If you did not receive sufficient attention as a child from either or both parents, or worse, were rejected and abused, it is time to acknowledge that you feel hurt and why.
"I'm hurt because they didn't pay attention to me."
"I'm hurt because because I never felt loved by _______."
"I'm hurt because they abused me, broke my integrity, laughed at my powerlessness, when all I wanted was for them to love me."
"I'm hurt because I couldn't change the situation. I'm mad at myself because I wasn't powerful/smart/etc. enough to change the situation."
The thing is, to be a child is to be powerless, to not be able to adequately influence your situation and surroundings enough to gain love and to stop abuse. Your intimacy was denied, it was damaged, it was disrespected, it was ignored. You hurt. Say to yourself that you hurt because your intimacy was ______,
Self-blame comes into play due to the young ego, which believes it has all power and rails or withdraws against trouble. If you blame yourself for anything that happened to you, tell that to yourself. Apologize to yourself. It wasn't your fault. You were just there. You are surrounded by loving energy and beings; ask for them to help you with grace and ease.
These items result in a loss of security, self-esteem, ambition, etc. The ego screams "I should've/would've/should've!!!! Real men/women _______________. Real men and women don't let __________ happen to them." Etc.! It never ends. It is the monkey cage spoken of in Eastern meditation literature. You are now stilling the monkey cage...
When hitting puberty, significant, deep emotional responses (lack of security, self-esteem, etc.) can eventually become blended with the sex drive, and sex replaces intimacy. True intimacy is to be very happy in anothers' presence, looking into each others' eyes, not having to say a word. True intimacy is wanting to learn and learning what makes your partner happy and doing it lovingly, and not for any hope of return on investment but to quietly know they are happy. Their happiness becomes your happy partial responsibility. It's also knowing how to receive as well as to give. In intimacy, it flows naturally. Two persons helix...are able to communicate through ego drama and demands, recognizing them and laughing. They are able to overcome ego demands for isolation and lashing out, when injured. Thich naht hanh, in "True Love", discusses the sword which cuts the Gordian knot during relationship trouble. To go to the loved one and say "Beloved, I see you are suffering. Tell me, what can I do to help you?" And as well, "Beloved, I am suffering. Please help me!" This is humility. It overcomes the following ego issues:
Lack of self-esteem drives one to set aside their own integrity in hopes of being valued (which only produces a momentary sensation, which must constantly be upped. Others get tired of feeding such a "black hole" and leave, resulting in even worse self-esteem.). If you are suffering from painful relationships you may have to admit that you need your own self-esteem, that it cannot come from others. This is something you may have to begin doing for yourself, whilst stopping expecting it from others. (Self-esteem is built through doing esteemable acts, from forgiving yourself for having suffered and for having ever been weak and vulnerable, and again, from doing esteemable acts. Get thee down to the soup kitchen and contribute your time...go to an orphanage or old folks' home and tell stories, spend time with the invalid, etc.)
Lack of security can result in the same sorts of self-demeaning, self-destructive behaviour. The cure is to again, help others be secure. You get what you give. Forgive yourself for not being powerful enough to control your security, because perhaps no human can be fully secure in the material realm, the realm of constant change. You can find security in a group, if you do not lean upon them, such as a hobby group, recovery group, etc. You may wish to ask your Guides to help you in this but always, with grace and ease. Again, you may have to recognize and acknowledge a personal lack of security (especially about loss; the ego is afraid of losing what it has and of not getting what it wants). You can tell your Guides, tell God, tell your favorite higher power that you are afraid of these things, and request help. Just admitting it is a big step in the right direction.
Ask them to take your fear, to build you where you are weak. You might encounter situations designed to highlight a particular knot you must either stop or be willing to begin. Ask for ease and grace in this time, in all your growth and cleansing. Admit if you are weak. Admit if you are frightened.
If you are not taking care of yourself, hoping others will do so, you need to recognize it, admit it, and be willing to begin to do so. You will be assisted. If you are harming others, you will hopefully wish to ask yourself why and be truthful to yourself about the hurts and resentments driving you. If you are resentful, ask yourself what is behind it. Is your security threatened by something? Is your self-esteem injured, feeling less than or countering that with pretending to be more than? Just be willing to admit it, which starts the release process. It becomes easier and more comfortable as you repeat it. And we are taught that we can do it all alone, by and for ourselves. You may have experiences countering this "wisdom", and can ask your Angels and Guides for help with things you CANNOT do by yourself. This is the positive hierarchy. If you need help and ask humbly and get out of the way, and it is appropriate, you will receive some measure of help, if not always exactly what you WANT (ego), what you NEED.
If you feel unloved, remember why, then do something loving for another, anonymously if you can.
If you feel hurt, comfort someone who is also in pain.
Yes, this is building to the St. Francis prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
For humility is the answer to ego suffering. Service is the answer to self-obsession. You will find examples of this in all great spiritual paths. Seek them there if you wish!