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The Issue With Feeling Unlovable When You’re Mentally Ill

Mental illness can spur feelings that we are unlovable. Having a mental Illness does not make us unlovable, it makes us human. Share the love. Read this.

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

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)

Mental illness can spur feelings that we are unlovable. Having a mental Illness does not make us unlovable it makes us human.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 “The Issue With Feeling Unlovable When You’re Mentally Ill”

  1. I can totally relate. Not only can I say I’m not loved, I can say that I’ve heard more times than not, that I’ve chosen depression as an excuse to avoid my family. I’ve heard “snap out of it”, and how there are so many people with REAL illnesses that I should be grateful I’m not REALLY ill, and that there’s no excuse for my laziness when I say I just can’t do things I have to do, including eating, cleaning, etc. The list goes on forever. I’ve been divorced after a toxic 18 year marriage where my narcissistic ex spouse psychologically abused me for years before a great counselor helped me piece that together. A man who swore he loved me and would never leave me, suddenly couldn’t and wouldn’t make any sacrifices for me when I could no longer work and our way of living was tremendously affected. He simply could not live that way and refused to give up his fun and weekends away (without me eventually), that I forced him to go on because it was so awful being in the same room with someone who asked my grown daughter from my first marriage if she believed I was unstable in front of my face like I wasn’t even there. She told him then that she believed I was stable. I can’t say that any longer because his brainwashing over time has caused her to abandon me as well. My daughter and three granddaughters were my life. My daughter was my ROCK. We were closer than close and then one day I was told so many things that left me speechless and not given a chance to defend myself. When told she’d always love me because I’m her mother, it HIT ME HARD! We’d spoken of such a thing before regarding my own mother. A controlling narcissistic mother herself, who never had a nice word to say about anyone. I don’t love my mother. She’s hurt me more than I can say. I’ve tried talking to her many times over the years only to leave disgusted and would have been better off talking to a wall. We know walls don’t listen. My daughter and I were like best friends but with the mother daughter relationship as well. She respected me. I did her. Not a day went by that we didn’t talk or text and always ended with an “I love you”. Always. Now I’m not loved, but only as what she believes because I’m her mother by birth. I told her then nobody has to love anyone because they’ve given you life. Nobody asks to be born and no one is required to love someone simply for that reason. So there. I’m unloved, unlovable, and I ache day and night 24/7 for my daughters love. My emotions are all over the place. You can’t fix that kind of broken with a pill or counseling. I’ve tried and still do take medications for depression, anxiety, and to block nightmares from the traumatic events that only a handful of friends know happened during and after my 2 year drawn out divorce that I’ve been blamed for by my ex. There’s nothing that hasn’t been tacked onto me on top of all the labels I’ve been given.
    Yes I’m not loved, other than my dog, thank GOD for her, but I am lovable if anyone would give me a chance and vice versa to know who I am and who I’ve always been but better now from all this pain. I’m grateful that I know I’m an even more compassionate, empathetic person than ever, to where it’s almost to the extreme of what I’d try to do to help anyone who might be going through anything like this or other. Few people know how to really listen, let alone to hear what someone is saying. I’m grateful for the few people I’m lucky to know who do that.

  2. I’m unlovable. I have a couple autoimmune diseases, depression, anxiety, obese. Who in their right mind would want that mess? It is true, people can be unlovable.

  3. I have a good home and good gradea…I am told i am loved by my parents but i don’t think I’m loved as much as my younger sibling. I never had a boyfriend and I’m 17…if i even look at a guy or i think they may be flirting my brain automatically goes ” he would never lile you, you’re too ugly to be liked”

  4. It may not be mental illness. It may be getting screwed over by life. Telling people on top of everything that they are mentally ill and a pill will fix everything may not make anything better but worse.

  5. We are all loveable. First of all God loves us. He just created us so that ordinary people can’t love us. Such as our parents or family or partners. But there are some great people that loves us. Remember all stages of life and you will find some childhood friend who loved you, some teacher, some trainer, some neighbours, and ALL CHILDREN.
    Belive me, all children love us.

  6. Wow I love this site! I am so not alone. I’ve struggled off and on with feeling unlovable and as years pass I find when I am not involved with anyone and living single I do so much better. I get lonely for a partner to share my life with however I don’t not live. I never feel unlovable until I try to allow someone to love me and then I go from outgoing, active, full of more confidence than I need, successful at most anything I try to do, not afraid of anything, definite achiever to the very opposite of all I just wrote. I fall in love and o fall in fear. Then starts the worry of when how and what terrible things this person trying to love me will actually do to me as I now feel vulnerable to any bad thing they may or may not chose to do to me. And before you know it my imagination is running wild with all the possibilities of betrayal that could happen. I will bring about a breakup even though I’m trying not to. Why is this? How can I be all that I know I am when single and then revert to a crying begging I can’t loose you person with no disregard at all for myself. Single I will take on King Kong and win! In a romantic relationship I throw myself under his big fat foot to get my certain demise over quickly. Why can I not maintain my peace contentment and appreciation for my life while in a relationship. Been married 4 times. Still in the forth one but he already moved out and is moving on without me. Of course I yelled I cried I cursed and just swore he was doing things behind my back. Since he left I clearly see he wasn’t. He tried to love me and I wouldn’t let him but you could not convince of this until after he left. What’s up with that! I know I can make it alone and eventualy be happy again but I want what I saw growing up. My dad! My mothers illnesses yes plural attempts to stop the voices in her and almost did along with years of instability not knowing when she’d go manic again was hard on us all. I sorta have it too. But my Dad stayed. He never considered leaving her. He loved her and she eventually after years of lots of trials and errors began recovery and did. Those two people are more in love at age 70 and 66 than any other couple I know. They almost exsist as one. But I haven’t met anyone like Dad and I can’t let any man love me. I know I’ve missed out because of this and I just want to be normal and in love at the same time. I’m 49 two wonderful grown up sons who are out living thier own lives while I once again have begun the recovery of another sabotaged marriage. Anybody else still trying or need I drop the hope of growing old with anyone accept my cat?

  7. @beverly, first, even if you were disfigured in the accident, a persons true beauty is within. externally its only superficial beauty. your husband is an abusive waste of oxygen and you should immediately get him out of your life. i bet you are not fat or ugly. he just says that to you because he needs to make you lose your confidence, because he knows that if you are confident, you are able to leave the scumbag and find a real man. i wish you well

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