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How To Deal With Emotional Neglect In Adults

emotional neglect in adults

One thing that no one wants to happen in families but which unfortunately sometimes does is emotional neglect.

But it doesn’t only happen to kids and its effects do not disappear once kids grow up.

Specifically in this article, we will be talking about emotional neglect in adults. 

Adults who are emotionally neglected often feel unheard, unseen, and unimportant. 

This type of neglect can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s mental and physical health. 

There are many people out there who suffer from emotional neglect and emotional neglect in adults can be particularly traumatizing. 

This type of neglect can come in many different forms, but the most common is when one person in a relationship ignores or fails to show any kind of interest in the other person’s feelings or well-being. 

This can lead to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and even depression in the neglected person.

If you are an adult who is experiencing emotional neglect in your relationship, there are steps you can take to improve your situation. 

First among those steps is to find a support group or therapist who can help you understand and cope with the effects of neglectful behavior.

emotional neglect in adults

What Is Emotional Neglect?

Emotional neglect is a form of emotional abuse that can be extremely damaging to a person’s mental and physical health. 

It is when one or both parties in a relationship ignore or refuse to provide necessary emotional support and care. 

Emotional neglect can manifest as a lack of love, attention, or support from a caregiver.

This can cause the neglected individual to feel isolated, unsupported, and hopeless leading to low self-esteem and social withdrawal. 

If left untreated, emotional neglect can have lasting effects on both the neglected individual and their loved ones.

In addition, emotional neglect can damage relationships with loved ones. 

The neglected individual may be less likely to trust others and may be more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse. 

Ultimately, emotional neglect can have devastating consequences for both the individual and those they care about.

Emotional neglect can lead to a wide range of problems, including anxiety, depression, anger issues, and substance abuse. 

These problems often result in relationship difficulties and impaired job or academic performance. 

In severe cases, emotional neglect can even lead to thoughts or attempts of suicide.

For loved ones of someone who is suffering from the effects of emotional neglect, it can be difficult to know how to help. 

It is important to provide support and understanding, but also to encourage the individual to seek professional help. 

With treatment, most people who suffer from emotional neglect can make significant improvements in their lives.

Signs And Symptoms Of Emotional Neglect

In any kind of relationship, be it with a friend, family member, or romantic partner, we should feel seen, heard and valued. 

When this doesn’t happen, we can begin to feel neglected. 

Emotional neglect can be subtle and insidious in that it is often not even recognized before the damage has already been done. 

It can manifest as a feeling that our thoughts and feelings don’t matter, that we’re not important to the person we care about.

Emotional neglect can cause us to feel chronically lonely and unsupported. 

We may feel like no one understands us or cares about us. 

We may also experience trouble trusting others because we’ve been let down so many times before.

If you’re exhibiting these signs of having experienced emotional neglect, it’s important to reach out for help.

crying adult

Children Grow Up Into Adults

One of the primary dangers of someone experiencing emotional neglect as a child is that they might grow up to be an emotionally neglectful adult without even realizing it.

This is because someone who was neglected from an early age may genuinely not know or understand anything else.

Such a situation can lead to a repetition of the cycle of neglect that is entirely unintentional and even unwanted by the person who has simply never known what a healthy relationship looks like.

Adult children of emotionally neglectful parents often struggle with a unique set of challenges. 

They may feel misunderstood, unsupported, and even abandoned. 

These feelings can lead to distress, low self-esteem, and even depression. 

These things can all combine in a very destructive way to make everyone involved feel miserable and at their wits end.

This can be especially true of the now adult victim of emotional neglect as they may struggle to break the cycle but simply be unable to as a result of not knowing how or even knowing what is going wrong.

There are, however, ways to cope with emotional neglect in adults. 

First and foremost, these individuals need to seek out support from family and friends. 

In addition, they should try to develop healthy relationships outside the home. 

Finally, they must learn to identify and deal with their own feelings.

emotional neglect with children

Effects Of Emotional Neglect

Emotional neglect can have a significant impact on adults

One of the most common effects is that individuals can feel a sense of emptiness and loneliness. 

This can be exacerbated by the fact that people who have experienced emotional neglect often find it difficult to trust others and form relationships. 

They may also struggle with self-esteem issues and feel like they are not good enough. 

These negative thoughts and feelings can lead to problems such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.

An adult who experienced emotional neglect as a child can enter adulthood feeling isolated and alone without knowing how to handle those feelings in a healthy way. 

Emotional neglect can have long-term effects on the child as they grow into adulthood, including problems with relationships and self-esteem. 

Sometimes, the adult children of emotionally neglectful parents may even seek (consciously or unconsciously) a kind of revenge by neglecting their own parents later in life.

And other times, they may neglect their parents simply because those same parents never taught them any better.

This can be a baffling thing to see as someone looking in from the outside.

emotional neglect in adults

Depression And Anxiety Caused By Emotional Neglect

Depression is a common result of emotional neglect. 

It can cause people to feel hopeless and worthless, leading to a lack of motivation and an inability to enjoy activities that were once pleasurable. 

Anxiety is also common in adults who experienced emotional neglect. 

It can manifest as intrusive thoughts, fearfulness, and difficulty managing stress. 

Adults who experienced emotional neglect as children may struggle with intimacy or feel unworthy of love and they may carry these problems into the relationships that they have as adults. 

They may also struggle with depression or anxiety or have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships. 

And when it comes to anxiety or depression, adults who experienced emotional neglect during their childhood may struggle more with these conditions than those who did not experience neglect. 

It’s important for these adults to seek out therapy or other forms of support in order to address these issues.

If you are struggling with depression or anxiety and think that emotional neglect may be playing a role, it is important to seek help from a therapist or counselor. 

They can provide you with the support you need to manage your symptoms and start living a healthier life.

binge drinking for emotional neglect in adults

How To Deal With Emotional Neglect

Emotional neglect is a type of abuse that is often overlooked. 

It can be more damaging than physical abuse, because it leaves the victim feeling alone and unloved. 

The good news is that there are ways to deal with emotional neglect.

The first step is to recognize that you have been neglected. 

Many people who have experienced emotional neglect don’t realize what happened to them until much later in life. 

Emotional neglect can have a serious impact on a person’s life. 

Emotional neglect in adults can include a lack of affection, attention, or support. 

The effects of emotional neglect, as we have covered, can be devastating and may include depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with emotional neglect, there are steps you can take to address the issue.

The first step is to identify the source of your emotional neglect. 

This may be difficult, but it is important to understand what is causing your pain. 

Once you have identified the source, you can begin to address it head-on. 

You may need to seek professional help in order to do this.

Another step is to build a support system

This may include friends, family members, or professionals who can help you through this difficult time.

Once you have recognized the problem, you need to start dealing with the emotions that you have been suppressing for years. 

This can be difficult, but it is necessary if you want to heal the wounds caused by emotional neglect.

Finally, you need to find support from friends or professionals. 

This can help you deal with the pain of emotional neglect and start moving on with your life.

Emotional Damage


Emotional neglect can have a significant impact on an adult’s life. 

If you are experiencing emotional neglect, it is important to reach out for help. 

There are many resources available to you, and there is no shame in seeking assistance. 

You are not alone.

Thank you for reading this article. 

I hope it has been helpful. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.


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