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Being unlovable and unloved

(81 Posts)
WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Wed 09-Nov-16 23:59:04

I can't come to terms with it.

I get it, I understand it, I know what it means, I accept it. But I can't come to terms with it. I can't make peace with it. I can't switch off wishing it were different. My heart is heavy.

Something happened this year that gave me cause to think I might be wrong, and that it could be different, but it really just served to show that I was right after all.

If you've accepted this about yourself and come to terms with it, how did you do it? Because I can't.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 10-Nov-16 01:00:28

perhaps you are looking at this wrongly.

perhaps you need to come to terms with your lovely points. just because you do not currently have someone who is in love with you does not make you unlovable.

what do you like about yourself? bet you can come up with a long list of bad traits, but what about the good ones?

goddessofsmallthings Thu 10-Nov-16 01:14:37

Why have you chosen to believe that you are unlovable when the converse is the true state of affairs?

If you truly thought you were unlovable you would most probably choose to keep this unpalatable fact to yourself, but the fact that you're posting here suggests that your ego is struggling to come out from under.

What has brought you to this point?

EBearhug Thu 10-Nov-16 01:35:04

I found a therapist which helped quite a lot, but not completely.

On a rational level I know it's not literally true - but I've been single for years and years, so it feels true on an emotional level. There were things like my mother and sister refusing to be with me the day after my father died, and a few other things like that from my family, which doesn't help.

Mostly I just get on with it and go to work and evening classes and do other things by myself. Occasionally, I cry myself to sleep.

Spartak Thu 10-Nov-16 01:46:36

I got a cat. Sounds like a cliché - middle aged spinster with a cat, but I'm much happier with her.

I'm nearly 40, have been single for years, and all attempts to find someone have failed. I would have liked children but I've accepted that won't ever be part of my life. My cat was from a rescue charity, and her just jumping on my lap and curling up stops the loneliness a little. It never completely goes away but she numbs it. She runs to the door when I get in from work, and at weekends gives me a reason to get up. Maybe sounds a but pathetic to those people with families and a wide social circle but it worked for me.

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Thu 10-Nov-16 05:24:48

To answer the questions, I'm angry with myself that it's the way things are. I'm scared. The loneliness is heavy and oppressive. I'm sad. I need to know how to make the fear and sadness stop. I fear for the future. I feel heartbroken.

I am single, but it's not about that. My parents didn't love me (my dad didn't know how to and my mother openly didn't); I haven't had many relationships but there hasn't been love in them; I have had 2 long term relationships as an adult, including a marriage, and I knew even before we married that he didn't love me. I know a fair number of people and have some friends, but I'm not close to any of them. If I'm 'off grid' due to illness or whatever, no one notices or texts to see how I am, for example, we're just not close. I do know that they do that for each other though because I hear them talk about it.

I have tried, but I don't know how to do it. I have made a real effort to be open and warm, but last year I was told I "keep people at arm's length" and "need to let people in". I thought I did. I feel very vulnerable. I don't know how to be closer to others. Or what it means or looks like. I thought I was.

I don't have a close family. I have children who depend on me, and a brother I'm not close to. I didn't have any contact with him for about a year and a half because his view of me is largely the same as my mother's. But my children don't have any other family from my side, and I haven't provided anyone who loves them either in the form of close friendships. I feel hugely guilty about that. I have made an effort to reconcile with my brother, but it's a very superficial relationship. When my marriage broke down his only concern was the fact that his daughter had lost an uncle and his wedding photos were now ruined (because my exh was his best man). He has made it clear he won't ever be 'there' for us. I don't have any other family.

I accept that I probably wasn't born unlovable, but the complete lack and absence of love in my life generally has meant that it just isn't there. I can't really explain it. I don't know what it is or what it looks like. I have become unlovable.

I cry myself to sleep on occasions too, EBearhug. I'm ok at work because I'm surrounded by people and busy, but I leave at the end of the day and the silence and loneliness is oppressive. i cry in the car on the way home. Don't let the children see it. But the evenings feel very hollow. I feel like I'm just keeping my head down and getting through life and I feel guilty that this is their life too. My daughter says things like, "you're the best mum in the world" and I know I'm not and that it's not true and then I just feel guilty about that too.

I get that this sounds like I'm probably a really negative and difficult person to be around, but I'm not, and i'm not close enough to anyone to have shared it really. These feelings never see the light of day in the real world. I feel like I can see love, deep fondness and close friendships and families and warmth around me. I can see it between and for other people. When I'm with my friends I can feel it is in the room, and I can enjoy it, but none of it is with or for me.

Ebbenmeowgi Thu 10-Nov-16 05:53:54

There's a real epidemic of loneliness here in the UK (think we were named loneliness capital of Europe a couple years ago??). So many people are very disconnected, isolated, feeling similarly to yourself op. I don't know you but very much doubt it's because there is nothing innately loveable about you - I believe everyone has something loveable about themselves, we're just v isolated and it can be very scary to open up our vulnerabilities to one another.

I think only kindness can kill loneliness. I read a study recently in which participants kept a diary of any interactions that involved even just minor kindnesses (either their own acts of kindness or other peoples). They found that even just the process of keeping a diary had a huge impact on people,, it made some people realise they were more connected to other people than they thought and others realised that the people they could really rely on turned out not to be the people they would have initially thought of.

You're doing a wonderful job raising your children, who sound rather sweet and kind. I don't know if you'd have time but would you maybe consider volunteering? Maybe as a befriender or something, reaching out to someone else in your community who is feeling very lonely? That act of kindness may increase your confidence and let you see how much you have to offer??

Or are there any groups you could join where you could have heart felt discussions about things that really matter to you? Like a book club or something?

I really hope things get better for you op ❤

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Thu 10-Nov-16 06:56:30

Ebben It's awful to think that so many people feel like this sad

It's interesting what you say about kindness killing loneliness, especially the diary keeping element of it. It is so easy to be kind and can make such a difference. I think part of the problem for me is that I do get described as 'kind' and 'lovely' but it doesn't appear to make any difference. Kindness is a requirement of my job. But it doesn't make people want to be around me. I can't explain it, it's like there's just something lacking in me.

I do volunteer for a charity, but on a more strategic level. I used to volunteer quite a lot in a supportive role but, unfortunately, I don't have the time at the moment. I work full time in a job that requires me to do a lot of work outside of my standard work hours too and, frankly, I'm exhausted!

I have a couple of hobbies, one I have made my friends through, and I don't have time to take on anything else.

I know it sounds like I'm finding a problem for every solution, but I've tried so many of the things you're supposed to do. I've reached out to others; I offered support; I pay compliments, whether it's to notice someone's hair or comment positively on something at work; I initiate contact; I suggest meeting for coffee etc; I've taken up hobbies; I've pushed myself outside my comfort zone; I've actively met new people...

It is just that when I look at my text messages, there are none from friends. They're about work, or they're from the childminder, or my children or my exhusband, but no friends. There's no one close enough to send/receive birthday or Christmas cards to/from. You know?

I am trying to also make peace with the fact that I'm single and that is unlikely to change. Again, I feel that I have 'accepted' it, but not come to terms with it or made peace with it.

ImprovisingNow Thu 10-Nov-16 07:56:27

OP, we have an awful lot in common, right down to having no family except a rather remote sibling. I'm pretty lonely too a lot of the time. Having children is not a substitute for satisfying adult friendships. I have had a single relationship in my adult life which was a long and very emotionally abusive marriage. I feel very damaged by it and I won't be looking for another relationship.

I do go through phases where I feel that it must be me and that I am fundamentally unlovable. However, in my more optimistic times I can see that is logically not the case. I don't believe anyone is unlovable and certainly not someone who is fundamentally a decent person as you sound to be OP, but sometimes life does not work out as you'd hope. That is not your fault, I do believe a lot of it is circumstantial.

I'm guilty of having chosen really badly in tying my life to my exH, but I was young and naive and looking at my parents (who loved me but were very emotionally distant and critical) I can understand why I did it.

Unfortunately that relationship has affected my whole life, right down to leaving me with a SN child who will probably never be independent. One of the really bad things about having children with an abusive twat is that you are never free so I still have to see him.

I don't find making friends easy and my ex did a great job of shattering my confidence, but I try to live my life well and and there is some comfort in that. I volunteer for two charities and I know I am valued at work where I work for a small company with some lovely people. I pour my love into my children and animals. It's not what I wanted or thought I would have when I was a hopeful youngster (mid fifties now), but it's where I am. It's not a bad life, just a bit disappointing.

Maryhadalittlelambstew Thu 10-Nov-16 09:26:43

Hi OP,

This is my first post on here but I couldn't not reply. I don't have much practical advice but I just wanted to say you sound so lovely but also very sad. A few of the things you've written sound like you're really torturing yourself with guilt over things you really don't need to feel guilty for. You sound like a fabulous mum and you should be giving yourself a big pat on the back for raising what sound like loving and kind children when you had no example of how to be a loving mother, due to your own mothers appalling treatment of you, to follow. That's an amazing thing to have achieved! I promise you, you are enough for your children. You don't need to feel guilty for having a crappy family.

I think a PP suggested volunteering, I do this in a local charity shop twice a week. I started because despite having a big family I didn't have any friends and I've made some true friends through volunteering.

You're not unloveable flowers

C xx

Maryhadalittlelambstew Thu 10-Nov-16 09:31:23

Sorry, just seen your post about having done volunteer work previously.

You say you're accepting being single again, forgive me if you've already said this, but is that recent thing? Being newly single could be contributing to how you're feeling at the moment. Have you thought about maybe trying one of the nicer sites like match and seeing if you meet someone?

C x

Myusernameismyusername Thu 10-Nov-16 09:36:54

The only thing I can think to contribute is that the love you share with your children is something you should recognise as the most special love you can ever experience. No one will ever love you or be loved by you as unconditionally as a child/parent relationship if it is nurtured and you believe in yourself.
It is a very sad part of life that siblings lovers and friends never seem to really love us unconditionally and it's hard to come to terms with. It can even happen with parents which is even worse. I don't want to see it happen to you with your children and if you don't believe you are a special person who is worthy then I worry you could be very very vulnerable for someone to exploit that.
Have you been to see a counsellor?

BlackeyedSusan Thu 10-Nov-16 12:09:53

I have children with disabilities, which makes it difficult to get out. I am introvert... and making friends is tough.. (just saying for context) but I have found two little corners on mumsnet that are very supportive. Are there any special interest corners you can tuck yourself into?

remember, you may not know how to do relationships with friends as you have had a fucking awful example from your childhood and have never been taught it. This is not your fault. Nor does it make you unlovable.

Is it possbile that you are depressed with all the single parenting and crap from family and lack of support? It would not be unusual, given the circumstances. There is no shame in it either.

BlackeyedSusan Thu 10-Nov-16 12:29:28 there are some threads on here.

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Thu 10-Nov-16 17:53:23

Improvising Yes, I understand. My mother spent my whole life (from primary school onwards) telling me that no one would ever love/want me. Of course, I didn't believe her at the time. But I also remember talking to a school friend when I was about 14 about it many, many times and saying that if my own parents didn't love me, and they were supposed to, how would anyone else? I married a man I knew didn't love me because he was willing to and I thought that if my mum believed someone loved me, she would look for what he saw in me and also find it. sad I look back on those years from being about 8-30 (which was when I finally realised just what she was like) and I can see how so many of my friend/boyfriend/education/life choices were informed by a belief that I was worthless and nothing but a desperation to discover that it wasn't really the truth. sad

And you're absolutely right, children are no substitute for adult company. I love them and my son has turned into a really lovely nearly adult, but I am there to guide, comfort and support them. It's not a two way thing.

You are right, it's a good life, just not what I imagined for myself and, over the years, the little setbacks have just been a bit of a "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", but this year has floored me, tbh.

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Thu 10-Nov-16 17:53:51

Mary Thank you for your message. Yes, I volunteer with a charity but, as I said, on a more strategic level. I used to volunteer a lot in a supportive role, but I worked one to one with young people and so there wasn't the opportunity to make friends through it. I worked alone, but what I did was very valuable.

I've been single for about 4 and a half years, which was when my marriage broke down. Since them, I have had a long distance relationship for about 10 months, which met my needs at the time, and last year I dated someone for a few months, but I've been single consistently now for about 18 months.

I am content with the idea of being single for the rest of my life, but it breaks my heart that it might actually happen. Especially when I don't actually possess any of the skills that are required to maintain a relationship. I feel very concerned that I would be damaging to someone else because I feel so badly about myself. I don't know if I would be able to trust someone.

I have tried a couple of the paid dating sites, but I don't like it for many reasons. I've not had horrendous experiences, but they've not been great either. And I still don't possess the qualities/skills necessary to maintain a relationship.

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Thu 10-Nov-16 17:53:58

Myusername yes, I have been to see a counsellor. I've seen many over the years. What you say about the unconditional love is true. I need to remember that I can have that with my children. I don't consider myself worthy, but I wouldn't be vulnerable to someone who wanted to exploit that; I have a zero tolerance to shitty behaviour. No one else is allowed to think as little of me as I think of myself wink sad

BlackeyedSusan I think the main thing is that I believe I've become unlovable because I don't know how to be loved or to love really. I'm going to have a look at the lone parents board. I have avoided it so far because it kind of makes everything a bit too real.

I don't know if I'm depressed. I don't feel like I am and I haven't lost interest in the things I do. I just feel so fucking sad all the time sad

Myusernameismyusername Thu 10-Nov-16 18:34:16

I'm glad you are strong in that respect of not being exploited. I feel sad reading your posts because I can see a wonderful woman who is intelligent, caring and insightful.
Life can be very cruel and I think you aren't alone in feeling lonely, especially single mothers struggle with this because our opportunities to meet new people can be quite limited and we put all of our energy and time into our children instead of ourselves.

I don't know if this will help you but posting on the internet itself over a period of time found me some of my closest friends, I found them when I was very lonely and didn't know how to get back out into the world by myself. I had never met any of them for ten years till more recently but we struck up friendships and didn't see it coming. Get involved on threads on here or forums where you have common ground, it's easy to talk about your feelings that way and find like minded people. I will talk to you! We might live nowhere near each other but that doesn't mean you can't find a kind ear when you need one.

Pettywoman Thu 10-Nov-16 18:58:53

You had dysfunctional parents who didn't teach you the blueprint for a loving relationship. It is heartbreaking to hear the damage it has done to you, but it isn't your fault and you aren't unlovable at all. I'm sure you can find friends and a relationship, even the most hideous arseholes seem to manage it and you don't sound like that. You have to realise that your parents issues weren't because of you, they were their own and affected you terribly.

CharlotteCollins Thu 10-Nov-16 19:11:03

I think I probably felt similarly to you a few years ago. My longest relationship was a marriage to someone who was all take and no give, and very good at seeing my flaws. I didn't believe he loved me when I married him, but thought it was my only chance. I was probably right... But I may proved wrong one day.

When I left him, I realised I was in no way ready for another relationship. My life felt very empty because we had always had people round but I realised none of them knew me at all.

I made two decisions. Firstly, if I was ever to be ready for a relationship, I had to be happy with myself. So I spent months on and off trying to work out who I am: what I like, what I think and so on. Whenever I realised I was being critical of myself, I stopped myself (I said to myself, "that's xh's job"!), and tried to find things I like about myself. It might sound a bit weird, but I had spent so long trying to please someone else that I had no idea who I really was.

The second decision was that I wasn't going to spend time thinking about what other people think of me. I could have a big long mope, but I tried to catch myself and turn it round to thinking of others instead. "Nobody's texted me again. Who can I get in touch with? Oh, didn't X say she was doing Y today? I'll send a quick message asking how it went." I think I can very easily fall off people's radar. I busy myself being the mum I can be - that's another way to stop myself thinking too much.

One final thing I want to say to you: if your child says that then to her it is true. And what does it matter what anybody else thinks? All you can do is be the best parent you possibly can be. Aim for that.

YetAnotherGuy Thu 10-Nov-16 20:37:02

You remember every bad thing anyone says to you and disregard all the good stuff. Like what your children say. It's illogical. And unhelpful

You say that your mother didn't love you. But you are making things better for your own children - you have broken the cycle

You seem to have loads of misconceived ideas about the way things should be. Break the mould and start afresh. You can do it

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Fri 11-Nov-16 09:24:49

Myuser I've been on here for a number of years, and used the same username for the majority, but I started NC more regularly when the site became more 'high profile'. Didn't want posts getting picked up or linked.

See this is where I have the difficulty. I have done things for myself. I don't recognise myself in the stereotype of the single parent who is trapped in the house every night. I am fortunate that my children are older (older teen and pre teen) and the older one is a brilliant babysitter! The people I know/my friends are all people who've been in my life for 4 years or less.

I've really pushed myself outside my comfort zone with hobbies and things that have put me in contact with other people, but I've not forged any real friendships out of it. Whereas I know others have. I don't begrudge them this! I suppose I just wonder what it is about me that means people aren't 'drawn' to me. And I'm really not a whingebag in the real world. Honest!

Thank you for the offer of a chat. I think I'm just going through a particularly down period at the moment.

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Fri 11-Nov-16 09:29:20

Pettywoman I think you are absolutely right. My parents weren't happy and didn't love each other either. I think that's part of it. I just don't know what it is or what I'm aiming for. I'm pretty sure I know what love isn't, which is how I'm pretty sure that I haven't experienced it.

I do know that it was them and their issues, but the things I was told about myself have just implanted themselves so deeply that, even when I have a more positive day, I'm just more positive about accepting it, rather than disbelieving it. If that makes sense.

My post above probably wasn't clear, it's why I get so cross with myself. I don't have restrictions like pre school children that keep me in the house. I am very fortunate in some respects.

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Fri 11-Nov-16 09:52:05

Charlotte I recognise myself in much of what you have said there especially about not knowing who you were after the relationship ended. I spent the first couple of years trying new things, new hobbies, putting myself out there etc. I felt more confident that I had ever done before. And, initially, really hopeful about the future. I felt like my whole life was starting all over again in the most amazing and positive way it could have done. I approached every day with hope. I started new hobbies, got a new job, met new people and made new friends... but the hobbies couldn't be maintained financially or timewise, the new job changed, but that's ok, it was for the better, just more demanding, and the friends didn't become any closer/deeper/more meaningful.

I've also taken, and still take, the approach of, "hmm, no one has texted me, I'll text them" and remembering when people have mentioned an ill parent or a job interview or just a comment in passing, and have asked how things are. But it isn't reciprocated.

I wonder if I don't do it as much as I think, or if I'm sending out 'vibes' that keep people at bay. I do worry that when people get to know the 'real me' that they won't like me anyway. I try to silence the voices that criticise me, but I'm not sure which of them are right and those that aren't.

I was going to type that I've managed to get a handle on a lot of the character/personality flaws that I was criticised for. But, actually, I think it's more that I think I've become better at concealing them and perhaps that's where the 'keeping people at arm's length' comes from. I know that I'm really fearful of people discovering "the real me".

But I'm having a much harder time dealing with the physical/appearance based criticisms because she was right. The things she was saying weren't made up or invented. So, as far as romantic relationships go, how can I ever be loved, when I'm not even genuinely fanciable? No one is ever going to get that close to me.

I think all I've become better at doing is concealing the aspects of myself I don't like. But the only way i can successfully do that, is to keep myself away from other people so that they don't see it...

Sorry, not really asking you for your input/feedback, I'm just musing...

WeAreUglyButWeHaveTheMusic Fri 11-Nov-16 09:56:03


You remember every bad thing anyone says to you and disregard all the good stuff

Yes, you're right, I do do that sad

I know why it is. It's because whenever someone says something good I have this little voice saying, "ah but they don't know about X, Y, Z". I think that if someone had the full picture, they'd be like, "ah right, tbh I didn't know all that. In that case..."

So I dismiss it.

I want to say, "perhaps I should try harder not to" but I don't know how to silence the voice.

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