In my readings and coaching, I’ve met a very high proportion of people dealing with not feeling loved by their parents, of not feeling good enough for their parents or never feeling that they gained the approval they desired from their parents, I would include myself in some of that too. (If you were not raised by your parents, substitute that for your primary care-giver; grandparents, head teacher in boarding school, foster parents etc).
In our house, my parents never gushed about how much they loved me, nor how proud they were of me, they rarely, if ever gave me lots of praise for things I did well. Does that sound like your experience too?
When I was growing up, criticism from my parents was well intended, it was to help me grow, it was to protect me from other people who maybe did not love me, who might give me a hard time for not achieving a certain status, level or standard, or to ensure I was not bullied etc. I did not understand that at the time, I just felt I was not good enough, that I was always wrong or that my way was always the wrong way.
I’ve worked with people whose whole life was blighted by the fact their father did not tell them on their wedding day how beautiful they looked or that when they got a B in maths which was no mean feat as they usually got a D, mum was dismissive or simply stated ‘great, next time you’ll get an A’ but gave no praise or hugs or love to them for achieving a really big thing and getting a B. Now there will be good reasons for that, lets take the maths thing; maybe mum was distracted or maybe she thought she was being encouraging, however the child felt their achievements were dismissed or that it was a pressure to do more. Academic achievement seem to be a big pain point for many people as does sporting achievement & when older career.
My mother often reminded of the time my father came to watch me in a ballet recital, I apparently danced in the opposite way to all the other ballet dancers (I was only 4), my father was so mortified he got up and left the hall. Now there is every chance that he’d seen my slot and needed to get back to work, as he was self-employed & we were in the middle of the 1970’s ‘Winter of Discontent’ where every penny was needed, who knows! So for me to feel loved by my father meant that I needed to be perfect, of course I never achieved perfection so therefore I was never going to get the love I sought, not on that basis anyway. Does that sound familiar? Yours may not have been ballet, but I’m sure you can find similar stories.
Now I don’t know your history, so I’ll use some examples here and you will need to give some thought to how they apply to you.
The misunderstanding that we have as children (it can happen as an adult too though) is that because we did not get the response we wanted or expected in a set scenario, then we did something wrong or we need to try harder. It may be that we subconsciously think I’m not loved/not good enough/not perfect etc, and decide that we need to try harder.
- Now in the examples above, what if the reality of it was that my dad came, saw me dance then left for work again? Being self-employed, he had to go to work, he was providing for his family. He may have found it hilarious that I danced the wrong way round my doll, sadly he’s no longer here to ask him. It may be that my mother projected her embarrassment onto him, especially as she was left to face the mums of the other kids on her own.
- Now let’s think about my client who got married, maybe dad was so overwhelmed, so choked up, he could not say those words, he probably thought it was obvious how he felt at that moment! It may have been obvious to him, but not my client, who’s been carrying that pain for 40 years! When she did ask dad about it, he was stunned that she had been hurt all these years, and had never said anything.
- My third example is a client who had weight issues, she’d balloon up then lose the weight to the point of being almost anorexic then yo-yo again, wrecking her health. We’ll call her Trudy. So Trudy had a mother who always commented on what she ate, saying things like ‘are you sure you are hungry darling’ or ‘I don’t think you should have any more love’. Trudy took this as being that she was fat, that her mother did not love her & that she was a pig. Trudy took those beliefs, carrying them for years which created all sorts of issues. Trudy asked her mother about those comments when she was on a healing journey, her mother was devestated that she’d created the problems in her daughter. It turned out that mum was a bit podgy as a child, drawing comments & all the wrong attention from people around her, she was bullied at school too. In her mind she was trying to help the daughter she loved, by protecting her from similar experiences.
When a someone is critical of us – the more we are emotionally invested in them, the more it hurts us – the person on the end of the criticism, only hears and feels the lack, the need for them to improve, to be better & do better, they become aware of the ‘flaws’ in their personality or abilities, they therefore don’t register that the teacher is trying to be constructive, that the parent is generally coming from a place of love, they have not stopped loving the child during the criticism period. It’s the same when a parent tells their child off, they don’t stop loving them during the telling off, they may not like the child if it’s a really bad reason for telling them off, however, the child will focus only on the telling off. If the child is actually innocent, maybe it was really their sibling who did the deed, then that can create an issue of ‘I’m not heard’ or ‘nobody listens to me’ as well as create perfection issues and obviously the ‘I’m not loved’.
Parents are humans, they have their own rubbish going on, bad-day at work, the other children needing their attention, marital problems or ageing parents or just simply they did not realise that’s how their words or behaviour were being interpreted. Also as adults, they’d know they loved you, they’d never think for a second that their child would assume they were not loved or seen as lacking. I’ve always said ‘you can’t expect a child to follow adult rules & logic, they are children’!
So Can You See Where Your Issues May Have Started?
Now I appreciate that some children do come from a home where love is not the same as the masses, however, even abuse is a form of love. If that is your reality, you would need to understand where your parents were coming from to get a better idea, I always recommend that my client’s put themselves in their parents shoes, think about what other scenarios were going on that created their abusive behaviour. I’m not justifying their behaviour, just so we are clear. So ask yourself, even if your parents did not say those three little words, even if they told you off or pointed out your failings, do you know that they loved you? Do you understand they may not have showed you love in the way you expected or wanted, they showed it in a way that was right for them. It may be a partner cooks food for you to show their love. It may be your child cleaned out the birdcage & made a huge mess, but they were doing it to show their love for you, anyone can say the three words that we think of as being so important ‘I love you’ however, it does not mean they really mean them.
Now, many of us create rules based on our experiences, these rules will be in the subconscious, they may be:
Rule: If I am perfect Mum/Dad/Partner/Boss etc will think I am good enough
Rule: If I try harder Mum/Dad/Partner/Boss etc will think I am lovable
Rule: Unless they specifically say ‘I love you’ they don’t love me
Rule: When I am criticised, I am not loved
Rule: My parents are not proud of me – unless they are specifically told by their parents, being told by family friends ‘oh, your mum was so proud of you, when you did XYZ, she told anyone who’d listen’ – apart from you apparently!
So the solution is to not impose YOUR rules on those people, not unless you explain the rules to them first!
So let me tell you about Luisa; Luisa had issues in relationships, she just never seemed to find one where she would feel loved. When we looked at her ‘rules’ around love, we found the problem.
In Luisa’s world, her partners needed to tell her that they loved her, they had to tell her she was attractive, they had to share their thoughts with her, value her opinion, allow her space to express herself without being dismissed, if they did not do this, then her ‘rules’ meant she was not loved. I asked if she’d taken time to explain her ‘rules’ to her partners, she had not. I asked her how they were meant to know her ‘rules’ if she did not tell them, that was when the lightbulb went off……Luisa has a hot date coming up, she has to explain the rules of engagement if she wants this to be different from the past.
So as a person, don’t assume that those around you know they are loved, tell them, show them. Don’t assume they know how proud you are, tell them. Don’t assume you are meeting other people’s rules, they need to explain what has to happen for them to feel worthy, good enough, loved, valued etc.
If you need for your rules to be met for you to feel loved, good enough, worthy, valued etc, explain to those you love, you need XYZ, tell them not to assume you know their thoughts, their feelings, ask them to verbalise it.
There are some people who just cannot verbalise feelings, they are not comfortable with that. Rafe Spall, the actor was being interviewed, he said that his father – the actor Timothy Spall – is not good with saying how he feels, but he’ll rush over to fix a door or do DIY for his children, because that is how he shows them he loves them. Be prepared to learn how others ‘speak’ so you can understand their language, it may not be what you think, it may not be what you wish for, but as long as you know when they do X that is them showing love then things can change.
Health & Love
When we are hurt & feeling unloved, this can lead to behaviour that is not necessarily in our best interest, it affects our self-worth & self-esteem which leads to us picking partners that are not empowering to us, they may even be out of alignment with our values, a core part of our identity. We may not advance as much in business because we don’t feel good enough or worthy enough, it can actually cause us to unintentionally sabotage our careers or relationships – this is coming from the subconcious, not the conscious mind.
When the heart chakra is hurting or is blocked, this can lead to health issues in the chest & throat areas & even the stomach/mid-section areas, this is because the heart chakra affects the ones either side when imbalanced. It may be thyroid issues, heart, lungs, respiratory, digestive issues, allergies to food etc.
Your health issues can be resolved by healing the ‘stories’ you’ve been carrying since the past, that’s where therapist such as me come in .
Heart Activation Exercise
If you are carrying a lot of emotional hurt, your heart chakra may be imblanced or even blocked. If you’d like my FREE Heart Activation Guided Meditation, you can get that here.
I hope that’s been insightful for you? If you’d like to chat to me to get a better handle on your history or any issues, book a Zoom chat with me, there’s no charge.
#love #emotionalpain #coachingwithtracyfance #learningthelanguageoflove