Our beliefs and responses to hardship can be shaped in childhood.
In my clinical practice, I have observed that people raised by unstable or abusive parents tend to waste years and wound relationships.
When sickness, suffering, or frailty approaches, they also tend to be ill-equipped, immature, and weak in overcoming challenges.
Dr. Robert Firestone, a well-known clinical psychologist/psychotherapist and author, speaks of the concept of “love-food.”
Citing research in developmental and childhood psychology, Dr. Firestone defines “love-food” as the ...
“product of the ability and desire on the part of the mother to provide for the need-gratification of the infant.”
In order to provide healthy “love-food,” a mother needs adequate emotional stability and resources. It’s from that place of security where an infant’s psychological and emotional growth is nourished.
There is wisdom in Dr. Firestone’s concept of “love-food” in influencing an adult’s current coping with difficulties/challenges.
Those with a healthy dose of it cope with suffering with “mature defenses.” They are resilient. They’d learned the capacity to bear and plan for pain from a place of inner security.
Those deprived of healthy love-food, especially since childhood, are usually into denying problems, distorting their roles, or projecting blame on others because of a massive sense of insecurity.