Picture this: Your boyfriend of 2 years just dumped you out of nowhere. You're confused, shocked, in tears, suddenly grieving the loss of your relationship. Your mom or dad see you in distress, but instead of hugging you or saying something comforting, you get nothing. They just go on with their day, as if nothing has happened.
This behavior is an example of emotional neglect. Emotional availability can determine the quality of a relationship. By creating a positive emotional environment, learning, independence, and growth can occur.
Being emotionally available helps you show people you care and lets them know you are invested and interested in them. Connection is essential for a supportive and trusting relationship.
When important moments happen and our parents aren't there to react or show emotion, it stings. Emotionally unavailable parents lack the ability to offer emotional support in the face of need.
They aren't present when you need them. And so, you're left with a feeling of neglect where there should be attention and care.
How to heal from an emotionally absent parent:
1. Remain present in your own life.
Spend time with your friends and focus on your hobbies and career. Your parents do not dictate your happiness!
2. Identify your own needs.
People with emotionally absent parents often neglect their own needs. Tune in with yourself after a long day. What is your inner child craving?
3. Find positive mentors in your life.
No, this doesn't replace an emotionally absent parent. But it will help you find guidance during difficult moments.
4. Parent yourself.
Learn to treat yourself with the same care that a parent would. You deserve to be loved unconditionally.
5. Allow yourself to feel.
Anger, resentment, numbness, or even regret. Feel it all. Don't repress it.
6. Reflect and accept.
This doesn't mean you have to forgive, but don't dwell on the past. Reflect on your hurt, accept it as a part of your life, and move forward.
Growing up with an emotionally unavailable parent can have lifelong effects, but it doesn't have to define you negatively. Healing from these relationships may take time, but it is possible! Therapy can offer so many benefits to those who struggle to cope with the trauma and help you move forward personally and in your relationship.