Lack of Childhood Affection

Psychology-related discussions or questions that don't fit neatly into any other forum.

Postby pb21 » Wed May 12, 2010 2:22 pm

There is a lot of work that suggests how neglectful, emotionally ambivalent and emotionally distant parenting styles, particularly early on in life, have a negative effect on that person for the rest of their lives.

Problems arise that many of the people that post here experience, depression & anxiety etc.

So if this is the case how do we overcome a lack of love from our childhoods? What if we weren't loved 'enough', or at all and therefore devolved in a way that meant we are more prone to certain debilitating conditions, is there any hope?

I am thinking about this as I have suffered badly in the past with anxiety/OCD and depression. I have been in therapy for almost two years now and remember the first meeting saying I never felt loved growing up. I said it again last night, I was never shown affection, rather I felt a nuisance.

I have always had a burning desire for intimacy.
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Postby AlexcekScytheclaw » Thu May 13, 2010 5:58 am

Wish my brother were here for his insight, because he would know this better than me, from personal experience. From what I've gathered of him, at some point he managed to realize the connection we (my other brother and I) felt for him, and it seems to have allowed him to feel that affection and know some people care about him. I would guess its the matter of wanting to know you matter to someone in this universe other than just yourself.
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Postby Captain_Stan » Thu May 13, 2010 1:41 pm

pb21 wrote: how do we overcome a lack of love from our childhoods? What if we weren't loved 'enough', or at all and therefore devolved in a way that meant we are more prone to certain debilitating conditions, is there any hope? I am thinking about this as I have suffered badly in the past with anxiety/OCD and depression.
Of course there is hope. I have experienced much recovery from a lack of parental love, but I must clarify that my situation was different than yours. Rather than neglect me, my parents very actively taught me that I was unlovable and that I was the cause of their unhappiness. Rather than depression, this resulted in fear and anger. Emotional abuse is not the same as neglect, although the emotional needs of such victims are indeed neglected. Sometimes I think it might have been harder if I had been simply neglected; at least my parents were involved with me, if in an abusive way.

I share you tendency towards anxiety and OCD, but not depression, so I can't comment on the latter. My greatest benefit has come from learning that I am not a totally unlovable person--neither are you, nor is anyone else--and recognizing how I needed to change myself in such a way as to make it easier for others to love me. In doing so, I am learning a greater capacity to love myself and others. Self-love was a great breakthrough for me and maybe an issue with which you still struggle.
I have been in therapy for almost two years now and remember the first meeting saying I never felt loved growing up. I said it again last night, I was never shown affection, rather I felt a nuisance.

I have always had a burning desire for intimacy.
I spent a great part of my young adulthood not realizing the harm done by my parents; I thought I had a normal childhood! By contrast, you already have the advantage of that understanding. Two years is a long time to spend with a therapist without feeling some sense of recovery during that time. Maybe it's time to look for a new therapist. I found self-help books and social connections with supportive people to be my greatest assets. Depression cannot always be completely treated by counseling, so you may want to seek medical treatment.
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Postby studentofthegame » Thu May 13, 2010 7:02 pm

three resources iv used and would recommend, 2 books, 1 audio cd.

bradshaw on the family (john bradshaw)
homecoming (john bradshaw)
forgiveness / loving the inner child cd (louise hay)
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