If someone asked you, “Are you emotionally neglected?” your immediate answer would be, “No.” But if you dig a little deeper and think about this, it will be impossible not to notice that you really are emotionally neglected either at home, at work, by your friends or by your partner.
Emotional neglect happens when someone fails to accommodate to your emotional needs. It is something that can happen to anyone, and most of the time people notice it only when it is too late. You will feel that something is not quite right. You blame yourself for feeling that way, like you screwed something up, even though you didn’t. Once you recognize that you’re emotionally neglected, and by whom, you will be able to deal with it better and your healing process can begin.
Here are the most common signs that you’re emotionally neglected:
1. You sometimes feel numb
This doesn’t refer to the physical sensation of feeling numb, but the emotional sensation of your thoughts. The whole world becomes gray, you feel nothing, and nothing matters at that point. You’re around your loved ones, but you don’t feel love, you don’t feel close to them.
This doesn’t happen often, but when it does all your emotions disappear. This is a clear sign of emotional neglect and more often than not it’s hidden somewhere in your past. It could come from your childhood that you were neglected by your parents or from a past relationship. Whatever it is, you learned unconsciously to stifle your emotions so you don’t get hurt.
2. You often want to be alone
You don’t really enjoy spending time with other people because they just don’t understand you. They don’t understand the way you’re thinking and you’re tired of explaining yourself and trying to convince others. You feel that you don’t fit there and that you’re maybe even unwanted.
When you’re at a social event, you tend to leave, or just go outside for no clear reason. You would love to have someone who understands you, but there is just not much room for connecting with you. This can be caused by emotional neglect from anyone in your social circle. Maybe you once overheard, “Why is she sitting at our table?” and everything started from there.
3. You refuse help from others
No matter how much of a difficult situation you are in, you will never ask for help. When you were neglected at home and had to do everything on your own, or your partner was not there when you needed his support or help the most, you became used to this and now it seems almost impossible for you to ask for or accept someone’s help.
4. You have low self-esteem
When you get emotionally neglected by your loved ones, you constantly have the feeling that you’re not worthy of their time or not important to them. Most of the time this is not true, but you still develop this feeling and it’s hard to shake it off.
It hunts you down and you often transfer those feelings over to other situations and people in your life. It affects your relationship or your work and is a threat of becoming permanent.
5. You feel like something is missing
This constant feeling that something is missing can also be caused by emotional neglect. You’re feeling a hole inside that is craving a certain person’s love. Whoever that person is, he/she neglected you. Most of the time, this is caused when you’re unhappy in your relationship and your partner doesn’t give you enough attention.
You know exactly who it is, because you believe that only that person can fill the hole and bring you joy. The best advice here is to talk to that person and explain why you need them. If they refuse, well, then they’re not worthy of you anyways.
6. You’re sensitive to rejection and easily offended
Being emotionally neglected can create a fear inside you that stays with you. Having a constant fear of rejection does not come out of the blue. You have been rejected in your past. Maybe you didn’t get into the college you wanted, you failed that job interview or your partner dumped you. Whatever it is, you got rejected and that fear also manifests through being offended about what others say to you. You get angry even at constructive criticism because you have experienced emotional neglect and you see it as an attack.
You never really think about being emotionally neglected until you understand the repercussions of this abuse. You can learn how to deal with it, how to heal and how to start living a normal life. First, you should not take responsibility for trying to change the person who is emotionally neglecting you. At the end of the day, getting rid of that person should be an option if necessary.