Love. We all want it. We develop many ways of trying to get love and be loved. From the time we are infants, we do not thrive without it. When we don’t get it, we may turn to many addictions to fill the emptiness that occurs when we don’t feel loved. When we feel loved we are on top of the world.
Yet many people have a fear of loving. Not a fear of being loved—a fear of loving.
Why Would Someone Fear Loving?
Unless you have a strong inner loving adult self who knows how to handle rejection and loss, loving might feel too scary to you.
We learn this fear early. Many of us experienced much rejection and loss as little children—way too much for us to handle without a loving parent to help us through it. But far too often, it is the parents who are doing the rejecting through various forms of abuse, or it is parents, siblings or grandparents who die and there is no one there to help us manage the intense pain of loss.
When we are rejected or abused by people we love, or we lose people we love, we may become fearful of loving.
Are You Like Danny and Hector?
Danny was a highly sensitive child. He grew up with an emotionally unavailable mother and an angry, critical father. Danny recalls numerous times as a very young child where he was devastated by his father's anger and his mother's coldness. He decided early that it was too risky to love, so he closed down his heart and learned various ways of trying to get love without risking loving.
Now, as an adult, he loves only when he feels safe from rejection. He loves his pets and sometimes his children, but finds it very scary to love his wife. The problem is that Danny never learned how to lovingly manage the painful feelings of rejection, so to love his wife and risk rejection feels too scary.
A friend of mine, Greg, lost his sister to illness when he was small. Greg's father, Hector, was so devastated by the loss that he completely shut down and left the rest of the family—leaving his two other children and his wife. A brilliant man, he took a menial job picking crops, traveling around the world so that he never attached to anyone or anything. This was his way of protecting against his fear of loss. Because Hector had no inner resources to manage loss, his terror of loving led him to leave the world of caring and sharing.
Losing a loved one to death is one of the most heartbreaking experiences in life. The only way we can manage the heartbreak is when we have a strong connection with the love and comfort of our personal source spiritual guidance. Without access this source of comfort, loving might feel too scary.
Yet, if we don't love, we never experience the greatest joy on the planet—the sharing of love. We never get to know that getting love from another will never fill the emptiness and aloneness within—that it is filled only through loving ourselves and sharing our love with others.