Feeling Unloved


Feeling Unloved


your avatar   Bob, 23-year-old man

I'm 23. My mother has openly abused marijuana for as long as I can remember and used to lie about it, saying it was medicinal. This always caused anxiety for me. I would get the same anxiety when my girlfriend would use it when we first began dating.

I had a very traumatic event when I was around 13 (for which I felt the blame). My parents ended up in a very bitter feud with my grandparents, which lead to the rest of my extended family disowning me, my sister, my mother, and my father and still goes on to this day.

Over the past 1-2 years, I have had increasingly bad depression. More recently (about 6 months) I have been having episodes where I basically lose control of myself and become very negative, very angry, irrational, and dangerous. When I'm feeling fine, I have no desire to hurt others or myself, but when I lose control, I fear someone will get hurt.

This only seems to be triggered by people who are close to me, usually either my mother or girlfriend, and I think it may be related to feeling unloved. In each instance, I can remember feeling like no one cared about me.

My doctor put me on 20mg of Celexa about 40 days ago which has helped the depression, but I still have episodes - one as recent as today. I started going to a therapist, every 3 weeks after my last big episode and he does not think that I am bipolar.

The best time I have ever handled one of these episodes was when I was able to explain to my girlfriend that I was feeling very anxious. My mind becomes very confused (ex. I can't answer very simple questions and it causes me more stress), and I can't think of a single positive thought even when she tries to tell me things. She wrapped her arms around me and hugged me and I instantly started to cry and then calmed down. I have also had 2 anxiety attacks recently, which has never happened to me before.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Bob,

Clearly, you have suffered trauma in your childhood and early teens. While you have not gone into the details (and why should you?), these nasty experiences have had a very severe effect on you. I am glad you are having therapy. You should find it very helpful. However, in the meantime, you need to live a good life, and gain control over these distressing thoughts and impulses.

Your title identifies the central theme: "feeling unloved". This is a story you are telling yourself. You have created a reality in which you feel unloved. And yet, you reported an event that proves this story to be false. You have a girlfriend, and even though sometimes you must seem very scary to her, she has responded with love. If she can do that, then just think how much she will feel able to show her love once you are back to your normal self, the way you would have been if you had not been traumatized.

A second thing I noticed about the story is that when you feel as if you were losing control, you fear that someone will get hurt (you or a person you care for). But you did not write that you have actually hurt people, only that you felt as if you would. Hey, can you see a contradiction here? YOU WERE ACTUALLY IN CONTROL. You felt out of control. You felt that you would hurt someone -- but you were in control, and resisted the impulse to be violent.

Maybe you are stronger than you think? Maybe you are more loving than you think? Maybe, despite the feelings that you're unlovable and unloved, you actually know that these people love you? Maybe you need to rewrite the story.

It is true that you have these episodes of anxiety and anger, and these are triggered by certain events. Ask your therapist to help you identify what these trigger events are, and what thoughts go through your mind just before the unpleasant, overwhelming emotions arise. But, from the evidence you presented to me, you now know that these feelings and urges are actually based on a distorted, inaccurate view of what your life is really like. So, it remains to see how you can cope with these episodes when they arise.

  • You have tried out an excellent one that worked. If it worked once, it'll work again. If you feel an attack approaching, just say so, and allow the other person to show her love for you.
  • When this is not possible, a standard thing to do is time out. Excuse yourself, and go for a short walk or something.
  • Vigorous physical exercise will be very useful. Go for a run, do 20 pushups, or grab a skipping rope and skip for 5 minutes.
  • Take on one of the Eastern martial arts. Examples are judo, karate, tai kwan do, kung fu, tai chi. They involve training in inner poise and self-confidence.
  • Go to my web site and read http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/firstaid.html

Have a good life. You can.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com


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