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Receiving Love

(Scroll Down to “An Opportunity For Healing” to understand how to come back from self-rejection.)

Let yourself be loved. Do you struggle to allow love into your life? Does your partner? Learn the path to feeling wholly loved.

Most couples are unaware when they get into relationship of the pitfalls of being with a partner who cannot receive love. According to Harville Hendrix, author of Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationship By Letting Yourself Be Loved, this inability to accept being loved comes from imbedded self-rejection.

Lack of self-love renders a person unable to receive love from you. When you are robbed of the pleasure of giving love that is gratefully received and reciprocated your relationship can be a lonely place.
These issues stem directly from what happened to you or your partner during childhood. And although your parents were doing the best they could, and you must have a compassionate heart when thinking about any childhood disapproval or neglect you sustained. You can overcome these issues and mature into a healthy, love-filled experience with your partner.

This article I’ve written for you includes an excerpt from Receiving Love that illustrates how being rejected or neglected by your parent(s) leads to an inability to receive love.

Receiving Love Harville


Rejection and Neglect By Parents — Difficulties Receiving Love?

If you or your mate won’t accept positive comments or seems consistently dissatisfied with what is available to them…
Or feels like everything they hear is a criticism…
If you or your mate demean yourself and exalt you over themselves or vice versa…
If there is a lot of self criticism or you or your partner does not value one of you…
If you have a relationship that feels deprived of the pleasurable things in life…
If you’ve described one of you as a perfectionist, or abusive and they don’t let love in…

An excerpt directly quoted from Harville Hendrix's Receiving Love book:

An Opportunity For Healing

“We’ve already seen that many of the problems partners have in relationships can be traced back to large and small incidents in their separate childhoods when their natural needs and expressions were ignored, disapproved of, or intruded upon. Because the response to parental disapproval or neglect is to reject in yourself whatever your parent rejected, you grow up to be a partner who carries a measure of self-hatred with you into your relationship. This self-hatred is not benign. It forms the basis of specific problems that are common in intimate relationships.

Following is an outline of how parental rejection leads to self-rejection, which leads to an inability to allow oneself to receive love, and a consequent to give love:

1. When we are born, openness and receptivity are our natural state.
2. Sooner or later, our parents or caretakers wound us.
3. The wound occurs when a caretaker does not properly deal with our normal developmental needs and functions. The wound comes in the form of either neglect or invasiveness of some aspects of our natural self.
4. We split off these “dangerous” self-parts because our caretakers do not support them, and these self-parts form what we call the “missing self.”
5. Every time we are wounded and split, our conscious self gets smaller, and our unconscious self gets larger. Our available pool of skills and resources is depleted, and our unconscious burden of rejected parts grows heavier. Instead of being able to meet the demands of life with a full complement of emotional and behavioral options, we meet life with a limited number of defensive reactions.
6. We use common defenses, including becoming overly controlling, self-absorbed, and symbiotic, as ways of trying to protect ourselves from further pain. We try to micromanage our environments as a way of keeping ourselves safe, and/or we hold tightly onto what’s left of ourselves as a way of protecting against further encroachment.
7. In addition, we try to make the pain of rejection go away by denying our needs (which were the cause of our rejection in the first place) and replacing them with defenses. We resist satisfying our needs in order not to activate the wound, and the pain it is causing, out of consciousness.
8. Then, we try to fill up the emptiness our defenses cause with things that only add to our unhappiness because they aren’t what’s really missing and because we embrace them excessively through either self-indulgence or self-denial. We grab onto food, drugs, work, parenting, gambling, spending, starving, or other compensating behaviors, and engage with them in an extreme way.
9. In everything we do, there is the hint or the strain of self-rejection or self-hatred.
10. In order to stay in contact with our rejected self-parts without having to stay conscious of them, we project them onto our partners.
11. The degree to which we carry self-hatred is the degree to which we can’t receive love. It is so painful to become aware – in the form of appreciation or love – of the parts of ourselves we have rejected that we resist and the reject the gifts themselves. And sometimes we reject the people who brings us the gifts.

The people around us can often see what our defenses make us blind to. They see that we are attractive, competent, compassionate or persistent when we cannot own these attributes in ourselves. Even though we have submerged our awareness of these qualities,some of them are still visible to others. So when we receive information from the outside world about the parts of ourselves that we have lost or denied (our missing self), we are forced to experience directly the pain of our loss. We can no longer ignore or slide past the wound and the hole it has left. Others call us into the painful experience of those parts of ourselves we have disowned.

Regardless of whether the input from other is positive or negative, taking it in – receiving it- means having to confront the fact that we are broken human beings. We are not innocent and trusting, ready to meet life with the assurance that we are wholly loved and okay, which is the state into which we are born. We have sustained losses. Experiencing the broken shards of what’s left or the void that represents what is missing is painful, and t feels dangerous. After all, the rejected aspects of our being have been the subject of disapproval by the people we depended upon for life. It’s safer to block information about our missing selves than to become conscious of our pain. It is easier to go without love than to accept a form of love that reawakens our fears of loss. In fact, to receive love feels far more generous than to be without it.” — Harville Hendrix “Receiving Love

2 Responses

  1. Very perceptive. The late Dr. Fred Downing used to deal with extreme forms of this phenomenon induced by abuse from a substance-abusing caregiver. I’d not considered it as an impediment to receiving love. “Aha!” moment. Thanks.

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