Love is our most natural state of mind, one with which we are born. The state of love, the I/thou experience is there from the start, probably felt inside the womb a warm and embracing place where everything is provided; sometimes jostled by Mom’s movement which stimulates the baby’s nervous system, hearing her familiar voice speak in loving tones, all of it blended into a protected haven.
Once born, if the parent(s) reject the baby’s need for loving care, a negative environment is instituted which uses fear as love’s eraser. If the parent(s) are emotionally unavailable, do not touch and hold and kiss the child, do not swing it though the air which combines a sense of fear with exhilaration and laughter, which teaches the child to trust, an empty space develops inside the child where love should dwell. If the parents do not define the child’s space as warm and giving, it learns that the world is cold, withholding and threatening.
Love or fear are what we most deeply learn through the early experiences we have with our parents. The experience of fear is caused by parental mistreatment, whether subtle or clear. The parent’s urge to hurt or ignore the child comes from their own needy childhood, emotions they deny by similarly hurting their child. By doing what was done to them, they deny the depth of their pain. They beat and scold the child for minor offenses, if you could call them that. They yank child’s arm and point to what must be avoided with the protective aggression they define as love.
The child learns to walk a narrow path. Chosen friends are similarly fearful or rejecting of their children, using the same “I do this for you” aggression. Same with chosen mates. These once unloved children as adults, cleave to disinterested, unavailable, fearful or aggressive lovers. The now grown but unloved child is looking for their parent’s welcoming embrace. Past is present but they don’t know it. They seek what they never had from people who similarly can’t give it. Early fear stands in the way of knowing it.