Were your parents emotionally neglectful?

Unlike emotional abuse, emotional neglect is not something that parents set out to do. This is more of a vicious cycle, in which parents who grew up with neglect pass on the similar treatment to their children, without realizing it.

Our environment plays a crucial role in shaping our lives and subjectivities. When we are not nurtured by our family, it then not only shapes our present but our future as well.

Same is the case with parents who subject their children to emotional neglect, since they themselves did not receive it. There is thus no understanding in them that they may be doing something wrong, as they do not know any better themselves.

When the emotional needs of the children are not addressed, their growth is hampered. It increases their chances of mental health problems, many which require the intervention of the psychologist to get better.

Types of emotionally neglectful parents

There are different types in which parents emotionally neglect their children. These can be surmised into three broad categories, which are:

Parents who had right interests, but wrong actions

Their heart is in the right place, but their actions are certainly misplaced. They do not recognize the need for emotional support. They dispense all sorts of care otherwise, whether it be material, or helping children gain better skills and life opportunities, but none of these are a substitute for the emotional support that the child needs.

Such parents may be absent in the lives of the children, toiling to give them a better future. A good intention they may have, but they inadvertently deny their child the emotional support.

Some parents also heavily focus on perfection and achievement. They might push their child to get better grades, get them help from a tutor, take them to soccer practice to increase their extra-curricular profile, but they fail to give their child emotional support.

Likewise, some parents may not push their children often enough. Children do need a nudge in the right direction, and they need to feel the presence and guidance of their parents, which sadly in this case, might not exist.

The lack of emotional support with well-intentioned parents can lead to a swamp of conflicting feelings in the children. They resent their parents, but at the same time, feel guilty about it since they know their parents had their heart in the right place.

Similarly, since you lack emotional connection with your parents, you do not like being in their company. You feel as if you are a stranger to them.

Parents who were struggling in life

Some parents are not emotionally available to their children because something else was soaking up their energy. It could be struggle with finances, care for a family person, grief or loss, or even mental health issues like depression.

Such parents then do not have energy or time to address the emotional needs of their children, who then grow up to be self-reliant. They know their parents struggled, so end up blaming themselves for any mistakes they might make.

Children of such parents do recognize and empathize with their parents, but they also have taken up their trait of focusing on others’ wellbeing and neglecting their own.

Parents without right interests

A third category is the self-involved parents, who are narcissists, sociopaths, selfish people who do not care for their child’s needs. They not only emotionally scar the child, but their attitude is also hurtful. They want their child to sing to their tune, without any care for their wellbeing.

Such parents prioritize themselves over their children, who then feel confused about their parent’s love. They feel anxious about being with their parents, and naturally also harbor resentment towards them.

This type of emotional neglect is the most damaging. Children of such parents might then need the help from their Psychologist in Karachi to get better.

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