Defects in the Ability to Love

Lovelessness and love sickness are real, but hardly something studied by the medical profession.  Yet both conditions have physical manifestations: a loss of appetite, sleeplessness, a decrease in the will to live, a sense of despair.  Lost love saps strength, as if a crucial element of the body were missing and could be detected with a blood test.  Men and women often struggle to find love and to maintain it.  I see patients who yearn for a love they cannot locate even though they search everywhere, including the internet.  Others fall instantly in love but become as quickly disillusioned.  And there are patients who at one time were in love with their mate but find themselves isolated and lonely as time goes by and they are unable or unwilling to reconnect with anyone else.

Like all forces in the universe, love is ever-present and powerful.  Too much can be toxic, too little akin to malnourishment.  Abusive love is often fatal.  When one of two long-term lovers dies, the widow or widower may perish soon afterwards.  Love is an unseen element, or possibly even a dimension of existence which we cannot measure but know only by the huge effect it has on others.

Lovelessness refers to a condition in which a man or woman cannot fall in love.  Perhaps he or she has never been properly loved, or the person has been hurt so badly that he will not enter the world of love.  Animal shelters see this condition all the time when they take in wounded creatures who cannot bond to anyone for the longest time.

Two kinds of lovelessness exist: acquired, and innate.  Acquired lovelessness stems from a painful experience in which a man or woman has broken up with a lover or lost a soulmate and finds herself unable to enter into a new relationship because she can bear yet another loss.  Innate lovelessness has earlier roots and comes from failed nurturance.  A man, having been raised by parents who show little or no affection comes to feel that he cannot become truly intimate with anyone.  In my experience, most people are unaware of the role love plays in their lives and go about their business without conscious reflection of their own past experiences with love.

More about lovelessness will follow.




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