The Fear of Not Being Loved Ruled my Life

False definition of love
Learning self love

“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost” Anonymous

I came across this quote the other day and it caused a multitude of flashbacks to rush through my brain all at once. At first glance I thought “yes” this is true, but very quickly my mind was filled with all my old fears; I learned to FEAR losing love and at the same time realizing that this was not the way that I was loved at all. It was communicated to me that it didn’t matter if I was lost or if I was never to be seen again and I lived with the fear that I might find that out to be the truth.

And if that were the truth, did it mean that no one loved me?
I was a good victim. I was so compliant. I was so willing to please. In my victim mentality, my survival mode, I believed that was the only way to be loved. But in the end when I faced the truth, I found out that I wasn’t loved by the definition that I was taught love. Like this quote, I loved in fear of loss.  I loved in fear… that statement alone sounds very wrong.

As I got older and sought love from outside my dysfunctional family, I believed that it was how much the object of my desire proved his need for me, his longing for me, his fear of losing me, that PROVED his love for me. This was how I had been taught love. And most of my boyfriends  sought to possess me more than to love me.

My life long quest had been to be loved. I learned to pursue  being deserving of love from such a young age and my seeking to be “good enough to deserve love” was met with persistent requests to try harder. I tried harder. I withdrew as a child.  In my twenties, I came back, willing to try as hard as I could again, but in my early thirties, I began to withdraw again; trying hard not to give up and not realizing that I was living in a false normal system; all my trying was never going to get me anywhere. I was in my forties when I was too tired from the constant depressions that plagued me, to fight much longer.  I was tired and I wanted to give in to the fact that I was never going to be valued by anyone. I wanted to run; to just disappear… It was possible that I would realize that I was not loved and I believed that no one would care if I was lost.

It was a depressing thought.

But I was tired of fighting and tired of trying harder. I decided to face what I had been trying to run from for so long.  The fact that perhaps no one cared… and perhaps it was time for me to stop trying to make them see my value. Perhaps it was time for ME to see the truth.

And so I began.

The truth is that I had the wrong definition of love all along.  I had been taught the definition of love the wrong way from the very beginning.  Love is not facilitated through FEAR of loss.  Love is not determined by “being good enough” or “not good enough” for someone else. Love is not based on performance. I was taught to love unconditionally by people who conditionally loved me. In truth, they didn’t love me at all.  They owned me and they taught me that as long as I complied with their wishes, they would value me. That is not love and I was too young to pick up all the mixed messages.

The truth is that people cannot determine my value. I had to learn to determine my own value by realizing just “HOW” I had been defined as less valuable. The truth is that people do not have the right to define me as good enough or not good enough. Each human being has equal value; I just had to look at lies I believed in order to realize they were in fact LIES. I believed that people, my family and my friends could determine my value by the way they regarded me. But this isn’t a truth. I had to stop believing that people could validate me or invalidate me. The truth is that personal value is not based on what I can do for others especially when there is no mutuality involved as had been the case in my life.

My damaged self esteem began to heal when I realized that it wasn’t ME who caused the damage to it in the first place.

Learning to love started with me, learning to love me. It was about being good enough for me. It was about accepting myself but I couldn’t do that until I faced where the “not good enough” messages came from. Little did I know that through facing this truth, I would find my value and my lost identity.  Through that process I was able to embrace myself the way that I had been longing for others to embrace me.

Please share your thoughts. Remember that you may use any name you wish in the comment form and that no one will see your email address other than me.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time.

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


120 response to "The Fear of Not Being Loved Ruled my Life"

  1. By: Ultijenna Posted: 20th September

    Hey it’s so nice to know that after all these years you managed to bounce back and free yourself from the shackles your brain has convinced you to stay in it gives me hope that I can also fight that dreaded idea that love is conditional throughout my early childhood I was sheltered and I genuinely believed that’s how the world works but now that I’m in college I realized that love doesn’t work that way being like that only opens doors to people emotionally blackmailing you and using you I hope as the years pass by I learn how to free myself from that system I created

  2. By: Sam Posted: 12th March

    This was really refreshing to read and to see that there are others who also deal with this sort of internal struggle and conflict. I feel constantly as though I’m not good enough, and that I must be better, be a perfect ideal of a human before I can be worthy of forgiveness and love. But then when I mess up and make a mistake, its so so hard to work through it because I feel as though its proof that Im a terrible person and that I’m not worthy of love and forgiveness and understanding, and a lot of this roots from the fear of not being liked or loved by other people. Im terrified by it, and when someone doesn’t like me, I feel as though I did something terrible and there must be something wrong with me. But its ok if people don’t like me. Its ok. Its ok. Its ok. That doesn’t make me an unlikable person, and it doesn’t make a bad person. No one is as bad as their worst deed or as good as their best, and so if someone doesn’t love me because of my worst deed, it still doesn’t make me undeserving of love. And i have proof of that – I have friends who I know will always love me and forgive me and whom i will always love and forgive. I have family who will do the same. I am loved in a good way by some people, so, like you talked about in this post, I don’t have to keep chasing after the people who will give me cheap love and gratification in the form of possesion and my compliance to their spirit. I have my own spirit and if others can be deserving of good love, then maybe so can I. Thank you for writing this. Its really hope inspiring to me that there are others who feel the same thing as me, it means Im not alone – not weird in my fears and insecurities. Thank you

  3. By: Kaycee Posted: 4th September

    Six years into really understanding what happened to me and I am still coming to terms with the fact that my abusers are never going to love me, that my healing is completely my own and that I have to learn to do it without their acknowledgement or help. An incredible feat for someone who was taught I was nothing without their approval, for someone completely incapable of doing anything without them.

    Looking for love in all the wrong places has been my theme song. Always trying to be worthy, always compensating for my lack to the point that I am gone, swimming upstream for the right to exist.

    I can say this now, knowing I am still struggling, with a smile. I know where this feeling originated. I have so much more now just in the truth of where this horrible place I have resided in comes from. Sometimes now, I am aware of my worth and that makes everything I have been through somehow worthwhile even if I am the only one who ever knows this.

    Thank you Darlene, you have been the light in my darkness, the one who has put the footprints out for me to follow and the place I can always go when I feel completely alone.

  4. By: Debbie Posted: 4th September

    Right now this expresses where I stand in that tirning point. Im tired of fighting to live and wishing to die. I am taking a few days to decide my next step. Ive had recent traumas and rejections and am trying to decide if I should hospitalize myself or just take a long train ride cross country and figure out how to love me. Thanks for a great post

  5. By: Elaine Posted: 21st July

    after many therapist group. indivtdusl sessions and painful expereinces your article changed me completely… iam no longer a victim …fpr the first time in 66 yrs i am at peace and i do love and value myself
    GOD bless you for your words of wisdom and setting me free of negativity about myself. as long as i love me iam loved

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th July

      Hi Elaine!
      That is awesome! Thanks for sharing!
      hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Tiffany Posted: 15th March

    Hi Darlene

    Thank you for starting this post. I like many others grew up with the wrong idea of what love is. I spent numerous relationship buying the guys I was with or doing things I normally wouldn’t do or wanted to do for that matter just so they wouldn’t leave. I ended up in an abusive marriage for 11 years. Where he just wanted to control me and for years I thought that was just how he showed he cared and loved. Remember thinking I didn’t want people to talk about me failing in that marriage so that held me there longer. After he cheated on me I decided that was it. And I left. Slept with many men to try to fill that void. I was raised by my parents in the same household but didn’t have that love relationship with them through my important years of development. I began to build that relationship with my dad and it was great. For years. Then he passed. Then I built it with my mom and we were awesome best friends for years and she recently passed. I’m remarried now but my husband has he’s own problems from when he was a kid and he has never really shown up for this relationship but he stays. He’s never physically abused me but he has cheated multiple times and made me feel low about myself through he’s times he’s “just being honest”. He’s told me he’s never really been in love with me but he loves me. We should have never gotten married. But I think we both wanted that person who would be there. So now that my parents are gone I feel extra alone and can relate to your story. I’m stuck in my life right now. I can see myself picking myself up and doing better but then the pain of taking that journey alone scares me and it hurts to my core. I’m not sure what me telling the world my deepest secret is gonna get me. But I’m hoping someone out there can lead me into the right direction or agree and say I’m domed. Either way it felt good to get this off my chest. Since I walk around in this world smiling and faking my confidence.

  7. By: Cassie Posted: 8th December

    I appreciate this article. To know I am not alone. I feel alone, a lot. I don’t feel loved or wanted. I feel of I were to leave this earth this instant, no one would notice nor care. I had am abusive childhood too, in my early 30’s and sick and tired of battling with depression. I want to love myself to the point that if I didn’t receive love from anyone else, I would not get depressed and have bad thoughts. Thank you for sharing

  8. By: Stephanie Posted: 15th June

    You know I have been fighting and endless battle myself. I have often misunderstood my husband’s messages as “I’m not good enough. I seek to hard and too long for his approval and seek validation from others if he doesn’t give me what I’m looking for. I haven’t cheated physically yet. In a lot of ways I treat others the same way though because I was brought up to do so. I make them feel they need to earn my love or affection. So in turn I fight for the same. I have a constant battle day to day now with just finding my own self worth and letting it grow. I feel almost guilty sometimes. I try my best to just let others be who they are right or wrong and the same with myself. It’s a mystery as to how it will go each day but each day I try to find something about me that I love. I no longer seek his approval and work at not making him seek mine. He has these issues too because he sought all his life for his father’s and family’s love. Thank you so much for this blog. I can appreciate the truth about me. As long as I know and remember this about me I have something to work on and strive for.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th June

      Hi Stephanie
      Welcome to EFB
      The cycle that you are describing continues in some form or another until the belief system is changed. For me I had to change the deeply rooted false beliefs about what love actually is. At the end of the day, I had to learn to love myself as well through the true definition of what loving action is. I had been taught that my value was defined by others, so I sought to be approved of and loved by others. It was when I realized that they don’t actually define me, that I began to grow out of that dysfunctional belief.
      Thank you for sharing!
      hugs, Darlene

  9. By: DXS (JJ) Posted: 7th June

    Thank you Darlene for a wonderful website. I am learning why I have a need to be loved. When I had boyfriends, if they showed any sign of disapproval in any way, I felt threatened, and “complied” with what they wanted me to be so they would not break up with me. Faked it. I have finally figured out it’s because I never felt loved by my mom. I’m connecting the dots. When I would get bad performance appraisals at work, I would go home and worry about being fired, while other co-workers just said, “PPPPTTHHHHHH” and kept on going.

    During my working life, I learned that people act out their childhood issues in work. I could easily figure out what someone’s childhood issues were. Mine were not being loved. So, any criticism would send me in a tailspin.

    Mom does not want to believe she is at fault. No, it’s all my fault, I’m the one with problems.

  10. By: Karen Posted: 2nd February

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

  11. By: Esra Posted: 21st January

    I want to thank you for posting this blog.

    I am a twenty-two year old who has lost her way due to this great fear of never being loved or needed by someone. It’s crippling to have this mindset. Everyday I’ve been asking myself, “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I get it right?” Needless to say, the feeling of worthlessness settled deep into my bones and I haven’t been able to break it for years. But this blog has allowed me to crack this shell of fear and hopefully, I will be able to start living again. I don’t want to sound dramatic but I hope I am able to explain how much I needed to hear this from someone I don’t know. Someone who is not obligated to tell me these things because they’re either family or friends.

    Your words have soothed my soul. Thank you again.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st January

      Hi Esra
      Welcome to emerging from broken!
      YAY for cracking the shell! That was the beginning for me too. Just a litte crack in the fog ruled by my belief system and I was off and running.
      Thank you so much for sharing your breakthrough with me, and for your expression of gratitude for my blog. I hope that you will share often!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Mimi Posted: 10th September

    Hi Janie,
    I’m not particularly fond of the idea of crashing, but, I don’t think that’s the big issue. I’m not at all claustrophobic. I’ve always loved small spaces because I feel protected and safe. It used to be fear that I would get sick on the plane in front of a bunch of strangers. Now, since there are fairly good drugs for that, and I don’t get sick easily, it’s more that it seems unnatural to be that far away from earth. To not be grounded and to look out the window and see any form of stability…. 10,000 miles away, AHHHH!! Just freaks me out. I think now more than anything, it’s the height and the sensation of not being grounded.

    I think I always dream of Europe because my aunt lived there for so many years. I had many opportunities to go and stay there free. I just never did it because I was afraid, or broke, or both. In my dream, there are usually the same people along. Mostly, women in my family. My sisters and mother, and maybe a few others. I think the most commonly identical thing is there is always drugs involved, lol! I usually get to Europe I’ve slept the whole flight, but, then when we get ready to come home, I either forget to take the drugs, or I’ve lost them, or something along those lines.

    I’m happy to hear what your counselor said. It’s purpose is to prepare you to fly. I think it’s true. I have less fear now, than I have in the past. I’m almost ready to do it now. And, I’ve dreamed about it often. Very often. I don’t think in reality I would survive a flight to Europe though. Maybe someplace a little closer.

    In my 20s when I was in the throes of panic attacks, I had a period of time when I was freaked out by elevators. It wasn’t the small space though. It was the movement. So, I guess I can deduct that I don’t like not being on stable ground. I overcame that fear by just forcing myself.

    Heights aren’t really my friend either. My husband and I walked the pedestrian bridge from U.S. into Canada. My knees were shaking, and I was a little freaked out by getting near the edge. BUT, the good news is, I told myself that my fear wasn’ going to rob me of the experience and I muscled through it. I’m so glad I did now. I have a photo of my feet ~ one foot in Canada, and one foot in the U.S. ~ Just to prove to myself I guess, that I did it.

    Congrats on finishing up school. Ten weeks isn’t long and it always flies by, for me anyway.

    Best of luck as you wrap it up!! 🙂
    ps ~ maybe the next time I walk to Canada, I should check into the drug Darlene mentioned! I wonder what the equivalent is in the U.S.? 🙂

  13. By: sylvia Posted: 9th September

    Hi Janie,

    Thanks for your validating comments, I cant rememeber being in pain, but must have been. I had probably gotten used to it. The point is, if I had been allowed to walk, it would have been detected much earlier. Mom has been dead for over 30 years now, but I went on to attract abusive partners and friends for 3 decades before I finally fitted the pieces together, and got into recovery. I am single at the moment, I needed to be out of relationships while I worked on myself, but have never been happier. I have a wonderful daughter and for the first time in my life, I have emotionally healthy, supportive friends. Before I started my healing journey, I seemed to be stuck in a loop, where I could only attract people like my mom. I run a small soft-furnishing business, which I enjoy, but am also training to be a therapist.I have completed several courses in the Mental Health and Working with Vunerable Adults field. I want to put my experiences to good use, however, I dont feel as if I should be grateful that I was abused, in order to be doing this work. I would have preffered non-abusive parents, and a much happier life. But I do believe in turning a disadvantage into an advantage. Good luck with your paper! The 10 weeks will fly!

    Love Sylvia x

  14. By: Janie Posted: 9th September

    Darlene, that is encouraging, that your daughter has conquered these issues! I have medication to take as well, I think in the same family as gravol, just different names in this country. That closed in incident must have caused her claustrophobia. I identify with what the article, but I think being tied up and having panic attacks at age 4 porbably just adds to it!
    Mimi, I dream that I am in a plane, and we are flying, but when I look out the window, it is actually like a train, and we are on land, going really fast! My therapist told me that my mind was preparing me to fly! Can I ask, are you afraid to crash, or don’t want to be closed in? I hope you do get to Europe! Anywhere special that strikes you, where would you like to see over there?

    Sylvia, Wow! You were really smothered by your mother! I feel so badly, that she would not allow you to have friends, or lunch with your peers.And didn’t that hurt, having a dislocated hip? I know adults we treat in the ED are in severe pain when anything dislocates. She was extremely abusive! How long have you been on your own now?

    Well, tonight I am finishing my last paper for Pathophysiology, I didnt even get to see the light of day! Just 10 more weeks, and I’m D-O-N-E!!

    I hope everyone is having a good weekend, and am going to check out Darlene’s new post tonight!


  15. By: sylvia Posted: 9th September


    Thank you for the link, I have just read the article(s) with great interest. They make so much sense. Also, what Darlene said about re-wiring ourselves is so true. I certainly did not have a healthy “downloader”. My mothers psychological abuse of me consisted of smothering and enmeshing. She did not want me to individuate from her and did everything to prevent any independence on my part. I was diagnosed with a dislocated hip when I was two and a half years old, a condition that had apparently been present since birth. Because of the delay in the problem being detected, I had to go through 3 years of painful surgery. Years later my grandmother told me that when I first started trying to walk, at about a year old, my mother would pick me up and say “its too soon for her to walk just yet”. Eventually, I stopped trying to walk, and would just shuffle around on my backside at top speed. When I was finally allowed to get onto my feet, it was discovered that I had one leg shorter than the other, and urgently required surgery. She simply did not want me to grow up. She knew she couldnt have any more kids after me and was determined to keep me in a state of arrested development. When I started school, I was not allowed to stay for lunch with the other kids, I had to come home and eat with her, and was not allowed any contact with other children outside school hours. On the rare occasion that I did make a little friend, she would take a dislike to them and stop me playing with them. The excuses she made for doing this were incredible. One budding friendship was ended because “the childs eyes were too close together”, another playmate was dispensed with because she lived in a house with an overgrown garden, and apparently people who failed to tend their gardens couldnt be trusted. In my opinion, this was every bit as bad as neglect, and physical or sexual abuse. To try and halt the natural individuation and socialization of a child, by attempting to isolate them is EXTREMELY abusive. When I did go out into the world, I was totally unprepared for life, having no boundaries, or any means of standing up for myself. What she did to me was akin to removing a cats claws, then throwing it to a pack of dogs. I have often wished that I had been neglected – that way I may have at least become street-wise, and been able to look after myself a bit more. The ironic thing was, that people outside the immediate family used to tell me I was lucky to have “such a doting mummy who loves you so much”. It had nothing to do with love – just posession, ownership, and what I have come to recognise as severe mental illness on my mothers part. There are so many variations on abuse, and they are all equally as damaging to the child in question.
    Love Sylvia x

  16. By: Mimi Posted: 8th September

    I just started to read #93. I had to start typing because I too have a fear of flying. I’ve never been in an airplane. I dream about it a lot though. It’s always a flight to Europe. I always take xanax in the dream. The insides of the airplane are often exactly alike in every dream. We never crash or anything. It’s just a strange dream I have a lot. Now, I’m going to the site you posted. Thanks for sharing it. Hope your class is helping!!


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