Why we end up feeling unloved, how it relates to our past, and what we can do to break out of the loveless prison in our minds.

The following is an excerpt from my book The Love Mindset, winner of the Readers’ Favorite silver medal for best self-help book of 2013. 

I used to think other people could hurt me. I also used to think other people could save me. Alone with myself, life was unbearable. There was always an inner voice screaming at me about my ugly body, my lack of charisma, my inadequacy as a female, as a daughter, as a human being. I found a few ways to drown the voice out. Every obsessive self-modification project—such as a diet for example—consumed so much mental energy that I was distracted from my plight. Over time, however, the distraction factor would fade. In response, I’d obsess more, push harder. Thus, the diet turned into an eating disorder. I followed this same process over and over, each time hoping that my new endeavour would be my final one; yet nothing would last. Time after time, my inner critic would resurface. The longer my self-destructive voices stayed absent, the more ferocious they’d be when they returned. Over this process, I felt no control.

About my relationship with myself, I had no insight or understanding. I walked through life in fear of the tyranny inside my head. The biggest problem, however, was that I didn’t know it came from my head. I thought other people were causing me pain. In reality, they were just accidentally clicking “play” on already existing tapes inside my mind. My relationships with others became defined by their ability either to save me from my misery or to hurt me by perpetuating it. Everyone was either a prince or an attacker. I had to be the victim or the princess, the worshipped or the abandoned.

One day, the excruciating, unbearable pain of my suffering was interrupted. With my first ever lover, I found a treatment for my sorrow. His words and deeds brought me sensations I’d never felt before. He told me I was beautiful and interesting. He paid attention when I spoke, and he missed me when I was gone. At first, I was in pure ecstasy. Soon enough, I was hooked. Next to him, everything else took second place. Nothing else mattered. There was only me, him, and that feeling of cosmic connection. He was my gateway. He was my entry ticket into eternity. Around him, there was no longer any pain. There was only the pleasure of feeling completely and utterly alive, connected, and accepted. We would lie together, embracing, and I would feel our bodies merging together as my skin washed top to bottom with utter bliss.

I thought I’d never have to feel pain again. About a year into our relationship, after I’d shared with him the intimate stories of my life to date, he said to me words I have never forgotten.

“People have treated you badly in the past,” he said, stroking my hair and embracing me. “I’m going to do better. I’m going to treat you better.”

I remember thinking, right then and there, that it was the happiest moment of my life. And, for a long time, it really was. I was convinced that the darkness had been vanquished and that he had been my saviour. I thought I’d found the Prince Charming that most women could only dream about.

Soon enough, the fairy tale showed its true face. We grew up and moved in together. Real life took over. He worked long hours, and I went to school. He wasn’t home very often, and I spent many nights with myself. Without him there, I was alone with my mind—my self-loathing, judgmental mind. The thing about hating myself was that I didn’t realize I was doing it. I didn’t know that everyone else didn’t talk to themselves like I did. I didn’t even realize I was talking to myself in any particular way. All I felt was the same old misery, the same old suffering. The moments without him became pure torture and, in my mind, it was all his fault.

“You don’t love me; you told me you’d do better,” I would hiss through tears and anger.

That really stung. He’d promised to do better and, now, he wasn’t. The more I blamed him, the more he fought back. He started drinking heavily. He started spending even less time at home. When he did come, our arguments escalated into some of the most violent confrontations of my life. I left him, indignant and bitter, feeling like I deserved better, like I’d been done wrong once again.

I entered my next relationship full of horror stories about my last one. He also promised to do better. For a while, it was great, though definitely less powerful. By then, I was already somewhat guarded. This whole love thing, I thought, wasn’t what it seemed. It was a beautiful rose complete with hidden thorns. Nevertheless, I believed the promises and, for a while, the pain abated. Within just six months, it returned full force.

That same pattern continued to happen, not just in my romantic relationships but also in my hobbies, friendships, and jobs. At first, novelty would dull the pain, but soon enough, the same old darkness would return. I’d blame it on other people and circumstances, on my partner and the weather, on the time of day and the horrors of my past.

I drove myself deeper and deeper into the darkness. I did things that made it harder and harder for me to face my own reflection. Eventually, I didn’t face her at all. I lost all sense of morality and conscience. When I finally broke down, I broke down alone, having pushed everyone else away. In the gloomiest depth of my breakdown, I saw clearly who was causing all my pain, all my suffering. I saw who didn’t love me. I realized, with razor-sharp clarity, who really needed to do better. Looking into my own eyes in the mirror, I greeted myself. It was like looking at an enemy. The eyes stared back, distant and hostile.

“People have treated you badly in the past,” I whispered slowly to the girl in the mirror, “and I’m going to do better. I’m going to treat you better.”

Her eyes softened and filled with tears. My enemy turned into a friend.

Did you enjoy what you just read? Keep reading. Buy the book now on Amazon or search for The Love Mindset wherever you purchase books! 

Feeling Unloved: “You Don’t Love Me, Nobody Loves Me”

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Comments

  • August 25, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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    I really feel so many people hold onto these “unloveable” parts of themselves. It why I created my class, The Heart Unboxed: How to Love the Unloveable. I’d really love it if you checked it out!

    Reply
    • August 26, 2016 at 10:55 am
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      Yes, we all definitely do hold onto those parts, don’t we? I am glad you’ve created something helpful to the world. I wish you all the best in sharing that with others.

      Reply
  • March 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm
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    The third paragraph describes me. I still feel the pain of those who hurt me even now. For nearly 24 years of my adult life I have been alone.

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    • March 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm
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      I’m sorry you’re still in pain. I know what it’s like to hurt long after a trauma. It makes everything harder, and it makes happiness so fleeting. I can’t promise that the healing process will be quick or easy. It’s long, painful, and uncomfortable. But not healing is the same. At least, with healing, we can get something out of it. I have faith that you can begin to heal these wounds. You deserve it. <3

      Reply
    • January 19, 2019 at 6:35 pm
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      Yeah i was married to my school sweet heart. After 24 years he said he needed a younger women. That was in 2005.
      And I’m all alone. And I hate it.

      Reply
      • January 20, 2019 at 2:37 pm
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        This is your chance to get to know yourself and love yourself more than anyone else ever has. This can be the beginning of something beautiful, if you let it. <3

        Reply
  • March 28, 2018 at 4:39 pm
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    This is like the most acurate, logical and, at the same time, emotional analysis of this feeling. I couldn’t agree more, it justifies the need for people to be positive and to spread love for its intrinsic value, that of healing and keeping your own soul alive. I’ve been through some disappointments myself, but I still believe my life is going to be great and no matter the drawbacks, I am sure I will be loved, exactly the way I love others. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Reply
    • March 29, 2018 at 5:09 pm
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      Thank you for being here, Cristina. It really is hard to open up again after disappointments. The innocence we reclaim after heartbreak is nothing like the innocence we have before it. But in some ways, I think reclaimed innocence is better. It’s wiser. And most importantly, it’s earned. Closing down to love after experiences of hurt is automatic. Choosing to open up and heal: those are choices we make. There is some honour in that.

      Reply
  • April 19, 2018 at 5:17 pm
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    I don’t have friends, the ones i had in past left me alone. I have tried to make new ones but that doesn’t work. I am not that open to my parents that i share my personal feelings. No one wants to hear me out. This makes me lonely and sad.

    Reply
    • April 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm
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      I hear you. It’s hard to feel like you’re alone and that no one wants to hear you out. By the same token, these days could be the most formative of your entire life. When everyone abandoned me, I felt lonely too. Not only lonely, but angry, self-destructive, anxious. Really, I was never alone. I was always with myself, and to be honest, I wasn’t very good company. So I started working on building a better relationship with myself. Now, I can spend days alone and not feel lonely. I listen to myself. I give myself the love no one else can. I think these are hard days you are going through, but precious ones. If you can learn to feel loved alone in an empty room, you will be free. Not only will you be free from the pain of self-neglect, but you will also be free to truly love others without needing them to treat you in some specific way. That is real freedom.

      Reply
  • May 19, 2018 at 3:57 pm
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    No one will ever love me for who I am or see me for who I am ever!

    No matter how nice, friendly or positive I am, that’s still not good enough for anyone that I know,. They need me to be someone else. They go only by what they think they see, instead of what they know. But, they don’t know me because they won’t even give me the slightest chance to prove myself. I talk about positive things, but even that’s not good enough for them.

    I wish I could find someone who really wants to care about me.

    Reply
    • May 22, 2018 at 1:41 pm
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      You can find someone like that. She’s in the mirror. No one else will ever be enough until she’s enough. You have to start with yourself. We all do. Love begins within.

      Reply
  • September 27, 2018 at 3:02 am
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    Life is a piece of shit. Nobody loves me even when I get a glimpse of loving myself they have to fuck with you. For instance, my dad passed away and all my siblings could do is talk about how I was the victim. ” drunk chicken” because I’m different. Piss off in the oh gee loved yourself aspect. This crap haunts me daily

    Reply
    • September 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm
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      Yes, it’s tough to build self-love when we have to keep dealing with other people’s reactions (and our triggers around those reactions). It’s not easy. But learning how to feel grounded in yourself regardless of others’ reactions is essential. Otherwise, you will always be miserable. It’s hard to stay the same, and it’s hard to change. The difference is that, if you put in the hard work now, you can have a better life in the future. If you don’t, everything will stay the same. We can’t expect the world to change. We have to change.

      Reply
  • June 12, 2019 at 10:03 pm
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    It doesn’t make sense. I’m so sick of being alone. Everyone either leaves me behind or banishes me. In the end it’s just me and me and me. It’s nauseating not being loved back by anyone and all they way is “I can’t love you; you’ll be hurt.” It feels like the words I love you, when coming out of my mouth, are more of a curse than anything else. I just shatter over and over.

    Reply
    • September 30, 2019 at 7:44 pm
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      It hurts. It does. Wherever you are on your healing journey is okay. I feel your pain. I’ve been there. I wish you the knowledge of your strength throughout this, even when strength feels like too much. I also wanted to share this, which is much more recent than the article you commented on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN4uEVp-p1U

      Reply

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