There is a condition which is not spoken or written about that often, it is more invisible than other more recognised types of abuse. There are no physical signs as with physical abuse or as talked about as sexual abuse. It is an insidious condition which causes intense internal emotional, mental and sometimes physical pain to the sufferer. We are talking about Emotional Neglect.
This often stems from childhood and from the type of parenting a person has received. It is hard to spot and frequently remains unnoticed and even the sufferer is not always aware, but they do know that something is wrong.
With no tell tale bruises or cuts, or being sworn to secrecy, it is actually more about what the person did not get. This makes it so easy to go under the radar unnoticed and the problems it creates for the person can seem a mystery to not only themselves but to others.
From not feeling cared about or encouraged to feeling completely ignored and unloved, the sufferer feels that something is fundamentally wrong with them as a person. This creates an intense lack of self worth which also leads to self loathing. This often leads to additional mental health struggles such as Depression, Eating Disorders, Addictions, Anxiety and Self Harming. It can be complex and difficult for not only the person themselves to understand but to others as well.
It is often undetected when the person is young but as they continue to struggle with life and coping day to day, it can start to be more noticeable. They may not have a sense of what exactly is wrong, but it can feel as though there is something missing without being able to put their finger on it.
Their parenting experience as a younger person can range from having a parent with a personality disorder, a bereaved parent, a parent with an addiction or other mental health problem such as depression. Also parents that are so absorbed in their work or with another child with special needs that they fail to notice fully what their child needs. Matt Fox, a Counsellor on the Counselling Directory explains the different types of parents further in his article called “Out of Fuel” which is worth checking out.
Sadly, these children often end up parenting themselves in some respects and develop without a solid, nurturing foundation. This is key to a person having a healthy seem esteem in tact.
These people may seek help as an adult and typically show some of the following signs, lack of self compassion, feelings of emptiness, a lack of self discipline, a misunderstanding of emotions and their purpose, being fiercely independent and not wanting to rely on anyone else, struggling to trust others and a fear of rejection. They are full of shame, which stems from self directed anger.
Many of these people become suicidal at some time in their lives and this may be when they reach out for help.
On the optimistic side, this can be reversed with lots of therapy from a skilled therapist. As the sufferer gains further self awareness and a desire to change, the deep seated issues can be successfully worked through. To find out more about Emotional Neglect, please book an appointment with Jane our Counsellor here.