When we are brought up in dysfunctional homes where we did not receive the love, care and affection that we looked for in childhood, we grow up to be adults with a deep need for affection. This happens because of intense emotional hunger – the pang of not getting affection since childhood and looking to fill that gap. “Childhood emotional neglect can profoundly affect your emotional development and leave lasting scars that impact relationships and well-being well into adulthood. Healing from emotional neglect often involves recognizing these patterns, seeking support, and learning healthy ways to express and process emotions,” wrote Therapist Deniz Ahmadinia.
Lack of responsiveness: As a child, we may have gone through difficult emotions without getting a healthy response from the caregivers. This further made us feel like our emotions or our feelings are not important enough. Constant suppressing and minimising emotions can make us feel that we are not important.
Attachment issues: Emotional hunger also develops when the absence of care and affection disrupts the attachment between a child and the caregiver. A secure attachment is required to feel love, care and safety. When this does not happen, meaningful relationships are not formed.
Low self-worth: not getting the required affection and love as a child can make us have low self-worth even in adulthood. This can also affect adult relationships.
Emotional suppression: As a child, not having the emotions acknowledged can make us suppress our emotions – this further leads to not being aware of the way we are feeling and not knowing healthy ways to regulate emotions.
Invisibility: Emotional neglect often makes us feel that we are invisible to others. This can affect our self-worth and self-confidence and make us feel that we are not valued at all.