Our Deep Thirst for Love
There is something in each and every one of us that needs love. It is that kind of need that urges us to meet people, to be known, to form friendships, and to find that special person with whom we can be most intimate with.
To some people, this need is somewhat fulfilled more or less with the right balance of relationships one has and has had since childhood. One has built a network of friends one can count on to, one has felt the love of his parents, and most of all, one has been able to fill that deepest void through God’s love which only He could possibly fulfill.
For some people however, there is this very deep craving that has been left unfulfilled for so long. There is this unusually deep thirst for love and attention and self-esteem that seems to have created a hole within one’s own heart. This thirst became so big it became very difficult to quench it, even with a very sincere affection from someone.
In truth, this hole has become a wound that hurts so much not only the person concerned, but all those with whom one has tried to form deep relationships with.
Could it be possible that the one you love is suffering from this wound? Could it be possible that you are suffering from it as well?
Signs of Being Wounded
1. Very low self esteem
People who have been wounded so deeply for lack of affection have very low self-esteem. They don’t feel important. They have been neglected for so long that they feel nobody could ever value them anymore. They feel so unworthy, especially for love, even if they crave for it the most.
2. Fear of being abandoned
People who have not experienced love their whole lives and who suddenly found someone who’s willing to give them the attention they need don’t suddenly become secured and thankful that they’ve found someone. On the contrary, most feel this intense fear that they would lose that person, the only person they think who could possibly love them.
3. Unusually high demands of love
Since their need for love has been unmet for so long, they form unusually high expectations for those who wanted to be involved in a relationship with them. They demand everything from them, all the love that has been kept from them, all the attention they lacked, all the pampering and the caring they craved for all their lives.
4. Pushing away those whom they love the most
Even if they fear most the thought of being abandoned, they often end up pushing away the people whom they love the most. This may be due to their unusually high demands which their partners couldn’t satisfy, or this may be due to their overwhelming anxiety that drives them to push away people even before these people casts them away.
Destructive Effects of One’s Wounds
Given the above intensity of one’s needs, it is clear how one could suffer from relationship breakups again and again. One also become vulnerable of abusive relationships, either as its victim or as the one who unknowingly causes the suffering of others. Below are some of the possible destructive effects of such wounds in one’s relationships:
1. Perfectionism in Oneself and in Others
One’s very low self-esteem could become cloaked in a high degree of perfectionism thinking that unless one becomes so perfect, one could never be worthy of love.
2. Inability/ Unwillingness to Admit One’s Mistakes
One may become so stubborn to the extent that one wouldn’t want to admit one’s mistakes for fear that if someone finds out that they made one, that would make them bad and the more unworthy of love. They have very little self-esteem and whatever self-esteem they have may have become dependent on their outside behavior that if even such becomes stained, they would have nothing more left.
3. Black and White Thinking
In his confusion, one may decide to see the world only in terms of very clear principles. He doesn’t want to see vague shades of grey. He merely wants to see things in black and white! Hence, he uses the same categorization among people such that people could only be either evil or good. If you’re not good or perfect, then you are evil If you are evil, you are among those people who have deserted and hurt him, and sooner or later, he knows you would leave him, too.
4. Lack of Object Constancy
Object constancy should have been formed in our childhood. It is the belief that an object still exists even if one cannot see that object for a while. For example, even if a parent leaves for a while, the child should have a firm belief that the parent would come back for him, and he hasn’t lost his parent just because he couldn’t see him for a while. But what if that kind of bonding did not exist in one’s childhood? What if his mother or father left him, never to come back for him again?
The results for the grownup adult would be devastating because he’d always have that fear that if he couldn’t see his loved one, she might not be there anymore for him! This is the reason why some people monitor so closely where their loved ones are. This is the reason for the frequent phone calls, for the constant demand of attention, for the tantrums whenever one becomes even a few minutes late for a date.
5. Controlling Behavior
One who has lived most of his life feeling empty and without the things he desires the most could grow as a defense mechanism a controlling behavior. He doesn’t want more uncertainties, he wants to be on top of things. If in case he finds someone who loves him, he’d do anything to keep her, even to the point of controlling her. What are some means of control?
One strategy in order to control someone is to isolate her especially from family and friends. Without their support, she becomes dependent on him alone. He becomes her world.
Without having the financial means, his partner will not be able to do much for herself. In order to ask for money then, she must comply to the rules of the one controlling the money.
Verbal assault or abuse is a means of degrading the self esteem of another person. He could tell her how worthless she is or how nobody could ever fall in love with her so she should be thankful he is still there.
When all else fails, he could even use physical violence just to make her comply to his wants. He also uses a previous incident of violence to threaten her whenever she starts to act in a way that is displeasing to him.
6. Inability / Unwillingness to Empathize with Others
Because he is very much wounded and cannot manage even his own emotions, he has no ability or willingness to sympathize with the needs of others. He may appear sensitive, but not to your own needs, only to his needs, his hurts, his feelings.
7. Lack of Trust
One may have been hurt and rejected so many times that one finds it very difficult to trust others anymore. This lack of trust creates tension in a relationship because the other person always feels the need to gain the other person’s trust but couldn’t get it.
8. Inability to Remember the Good that You Have Done
One suffering from too much wounds seems unable to remember all the good you have done for him in the past. All he could remember is your present deeds, whether good or bad. Hence, if you have done something wrong today, you are evil! It’s exhausting to live in such a relationship because you always feel the need to prove yourself, you almost can’t breathe because a slight imperfection could cause the ruin of the entire relationship.
9. Inability to Observe One’s Personal Limits
One who has felt so alone and empty could have trouble in respecting other people’s limits. For them, if they are able to find someone to have a relationship with, the other person is merely an extension of themselves, not another person with her own beliefs, priorities and interests.
10. Unpredictable Moods and Anger
Due to very deep wounds, fears and unaddressed feelings of insecurity and worthlessness, a person may exhibit certain moods that would surprise other people in their lives. They may even have illogical bursts of anger that are so extreme that his partner may often wonder where they ever came from.
Have you been living with a person exhibiting certain behavior such as the above? Or have you yourself felt similar reactions you never wanted to do in the first place? You or your loved one may have very deep wounds in your heart and very deep cravings for a perfect love you may never find in just one person, especially an imperfect one.
What you need is a time to heal those wounds. Give yourself time to recover, and time to be loved by other people who care for you like family and friends. One day, when you’re both ready, you may love better and stronger than before.
The above post is an excerpt from my book “Mend My Broken Heart” (download free preview copy) .
This book is a result of years of listening to real people who have real hurts and who struggle with the pain of not knowing how to heal a broken heart. For more than 10 years, Jocelyn Soriano has been a go-to friend, author and prayer partner and has helped inspire people through her writings.
“No matter how much we want to, there is no magic formula in healing a broken heart. There is no time-frame also. What we need is to know that our suffering is not meaningless, that the love we have given was never wasted, and that somewhere beyond all our pain, there is hope, hope that could help us endure the hurt we’re going through.”