Emotionally damaged people have a tough time being in a healthy relationship, and they have a harder time accepting genuine love from someone. They find it challenging and difficult to love someone, no matter how much they might want to.
A reader wonders how to fix her relationship with an emotionally damaged man who says he can’t love.
I love my partner. When he broke my heart 2 weeks ago he said he couldn’t feel love (rough childhood, background, etc). He now says that he was close to telling me he loved me so many times (as was I) but he thought I’d laugh at him.
I am head over heels for this emotionally damaged man. What do I do to try and fix my relationship?
The short answer is this: nothing.
You do absolutely nothing.
You don’t call, text, write or send him smoke signals or missives by carrier pigeon.
You do absolutely nothing specifically to fix your relationship at all.
Let him go do his thing in misery-land while you make yourself as genuinely and ridiculously happy as humanly possible.
Here Are 4 Reasons Why Emotionally Damaged People Screw Up Love
1) Emotionally damaged people arrive PRIMED for pain.
They don’t want it and go to great lengths to avoid it— but they EXPECT to be hurt and through this expectation, cause enough pain to keep themselves busy for a lifetime.
When you fall in love with them and act all sweet and reassuring, at first things are awesome.
Unfortunately, after a while that stubborn self-loathing creeps back in and they cannot absorb your love and care. They start to feel like they haven’t earned it and then become disrespectful and distrusting toward you. They start to pull away.
No matter what they do, they feel like a crappy person on the inside, therefore unworthy of love. And if you try to love someone who feels unworthy of it, they’ll just wonder what the hell is wrong with you.
2) Tenderly loving someone who hates themself comes off to them like you’re the world’s biggest dung-heap fan.
They might feel temporarily flattered that you admire their dung-heap, but unless they do something to clean up their own self-image, they will eventually decide that the problem is YOU (you must be mistaken AND have awful taste) and go to great lengths to make sure you eventually believe that they really are awful too.
That’s why when you’re in a relationship, you can almost feel them thinking (and they might even say):
“There must be a catch here somewhere.”
“This is so wonderful that I’m worried the other shoe is going to drop.”
Then, maddeningly (in spite of what would actually lead to a happy life for all involved)—the emotionally damaged person either pulls away, cheats, or does something shitty like a break up with you by explaining how they:
“Can’t feel love”
And/or my favorite:
“I’m just going to hurt you”
Both are shorthand for:
“If you see who I really am— you’re going to leave me for certain (because… again… underneath my outer shell, I’m totally unloveable and unworthy), so we might as well cut ties now.”
3) Either way, they are essentially telling you that they are going to emotionally devastate you (the person they SAY they want to love but can’t).
Then, in this emotional whiplash dance that only humans in love are capable of doing, it encourages you to patiently accept whatever shitty treatment they dish out (they must need more love to heal) AND reassure them of your feelings for them (because “all you need is love,” right? RIGHT??).
In the face of this kind of self-hatred, the average partner tries to save the relationship by sticking around to provide consistent care and reassurance.
In actions and words, you essentially say, “oh no, no, I really DO love you. I mean it. This time is different because I know I’m safe for you and look how good we are together— why would you want to give up on us when we’re so good together?”
Makes logical sense, right?