If you recognize these 9 signs, you lack emotional support as a child

Recognizing the signs of a true lack of emotional support during childhood can be a difficult task.

Because these signs are often subtle and appear in ways that we cover up or dismiss.

Besides, no one wants to point the finger at a parent and tell them they did a bad job now, do they?

However, recognizing when emotional support is lacking during adolescence is an essential step towards healing and personal development.

As a child, you may not have been aware of what emotional support should look like. Absent parents or conflict may have seemed the norm…

Because that’s all you’ve ever known. Therefore, it makes it even more difficult to recognize the lack of emotional support. (If it ain’t broke, why fix it?)

So, without further ado, this article will cover 9 signs that could indicate a childhood without emotional support.

And know now, this isn’t about blaming anyone or pointing fingers in later life – it’s about helping you better understand your past, to improve your future.

1) Difficulties in expressing emotions

One of the signs of lack of emotional support in childhood is a they struggle with expressing emotions.

As a child you learned how to do your best, and in your situation that meant wrapping your emotions in a tight ball and hiding them.

You learned to deal with emotions by observing and interacting with your caregivers.

So if emotional support was lacking during these crucial years, you may not have been sure how to express your own feelings.

This difficulty in expressing emotions can manifest itself in different ways – from avoiding emotional situations and shutting down, to becoming overly reactive and grumpy, or quite sensitive.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, remind yourself that it’s not about blaming your caregivers or yourself.

Instead, it’s about gaining insight into why you might react the way you do and learning how to express emotions in a healthy way.

2) Feeling of loneliness

Despite being surrounded by people, some just can’t shake the persistent feeling of loneliness that follows them like a stray dog.

They feel like they are on the outside looking in, even when they are actively participating in society and in the middle of Christmas. Thanksgiving. At a house party.

This loneliness points to a childhood in which emotional needs were often neglected. This is often not intentional; parents have their own lives and may find themselves caught up in their own predicaments to think the best of dependents and support them.

However, this lack of emotional connection during a person’s formative years can lead to this feelings of isolation.

Breaking through this loneliness is also challenging, but as always, admitting it is a big and bold first step toward building more fulfilling relationships.

3) Excessively self-critical

If you don’t have parents who please you, telling you that you will do well in life and that you are beautiful and brave and smart, this can lead to a nasty internalized voice.

This negative self-critic may be constantly belittling you, babbling that you are not good enough, but you must always strive for perfection.

Research suggests that children who lack emotional support from their parents often grow up to become adults who set themselves unattainable goals high standards for yourself. They are more likely to suffer from perfectionism, anxiety and even depression.

Therefore, recognizing this pattern is the first step towards reducing self-criticism, even in adults, and creating a more compassionate relationship with yourself.

4) Trust issues

Trust is a key aspect of any relationship. It was learned and built through constant emotional support and understanding in childhood.

However, if you lack this emotional support, you may find it challenging to trust others.

Relying on yourself as a child to complete tasks and take care of yourself as a parent should actually mean that you become less and less confident in the world around you.

Because you saw it burning, and only you remained standing…

Take on the constant fear of being betrayed or abandoned, making it difficult to form secure and lasting relationships because you remain somewhat skeptical, no matter how hard they try to prove their trustworthiness.

And while it’s not easy, this lack of trust can be fostered by letting your guard down and trusting that others can have your back.

As slow a process as this may be, it is worth it because you will learn to love and trust and maintain more fulfilling relationships.

5) Difficulty accepting love and thinking you are unworthy

Love and affection are basic human needs. However, the lack of these in childhood can lead to an adult thinking about himself undeserving of love.

Maybe they had to make a big fuss to get their parents’ attention, so they started equating being loved with attention-seeking behavior.

They either remain suspicious of people who show love no matter what, or are even embarrassed to be told “I love you”.

This may stem from a fear of vulnerability or an ingrained belief that you are not worthy of love at all.

And even if “I love you” sends a shiver down your spine, it’s good to face what you’re facing and learn to know that you’re worthy of such support.

6) Constantly seeking confirmation

As mentioned above, a lack of love can mean you turn your nose to the ground and try to smell it.

We seek what we lack, so that children who grew up without love can become eligible emotional reassurance and validation.

This can mean constantly seeking approval from others or a strong need to feel seen and appreciated – perhaps even through social media.

Yet, no matter how much your partner tells you they love you or how many likes you get, you never feel fulfilled.

And while this applies to many, the pursuit of validation can become toxic and harmful, and is best encouraged by learning to love yourself.

7) Fear of abandonment

Finding it hard to express your love and tell those you love how much you appreciate them often goes hand in hand with mutilation fear that he will leave any time.

You used to do it alone, in the shadow of a caregiver.

Which doesn’t mean that your family created you as an adult you might not just up and leave all of a sudden?

This sometimes even creates a toxic relationship where the person with the fear of abandonment will push them away, in an attempt to subconsciously create a self-fulfilling prophecy. They push and push until the relationship becomes too difficult and the loved one leaves, then they sit back with an almost smug look on their faces.

I knew he was going to leave me anyway.

8) Difficulties in establishing close relationships

Along with the struggles with trust and opening up comes the difficulty of being vulnerable in the first place.

You may find it difficult to open up to others, not quite sure how to create deeper connections or have more meaningful relationships.

Or you can be inside all the time short term relationships that shine, but quickly burn out – they cannot maintain a long-term relationship.

9) Isolation (despite loneliness)

One of the most significant signs of a childhood without emotional support is the tendency self-isolateeven in the midst of the solitude that then follows you around.

You may be invited out or be surrounded by people, but you will still escape this for your company; avoiding social situations or intimate relationships.

Childhood taught you that you can rely on yourself, and that you are best able to solve problems or lick your wounds alone – so this has become your status quo in adulthood.

Final thoughts

The tendency to point the finger at parents and call them absent or even narcissists is more current in today’s world, although this is not a very healthy approach.

No family is completely, unshakably happy. Nuclear family you see in textbooks rarely exists behind closed doors.

However, growing up with absent, emotionally supportive parents is more common than you might think and leaves scars that stay with us into adulthood if we don’t acknowledge and work on them.

Recognizing the signs of parental absence is not about pointing fingers or dwelling on the past. Neither of these will help you as an adult.

Instead, it’s about understanding the impact it may have had on your current self and being willing to get your elbows dirty in learning to trust and love.

By recognizing these signs and accepting your past, you pave the way for personal growth and emotional healing.

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