You turn on the television, and all you see are romantic comedies. Despite insurmountable odds, couples find each other, fall in love and live happily ever after. Around you at work, everyone seems to have plans for the evening with a significant other. Meanwhile, you are left alone and feel incapable of love. It seems like everyone except you experiences true love.
You are not the only person who feels this way. Sometimes, you feel incapable of love just because you have not found the right person yet. In other cases, feeling incapable of love could be a sign of an Emotional Deprivation Disorder.
According to Hollywood films, being loved is one of the greatest feelings in the world. While Hollywood might not get everything right, they might be right about this. For love, people do crazy things. They take risks, work two jobs, have children and change their lives just for the love of the person that they are with.
Some people say that love is something natural. You don’t make it happen. Instead, you just naturally fall in love with someone. In reality, this is not always the case. There are many people in the world who have no clue what it feels like to be in love. They have been single for years, and none of their relationships seem to work out. At some point, they start to wonder if they should forget about love, lose hope and just move on. Some of these people may think that they are incapable of love, but they might actually be suffering from an Emotional Deprivation Disorder.
What Is Emotional Deprivation Disorder?
While it might sound like a made-up term or something straight from a rom-com, an Emotional Deprivation Disorder is a very real thing. This condition basically means that someone has an inability to create mature relationships with other people. This may be due to their past, an inability to love or problems finding the right person.
While the name and description of this disorder makes you think of romantic love, it does not just affect your romantic relationships. An Emotional Deprivation Disorder can affect your relationships with friends and family members. Even when someone with this disorder finds the right person or a loving family, they find it difficult to sustain the relationship.
The Causes of Being Incapable of Love
Like other mental disorders, Emotional Deprivation Disorder is thought to stem from bad experiences in childhood. You may have had a bad experience in one of your early relationships or an abusive childhood. These things can end up marking you for life. If a parent did not care for you or neglected you, it leaves your subconscious wary of anyone else.
There are some commonalities between sufferers of an Emotional Deprivation Disorder. Often, they were rejected or ignored during their childhood. As anyone who has dealt with children knows, kids want attention and love. If they are ignored, isolated ore rejected (especially by their family), it can stunt their emotional development and leave a lasting impact on their psyche.
Sometimes, it is not abuse or trauma that causes these disorders. It might just be a lack of love. The individual’s childhood home may have been safe and generally happy, but the parents or siblings were not particularly loving. We learn how to love from the people around us. Without loving relationships, it can be hard to learn the concept of love, how to hug or how to care for someone.
Neglect is another potential cause of an Emotional Deprivation Disorder. If your parents or caregiver failed to care for you, it can stunt your emotional maturity. Likewise, verbal abuse, physical abuse or constant criticism can also make it difficult for you to learn how to love. Your emotions are incredibly sensitive when you are a child, and harsh words can cause you to close yourself off from the world. You can become afraid of loving because you are afraid that anyone you love will be just as critical or abusive as your parents were.
What Are the Signs of an Emotional Deprivation Disorder?
While everyone is different, there are some signs that you suffer from an Emotional Deprivation Disorder. While this disorder might mean you are incapable of love for now, it does not mean that you can’t learn to love and have positive relationships. Once you realize that you suffer from this disorder, therapy, introspection and other techniques can help you learn how to love someone.
1. You Are Worried About Other People’s Opinions
Most people are worried about what other people think. The difference is that you side with opinions that are the complete opposite of yours. You may go so far as to change how you dress, look, act or think just to make other people happy.
2. You Are Ready to Be Single Forever
If you have gotten to the point where you think you will be single forever, it might be because of problems with your ability to love. If you have this disorder, finding and keeping love can be hard. At some point, you may have decided that it is just easier to forget about love altogether.
3. Feeling Insecure
Again, most people feel insecure in some way. The difference is in the intensity of your insecurities. Do you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong? Do you find yourself criticizing yourself constantly? Do you think that if you were prettier, smarter or more personable, then you would find love? These are all signs of insecurities about whether you are “good enough” for a partner.
4. You Do Not Enjoy Social Interactions
People who suffer from Emotional Deprivation Disorder rarely feel pleasure in social interactions. Because of this, they tend to be loners who live alone, have solo hobbies and spend a lot of time in their own company.
5. You Get Manipulated a Lot
This is more a symptom of the other signs than a true sign of Emotional Deprivation Disorder. Because you are more likely to criticize yourself, not understand “normal” relationships and have insecurities, it opens you up to manipulation. An abusive partner quickly figures out that you are more likely to blame yourself, and they take advantage of it. If this happens, get help. No one deserves to be in an abusive relationship.
6. You Are Always Single
Being single is fine. If you are single because you think no one would ever like you, then you might have this disorder. You may have an unrealistic, low opinion of yourself, which keeps you from being with a partner.
7. You Dislike Groups
After being criticized or judged in the past, the last thing you want is to be criticized in front of a group. Because of this sentiment, many people with Emotional Deprivation Disorder avoid being in groups unless they can’t help it. If they are forced to be in a group, they feel uncomfortable, awkward and isolated.
8. Romantic Grief Cycle
If you have this disorder, you tend to go through a cycle. You start by wanting to be with someone a lot. Someone comes along. You won’t consider being with them because you feel you are unlovable. You wish that you had someone desperately again, and the cycle repeats itself.
9. You Stick to Non-Social Activities
You like introverted hobbies that avoid social interactions.
10. You Want to Please Others
While many people like to make other people happy, you feel uncomfortable if other people aren’t pleased with you. Because of this, you may go to great lengths and even hurt your own happiness to make other people happy.
11. You Are Suspicious of Romance
When you have this disorder, you may view every romantic gesture or advance with suspicion and doubt the person’s intent.