Emotional Neglect

For those of us who aren’t familiar with the terminology, ‘Emotional Neglect,’ is a parent’s failure to respond to a child’s emotional needs and is the opposite of abuse and mistreatment.

Where abuse and mistreatment are parental acts, emotional neglect is when a parent fails to act. As my case has shown, it is only through internal dialogue that we come to understand that although our emotions are being ignored, those issues aren’t ours to carry or own. It took me many years to work it all out.

As a general rule, children who have been emotionally neglected, may sometimes struggle to trust their emotions as adults. They may have difficulty understanding their own feelings, as well as understanding other people’s. They may also feel disconnected. They may have trouble relying on others, or also trusting others.

As parents, it is important we understand our actions. It’s not easy for a child who has been through emotional neglect to understand or explain their difficulties and in those circumstances it is easy for a child to blame themselves. Not all children will go through their childhood and understand, emotional neglect is what they have experienced.

It is something that is often overlooked, and in the absence of emotional validation becomes overshadowed by childhood events such as abuse, or trauma.


26 Dec, 2019

2 thoughts on “Emotional Neglect

  1. While emotional neglect might be the opposite of physical neglect and abuse, its effects can be no less damaging and I suspect neglectful parents were neglected children, but that is no excuse.

    I was neglected and left to my own devices as a child, but I was fortunate as that meant I wasn’t screwed up by my parenting.

    1. Thanks. Yes, I personally don’t believe anyone comes through their childhood completely unscathed.

      Not being around your parents full time, means you walked away slightly scathed. We are all shaped by our childhoods.

      But as my experiences show, we can heal and move on with our lives. I wasn’t prepared to give in or up.

      It is important we find a way through, however we can.

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