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.