How come childhood emotional neglect is so invisible and you can’t remember?
These are some important factors. First, it’s good to know that it can occur in otherwise loving and caring families who lack materially. Second, your parents’ failure to respond is not something that happens to you as a child. No, it’s just something that doesn’t happen to you as a child. Our eyes do not see what is not happening. And that’s why our brains don’t store it.
Years later as an adult, you feel like something isn’t right, but you don’t know what it is. Perhaps you look to your childhood for answers, but you cannot see the invisible. So you start to wonder if there is something wrong with you at your core.
“Whatever is going on, it’s my own fault,” you secretly believe. “I am different from other people. Something is missing. I have weaknesses and imperfections.”
But it’s not your fault. There are answers. And when you understand the problem, you can heal. These are seven signs that you were emotionally neglected as a child that you see in your adult life.
7 signs you were emotionally neglected as a child
1.Feelings of emptiness
Emptiness feels different to everyone. For some, it’s an empty feeling in their stomach, chest, or throat that comes and goes. For others, it’s a sense of numbness.
2. Fear of being dependent
It’s one thing to be an independent type of person. But when you feel deeply uncomfortable depending on anyone, it’s something else entirely. If you find yourself trying very hard not to need help or support or care from others, you may have this fear.
3. Unrealistic self-criticism
Do you find it difficult to know what you can do? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you like? What do you want? What is important to you? When you struggle with answers to these questions, it’s a sign that you were neglected as a child and that you don’t know yourself as well as you should.
4. No compassion for yourself, but a lot for others
Are you stricter with yourself than you would ever be with a friend? Do others talk to you about their problems, but find it difficult to share yours?
5. Guilt, shame, anger directed at yourself, and blaming others
These Big Four – guilt, shame, anger, blame – all focus on yourself. Some people have a tendency to immediately evoke guilt and shame when something negative happens to them. Are you ashamed of things that others are never ashamed of? Think of having needs, making mistakes, or having feelings?
6. Feeling that there is something wrong with you
This is that deep feeling I talked about above. You know something is wrong in your life, but you can’t put your finger on it. “It’s just me,” you tell yourself, and you feel it to be true. “I’m no fun.” “I’m just different.” “There’s something wrong with me.”
7. Difficulty feeling, identifying, managing, and/or expressing emotions
Can’t get out of your words when you get emotional? Do you have a limited vocabulary when it comes to emotional words? Do you often feel confused about why people (including yourself) feel or behave the way they do?
Parents who fail to notice, value, or respond to their children’s emotions inadvertently send the child a powerful, subconscious message: Your feelings don’t matter.
To deal with this as a child, you naturally put your emotions away to make sure they don’t become a problem in the family. Then, as an adult, you do not have enough access to your emotions: your emotions, which could direct, guide, point you, inform, connect and enrich you; your emotions, which should tell you who is important to you and what is important to you, and why.
And now for today’s big good news: it’s not too late.
When you understand the reason for your eternal “shortcoming,” and how you got it, you can heal from your emotional neglect as a child by addressing it. You can create a new pipeline for your emotions. You can learn the skills to use them.
For example, watch the video below to discover the examples and effects of experiencing emotional abuse as a child and how it differs from emotional neglect: