Have you ever wondered how emotional neglect in childhood can affect your relationships? Unfortunately, nothing good comes out of it. When someone goes through emotional neglect as a child, there will be many problems once that person becomes an adult – especially when it comes to having a normal relationship. The main problem happens when that person becomes emotionally invulnerable and lacks trust that other people will fulfill their emotional demands.
How emotional neglect in childhood affects romantic relationships?
Healthy adult intimate relationships are difficult to maintain if one side has been emotionally neglected as a child. Such a person has problems trying to connect with someone. They feel like they are going to be abandoned, therefore, they don’t respond well to support or care gestures.
Furthermore, because a parent that emotionally neglects its child, is usually inconsistent. Meaning, that child will have problems when it grows up in the form of not being able to trust its partner. He or she won’t know what to expect even if their partner seems quite trustworthy. There will always be fear that love and trust will be replaced with rejection or disappearance.
People who were emotionally neglected as kids always think that they are “not worthy of love”. Therefore, since they didn’t have love as kids, as adults, they think that something is wrong with them. They are convinced that they are “bad” or “damaged goods” because they weren’t loved.
When it comes to the treatment of people who were emotionally neglected as kids, the therapist needs to build a trusting, solid relationship. He sets the boundaries and explains what a dependable, nurturing relationship is supposed to look like. Also, there are strategies that help with coping with anxiety when they experience abandonment. In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps with changing how they see love and worthiness.
How emotionally neglected people behave as parents?
Many think that kids who were emotionally neglected, turn out to be same as their parents when they grow up and become parents themselves. However, it’s quite the opposite. In fact, emotionally neglected people know how painful it was for them as kids. Therefore, they do everything they can to become better than their parents. They become very involved and protective as parents, and always meet the emotional needs of their child.
There are also cases when people who were neglected during their childhood, have a fear of having kids of their own. They feel like they lack the necessary emotional skills and that they wouldn’t be able to love their kids as they should.
Is emotional neglect similar to emotional abuse?
Abuse is similar to neglection in ways that both have damaging effects on the child in terms of both emotional and physical development later in life. In cases where emotional neglect is extreme, it can turn out to be even more damaging than abuse. In such cases, the child will fail to thrive or have serious problems with cognitive impairments.
If you ask a therapist, he will tell you that a neglection is a form of abuse. However, it is much dangerous because it can go on much longer. This is because there are no physical signs and kids tend to suffer in silence. The result? An emotionally neglected child won’t get the proper treatment in time and become more “damaged” in the long run.