An invisible disconnection

“Most people who struggle with chronic emptiness had adults in their life who were incapable of giving them emotional intimacy. As a result, their inner world did not feel seen, heard, felt, understood or validated. Not only did this wound them, it made them subconsciously conclude that there must be either something bad there or nothing there at all.

Emotional neglect is the cause of the inner void. When an adult does not understand what emotional needs are or how to meet them, they cannot meet the child’s emotional needs. The adult is essentially unintentionally invalidating the importance of their child in their life. This child does not feel seen, heard or felt. There is no intimacy in the relationship and so this child lacks the knowledge about how to form intimate relationships.

When a child is shamed for having emotional needs and wanting to have them met by the parent, the message the child receives is, “There is something fundamentally wrong and unlovable about me”. This child grows up being completely blind to his or her own emotional needs as well as being very afraid of his or her own emotions.

Most people who suffered emotional neglect, either keep their suffering entirely to themselves or go from psychiatrist to psychologist trying desperately to figure out what is so wrong with them.

Most are drowning in a sea of self-condemnation because they can’t see what it is that caused them to feel the way they feel. This is because emotional neglect is not what you see. It is what you don’t see. It is the encouragement that didn’t happen. It is the comforting that wasn’t given. It is the loving support that wasn’t offered. It is the loving words that were not said. It is the sense of belonging that was never granted. It is the understanding that was never reached for. Emotional neglect is so hard to recognize because you can’t see what isn’t there and so you can’t remember what isn’t there and until you see what could have been there, you won’t even know something was missing.

Emotional neglect often goes hand in hand with an unhealthy style of availability in parenting, which leads to insecure attachments in adults. If you were talking to a psychologist they would say that instead of developing a secure attachment, a child who experiences emotional neglect often develops either an anxious preoccupied attachment or a dismissive avoidant attachment.”

– Teal Swan, My Raw Yet Pristine Paragon

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