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Love Starved: How Childhood Emotional Neglect Breaks You As An Adult

Childhood Emotional Neglect Breaks Adult

But that’s not all. I had monumental expectations from her. I was insecure and always wanted her to pamper me. The truth is I wanted her to give me the love my mother never did. My insecure attachment made me increasingly needy and selfish.

I was more concerned about making her meet my needs than fulfilling her emotional needs from the relationship, even though I kept constantly pleasing her. But no matter what she did, I was never happy with it. I always wanted more – more love, more attention, more validation – to fill that dark empty abyss in my heart left by my mother.

All I wanted was to protect myself from all the pain and trauma I experienced in my childhood and in doing so, I ruined a perfectly good relationship with a perfectly good woman. 

I now realize all the mistakes I made in my past relationship. But I am scared to get into another one as I am filled with doubt that I will repeat the same toxic patterns in my future relationships.

THIS is what childhood emotional neglect does to you in your adulthood! 

Related: How Does Emotional Neglect Affect A Child: 5 Steps

How childhood emotional neglect screws you as an adult

Love Starved: How Childhood Emotional Neglect Breaks You As An Adult
Love Starved: How Childhood Emotional Neglect Breaks You As An Adult

If you have grown up with emotional neglect and if your emotional needs were invalidated as a child, then chances are you are ill-equipped to deal with your emotions, like me.

What’s worse, when you become a parent yourself, you are likely to repeat the same parenting style and will end up failing to meet your own child’s emotional needs. 

But wait, there’s more. A lot more challenges that you may face as an adult with childhood emotional neglect. Here are some signs of childhood emotional neglect you may face as an adult –

1. You feel lonely all the time

Even when you are surrounded by friends and family, you feel alone. As you are unable to develop healthy attachments and genuine connections, you feel isolated and withdrawn. And people end up calling you introverted without realizing the trauma you went through.

2. You are bad at relationships

You don’t know how to build healthy romantic relationships as an adult. Being needy and insecure, you constantly focus on pleasing your partner and avoid your own needs. You never share your true emotions which keeps you and your partner from being emotionally close. 

Although you may be a good boyfriend or girlfriend, you don’t know how to maintain a relationship in the long run as you are afraid of being vulnerable, neglected or abandoned.

3. You don’t prefer to socialize

As you have limited capacity to share or are reluctant to share your fears and insecurities, socializing appears as a chore to you. You simply go through the motions like any other task.

Socializing is not a rewarding experience for you, but an exhausting one. As you pretend to be someone you think others want you to be in social settings, it leaves you feeling drained.

Related: 8 Things You Can Relate To If You Were Emotionally Neglected As A Child

Wait, I am not done. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here are some other difficult emotions and issues you may struggle with as an adult growing up with childhood emotional neglect –

  • Low self-esteem
  • Sensitivity towards rejection
  • Negative self image
  • Perfectionism
  • Guilt & shame
  • Emptiness
  • Trouble trusting others
  • Attachment insecurities
  • Fear of intimacy or neediness
  • Being emotionally unavailable
  • Codependency in relationships
  • Lack of joy or unhappiness 
  • Difficulty expressing feelings 
  • Being highly critical and judgemental of others and self
  • Lack of empathy
  • People-pleasing behavior
  • Difficulty asking for help
  • Mood swings
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Nightmares & flashbacks 
  • Self-blame
  • Difficulty loving others and self 

Whoa there, buddy! That’s not all. You should be so lucky to get off so easily. Emotional neglect in childhood messes you up real good and the best part (sense the sarcasm) is that it affects both your heart and mind. 

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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts