When a person comes from a place of emotional neglect in childhood it’s beyond painful. One’s basic needs for emotional sustenance, a sense of well-being, feeling loved and safe were not ensured. So that deep scar, carries over into adulthood if not addressed.
I definitely had a lot of emotional neglect in childhood. My parents were not mean people by any stretch. However, I unwittingly became the invisible child because one of my step-siblings was a young sociopath in the making.
As a boy, he was labeled with “conduct disorder.” There was always some podunk police officer showing up at our house to let my parents know he was in trouble again.
The other two step-siblings of mine were “problem children” as well because of extreme learning disabilities and needed a lot of time and energy. My mom spent hours doing educational advocacy so they could have any chance at having academic success.
I became the invisible child. I was the kid who got straight A’s, the one my parents figured didn’t need any help because I was succeeding. However, I was dying on the inside all the while, wishing they would stop long enough to hug me, tell me how proud they were of me, sit and help me do my homework even if I didn’t need it; hell just have my mom sit down next to me and tell me I was a cute girl ….something, anything.
Things went from bad to worse over the years. More police involvement with my step-brother, more arrests, even prison time for him, my parents divorced, our house was sold.
I found myself involved in relationships throughout my adulthood searching for that attention I never got. Ironically, from men who weren’t capable of giving it to me. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
That was perhaps the cruelest twist. See, I was ignorant before I went into psychotherapy years ago. I didn’t realize that the complex trauma I had endured as a child, primed me to seek out and replicate the very same neglect and abuse…. to be re-victimized.
I remember one of my first abusive relationships, the guy saying,”you’re a total attention whore!” At the time he had said it, I had asked for more affection from him. I wanted to hold hands sometimes, I wanted to hug him and have it just stay being a nice warm hug. Not have it not lead to him wanting to push my head down to make me give him a blowjob. I wanted affection, not just a purely sexually based relationship.
His response? I was too intense, too needy, clingy, high-maintenance. That I was too insecure. That I wanted too much. “That” guy? well that guy turned out to be the sexual-sadist-sociopath who has no conscience.
Yeah, okay but I’m too intense and needy….
You know now that I think about it? I think it’s pretty normal to want to feel loved, safe, attractive, validated. Especially after not having had enough as a child and teen.
It is unhealthy to expect one’s partner to the be the primary source of one’s emotional well being, that needs to come from within.
That said, stop going to the hardware store for milk.