Childhood Emotional Neglect

By: Dr Carla Kesrouani June 21, 2023 no comments

Childhood Emotional Neglect

Physical and sexual abuse often receive more attention, yet childhood emotional neglect can also cause lifelong trauma. Let’s examine what emotional neglect is and how to cope with its effects.

What is emotional neglect?

Firstly, childhood emotional neglecting refers to caretakers failing to provide a child’s basic emotional needs. This includes lacking:

  • Warmth – Little affection, comfort or praise
  • Attunement – Inability to recognize a child’s emotions
  • Empathy – Not validating feelings or offering comfort
  • Attachment – Infrequent positive interactions
  • Appropriate boundaries – Not setting limits or providing supervision

This lack of emotional nourishment leaves children feeling unloved, unimportant and unable to form healthy relationships.

How it impacts development

Moreover, emotional neglect significantly impairs social, emotional and cognitive development during childhood. This can show up as:

  • Difficulty identifying and expressing feelings
  • Inability to self-soothe or self-reflect
  • Difficulties with intimacy and self-esteem
  • Low frustration tolerance and impulse control
  • Lack of emotional resilience to cope with life’s challenges

Lasting effects into adulthood

Furthermore, childhood emotional neglecting often results in issues that persist into adulthood, like:

  • Unstable relationships with partner or friends
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Tendency towards codependency
  • Negative self-image and perfectionism
  • Higher anxiety, depression and vulnerability to addiction

Healing from emotional neglect

In summary, though emotional neglecting leaves no visible scars, its impacts can be profound and long-lasting.The path to healing involves:

  • Developing self-awareness around how neglect affects you
  • Regaining a sense of self-worth and healthy boundaries
  • Learning emotional regulation strategies
  • Reparenting yourself through compassion
  • Seeking professional therapy

With self-reflection,skills development and supports, childhood emotional neglect need not define you or hold you back in life. Reach out when you’re ready – you deserve care and attention now.

Finally, a note for you not to be ashamed to ask for help when needed because no matter how strong you are you could benefit from a trained therapist that may highlight something you missed.



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