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To lose love is terrible, but to never have had it is worse still

Sep 2nd, 2017 by

Children who are unloved by their parents often try to please them with the aim of winning their approval – a recipe for depression later in life

Earlier this month, I wrote a column suggesting that the only “true love” was that existing between parent and child. Several contributors to the comment thread remarked – quite rightly – that I was ignoring the fact that there were parents and children who did not love one another.

I know this can be the case, however rare, and it is a tragedy. An unloved child can barely survive – experiments with chimpanzees have shown that, even if they are well fed and sheltered, to be removed from their parent’s nurture is disastrous, and they will waste away and often die.

Related: Family life: My mother on the beach in Germany; The Laughing Policeman; and first-night dinner

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