Healthy “Love-Food”

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.

Healthy “love-food” is a basic need for all humans. It’s essential to survival, maturity, and growth, in the physical, psychological, and spiritual sense.

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.