Early Deprivation: What Can Happen If Someone Grew Up In A Family That Was Physically Close But Emotionally Distant?
If someone was to look back on their early years, what could soon stand out is that they grew up in a family that was very close. Therefore, if it was put forward to them that they were neglected, they are likely to dismiss what is said.
They could say that this is not true as their family did just about everything together. There is then likely to have typically always been someone around and, if they did do something, at least one other family member might have been there.
Due to how much time they spent with their family, it might not have been uncommon for other people to notice this and comment on what was taking place. They might have often been told by others that they were lucky to have so much support and love in their life, for instance.
If so, this might have caused them to feel as though they were lucky and to feel grateful. Unlike other parents who were not there for their child or children, they would have had people who were there for them.
Nonetheless, while they could look back at this stage and think about how good it was, they might not be in a good way now that they are an adult. For one thing, they could often experience a deep sense of emptiness and feel very lonely.
Additionally, they might often struggle to connect with their feelings and know what their needs are. It is then going to be normal for them to feel lost and as though they are missing something.
So, even if they now have a lot of friends, they are not going to feel seen and heard by most of them. What might also stand out is that they have the tendency to play a role when they are around another person.
This could be a time when they will act as if everything is fine and come across as happy. Naturally, if they often play a role, it is not going to be possible for them to truly feel connected to another person.
A Strange Scenario
But, as their family was there for them whilst they were growing up, they could struggle to understand why their life is this way. They could believe that their adult life is very different to how it was for them as a child.
Then again, after thinking about what their adult life is like, they could think about what their relationship is now like with their parent or parents and perhaps their sibling or siblings. What might then soon stand out is that they don’t feel emotionally close to their parent or parents and even their sibling or siblings.
Joining the Dots
At this stage, they could wonder how they could be so close to their family very early on and not feel connected to them now. What might enter their mind is if there is something wrong with their ability to feel close to others.
Yet, if they were close to their family whilst growing up, it could be said that this is not much of a surprise. The level of closeness that they experienced early on should have translated to them feeling close to others now that they are an adult.
A Deeper Look
However, although they were physically close to their family during their early years, this would have come at a great cost. Most likely, they were not seen as an individual that had their own needs and feelings and were, instead, seen as an extension of their parent or parents.
As a result of this, their needs and feelings are likely to have generally been overlooked. Thus, there would have been people around during their formative years but these people wouldn’t have been able to truly see and hear them.
To handle what was going on, they would have had to gradually lose touch with their inner world, their reality, and to focus on the needs and feelings of their parent or parents. Without this connection and without external attunement, they would have felt invisible.
The bond that they formed with their parent or parent and others would have been a trauma bond. In other words, it was not based on them being an individual and on love; it was based on them being an extension of another and fear.
Out of Touch
For them to have felt connected to their family, they needed to be in tune with their inner world and for their inner world to be acknowledged. This would have allowed them to stay connected to their feelings and to form a close bond with them.
As this didn’t take place, they would have felt deeply alone as a child and how they feel as an adult will be a continuation of this. There is then nothing inherently wrong with them and how they experience life as an adult is perfectly normal.
This shows that being left is not the only type of neglect; the other type is having people around but not being seen by them. In all likelihood, their parent or parents were also brought up in a very similar environment.
This would have caused them to miss out on the love that they needed to grow and develop and create a disconnected false self in the process. Unconsciously bringing up their child or children, in the same way, was then a way for them to stop their own pain from entering their conscious awareness.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.