Love is a strange feeling that makes one crazy about it. It makes the world go round as the saying goes. But many confuses love to emotional hunger which is not love at all. Emotional hunger feeds our anxiety.
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Science has proven that emotions like love and fear have very different vibrations. They can actually measure them. Love vibrates very fast, whereas fear-based emotions (think jealousy, possessiveness, hatred, greed, etc.) vibrate very slowly. When you love completely and unconditionally, there is no fear involved. The vibrations of love make you feel good at all times.
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Love actually enjoys giving attention to another person. It feels good, and doesn’t see giving attention to another person as a chore. There is no expectations as they are just your requirements for “acceptability” of loving someone. Love doesn’t take things personally. It forgives and allows other people’s actions to be their journey.
True love doesn’t want to possess and it is willing to set you free if you want to be. You can leave the relationship and love them anyway or they may drive you crazy with their continued disregard for your feelings. Jealousy doesn’t equal love because true love has confidence in the quality of the relationship.
True love is wanting someone, not needing someone which is the feeling based in fear. Wanting someone in your life gives them the freedom to leave, but still shows them you love them.
When we’re in love, we have an intense emotion that we are addicted to it. And we want to feel that way forever because you feel it good. But after awhile, such intensity gone for awhile because it is not new anymore. However, this is the time that don’t assume that the person you love know it. You must show it. Love requires attention and doesn’t ignore.
When people truly love another person, learn to accept the differences. Real love doesn’t make other people wrong for being different. If there is jealousy, possessiveness, constant fighting, abuse (verbal, emotional or physical), that is not love. Those are fear-based emotions and actions.
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But what if love is confuse with emotional hunger which is not actually love but the the hunger for love and this is called emotional hunger.
Emotional hunger is “a feeling of a strong emotional need that is usually brought about by deprivation in childhood”. When a person grows up without love or affection as a child, that manifests itself as this strong need for emotional closeness as an adult. To get this need met, a deprived person may latch onto a romantic partner or their child.
Collete Dowling: Can you tell the difference between love and emotional hunger?
- Real love nourishes the other person, be it a child or an adult. The real lover is interested in supporting the other person and encourages the unfolding of his or her personality.
- Emotional hunger has little to do with the other person and quite a bit more to do with oneself. The person driven by emotional hunger didn’t get the love she needed as a child.
- In a family, emotional hunger gets passed from generation to generation.
- The emotionally hungry parent uses the child for his or her own needs, thus creating an emotionally hungry child.
In Dr. Robert Firestone book, Compassionate Child Rearing, he noted that if parents are genuinely loving, and attuned they will have a nurturing effect on the child, which has a positive effect on his or her ongoing development. That child will tend to be securely attached, harmonious in his /her relationships, and tolerant of intimacy as an adult.
Parents who are capable of loving can maintain boundaries. The child of such parents feels and looks loved and is deeply secure.
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Whereas, in emotional hunger, you are choosing people based on conscious criteria, but in fact a lot of times you are choosing people based on our deep longing to fill up our emotional black holes. You are choosing in line with what you truly need. When you are hungry, it doesn’t matter what you eat. Same as when you’re emotionally hungry, you don’t care who or what you’re with. Just the fact that someone is giving you any attention is all one needs to latch on and makes you happy. You’re looking at this person to meet all your emotional needs and give you all the things you never got. And with this reason, it doesn’t matter if the relationship is built in reality. With this type of relationship, you are putting much pressure on a relationship or a person to complete you. This is a primitive condition of pain and longing which people often act out in a desperate attempt to fill a void or emptiness. You expect too much for how well this person can heal you.
Emotional hunger is the result of not getting what one needed as a child. This emptiness is related to the pain of aloneness and separateness and can never realistically be fully satisfied in an adult relationship. Yet people refuse to bear their pain and to face the futility of gratifying these primitive needs and dependency.
Because of the confusion between emotional hunger and love, both on the part of parents and outside observers, much innocent damage is perpetrated on children in the name of love.
Collete Dowling: The emotionally hungry parent uses the child for her own needs. What are some signs of emotionally hungry parenting? It can be seen in a variety of behaviors.
* anxious over concern and overprotection
* resentment of a child’s accomplishments
* wanting an attention the child gets for oneself
Parents who are capable of giving love are not themselves emotionally hungry. They have a positive self image and can feel compassion for the child. Parents who are capable of loving can maintain boundaries. The child of such a parents looks loved. If parents are genuinely loving, and attuned they will have a nurturing effect on the child, which has a positive effect on his or her ongoing development. That child will tend to be securely attached, harmonious in his /her relationships, and tolerant of intimacy as an adult.
Parents who are emotionally hungry act compulsively in relation to their children in much the same manner as an addict. Their exaggerated attention and involvement have an ongoing negative impact on the child’s development. These parents often find it difficult to reduce the intensity of their contact even when they recognize that the contact is damaging.
Emotionally hungry parents are often overly protective of their children. They limit a child’s experience and ability to cope with life and instill an abnormal form of dependency.
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Sometimes, a mother/father always tell you how much she/he loved you, that you are the most important thing in her/his life and that she/he can’t accept to loss you but you don’t believe her/him because you didn’t feel it. You know that you are not really loved because you are emotionally hungered for by her/him. Her/his lack of love and affection in childhood turned into an obsessive need for you that was not at all loving.
Or in another scenario, like for example you grew up in a home where your father was emotionally unavailable or distant and you had to fight for your father’s attention and affection, you are likely to go on and find someone who you “spark” with that is essential the emotional carbon copy of your father. This is the horror you woke up to when you realized that Mr. Narcissist was the emotional equivalent of your mother. The reason why you felt so overwhelming attracted to him and like you had known him your whole life. You actually had, and it was your mother. Your issues correspond with their issues and the result is pain.
Emotionally hungry parents are overly dependent and emotionally volatile, write Firestone and Catlett, in their book, Fear of Intimacy. They develop clinging behavior and are afraid to explore the environment. In being overly concerned with his or her physical health, they induce excessive fear reactions and tendencies toward hypochondria. Some overly protective parents may attempt to isolate their children from peers or other extra-familial influences that might have a negative impact. However, when carried to an extreme, such exclusion limits the child in his or her exposure to a variety of different attitudes and approaches to life, and is detrimental to a child’s trust in other people and ability to function in the world.
Contact with an emotionally hungry parent leaves a child impoverished, anxiously attached, and hurting. The more contact between this type of parent and the child, the more the parent is damaging to the child’s security and comfort. This style of relating–excessive touching, over-concern for the child or over-involvement in the child’s life–not only violates the child’s boundaries but also promotes withholding responses in the youngster. This can result in serious limitations in both the child’s later career and personal life, can threaten his or her sense of self and autonomy, and can be more destructive than more obvious abuses.
According to NYC psychotherapist Colette Dowling, LMSW, children of hungry parents develop reciprocal hunger. They’re overly dependent and emotionally volatile. They develop clinging behavior and are afraid to explore the environment.
* Children of emotionally hungry parents have higher than normal anxiety states.
*They fear success (which, emotionally, would mean separation from the parent) and in love relationships they tend to be withholding because of earlier fears of being depleted or sucked dry.
Robert Firestone, Ph.D. said that many parents overstep the personal boundaries of their children in various ways: by inappropriately touching them, going through their belongings, reading their mail, and requiring them to perform for friends and relatives. This type of parental intrusiveness seriously limits children’s personal freedom and autonomy. Many mothers and fathers speak for their children, take over their productions as their own, brag excessively about their accomplishments, and attempt to live vicariously through them.
SelfGrowth: As adults, children of emotionally hungry parents have higher than normal anxiety states. They fear success (which, emotionally, would mean separation from the parent) and in love relationships they tend to be withholding because of earlier fears of being depleted or sucked dry. Emotionally hungry parenting has put them “on the take”, in other words. They feel deprived. What is given to them, by the other, is never enough. They may be terrified of having children of their own for fear they will be emptied.
Some questions for assessing your own level of emotional hunger:
* How willing are you for your mate to have friends of his (or her) own?
* Are you envious or your mate’s successes and involvement with work?
* Do you believe your mate should spend all of his (or her) spare time with you?
Dr. Firestone said that the difference between loving responses and those determined by emotional hunger can be distinguished by an objective observer, but it is difficult for parents themselves to make the distinction.
Three factors are valuable in ascertaining the difference:
(1) the internal feeling state of the parent,
(2) the actual behavior of the parent in relating to the child, and
(3) the observable effect of the parent’s emotional state and behavior on the child’s demeanor and behavior.
A parent who is capable of giving love typically has a positive self-image and maintains a sense of compassion for the child and for himself, yet remains separate and aware of the boundaries between them. Such a parent acts respectfully toward the child, and is not abusive or overprotective. The tone and style of communication is natural and easy and indicates a real understanding of the individuality of the child. The loved child actually looks loved. He or she is lively and displays independence appropriate to his or her age level. He or she is genuinely centered in himself or herself. The child subjected to emotional hunger is desperate, dependent, and either emotionally volatile or deadened. An onlooker can observe these important differential effects on children and can often trace them to the specific feeling states of the parent.
Although there are some exceptions, the concept of emotional hunger has not been sufficiently investigated in the psychological literature. Yet it is one of the principal factors negatively affecting child-rearing practices. The immaturity of many parents manifested as a powerful need to fulfill themselves through their children has serious negative consequences on a child’s development and subsequent adjustment. By recognizing important manifestations of this core conflict within themselves, many parents in the Compassionate Child-Rearing Parent Education Program have changed responses to their offspring that were based on incorrect assumptions, and have significantly improved the quality of their family relationships. Finally, from our studies of family interactions, we have begun to question the quality of the maternal-infant bond or attachment formed in the early hours and days of an infant’s life. As students of human behavior, we feel it is incumbent on us and on developmental psychologists to clarify the extent to which this bond or attachment may be based on emotional hunger and the needs of immature parents for an imagined connection to the child rather than on genuine concern and love for the child.
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It is painful but bearable for people to experience these feelings of hunger and face their own emotional needs. Unfortunately, most individuals choose to deny or avoid this pain as they did when they were young. They seek outlets or choose courses of action that help them deny their pain or kill off the sensations of aloneness. They create fantasies of connecting themselves to others and imagine that they belong to each other. When these fantasy bonds are formed, real love goes down the drain. [see my earlier blog: December 5, 2008 ]. The emotions of love and respect for others disappear as we become possessive and controlling and as we make use of one another as a narcotic to kill off sensations of hunger and pain.
A fantasy bond can become a death pact in which the individuals narcotize each other to kill off pain and genuine feeling. Often it serves as a license to act out destructive behavior because the individuals belong to each other and have implicitly agreed that their relationship will last forever. The myth of the family love and regard for the individuals that comprise it is a shared conspiracy to deny the aloneness and pain of its members. It is a concerted refusal to acknowledge the facts of life, death and separateness and live with integrity.
Collete Dowling: The victim of emotional hunger does not feel loved, can’t feel loved, because life will never offer enough compensation for what was lost in childhood. The sad truth is that love can’t cure the victim of emotional hunger for the simple reason that he or she can’t FEEL love.
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Nikki Nicole: It’s not the responsibility of the other person to make you happy. It’s your own job and responsibility to do the emotional work needed to fill you emotionally and work through all of your past emotional and relationship traumas. I understand all this first hand as all of my relationships originated from a place of need. Since I’ve been placing the focus on making myself happy, my outlook on life and relationships has been totally different. It’s truly unfair to load the weight of your emotional well-being on someone else. I know how it feels to be on the other end now, and it’s not a good feeling. I truly realize how miserable that makes a person and how quickly that will send them running in the opposite direction. You know what I’m talking about: the person whose self-esteem is so low that no matter how much love and affection you show them it’s never enough. It’s like it goes to some black hole. Eventually this leads to the building of resentment and the loss of attraction. Now I understand why a few of my ex-boyfriends ran for the hills. Nothing they did would have ever been enough for me, because I was so emotionally hungry. I’m not say this is the always the reason why a commitmentphobe leaves. I realize a lot of times that commitmentphobes leave because you’re not filling their own emotional black holes. So you see how this becomes a vicious cycle? You’re not happy with you and are expecting them to fill you up and they’re not happy with themselves and are expecting you to fill them up. Since both of you are trying to get the same need meet, and both of you are incapable of giving that need to the other person, the relationship usually implodes ending in both partners feeling misunderstood, used and even emotionally deficient.
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The solution: The truth of emotional hunger is allowing yourself to face those needs and addressing why, where and how. Until you can become emotionally honest with yourself about that hunger you won’t be able to fix it. This process is difficult because often we are in denial about why we do what we do and why our relationships end. We are usually on the end pointing fingers at the other person, blaming them for the demise of the relationship that we can’t face our part in it. Until you can bring yourself to start being honest with yourself you will continue to be an emotional vampire in your interpersonal relationships. Once you acknowledge your truth you must began to do the inner work needed to heal the hunger and to raise your self-esteem and self-worth. For that part of your work a licensed and truly understanding psychologist goes a long way. Be warned that once you embark on healing your emotional hunger a lot of pain and hurt from deep within will come out and up for healing. It will get worse before it gets better. Those are those feelings that we’ve been tapping down and covering up with the use of relationships, food, sex, drugs, etc. They all serve as a distraction from the real issue which is this pain at the heart of love hunger. This quest to quench your love hunger is not for the faint of heart. I am still traveling on my own journey in healing those same pains, as it often comes up in layers no matter how many years you are removed from the situation. Every day I have to choose to heal those feelings that come up and to let them go so that they are no longer stumbling blocks. Are you ready to feed yourself or are going to stay hungry? (Nikki Nicole)
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A person who suffers from emotional hunger doesn’t feel loved. The things that stand in the way of feeling love can come to be understood and repaired in psychotherapy or in counselling. Always start to know the root cause of such love hunger.
However, if you have no enough money to seek theraphist, then try to nurture inner self for you and your loved ones to stop the cycle of love hunger. Don’t break promises to yourself, eat properly, get enough sleep. Failing your promises to yourself is self-critical or fail to take good care of your body and your self. In fact, most people who treated well to themselves, they would be treated same too by their friends.
Focus on building your self esteem by:
* learning to take care of your own emotional needs not wants
* taking caring of yourself physically and mentally
* encouraging yourself by staying positive
* get into the habit of doing special things for yourself
* let people know what you want and don’t want. Set healthy boundaries with others
* protect yourself and become your own advocate. If someone disrespect or hurt you, speak up in a nice way by telling them not to be rude and you don’t want to be treated that way.
* always believe in yourself..
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“When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~Honore de Balzac
Tiny Buddha: You know what that voice in your head says…
You can’t do it. You’ll never be good enough. You’re going to fail.
This voice taunts you whenever you set a goal. It criticizes you when life gets difficult. It beats you down when you struggle to stand up against its running commentary.
You know you shouldn’t let self-doubt bother you, but it’s a sneaky critter. Sometimes, you just can’t contain it and it slips past your barriers.
And self-doubt is greedy. When it’s loose, it devours your confidence, strips logic and reason from your mind, and steals happiness from your heart. In return, it leaves you with only fear and insecurity.
You try to remove self-doubt by forcing yourself to “think positive,” which usually doesn’t work as well as you think it should.
The desire to overcome love hunger is a huge undertaking and won’t be a quite fix but it something that you can accomplish.
* and the most significant is begin the compassion to yourself.
Lauren Mackler: Have compassion for your humanity and your flaws. You’re human and you’re going to make mistakes. Look at yourself through the eyes of a loving parent; don’t punish or criticize yourself. Reassure yourself. Comfort yourself. Accept yourself unconditionally. And show that same compassion for your own parents and others, because they, too, are
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Love has empathy
Empathy is the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes and see a situation from his/her point of view. Love has deep empathy. “When you hurt, I hurt.” People who truly love one another don’t want to hurt them. They want them to feel good. They care about their feelings and try everything they can to make them feel valued and worthy.
Remember, love is happiness, appreciation and feeling good. Anything other than that is not love. If we all loved one another as ourselves, the world would be a better place!
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