Advertising
Advertising

How People Who Lack Attention In Their Childhood Love Differently

How People Who Lack Attention In Their Childhood Love Differently

I spent a lot of my early adulthood trying to work out what “love” really was. I was not in a good place emotionally and mentally. I’d endured a lot as a child and had a lot of difficulty loving myself. Fortunately, through many years of self-discovery and support of my husband, I was able to become the person I am today. A more authentic, happier version of myself. Someone who feels and loves deeply. Someone who may sometimes wrestle with their emotions, but has the ability now not to affect those around them as much.

Maybe you’ve felt the way I have. Maybe you still feel that way. But just remember, there is a silver lining. As much as the pain of your childhood hurts, it won’t stop you from living the life that you deserve. It won’t stop you from having the ability to love yourself and to love others.

Here are the 10 ways that people who lack attention in their childhood might love differently, but the positive aspects to each of them.

Advertising

1. They understand that love is much more than words.

‘Love’ can mean so many different things to different people. It can mean saying, “I love you”. It can mean buying gifts for someone else. It can mean making time for other people. It can mean giving a loved one hugs and kisses. But to someone who has felt unloved as a child, it might not mean many of these things at all. When you’ve lacked affection as a child, “love” almost feels like a non-existent concept in your life. It’s something that you’re still struggling to understand. But you probably understand that feeling and expressing love is so much more than the words, “I love you”. It’s about proving it with your actions. It’s about trusting someone and being trusting. It’s about respecting a person’s individuality and dreams. The pain you experienced as a child has helped you to gain a deeper understanding of what “love” really is.

2. They know that trust can take a long time to build.

Growing up feeling unloved, unappreciated, and unimportant can leave lasting impacts on a person’s ability to trust.They might be constantly worrying that the people they love will inevitably hurt them. That they are bound to be alone. But this anxiety also means that they know the value of trust. They know that when someone puts their trust in you, it is your utmost responsibility to stay loyal and honest. It will strengthen the bond between two people.

3. They don’t want anyone hurt the way they were.

If you’re an adult whose childhood was far from ideal, chances are that you are determined not to treat others the same. If you’ve come to terms with some of your experiences, you’ve probably realized that it’s not your fault and have worked through some of your emotions. You probably know by now that nobody deserves to be treated like you were. Thankfully, this has helped you to become a kinder, more compassionate and empathetic person who finds it easy to understand how people feel. Throughout many of your relationships, you probably feel a deep love for people and want to listen to their problems. You want them to know that no matter what happens, that someone loves and cares about them.

Advertising

4. They find it very difficult to believe that there are “plenty of fish in the sea”.

If you’re someone who didn’t get their needs met as a child, you’ve probably struggled a bit with your romantic relationships. Throughout your relationships, you may have been mistreated but felt you didn’t deserve any better. Maybe you were afraid that someone better would never come along. Maybe you were too scared to speak up about how you felt. But your carefulness in selecting partners also has a plus side. You don’t want history repeating itself – you want to surround yourself with people who love and deserve you. You might be putting up a wall, but it’s a wall that will come down when you’ve found the right person for you.

5. They can’t helping questioning people’s love.

If you’ve experienced a lot of childhood pain, you might find yourself thinking a lot, “It’s too good to be true.” You want to trust people and believe in their love, but you can’t help but question it. Your fear and insecurities are holding you back. The other side of the coin though is that you are more alert to warning signs. You stand up for what you believe in and try your best to put yourself first.

6. They are very sensitive about their weaknesses.

If you’re someone who felt neglected during childhood, your sensitivity levels might be quite high. You might find it difficult to accept constructive criticism. You might find jokes said at your expense as offensive and hurtful. You might believe that you have to be perfect to be a ‘good’ or ‘successful’ person. Thankfully though, this means you’re quite tuned into other people’s emotions and feelings. You show love to others by not hurting them. By being aware of their sensitivities. By giving them honest advice without upsetting them in the process.

Advertising

7. They have very high expectations of themselves.

Unfortunately, for those who have grown up fighting for their family’s attention, they might set very high standards for themselves. They might be perfectionists. You might even worry your loved ones because you put a bit too much pressure on yourself. But the upside is, you might also be someone who strongly believes in working hard. You don’t wait for luck to make life happen. You go out there and look out for opportunities. For the first time in your life, you are in control and it’s this control that is so empowering for you.

8. They sometimes find it easier to forgive.

Having been tested and challenged at such a young age, you’ve learnt very early on that acceptance helps in moving forward. That holding onto anger and resentment does nobody any good, especially for yourself. In the same token, you might find it easier to understand the actions of others and to forgive as much as you can. You may not forget the actions of others, but you know that relationships benefit from compromise and forgiveness. Nobody is perfect and you understand that.

9. They just want their loved ones to be happy.

With the painful experiences that you’ve endured, you can’t help but focus on what truly matters in life. All you want is to be happy and for the people you love to be happy. You think that everything else, like money, material possessions, physical appearance, how we compare to others – is simply not as important.

Advertising

10. They struggle with loving themselves.

If you’re someone who lacked attention during childhood, the most difficult relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Sometimes it’ll feel like you’re own worst enemy. That your biggest critic is actually yourself. Your life is a constant battle between what you feel about yourself and what you wish to feel. But learning to love yourself is a journey. When you believe that you are important and have the ability to make a positive difference in the world, you will transform the way you think about yourself and how you love others.

Featured photo credit: Colin J via flickr.com

More by this author

How People Who Lack Attention In Their Childhood Love Differently If You Have Forgotten How To Love Yourself, You Need To Read This 10 Reasons Why Parents Should Treat Their Kids As Adults 14 Things That We Shouldn’t Say to Our Partners Anymore (and What to Say Instead) 12 Signs You’re A Sensitive Person That Always Attracts People To Talk To You

Trending in Communication

1 How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life 2 The Power of a Positive Environment on Your Everyday Life 3 9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive 4 How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again 5 How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

Advertising

Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

Advertising

You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

Advertising

It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

Advertising

Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next