What Unloved Daughters Learn About Love

Sooner or later, unloved daughters open their eyes and say enough is enough. They start to say "no" to conditional love, the kind that violates, humiliates, and blurs their identities. That's the moment when they begin to focus on themselves and start to heal their wounds.
What Unloved Daughters Learn About Love
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Unloved daughters fight internal battles that no one else ever sees. They appear confident and determined. They have smiles on their faces, they’re kind, and nobody would ever imagine what they’ve been through. However, those who grow up deprived of love must make a slow and painful internal journey to discover what genuine affection is like.

Many of these women take a long time to realize that their family was toxic and dysfunctional. Furthermore, having an emotionally abusive parent means that they probably normalized many harmful behavior patterns. One of them is assuming that love or recognition is earned by force.

In these family environments, unconditional love doesn’t exist. Daughters aren’t loved for who they are, but for what they should be, according to their maternal or paternal figures. This leads them to make exhausting efforts to conform to these distorted mandates and ideals which, as a rule, they rarely reach. Consequently, they tend to grow up and develop with negative views of themselves.

girl thinking yes Can a person forget that he was abused?
Daughters who weren’t loved by their parents carry multiple scars. One of them is assuming that they’re not worthy of love.

What do unloved daughters learn about love?

One book that analyzes what unloved daughters are like, is Peg Streep’s, Mean Mothers. In this book, the author reminds us that, in reality, many people lack unconditional love in their childhood and it leaves serious consequences. That’s because few things alter human development as much as not knowing what it means to be loved and protected.

When parents are distant, cold, and cruel, it makes it extremely difficult for a child to create a valid self-concept and self-esteem. Indeed, the lack of affection and validation leaves them with deep psychological injuries, scars that alter their correct socio-emotional and personality development.

The University of Connecticut (USA), conducted research in which it was suggested that growing up with parents who show emotional coldness and detachment translates into dependent behaviors, low self-esteem, low self-sufficiency, emotional instability, etc.

However, sooner or later, there comes a time when unloved daughters become fully aware of the effect of these abusive dynamics. That’s when they discover that their family didn’t offer them love at all. In fact, what they offered was something rather different. This is the moment when everything changes. They start to learn that:

It’s not necessary to please others to be loved

This is the first discovery to be made by unloved daughters. They learn that to be loved they don’t have to please, obey, or displace their own needs and values. Nevertheless, it takes them many years to realize this. Consequently, in the meantime, it often leads to unhappy and painful emotional relationships.

In fact, unloved daughters tend to repeat the same dependency patterns with their partners that they established with their parents. However, sooner or later they open their eyes and say enough is enough. After all, everyone is worthy of love for who they are, without the need to submit to anyone or the obligation to please and become absorbed by others. Loving means respecting everyone for who they are, not for who they should be.

Real love leaves no room for envy, domination, or undervaluation

Whoever loves you, respects you. They won’t underestimate, ridicule, or make you feel bad for the way you are, what you say, what you like, or what you value. Loving doesn’t mean humiliating, it means making the one you love blossom and grow.

One particular aspect that unloved daughters tend to become aware of is that envy is a harmful emotion. That’s because they often grow up with parents who envy the material goods that others have. This perspective generates a sense of lack and contempt for others. On the other hand, accepting and focusing on themselves without looking at others is an exercise in well-being.

Many girls grow up with materialistic and selfish parents. They focus on what other families have and what they lack. They even tend to compare their own daughters to those of others. This behavior always leaves scars.

They must escape from those who sabotage them

Many women who were unloved in childhood often, for a time, build harmful and unhappy relationships. In fact, they repeat the patterns they learned at home. A first step in healing these wounds is to break with the past and reformulate many of the internal narratives that they previously took for granted.

These women have to distance themselves from those who seek to control them, from those who sabotage their achievements to keep them in their power. They must remember that anyone who tries to isolate others, placing them in their personal sphere to manipulate them, doesn’t do it out of love. They do it to relieve their loneliness and satisfy their ego.

girl representing the unloved daughters
Many people who’ve suffered abuse or emotional deprivation develop feelings of guilt and even shame. Self-compassion is key to healing many of those wounds.

They shouldn’t assume blame: the importance of self-compassion

“Why didn’t I realize it before? Why didn’t I act earlier and get away from my dysfunctional family as soon as I could? I really wish I’d done things differently!”

Unloved daughters often develop a tendency to criticize themselves. This is extremely damaging. It’s also a common effect of post-traumatic stress disorder. Indeed, feeling guilt and shame for everything done, or not done, is a recurring effect of being an unloved daughter. Furthermore, it explains why, sooner or later, these women end up developing appropriate self-compassion and self-esteem techniques as a mechanism for healing themselves.

Finally, if you didn’t experience a healthy and enriching love in your past, it’s time to take action and start looking after yourself.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Goff BS, Reisbig AM, Bole A, Scheer T, Hayes E, Archuleta KL, Henry SB, Hoheisel CB, Nye B, Osby J, Sanders-Hahs E, Schwerdtfeger KL, Smith DB. The effects of trauma on intimate relationships: a qualitative study with clinical couples. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2006 Oct;76(4):451-60. doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.76.4.451. PMID: 17209713.
  • Khaleque, Abdul. (2017). Worldwide Implications of Parental Love and Lack of Love on Children’s and Adults’ Psychological Adjustment and Maladjustment: Meta-analytic Evidence. Journal of Mental Disorders and Treatment. 04. 10.4172/2471-271X.1000150.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.