Nobody should have to say this to anybody:

I wonder if I can explain this to you so it makes any sense — practice for when it is time to write this into the book —

If you think I am continually in need of affirmations from you that you care for me, etc. you are absolutely correct.  But you are not alone.

My children and everyone who loves me are in the same boat and know and accept and understand why this is so, and love me anyway.

True fact:  Not only was I severely abused for my 1st 18 years — nobody loved me.  So how could I learn to trust any such thing existed?

I didn’t and I really can’t.  I try but that is not the same thing as knowing.  (Like the difference between trying to lift your foot off the floor versus doing it.)

I know I love those I love ’cause I can feel it.  But it is nearly impossible for me to feel what it feels like to be loved by others.

Personally I can’t imagine a greater loss in life than to miss what being loved feels like except to also miss what it feels like to love someone else.  I have this part — just not the other part.

18 years in a virtual concentration camp of intense hatred toward me did this.

Not to whine about this — simply stating a fact.

I am almost 60 and this hasn’t changed yet so probably won’t.  Others hold out to me the gift of their love and affection of me and I am unable to accept it — so they have to continually let me know they mean it.

Weird?  Yes.



  1. Yes, I can relate to the “never been loved” feeling. I experience exactly the same thing, also with a similar background of abuse in infancy and childhood.

    The one time I asked my mother if she loved me (we were having a very dramatic argument), she went silent for several minutes, then asked if I wanted to live with her sister. I was 16 years old or so.

    Her last words to me were, “You never were the little girl I wanted you to be.”

    What’s it like to be loved? I have no idea, and probably never will. I’ve never had a love relationship that made me feel that way.

    There’s something to be said for the freedom not having a relationship gives me, but I’d like to experience the “I’m loved” feeling just once before I die. At age 52 with all kinds of disabilities, it’s not looking likely.

    It’s the luck of the draw, I guess. I got that mother, and never met a man (or woman, for that matter) who could help me overcome my childhood obstacles. Acceptance is the key to all my problems today, but it still sucks.

    Wishing the best for you, alchemynow, and for all of us who are in the same boat. {{{*hugs*}}}

    • Love the {{{*hugs*}}} and thanks!!

      I was thinking before I wrote this post today about this image but thought a bit tacky (!!), like when a toilet float doesn’t work and the water is continually running down the drain. That’s the way I have ALWAYS felt in intimate relationships. I have loved men, for sure, and in love with one now but not a ‘go’ on a real relationship — but I am like a person blind from birth who has never seen colors and so badly wants to — a need/want/desire that cannot be filled can be a harmful thing!

      but have learned a lot, like I can’t plug that black hole the not able to feel loved creates. I have three fantastic children, siblings, friends who I intellectually KNOW love me LOTS — but I cannot FEEL it. And I know it is physiological from earliest times during brain-body building

      and no love, lots of hate, LOTS of lies and denial — don’t think I would be here tho if didn’t have a 13-month-older adoring brother when I was born (he’s still my brother!) — he loved me — and a grandmother who loved me but whom my mother kept away from me to the point of moving from Los Angeles to Alaska to keep my grandma away from me

      all very strange, very sad — just needed to write about this today and more than anything it helps ME to hear from folks like you who do not question what I am saying because you know EXACTLY what I mean

      It is ABSOLUTELY what an infant experiences with its mother and other earliest caregivers before the age of ONE YEAR OLD that put this brain-body wiring in place!! I can NEVER emphasize enough how critical that first year of development is!! Those of us who suffered long term neglect and abuse must go back to this first critical year of our development to look for the root cause of all the later and long term difficulties we survivors face.

      Then that SECOND year is also critical, but all that development is based on that first year’s foundation.

      I am getting to the point in my book writing where I will be encountering the ‘episode’ in this story (read down a little at this link for the story)


      this level of abuse, tho extremely painful on every level, is NOT what harmed me most. My book is going to make this point clearly. It is what happened to me birth to one and then to age two that has caused the disabilities and difficulties I live with.


      I know now that an intimate relationship is out of the question for me — and I don’t mind so much now at 60 — tho still is sad. There’s too much water over the proverbial dam and under the proverbial bridge. The part of me that cannot feel love would create a hemorrhage of need in such a relationship that NOBODY could stop. Don’t go there is what I now tell myself, and mean it.

      sending you all the best! And thanks so much for your comment!!!! Linda – alchemynow

      • I’ve been in love, certainly; very deep, meaningful love. Sometimes it’s been one-sided, and I’ve been okay with that — I “suffered in silence” for ten years, once (turns out it was a good thing that relationship never got off the ground, whew.) I’ve come to know myself well enough that I am most comfortable with unrequited love, or if the guy loves me, I’m okay as long as he doesn’t love me *too much*. I’ve kicked guys out of my life for professing undying love, because I think they must be delusional. Yes, I know, that’s pretty screwed up, but I just don’t trust anyone when they say, “I love you more than I love myself.” Pffft, right, sure. He’s just saying that; he *must* have some kind of agenda going on. Either he’s being manipulative or he’s just plain crazy. Maybe a couple of times I’ve been right; a couple of times, maybe not…

        I don’t think I’m capable of intimacy, of recognizing it or experiencing it. If someone really, truly loves me, I can’t recognize it for what it is. That’s a pretty fundamental disability, as far as I’m concerned, and one that I wish I could conquer. Not this lifetime, I don’t think. I just don’t think I’m capable of changing my hardwiring to accommodate it. I’ve tried, Lord knows I’ve tried.

        We’ll just muddle through, eh? It’s a good thing there is more to life than being loved: we can give love to others (who CAN feel it, thankfully,) and we can make ourselves useful in other ways.

        Thanks for the good wishes, and the same back atcha!

        • Nicely put — if I can use ‘nice’ in the same context as what we are talking about!! Have to have a sense of humor — and Lord knows I have no idea how I got one of those — put I DO have a sense of humor. My childhood somehow did not rob me of THAT human ability — a most precious one!

          I was just thinking how easy it is for the 50% (or greater) of our population who came out of their earliest months of life with some form of an insecure attachment disorder to line ourselves up with someone ALSO in that ‘group’. Well – that is NOT likely to lead to our full-steam-ahead healing!!!!


          This is sad but still wonderful: Unfortunately I got pregnant (unmarried) at 18 shortly after I left home. I was SO wounded and had NO CLUE! I did not give my firstborn what she needed — and I suffer from that knowledge as she does.


          Five years later when my second was born I was married (lasted 10 years, good but not good for me!?!) — anyway, I was older and more stable though still completely unaware of the whole mess I had come out of.

          One day when she was about a week old I had nursed her and was standing up and walking-waltzing around the room as mothers are wont to do sometimes when they are burping their little one. After she burped and as I was holding my newborn fully against my front, my chest with both of my arms wrapped around her tightly — I had a feeling that I had NEVER experienced before!!

          At that instant I felt like a ‘coating’ that had been over my entire body all of my life dissolved. I could almost HEAR this ‘covering’ crackle and fall away from my entire body as it shattered into billions of pieces.

          At that instant I was able to experience an expanded sense of freedom I had never felt before, a freedom that came as I FELT my love for this tiny little baby flow out of every cell in my body as it ENVELOPED HER.

          It’s like I suddenly expanded. I got BIGGER. And as I became that expanded SELF — free of the confines that had always wrapped around me like a shell head-to-toe — I became at that moment able for the first time to feel, truly feel, love for another human being.

          In this instant and for the first time as a human being I was NOT all alone. I was with this infant and she was with me. We SHARED a universe that existed because I could love her.

          I can conjecture until the proverbial cows come home about which of my resiliency factors were able to save ME — and hence my children — that allow me the ability to FEEL and to GIVE love to others. Partly because my baby brother loved me when I was born. Partly because I had at least a few very brief encounters with my father during at least my first two months of life as he held me and loved me before Mother could intervene to prevent this — partly because the same thing must have happened with my grandmother during the very first weeks of my life —

          Humans can and do make the absolute most amazing GOOD USE out of the tiniest FOOD of safe and secure attachments they receive.

          In my case I had a pet rabbit I loved deeply (ended in a sad story at the time but my LOVE for him exercised my LOVE neurons!!).

          I was gifted with being taken from Los Angeles to Alaska right before my 6th birthday. Then I was gifted with being brought to our Alaskan mountainside homestead where I formed a bond with nature that WAS love and still IS love.

          I was allowed if not encouraged to do art. That helped save me. I was encouraged to value education, learning, reading. That saved me. I was encouraged in my love for flowers, and that saved me. I had from birth an innate attraction to BEAUTY and found it all over the place and THAT saved me.

          All of these things exercised the hardwiring capacity in my growing body-brain to FEEL love. But it was not until that day with my newborn that I EVER was able to feel it for another human being — and at that instant I achieved a new level of humanity for myself.

          BUT – being able to feel loved my own self? Nadda.

          That experience? Is that love the wind has for me when it surrounds my body and passes by? Is that love the air has that lets me breath it, that a flower or a butterfly or a sunset has that lets me see it and appreciate it? Is that love for me the earth feels as I am sustained in all ways?

          This is NOT human to human love, and because we are members of an advanced social species, we are SUPPOSED to have this special wiring built into us in our infancy that lets us feel the feeling of being loved.

          So, yes, this is an incredible loss to those of us who experienced infant abuse and neglect, but it is NOT the end of our world by any means. These patterns we have can contribute to great problems and trauma-dramas in our love relationships. Much pain and suffering — but to recognize finally how I am made differently keeps me now from ever suffering from the illusion-delusion that anything OUTSIDE of me can ‘fix what’s wrong with me’, no matter how desperately I guess I used to think it could.

  2. Hey Linda,

    From those of us who have struggled with having a belief in oneself that we are worthy of love, I send you a hip hip hooray for reaching out and sharing your inner struggle. I know you can’t just suddenly trust in being loved when to trust in love as a child would have destroyed you. You have survived your childhood with no other choice but to dissociate from believing you were worthy of love.
    However you must get through is OK, though I,too really hope that you can one day feel safe to recieve abundant love from those dear to your heart. Though you gave up on being loved so very many years ago, your reaching out as a survivor of trauma is truly inspiring and I send you a big hug in sisterhood, Deb

    • we all do our best with what we have — try to better — pray to heal — all of the time!

      When I had my mastectomy nobody told me until AFTER the surgery that they could be cutting nerves so my chest would feel like wood!!

      I thought they should have told me that BEFORE surgery, still pisses me off they didn’t!

      Also where lymph nodes were removed under left arm, same thing there — no feeling at all

      nerves in the brain grow at astronomical rate first and second year of life — losing those nerves due to trauma and abuse SUCKS!!

      I am expecting to feel MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better in the next world!!!!! It’s probably only there that ANY of us will really be able to feel what love is — and it won’t take our body to do it with!!!


  3. how tragic that you feel you are unable to receive love. Is it cuz you feel unworthy of it? Your children,say, love u…are u able to receive it from them? how about your grandchild?

    The love and care that you REALLY feel for others can be recipricated in the same way. Sometimes love is an action word and not a feeling.
    Love can be demonstrated through someone taking the time to listen to someone, or just spending time in a friendly exchange. Its kinda like faith. We cant :feek” faith ..we have to just believe. Well, Linda, you will have to take a leap of faith aand let go of trying to “feel” love as in a feeling state…and just know…and believe that you are loved.

    • yes, it’s the leap of faith thing for me! I do not believe I got the required brain-body wiring in the most important first year of life (and onward from there for 18 years) to feel feeling loved — just numb

      people DO have to show me. It might be that whatever brain-body wiring I needed to have the ability to REMEMBER feeling loved past when someone is actually in my presence, etc. is missing

      this is what safe and secure early attachment DOES — it forms the wiring in the body brain that lets us FEEL loved

      I know what I feel, or rather cannot feel — it’s not about any intellectual ‘not worthy’ etc., is nothing that can be changed by my mind

      early safe and secure attachment has a very real purpose. To deny its purpose, or the consequences of what happens when infants are hated and hurt rather than loved is to negate how nature works

      so you are right, it translates for me into the physical inability to feel trust that lets me know I am loved

      no different, I believe, than it is for autistic people — only that is not what I ‘have’

  4. As I posted this I remembered something I haven’t thought about for some time. I’m not sure what age I was when this started, but certainly I heard this throughout my 20s, through my 30s and into my 40s. It has been a LONG time since I’ve heard it, but how well I remember the sound — it used to happen every few months or so.

    Someone calling my name from a great distance away. The call was insistent, but tender, gentle, firm: LINNNNNNNNN-DAHHHHHH —— LINNNNNNNNN-DAHHHHHH

    Thanks to my keyboard I know the notes: G# ——- F

    Very slowly, very clearly — a plaintive call, concern, as if someone calling had lost me and had been searching for me a long, long time. The voice calling was female.

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