Have you ever felt like the people you love are ignoring your emotional needs? And you were offended, and an inner voice whispered to you: “Why explain something? They still don’t understand me.” Imagine this pattern showing up regularly in any relationship throughout your life. If you recognize yourself, you may be dealing with emotional deprivation. Is it a lack or absence emotional responses, such as approval or love from other people.
Where Does Emotional Deprivation Come From?
This pattern is formed during childhood as our brain tries to understand the “rules” that relationships work by in order to respond in the right way. The problem is that the basis for the “rules” is the situation in the family, and for everyone it is unique: what is acceptable in one may be completely unacceptable in another. But when we become adults, our brain continues to respond to settings that have long been irrelevant.
Emotional deprivation usually occurs when parents or people who cared for a person did not hear, did not consider important, did not reflect, or in any other way did not respond to his needs. At the same time, he knew that he had these needs, and this made him angry. The voice of emotional deprivation told him: “You have real, legitimate needs, and you are being ignored! This is terrible! You must be angry! Although you have already experienced so much, and this is repeated from time to time, so you can just be offended and not say anything.
Now imagine that the brain is still giving out such monologues, although a person has long grown up and is among people who give him more emotional response than family. Emotional deprivation can cause such a person to close down and feel isolated, as if everyone around is cold to him. Or, on the contrary, he himself will be cold with others.
What are the signs of emotional deprivation?
- You assume that your feelings are being neglected, even when there is no evidence of this.
- You often succumb to despondency.
- You feel alone and no one understands you.
- You often feel resentment and anger.
- You are acting passive-aggressively.
- You show coldness to others when they try to get close to you, trying to behave in a way “the way they behave.”
How to get rid of emotional deprivation
Understand your past
Think about what your family was like when you were growing up. What emotional atmosphere reigned in it? Why might you feel that your feelings and needs were being neglected?
The point is not to scold and blame loved ones, but to figure out what happened during that period of your life and why then you reacted in a certain way.
Know your emotional needs
Think about what you needed as a child. Perhaps you wanted your parents to regularly ask how you are doing at school and listen carefully with genuine interest. Or maybe your needs were so ignored that you needed an adult and mentor outside your family to support you.
Check if you are disturbing yourself
Notice moments when you overreact when interacting with other people, make high emotional expectations for them and be too judgmental. Give others a chance to connect with you.
Try to figure out how you can express your feelings and talk about needs without anger and resentment. Find appropriate ways to explain exactly what you want, without scandals and misunderstandings.
Assess your surroundings
Sometimes people with emotional deprivation are drawn to cold partners because such a relationship model is already familiar to them. Therefore, do not forget about this factor. It may be difficult for your loved one to be “warmer”. Discuss it.
Contact a psychologist
Emotional deprivation can be very deep inside, so it can be difficult to deal with it on your own. A qualified specialist will help to work out and eradicate this model.
The main key to fighting emotional deprivation is to remember yourself in childhood and show compassion for that child who once did not receive what he really needed. This sympathy must be applied to the present self. Try to figure out how you can protect yourself and your emotional needs in a healthy, non-confrontational way. You deserve it.