Emotionally absent parents leave a deep wound in their children’s lives. Neglect is not easy for a child’s mind to process, because they cannot understand why mom and dad are not responding to their needs. So much so that a sense of guilt is added to the experience of loneliness and helplessness.
As absurd as it may seem, many adults turn to the psychologist showing discomfort and discomfort without being able to identify the reason. They talk about their feeling of emptiness, their inability to have stable and happy relationships. They also complain how difficult it is for them to manage their emotions, their anger, their frustration, their bad mood.
When one delves into their personal reality, it turns out that in most of these patients there is no obvious trauma or psychological disorder or condition. So what happens?
In many cases it is an emotional void, the sign of an emotional abandonment on the part of the parents, who did not look after them sufficiently or who did not know how to satisfy their needs during childhood.
Often in the field of psychology there is a tendency to neglect this dimension, albeit very important. In a way, it focuses on the more traumatic events, such as physical or emotional abuse. However, emotionally absent parents cause deep wounds.
Emotionally absent parents, cold parents
Parents may be physically present but emotionally absent. Some mothers are cold; some fathers are emotionally negligent and fail to establish a safe and healthy attachment with their children. These dynamics define universes capable of marking a person’s destiny.
Alice Miller, a renowned psychoanalyst expert in child abuse, has left us significant words to reflect on: the world would be a much better place if all children were lucky enough to grow up in a family environment based on affection, on absolute appreciation. A world where humiliation does not exist and where every need is met.
With these premises, we will probably be able to build a better world, more respectful of feelings and emotions. Not everyone comes out of a careless parenting style unscathed. Sometimes it is not even necessary for physical abuse to occur to carry the suffering in like a scar on the skin.
Events such as abandonment, an authoritarian upbringing or growing up with emotionally absent parents have obvious consequences on the child’s psychological development. But what characteristics do emotionally absent parents have? We present them in the following paragraphs.
A common trait in these parents is emotional instability. In many cases, more than coldness or rejection, what the child faces is uncertainty.
Sometimes these parents are loving and friendly, but in a short time their mood changes and they can show rejection and inaccessibility. Such a contrast causes high levels of suffering and anxiety in the child.
Low stress tolerance
The profile of an emotionally absent parent is characterized by emotional inaccessibility, which is accompanied by low stress tolerance. For an emotionally absent parent, any task or time spent with their children is stressful.
Investing time, effort and attention in raising children is too much effort that he cannot bear. He has no patience, fails to perceive the needs and requirements of the child and tends to adopt strategies so that the children “disturb” as little as possible.
Inability to set limits
Emotionally absent parents often act more as acquaintances and friends of their children than as parents. They engage in an upbringing lightly where there are no clear boundaries.
They do not show themselves as support and reference figures capable of guiding, of setting rules so that the child knows at all times what to expect and what is expected of him / her.
Emotionally absent parents have a narcissistic personality
They lack empathy, are selfish, superficial, false, make promises they never keep, give compliments and instantly project their frustration or apathy onto their children.
Such behaviors undoubtedly define a narcissistic personality that causes serious damage to the psychological development of the child.
Emotionally absent parents and consequences for their children
The consequences of an emotionally absent parenting style tend to be different within the same traumatic space.
Victims find it difficult to establish happy emotional relationships, self-esteem is seriously compromised, and identity disorders, difficulties in managing emotions and a clear lack of purpose in life are evident.
The saddest consequence is that many of these adults lose faith in the human species. They no longer have hopes, optimism and that security with which to relate, with which to feel worthy and capable of leading a happy life.
It is clear that not everyone experiences this reality in the same way. There will be those who will have a more resilient approach and will be able to face and rebuild their lives. However that may be, what was experienced in childhood should not determine the quality of the present. We can and must redefine ourselves.
We need to take care of ourselves, take care of our needs, always have plans on the horizon and clarify our life goals.
Either way, there is always the option of enlisting the help of a professional to overcome these harsh realities with better resources and approaches. It is a complex journey, but sometimes it is necessary to reach new destinations to rediscover yourself.