How to love after an unloving childhood

No parent will admit they don’t love their child. But it happens more often than it should. Just by looking at an unloved child sometimes we can immediately detect the scars.

When a child lacks of affection, he develops behaviors that manifest his pain.

Childs don’t understand what’s happening to them when they’re very small. An unloved child sees the world as a threatening place, like they’re all alone.

Consequences as adults

Unloved childs see almost everything they do as their fault. And that nothing is enough to get their parents to finally accept them. Strong feelings of blame develop because of all this. They’ll create a negative self-image and develop insecurity.

Lack of affection in a child is revealed by:

1. Struggle 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.

2. Lack of trust

Developing a sense of trust depends on what we received. During childhood, it is important that the people around us give us love to feel safe.

3. Insecurity

If a child can not rely on the very people who are responsible for his or her caregiving, how can he or she rely on anyone?

4. Fear of failure

Children who grow up in a neglectful environment never develop a healthy sense of self-worth. They may have fear of the dark, certain situations, or even the outside world. On the other hand, a loving environment can give confidence.

5. Over-sensitivity

“Stop being so sensitive” is a typical phrase of abusers; making the already fragile sensibility worse. For someone who grow up in an unloving home, to not take things personally is difficult.

6. Depression and anxiety

Unloved children often battle mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are the two most common illnesses in the world. And the chances of developing both is higher with child neglect.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

Tony Robbins

Unloved children love differently (and it’s a good thing)

I spent a lot of my early adulthood trying to understand what “love” really was. I had a lot of issues as a child and had difficulty loving myself. Fortunately, through many years of self-discovery and effort, I became the person I am today: more authentic, happier version of myself and – I hope – someone who feels and loves deeply.

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

In turn, there are many good things about unloved children:

1. They understand that love is so much more

‘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.

You probably understand that feeling and expressing love is so much more than the words, “I love you”. It’s about trusting someone and being trusting. It’s about respecting a person and his dreams. The pain you experienced as a child has helped you to gain a deeper understanding of what “love” really is.

2. They know the value of trust

Growing up feeling unloved and unappreciated can leave scares 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.

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. You’ve probably realized that it’s not your fault and know by now that nobody deserves to be treated like you were.

This has helped you to become kinder, more compassionate and empathetic. Throughout many of your relationships, you probably feel a deep love for people and want them to know that no matter what happens, that someone loves and cares about them.

4. They give all they can

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 carefulness in selecting partners also has a plus side. You want to surround yourself with people who love and deserve you. Your wall will come down when you’ve found the right person for you.

5. They are very sensitive

If you’re someone who felt neglected during childhood, your sensitivity levels might be quite high. You might believe that you have to be perfect to be a ‘good’ 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.

6. They 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 does nobody any good, especially for yourself.

You might find it easier to forgive as much as you can. You know that relationships benefit from compromise and forgiveness. Nobody is perfect and you understand that.

7. They just want their loved ones to be happy!

With the painful experiences that you’ve endured, you 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, appearance, how we compare to others – is simply not as important.


Human beings need touch, hugs, and warm words throughout our whole lives. Especially in our early years.

These signs of affection are the emotional “food” we need to grow. They’re a basic need, just like eating or sleeping.

Learning to love yourself is a journey.
When you believe that you are important and can make a positive difference in the world, you transform the way you think about yourself and how you love others.

Written by

Francesco Castronovo

It's nice to meet you, and welcome to my world.
I have 3 passions in life: Art, Psychology and Spirituality. I find deep meaning in my life by helping others with my life experiences, and leave them something to remember. Learn more »

1 thought on “How to love after an unloving childhood”

  1. I needed to thank you for this wonderful read. I enjoyed every bit of it.
    I have book-marked you for new articles you post…


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