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Why the fear of not being wanted appears, and how to face it

Why the fear of not being wanted appears, and how to face it

January 29, 2023

Let's do a little experiment. Let's try to remember a hug, a kiss or an act or situation in which you have known that you were loved. Let's remember the situation, the internal warmth that comes from the chest and that expands to the rest of the body. If we talk about love, we relive the sensations that went through every part of our being.

Now imagine that this situation will not happen again, that no one will reciprocate your affection or even that what you lived is nothing more than a lie. How would we feel? That is what happens to them those people who are afraid of not being loved .

  • Related article: "The 4 types of love: what different kinds of love are there?"

The need for love and affection

We all need to love and want us. Feeling affection is a need that the human race has had since the beginning of its existence, and that in the end it is a basic survival mechanism in a gregarious species like ours. It is a need that we have from the earliest childhood, and that will mark the way we perceive ourselves, others and the world in general.


So that, Affection is one of the elements that help us understand the world and our own identity , being a basic need. But not everyone loves us or all people like us: throughout our lives we will be rejected, ignored or avoided by someone, just as we will not love the whole world either.

It is something that usually does not take away our sleep, but under certain circumstances sometimes some people extrapolate to their immediate environment and the whole of humanity: it can awaken the fear of not being loved.

However, have on occasion the fear of not being loved or being rejected It is not something strange depending on the situation we are living. The fear of not being loved can arise virtually anyone at some point in life, but if we are facing a constant and persistent fear over time it becomes a problem that brings serious difficulties to the person who suffers.


  • Related article: "The 16 types of fear and their characteristics"

The fear of not being wanted: basic aspects

The fear of rejection or of not being loved generates, as is evident, a great personal suffering. The person goes on to focus on pleasing others and seeking approval of the environment, or to avoid submitting their fear to trial. In many cases even the way of acting is shaped and adjusted to what others demand, becoming chameleon to please.

It is common that although these people want to be loved and loved, unconsciously look for signs that confirm their fear, being much more likely to attribute gestures, ways of speaking, jokes or attitudes to dislike that they consider others have them. Thus, the fear of not being loved goes in most cases along with the fear of being rejected.

Another aspect that may be relatively frequent is that those who have a permanent fear of not being loved feel strange, out of place, as if they do not belong to any of the environments in which they find themselves. They may also feel empty and lacking in anything that makes them interesting. It is usually linked to the lack of self-esteem or self-acceptance


Also, in some cases relationships with others based on the fear of not being loved stop focusing on what we like about the other person to focus on what he or she thinks of us and make those thoughts are favorable to us . In other words, the relationship is no longer sincere to be a search (sometimes desperate) to be loved by someone. In a few words, you may end up going from an "I love you near because I love you" to a "I love you because I need you".

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How can someone act with fear of not being loved?

One of the most frequent consequences of the fear of not being loved is that the person who has it focus too much on pleasing others . Based on this need, you can assume a submissive and / or dramatic role, seeking to draw attention continuously or doing almost everything you are asked or support vexations as long as you have someone at your side. In these cases it is even possible that people deny and cancel part of their way of being to please, assuming a different role to the one that would normally take.

Another possible consequence of this fear is the opposite of the previous one. And, paradoxically, the fear of not being loved can also cause the person suffering from it to reach avoid contact with others and socially isolate in order to avoid a possible rejection that indicates (in his perspective) clearly that he is not wanted.

What comes up?

Although people with this fear do not have to have suffered any type of problem at a vital level, the truth is that it is much more frequent in subjects with some specific characteristics and experiences.

People with fear of not being loved often have very low self-esteem and low self-esteem. They tend to be underestimated and look unimportant . In most cases they are insecure and have a high sensitivity that makes them feel very intense. Sometimes they have unrealistic expectations about themselves or the world, setting too high goals to reach them or hoping that their way of being is liked by all or at least those they know.

In many cases we are dealing with people who have suffered some kind of abuse in childhood or throughout its development. Excessively rigid parenting patterns or those that punish their way of being can make them feel inadequate and inferior.

The opposite end, overprotection by the family It can also generate this fear when they go outside and find an environment that protects and treats us in the same way. And we are not only talking about family abuse: also the experience of continued bullying or bullying can be (by itself or accompanied by other abuses) one of the causes or motives that can cause someone to be afraid of not being loved and be hypersensitive to rejection.

Another frequent reason is the existence of abandonment: children who have been abandoned by one or both parents or who have grown up in social institutions may feel unloved by the medium and come to believe that nobody or very few people can. It can also arise after a sentimental break or after several rejections of love.

Possible consequences

The persistent fear of not being loved may, as we mentioned above, have more or less severe consequences on the person's behavior.

One of the possible problems is that they perform behaviors that in effect lead them to not be appreciated. Excessive avoidance of contact or the continuous emission of behaviors that seek attention can end up causing them to be rejected in the end or their contacts with others are merely superficial, which in turn will enhance the fear and continuation of their behavior. Thus a self-fulfilling prophecy effect would be generated: even if the person was not initially rejected, the way he acts when thinking about such a thing generates that he ends up being him.

Another problem is exhaustion: the fact of not being able to be oneself and to force ourselves to be something that we are not spending a lot of resources, which in the long run can generate problems of anxiety and depression. It can also lead to social phobia.

It can also lead, in extreme cases, to accept or not to report specific abuses. For example, in many cases of women (or men) who suffer abuse by their partners these abuses are not reported by fear, both the possible consequences and to be left alone without that person (which on the other hand many aggressors / as tend to empower the victim away from their close environment). Or even if there is no direct abuse, it can also occur in the academic or work environment or even at the level of family and friends, enduring abusive treatment and degrading conditions or simply not acting as they are to be liked.

If the fear occurs permanently and is established in early periods of life, it can cause problems in the acquisition of an integrated identity , or even to cause the emergence of personality disorders. Two of the most typical examples are the dependent personality disorder and the histrionic personality disorder, although other problems such as narcissism may arise among other elements of this fear.

Can it be changed?

People who suffer from the fear of not being loved (understood as something permanent and not something punctual that, we repeat, can happen to almost anyone) are often afraid that this situation will continue and will never change.

However, the truth is that this fear can be treated. The training in social skills and assertiveness It can be useful for this, as well as the cognitive restructuring of beliefs (about themselves and others) and dysfunctional expectations. You can work the fact that personal relationships do not depend only on the subject and their behavior but also on the other side, as well as trying to generate alternative interpretations of what the subject considers evidence that is not wanted.

It is also useful to show that rejection is something that we all live in some occasion, and relativize the importance of this fact. It may even be useful to put ourselves in the worst possible scenario and decatastrophize someone who does not love us.

The practice of role-playings and expressive therapies can lead the patient to express the suffering that this fear provokes. The use of behavioral treatments is also very useful (although the latter can be difficult for the patient to assume). By last, group therapy can be a useful and effective mechanism to help the patient to improve their situation by socially facing fear.

  • Maybe you're interested: "The 14 main social skills to succeed in life"

How To Overcome Fear And Anxiety In 30 Seconds (January 2023).


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