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Mental Illness: The Issue With Feeling Unlovable

The issue with feeling unlovable. The issue? It can be an issue and pardon me for being redundant here. The topic for this post was derived from a comment a reader made. This person mentioned the word unlovable in the context of mental illness. I quickly scribbled the word down and put it away for a couple days.

I open my day-timer today and see the word, UNLOVEABLE, written in large and bold text by my own hands. I sort of grimaced, watching the rain fall from a gray sky outside my window, and wondered if I really had to put it in bold, I mean, it’s not as if I have no experience with feeling unlovable. I feel it often, and if you struggle with mental illness, well, perhaps you do too.

Now, unlovable is a rather complicated word, so let’s try to define it with (yes, again) my thesaurus. It’s nice to step outside of our minds and try a practical approach to definition.

Defining the Feeling ‘Unlovable’ In Terms of Mental Illness

Mental illness can spur feelings that we are unlovable. Having a mental Illness does not make us unlovable it makes us human.To be unlovable is to be (and stay with me here): unloved (yes, the thesaurus states the obvious yet again). But it also lists the following words as synonyms for unlovable:


>Forsaken (I will not lie; I just pictured a bad horror movie)


>Thrown over (It states this with no further explanation)

>Spurned (I would need to look up this definition in order to explain it)

So, that’s that. The word rejected makes sense. Mental illness can make us feel rejected, not part of society, perhaps even thrown over, whatever that means. Uncherished, this word often tied to the emotional aspect of love, is also relative. But what does it feel like to believe that, on some level, we are unlovable largely because of our illness?

Mental Illness Can Make A Person Feel Unlovable

That’s the truth and it’s important to explain why.  There are two answers that come to mind:

>The diagnosis spurs feelings that we will not be accepted because of our illness. We cannot be loved;

>These feelings, beliefs, serve to isolate ourselves.

The reality, moving past the issue of feeling unlovable, is that we are not unlovable we are instead empathetic, human, real. The reality: you are not unlovable. Having a mental illness can be a largely negative experience but it has positive aspects. Yes, positive.

>Being diagnosed with a mental illness forces us to open our eyes; the world isn’t always kind, not to any of us.

>At some point in our lives, as human beings, we all feel unlovable. Having a mental illness can be isolating but we all experience these feelings and although the illness can make us feel unique, make us unique, it also makes us human.

>Learning to live with mental illness, accept it, opens us up to other people: we are less likely to pass judgment on others.

This issue of love and mental illness, of love itself, resides in textbooks. I can only touch on it lightly but I hope that readers will share their experience and feelings on the topic.

In other words, share the love…sorry, bad joke!

15 thoughts on “Mental Illness: The Issue With Feeling Unlovable”

  1. I don’t have any answers.

    All that I know is that I”m tried ob being the “too nice to date guy friend”.

    I’ve been complimented on the way that I treat women, but I still end up banished to the friend zone.

    The only solution that I see is to become the “bad boy” that women seem to fall for so that I don’t die alone.

  2. A widower neighbour was found dead at home after not being seen for 6 weeks. Create chains of solidarity with other singles! Or become a people person…

  3. Its not so much that I feel unlovable its that I feel as if I am such a huge burden to everyone in my life therefore I feel unworthy of their love. I am glad you addressed this though. Its so important that we talk about these things. I think part of the feeling of being unloved, feeling like a burden, feeling unworthy of love leads to the isolation so often associated with mental illness. To all my friends here who suffer with mental illness as I do I love you I really do.

  4. I have people who feel positive ways toward me. I do a lot of volunteering in my community as I can no longer work due to a combination of my mental illnesses and physical disability.

    People have recognized my talents and feel admiration for them and that is a wonderful feeling. However there are very few people in my life who are close enough to me who could ever be in the class of loving.

    The only person who loves me unconditionally is my mom, and she is unwell. My dad loves me, I know, but I am not sure to what extent. He has disowned me at times over the years when things have gotten bad.

    Over the years I have been in long term relationships but they have all ended and I have been the one to suffer. Thus I have decided to stay alone and avoid the humiliation of it all again.

    I am the quintessential unlovable. No one can get close enough to me to love me. I have walls that are higher and thicker than anyone can get through. I do that to keep myself safe. Yes, at times it can be lonely, but at least I am not getting hurt over and over like I was before.

    To Alain, I am sorry you get put in that position but I’m sure when you stop looking for someone, then someone great will come along and appreciate you for all your great qualities.

    To Sherry, You are right. If something happened to me, I’m sure no one would find me for a long time. Many people are very isolated in their mental issues and that needs to change.

    To Dawn, That is a hard thing to bear. To feel like a burden is something that weighs heavily on many with mental illness. However you can do something about it. You can help your family and friends in other ways. You can make them gifts they need or suppers and invite them over. You can watch a child if you are capable. You can go places with them and help carry groceries. Even little things can help them in big ways. Helping give back can help you feel less like a burden and help strengthen your bond with them as well.

    To John, I saved yours last because it’s a hard one. Some women want the “bad boy” but I think it’s a phase. I think when they mature and are ready to settle down, women want someone who will be responsible and able to address their needs. BUT they don’t like neediness in a man, that shows too much weakness and jealousy. It can become a control issue and lead to other negative things. So I totally agree with you but wanted to explain it out.

  5. I had a severe wreck last October 15th, 2013. I really did walk away from the scene of a trash truck that hit me head on after running a stop sign. When the police got me out of that car, I turned around and saw myself sitting in the drivers seat. I died that day. My mom passed January 1, 2013. I heard her trying to keep me calm. But I left the “me” in the car that day. It’s weird but I did see the real me left in the car. I had a boyfriend of 4 1/2 years but he told me something happened to me that day. I am now fat, ugly as sin, and still bruised and hurting almost 14 mos later. He tells me how nasty I am and fat disgusting. The last straw for him was losing my job October 3, 2014. He said I am too ugly to take anywhere or anyone. NEVER will he touch me because I am so fat, ugly, and not deserving of any kind of love. I hurt my back but am not disfigured on my face. But he told me tonight I am too disgusting to be nice to. He LOVES making me cry. He said I need to hide, I am too ugly to be around humans.

  6. I am told constantly by my partner of 19 years I am unlovable and a horrible person. I have no friends or family. It makes me think he is so right. He has said, even after 19 years I will never be his family. We have a 17 year old son. Naturally he agrees with his father. I just exist, that’s my lot.

  7. I think it is true what you say about feeling unloveable. I was married for many years and my husband told me that he loved me, but I never believed him. I find it difficult to be demonstrative to anyone. The exception to this is my daughter when she was little.
    I have self diagnosed borderline personality disorder,, as I fit all the criteria.
    When I was younger I just thought that I was very shy and easily hurt.
    I remember building walls around myself so that I would not get hurt. I also have always dissociated from a very young age ( anxiety symptom)
    All in all, I am very defended, so it is difficult to get close and to make relationships with others- I become dependent and that is a scary feeling.

  8. i often feel like i am unlovable, meaning people are not capable of loving me. and when i feel that way and wish i had anyone at all to talk to about it, i realize that being unlovable is probably not that far fetched.

  9. @Mel, why do you tolerate that? that man needs his [moderated] kicked. by teaching your son to treat you that way, he is teaching him to treat women that way. kick him out and try to save your son

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