focus excessively on pleasing others Based on this need, they may assume a submissive and/or dramatic role, constantly seeking attention or doing almost everything that is asked of them or enduring humiliation in order to have someone by their side. In these cases it is even possible for the person to deny and cancel part of their way of being in order to please, assuming a different role than the one they would normally carry.

Another possible consequence of this fear is the opposite of the previous one. And, paradoxically, the fear of not being loved can also cause the person who suffers from it to end up avoid contact with others and socially isolate in order to avoid a possible rejection that clearly indicates (from your perspective) that you are not wanted.

What does it arise from?

Although people with this fear do not have to have suffered any type of problem at a vital level, the truth is that it is much more common in subjects with some specific characteristics and experiences.

You may be interested:  The 5 Keys to Assertiveness in Relationships with Friends

People with fear of not being loved usually have very low self-esteem and little self-esteem. They tend to undervalue themselves and see themselves as unimportant In most cases they are insecure and have a high sensitivity that makes them feel very intensely. Sometimes they have unrealistic expectations about themselves or the world, setting goals that are too high to achieve or hoping that their way of being will please everyone or at least those they know.

In many cases we are dealing with people who have suffered some type of abuse in childhood or throughout their development. Parenting patterns that are excessively rigid or punishing can make them feel inadequate and inferior.

The opposite extreme, overprotection by the family, can also generate this fear when they go outside and encounter an environment that protects us and treats us in the same way. And we are not just talking about family abuse: the experience of continued bullying can also be (alone or accompanied by other abuses) one of the causes or reasons that can cause someone to be afraid of not being loved and be hypersensitive to rejection.

Another common reason is the existence of abandonment: children who have been abandoned by one or both parents or who have grown up in social institutions may feel unloved by the environment and come to believe that no one or very few people can do it. It can also arise after a romantic breakup or after several romantic rejections.

Possible consequences

The persistent fear of not being loved can, as we mentioned above, have more or less severe consequences on the person’s behavior.

One of the possible problems is that they engage in behaviors that in effect lead to them not being appreciated. Excessive avoidance of contact or the continuous emission of behaviors that seek to attract attention can end up causing them to be rejected in the end or their contacts with others to be merely superficial, which in turn will enhance fear and continuation of their behaviors. An effect of self-fulfilling prophecy would thus be generated: although the person was not initially rejected, their way of acting when thinking such a thing causes them to end up being rejected.

Another problem is exhaustion: the fact of not being able to be yourself and forcing ourselves to be something we are not uses a lot of resources, which in the long run can lead to anxiety and depression problems. It can also lead to social phobia.

You may be interested:  How to Set Limits in Relationships to Create Stable Bonds

It can also lead, in extreme cases, to accepting or not reporting specific abuses. For example, in many cases of women (or men) who suffer abuse from their partners, these abuses are not reported for fear, both of the possible consequences and of being left alone without that person (something that many aggressors do, on the other hand). (as they tend to empower by distancing the victim from their close environment). Or even if there is no direct abuse, it can also occur in the academic or work environment or even at the level of family and friends, enduring abusive treatment and degrading conditions or simply not acting as they are to be liked.

If fear occurs permanently and is established in early periods of life, it can cause problems in acquiring an integrated identity, or even cause the emergence of personality disorders. Two of the most typical examples are dependent personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, although other problems such as narcissism can arise among other elements of this fear.

Can it be changed?

People who suffer from the fear of not being loved (understood as something permanent and not as something specific that, we repeat, can happen to almost anyone) usually also fear that this situation will perpetuate and never change.

However, the truth is that this fear can be treated. Training in social skills and assertiveness It can be useful for this, as well as the cognitive restructuring of beliefs (about themselves and others) and dysfunctional expectations. You can work on the fact that personal relationships do not depend only on the subject and his or her behavior but also on the other party, as well as trying to generate alternative interpretations of what the subject considers evidence that he or she is not loved.

It is also useful to show that rejection is something that we all experience at some point, and to relativize the importance of this fact. It can even be useful to put ourselves in the worst scenario and catastrophize that someone doesn’t love us.

The practice of role-playing and expressive therapies can allow the patient to express the suffering that this fear causes them. The use of behavioral treatments is also very useful (although the latter can be difficult for the patient to assume). Finally, Group therapy can be a useful and effective mechanism to help the patient improve their situation by socially facing fear.