6 Signs You Were Emotionally Neglected As A Child (And Lessons You’ll Learn In Life)
Scars from your childhood have a way of staying with you. If someone were to ask you if you were emotionally neglected as a child, your immediate response might be “no.” But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll understand that your behavior as an adult has a lot to do with your experiences as a child. As painful as it may be to look back, childhood emotional neglectcould be the reason behind your actions today.
Here are six signs you were emotionally neglected as a child:
1. You Have Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem can be tied to many things, including being emotionally neglected as a child. When you were little, you may have felt like you weren’t worth your parents’ time or love, because they never paid much attention to you. While untrue, this feeling can be hard to shake. It can translate into low self-esteem and low self-worth throughout your adult life.
2. You’re Sensitive To Rejection
Are you sensitive to rejection? Being afraid of rejection in your adult life is a sign of rejection in the past. Being emotionally neglected can create a fear inside you that stays with you. Even constructive criticism hurts you, because you feel like you’re being attacked and told that you aren’t good enough.
3. You Feel Like Something Is Missing
If you were emotionally neglected as a child, you may always have the feeling that something is missing. There’s a hole inside that you leave open for a certain person’s love that you crave. Deep down, you believe that filling this space will finally bring you joy.
4. You Feel Numb
Feeling numb is something that can come and go. It isn’t a physical sensation, it’s an emotional sensation. Every once in a while, you feel numb to everything that’s going on around you. You realize that you should feel some emotion, but nothing really seems to matter. This type of emotional response is a sign that you were emotionally neglected as a child. You learned at a young age to stifle your emotions so you don’t get hurt.
5. You Refuse Help From Others
If you were emotionally neglected as a child, you often had no help when you needed it the most. You were constantly on your own. This feeling can follow you into adulthood. You learned never to be dependent on anyone else, so even if things are difficult for you, you refuse to reach out and ask for help from others.
6. You’re A Perfectionist
When a child is neglected, they might try almost anything to get their loved one’s attention. If you’ve been seeking that attention your whole life, you might end up being a perfectionist. You try to be perfect in everything you do, in order to finally get noticed and appreciated.
These lessons all seem so real and so true when you grew up receiving them in such a subliminal, global way. But do not forget that they are merely lessons of your family, not truths. The fact that you learned them does not make them right.
The truth is…
Strong feelings connect us to ourselves and to each other, and being able to have them is a sign of health and strength.
Knowing your own needs and preferences and expressing them is a key to living a happy, fulfilled life.
Talking about your problems helps you solve them.
Crying is a healthy way of coping.
Letting others see your feelings helps them know you better.
Anger is an important message from your body that empowers you.
Mutual dependence is a form of teamwork that makes you stronger.
What you have to say is important, and you should say it.
You are human. You are connected, you are important.
You are not, in fact, by any stretch, alone.
Source: yourtango.com, davidwolfe.com
If You Are A Daughter Of An Unloving Mother, Mourn The Mother You Deserved
Recovering from a childhood without love and support is not easy. One way to recover is to mourn the mother you needed and deserved but never had. It is very important to understand that everyone deserves a good mother and love.
Sadly, some people think that they did not deserve that kind of love, they believe they are worthless and unlovable. A period of mourning the mother you deserved to have is very important.
Some may say that the woman who did not give you love and support deserves your love, and when she is close to death, you should go and have that famous “closure.” But, at that moment, you ask why didn’t she love you.
When your mother passes away, you mourn not over her, but over the mother, you wanted and needed to have.
Mourning is Hard
When you finally realize what kind of a woman she is, you realize that she will never be the mom you deserve to have. If you decide to stand on your own feet, she may become even worse, and you may lose contact.
Grieving a mother is hindered by feeling unworthy, unloved, and the core conflict. The conflict is between relationship a daughter had with her mom and her need for maternal support and love in adulthood.
This internal battle may continue for a very long time, and may even cause pain and the daughter may keep finding excuses of the behavior of her mother while she is waiting to gain her love and affection.
Some daughters feel afraid to cut off their mothers because they may feel more pain if the mother passes away. They believe that maybe their mothers may change.
The Stages of Loss
D. Kessler and E. Kübler-Ross are authors of the book “On Grief and Grieving.” In this book, they explain the five stages of loss. However, it does not mean that everyone would experience the same stages. So, what happens after a loss?
“I couldn’t believe that a mother would choose to do this to her own child. How could she not love me?”
After a great loss, denial helps us pace the absorption of reality. This is the reason why a daughter may need a lot of time to accept that her mother will never change.
“I was angry for a very long time. Angry for her attitude, what we could have had. But most of all angry at her for her choice that she would rather feel RIGHT than have a relationship with me. She would choose to give it up for the sake of her screwed-up narcissistic self. This is what pissed me off the most.”
Anger is the second stage. After a death of a beloved, we tend to be angry at people, supernatural forces, the healthcare system, and so on. So, daughters in grief may be angry at their mothers even at family members.
Why family members? They may be angry at them because they did not protect them and did not see the toxic treatment earlier.
“I don’t think I had this stage. There were ‘if only’ feelings, but you can’t bargain with a person like her. It just won’t work.”
During this stage, a person feels that if they had done something, the situation would not be as it is. Daughters tend to change their behavior and please their mothers in order to change them.
And, while daughters are in grief, they may stop bargaining because they begin accepting that they cannot make their mothers love them.
“This stage has lasted decades. When the person is still alive, I think you always have this deep-down hope of reconciliation. Maybe she’ll come around. Maybe on her deathbed, she will have an epiphany of some kind and realize what she’s done. A last moment of clarity and confession. Don’t hold your breath. It’s been hard on me to see my friends and their moms who have great relationships. You think, ‘Why didn’t I get that? I deserve that too, dammit!'”
It is normal to feel extreme sadness after a loss. And, the authors of the book say that depression is a way to keep us safe from shutting down the nervous system.
Also, it is normal to feel sad and sometimes depressed if you have had an unloving mother. The feeling of “the only one in the world who wasn’t loved” is a feeling of isolation. This is a result of the well-known myth “every mother is loving.”
“I don’t know whether I will ever have this stage fully until she’s gone. One of the ways I have dealt with it is to be the very best mom I can be to my own children. They know all the family history. They get it and understand why I did what I did.”
This is the final stage which does not mean that everything is okay. It is about accepting that you have lost someone and learning to live with it. During this stage, we learn how to get back our lives.
The mourner begins forming new relationships and connections. So, that is why it is important for daughters to mourn the mothers they deserved.
To mourn the mother you deserved means to grieve that you did not have the mother that loved you, supported you, was proud of you for all your success, and everything that loving mothers do.