Clinging—Can It Be Healthy?

By Greg Baer M.D.

December 15, 2014

Clinging as a Getting and Protecting Behavior is amply described in Real Love literature. We cling to people when we take from them the approval and attention we want, without their permission or cooperation.

Recently a woman, Miranda, said to me, “I have never felt loved, and as I study Real Love I recognize that I am constantly clinging to others, which is both fruitless and exhausting. But if I don’t cling, I feel utterly lost. So where is the middle ground, where I can cling to get what I want but not cling too much?”

Have you ever watched a nursing baby? She clings to her mother with all her might, as though nothing could pry her from her mother’s touch and nourishment. Would you criticize an infant for such clinging, no matter how tenacious? Of course not. Clinging is NORMAL in an infant—even desirable, because it is from such clinging that a child derives both physical nourishment and a sense of emotional connection with the mother and, secondarily, to the rest of mankind. This clinging continues long past the stage of nursing, forging an ever stronger bond between the child and her parents.

Most children, however, were never given the opportunity to PROPERLY cling. At times a clinging child can be a raucous chorus of need: “Me, me, me!!” And to parents who are unprepared to feed such a gaping and continuous need, these cries can naturally become inconvenient, even irritating.

Children are exquisitely sensitive to the feelings of those whose responsibility it is to nourish them, and if they sense ANY reluctance, hesitation, disappointment, or irritation, they feel abandoned, lost, alone, and betrayed. Then they spend the rest of their lives searching for the love they did not receive, replacing it instead with distracting and harmful counterfeits.

So what is to be done? The solution is simple, as I said to Miranda: “It is not a middle ground that you seek. It’s the original ground, where you were cheated of the opportunity to cling in a healthy way to those whose love you sought. But you didn’t get to cling in a healthy way to somebody who could really love you, so you learned to cling instead in unhealthy ways—to people who had no love.

“Now you can be a child again. Nursing babies cling intensely and without hesitation. We were born to cling. You can learn to cling in healthy ways, where you cling to the unconditional love that some people do have and even want to give you. When you are filled sufficiently with this love, you won’t need to cling to it any longer. You’ll find it more naturally. It will flow to you, and you’ll lose all need for the old clinging to the dry husks you used to suck on in the absence of the Real Love you needed.”

Find people to love you. Cling to them. Trust them. Fill your emptiness and allow your wounds to heal.


Recover from your negative habits and beliefs.


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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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