When does love get confused for sympathy? Well simply when one has only received attention or caring, which they then interpret as "love", from others as a result of they’re being ill, depressed, or compromised in some way.
In other words they draw the "love" to themselves only when they take on what is a compromised position in their life.
Why It’s Bad
Unfortunately this can set in motion a behavior pattern where the individual feels this is the only viable way they can elicit "love" from others. I keep placing the quotations on the word love because clearly what is being received is not love at all.
Instead it is likely driven by feelings of sympathy that the individual unconsciously attempts to evoke in others .
In doing so they have accomplished two things.
First, they have adopted a victim like stance in relation to others. This is equivalent to making themselves appear helpless and believe themselves to be such.
Secondly by doing the above they have attempted to make others feel responsible for them in a somewhat underhanded or manipulative manner. They feel this is necessary because they’ve never experienced receiving love in any other way thus, deep down believe themselves to be unlovable. In this they a sense an emptiness that must be filled in the only way they know how.
A Recipe For Destruction
Unfortunately this is a recipe for destruction of their relationships as others begin to tire of their repeated efforts to "steal" some "love".
This pattern is commonly experienced in many relationships and in some cases has become the foundation upon which they are formed. It’s also a big reason why many relationships fail.
So what can be done about this problem?
Well, first one must recognize that it exists.
Next one must recognize its destructive nature on their relationships and their lives.
Finally one must make a choice to release this destructive pattern and reconnect to the well spring of love which lives right inside them.
It may surprise you that indeed one of the reasons one feels disconnected from this inner source of love is because of the existence of programmed early memories of the kind mentioned earlier i.e. of getting "love" when down.
These memories keep one disconnected from one’s inner love thus making them feel the emptiness inside that compulsively drives the destructive attention seeking behavior.
By releasing the memories this program becomes extinguished easily and rapidly and the emptiness is replaced with feelings of self love, wholeness, completeness and a sense of OK’ness.