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For the caring heart, love knocks on the most unexpected door at the least expected time. The basis of human existence is love. All any of us want is to love and be loved back. But what does this mean for us in sustaining long-term relationships?

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Love — kindness, affection, sensitive attunement, respect, companionship — is not only difficult to find, but is even more challenging for many people to accept and tolerate. In my work with individuals and couples, I have observed countless examples of people reacting angrily when loving responses were directed toward them. Unlike these individuals, many people are unaware that being loved or especially valued makes Being loved back feel angry and withholding.

Indeed, this paradoxical reaction is largely an unconscious process. Even a simple compliment, although initially accepted at face value and enjoyed, can later arouse feelings of disbelief or anger toward the person giving the compliment, or can trigger negative attitudes and critical feelings towards oneself. But why do love, positive acknowledgment and compliments arouse such animosity? There are a of primary causes of this phenomenon discussed in this blog. Being loved arouses anxiety because it threatens long-standing psychological defenses formed early in life in relation to emotional pain and rejection, therefore leaving a person feeling more vulnerable.

Although the experience of being chosen and especially valued is exciting and can bring happiness and fulfillment, at the same time, it can be frightening and the fear often translates into anger and hostility. Basically, love is scary when it contrasts with childhood trauma.

In that situation, the beloved feels compelled to act in ways that hurt the lover: behaving in a punitive manner, distancing themselves and pushing love away. In essence, people maintain the defensive posture that they formed early in life. Because the negative reaction to positive events occurs without conscious awareness, individuals respond without understanding what caused them to react. They rationalize the situation by finding fault with or blaming others, particularly those closest to them.

Being treated with love and tenderness arouses Being loved back kind of poignant sadness that many people struggle to block out.

Ironically, close moments with a partner can activate memories of painful childhood experiences, fears of abandonment and feelings of loneliness from the past. People are afraid of being hurt in the same ways they were hurt as children. When people have been hurt, they feel that if they accepted love into their life, the whole world as they have experienced it would be shattered and they would not know who they were.

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Being valued or seen in a positive Being loved back is confusing because it conflicts with the negative self-concept that many people form within their family. In the developmental process, children idealize their parents at their own expense as part of a psychological survival mechanism. This idealization process is inextricably tied to maintaining an image of oneself as bad or deficient.

However painful it may be, people are somehow willing to accept failure or rejection because these are harmonious with the incorporated negative view of themselves, whereas the intrusion of being loved or having positive responses directed toward them is disruptive of their psychological equilibrium. Accepting being loved in reality disconnects people from a fantasy bond with their parents.

Early in life, children develop fantasies of being fused with a parent or primary caregiver to compensate for what is emotionally missing in their environment. This fantasy persists into adult life, although it may be largely unconscious.

As a result, the hurt individual maintains a sense of pseudo-independence, an attitude that they can take care of themselves without a need for others. As a result of merging with their parents in their imagination, people continue to both nurture and punish themselves in the same way they were treated by their parents.

In addition, as love relationships become more meaningful, deep and threatening, people tend to revert to utilizing the same defense mechanisms that their parents used to avoid pain. Reacting in a manner similar to their parents offers a sense of safety, regardless of any negative consequences. Once the fantasy bond takes hold, people are extremely reluctant to take a Being loved back again on real love and gratification from a romantic partner. In this Webinar: A year longitudinal study from Harvard recently reported that love and relationships are by far the most important factors to leading….

Positive acknowledgment arouses guilt in relation to surpassing the parent of the same sex. Being chosen or preferred by a loved one in a relationship, or being acknowledged for a success for which others are striving in the workplace, tends to precipitate guilt reactions and self-recriminations.

Furthermore, people often feel angry at being acknowledged and because the feeling appears to be irrational, it is suppressed. They distort the very people who made them feel loved, or who supported or acknowledged their success or achievement, and act out passive aggression towards them. Many mistakenly perceive positive acclaim as an expectation or a demand to continue the behavior that earned them the appreciation and praise.

All of these painful emotions are relieved to some extent as people withhold their positive or lovable qualities, adjust their performance downward and unconsciously attempt to diminish or Being loved back their success. It is extremely difficult to get out of that kind of withholding pattern. For this reason, people attempt to modify those loving exchanges rather than go through the painful feelings. Many people have spoken of heightened feelings of death anxiety after feeling especially close emotionally and sexually, and of later reacting with anger and withholding behaviors that lead to deterioration in the relationship.

For the most part, people create the emotional world in which they live. In actuality, they attempt to recreate the world they lived in as children to maintain psychological equilibrium. Positive events and circumstances, particularly the experience of being loved, seriously interrupt this process.

In order to maintain a false sense of safety and security, people utilize the defense mechanisms of selection, distortion and provocation in their relationships.

Why do you love someone who doesn’t feel the same?

They tend to select partners who are like people in their early lives because they are more comfortable with people who fit their defenses. Secondly, they distort their partners and see them as more like the people in their past than they really are. Thirdly, they try to provoke responses in their partners that duplicate interactions from their past.

The end result is antithetical to maintaining happy and satisfying relationships. Lastly, most people are not aware of their negative reactions to being loved or the dynamics described above, nor do they recognize their own withholding behavior and its effect on themselves and their loved ones. The hope is that becoming aware of these core defenses and challenging them can help people to be liberated from these detrimental effects. I have not done full justice to the subject matter in this blog.

Being loved back is highly condensed and therefore lacks supportive data and more elaborate case histories. These matters will be addressed in a book on the subject in the near future. I found this article so helpful- thank you so much!

I do have a question though- what are the best ways to move forward and be supportive of a person who has deep issues with accepting love and affection? Thank you question, Renee. But, the resentment arises from the assumption that it is, grounded in experience with the lover or in childhood. And, in fairness, too often that is exactly what is going on. This is impossibly true Thomas! I am currently battling intense feelings of pure raw anger, and I have traced most of it down to exactly what you mentioned here.

I was emotionally neglected as in an affection-less angry fearsome house. Both my parents dish this out to us, to the day. So I could somewhat understand my fear of intimacy, however my hostile response to kindness and real well being blows my mind! It is as if if anyone close to me tries Being loved back help me or express genuine and spontaneous thoughtfulness to me they are saying I cant do it on my own, they are suggesting that I am inferior in some way.

And sadly for me since my feelings were held down so long my spouts are more implosive than explosive, means I play them over in my head rather than express them to the people involved, or they come out in the most inopportune, irrelevant times and ways. In those situations, I shrink into my shell and think about what I have done to create the situation, what I have done wrong or how I am unable to defend myself in that moment and others.

It is the most painful existence, and I can only thing that it is because my base needs were hung over me and used to guilt me, in a time that I had not power over my situation. Relationships are non existent, or are a fiery battle of power, even though I initially portray kindness, fun, laid back-ness, friendliness and understanding to people.

That is why your writing here has touched me, after years or research and some therapy I have pegged it as one of the fundamental root causes that I am having the worst time trying to move past. I am currently trying to decide if I should seek treatment again, and if so which one!

My upbringing was the same. Other people trained you to act that way but YOU are perpetuating it.

Be kind to yourself. You are your friend, lover, and family first and foremost. You deserve to live yourself and put your needs first. Let no one tell you otherwise. If i could be your best friend….

I hate it even more when he called me with sweet names. What I feel is only raged and fury. Whenever he buy me things I feel insulted like he is trying to buy me with money. It is hard.

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Its yours. They lived theirs. Its time for you to live yours. Not some piece of property that can be handed over to someone else. Why are we so afraid to surrender control?? This whole generation is made up of total control freaks. I have a scenario I would like some guidance on. My wife and I have been together for 14 yrs. In July she kicked me out of the house because of a trivial act on my part.

What is going on? These concepts are simply fascinating and very thought provoking.

Love quote

I would love to buy a book with a more in depth analysis of these theories. Glad to hear you found these concepts so interesting! We have a list of books here that offer a more in-depth analysis to some of these theories, and, as a matter of fact, Drs. Robert and Lisa Firestone are currently working on a new book on this very topic. Being loved is far different than being manipulated and controlled. Sometimes the person that claims they love the other is really not showing them love. Its shameful, actually. This repeat trek to some perceived abuse during childhood… maybe for some cases, but the way the author goes on and on with it?