Do you have feelings of emotional abandonment, and do you think it stems from your childhood? It’s not uncommon to feel neglect issues, but you may not be able to put your finger on the root cause. It’s a fallacy that these feelings only come from things like mistreatment, divorce, death, or illness.
The truth is that you can have someone lay beside you in bed every night and still feel these feelings of abandonment. The premise for this mental concern has nothing to do with closeness or the proximity of a person. Still, it’s more about not having a connection with that individual, or your emotional needs are being overlooked.
Understanding Your Emotional Needs
Your emotions are not something that you’re fully aware of, and you may not know what’s missing in your life. Your relationships have both physical and emotional needs, and when one is not being fulfilled, it can cause you to be off-kilter.
The basic mental health needs of a person include these things:
- Listened to
- Treated as an equal companion
When things aren’t right in your relationship, your emotional needs are unmet. This is often observed in cases where there is emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or there is a high amount of conflict between the couple. Another issue that can bring feelings of emotional abandonment is infidelity.
What about cases where one partner has a substance abuse issue? It’s only normal that the other person feels neglected, and it can turn into feelings of abandonment. When an individual is deep in the throes of addiction, their substance abuse problem is the driving force in their life.
Being addicted to an illegal substance prevents a person from giving their all to a relationship, and thus, the other individual suffers. There are numerous reasons why one party might feel that their emotional needs aren’t being met in a relationship, but the key is to identify what’s not working and fix it. If the connection cannot be repaired, then it’s not healthy to stay in a toxic situation.
Origins of Emotional Abandonment
You should note that emotional abandonment is a feeling, and it can come about even when you’re in a healthy relationship. It’s normal to have moments when your thoughts or feelings lead you down this path, and it can be unconscious or an intentional view.
Here are some things that psychiatrists and counselors have observed that can trigger these feelings:
- Parenting demands
- Hectic work schedules
- Lack of communication
- Lack of affection
- Intentionally withholding intimacy
- Severe or ongoing illness
- Not spending time together
- A narcissistic partner
- Unresolved hurts
- Intimacy fears
- Living separate lives
- Falling out of love
Establishing Common Ground
It’s a common belief that opposites attract, and it’s good to have various interests to keep things interesting. However, it would help if you had enough common interests that you enjoy spending time together. Assume that you love to go to thrift stores and flea markets because the thrill of the hunt gets your mojo going.
However, your partner loathes these places and sees them as a waste of time. It’s hard to find time to spend together when you don’t like to do the same things. If you want to go to the movies and your partner prefers to stay home and “Netflix and chill,” then it’s easy to see how this could cause feelings of abandonment.
It would help if you made time to spend together. If you don’t have any evident interests, then find new things to do that you both can enjoy. When you have new experiences, it keeps the relationship alive. When you do the same thing day in, and day out, it only causes you to feel stagnate. It takes hard work to keep things fresh.
Dealing with Resentment
Damaging and harmful communication patterns occur when you don’t know how to be open and honest with each other. You should be able to share your feelings and thoughts with your partner without fear of any repercussions.
When you feel that your partner doesn’t care about what you’re saying, doesn’t respect your opinions, or isn’t even really listening, then you may stop trying to communicate. It’s effortless to build walls of resentment because you feel that you’re not on the same page. The person who has laid beside you for 20 years, every night, can become a stranger.
Many couples live separate lives and don’t even realize it. When you talk to your neighbors, friends, and relatives more than you talk to your partner, it’s a sign that something isn’t right in your relationship. If you’re no longer being sexually intimate or having any particular time just to be a couple, then it’s a sign that your relationship is in trouble.
When your feelings get hurt, or you have anger towards issues that you haven’t communicated to your partner, it’s easy for resentment to build. If these issues are not addressed promptly, then you may push or pull away from your partner. Do you want to avoid any criticism or undercutting comments from them?
Many people develop expectations for how the conversation about their feelings will go, and they avoid having this vital talk. The fact is that when you don’t communicate, you put the other partner in a precarious situation. They must become mind readers and determine why you’re upset or hurt.
Communication is an essential part of any relationship. If you cannot openly talk to your partner about your feelings, then you’re setting yourself up for resentment and disappointment in the union.
The Fear of Intimacy
It sounds silly to say that an adult has a fear of intimacy, but it’s something that people see psychiatrists for every day. These fears can come from their past or the trauma they’ve experienced. Someone who has been sexually abused might view sex as something that brought them so much pain, so their brain is programmed to view this act as harmful.
While their body might enjoy the feelings associated with sex, their mind is stuck in the past and the things that happened to them. How can they get over these feelings to be present in their relationship? The fear of intimacy from one partner will leave the other person to suffer.
Though you’ve done nothing wrong, the past abuse is driving a wedge in your otherwise great relationship. The person who has the fears of being close may push you away, put up walls, or close off when it comes to the topic of intimacy. Typically, these fears aren’t conscious, and they need counseling to retrain their brain to think about such matters differently.
Emotional abandonment can most certainly come from issues of intimacy. When one person isn’t present in the relationship physically, it can cause turmoil emotionally. It’s hard for you to understand when you’ve not been through the same things as your partner. So, you might feel alone, unwanted, and abandoned.
Childhood Plays A Significant Role in Adulthood
Many of the issues that plague you in adulthood come from your childhood. Was your mother emotionally able to take care of you as an infant? Did you have a bond with her and she with you?
Being a mother is overwhelming, especially when your mother might have come from a traumatic background. If she didn’t know how to handle stress appropriately, it could cause an attachment disorder between her and the child. When an infant is going through the foundational stage of emotional development, a mom must be in-tune with her child’s needs.
If your mom was fixated on her life and problems, cold towards you, or incapable of empathizing with your feelings, then you felt alone and rejected. When your needs go unmet for long periods, you form feelings of abandonment. Sadly, it’s not just in infancy that these fears can stem from childhood.
As you grew and aged, you may have felt controlled, criticized too much, received unfair treatment, or were given responsibilities that weren’t age-appropriate. All these things can cause feelings of emotional abandonment. When you suppress feelings as a viable coping skill, it only causes issues later in life.
You must deal with these problems either then or now because they can cause significant issues.
Final Thoughts on Emotional Abandonment
Feelings of abandonment, either emotional or physical, must be addressed. Your partner may do everything right in your relationship, and your past issues will drive a wedge between the two of you. Counselors talk with people every day whose past is haunting them in the present.
Whatever is the reason behind your emotional abandonment issues, you need to get to the root of it to process these feelings. If you don’t process them and move on, they will haunt every relationship you have in the future. Additionally, these feelings of abandonment can also spread to friendships.