We can never fully understand what kind of impact our parents have on our lives until we become adults ourselves. Unfortunately, some of us have the misfortune of being raised by an emotionally unavailable parent, leaving us feeling helpless and without love. While we may try to dismiss the feelings of emptiness and value as insignificant, they lead to a deep void in our adult lives that can be difficult to fill.
Anger, confusion, and frustration often come to mind when thinking about how an emotionally unavailable parent affects us in the long term. We may feel embarrassed to talk about the lack of physical and emotional support experienced from our parents, believing that we are on our own and must give up hope for a better home life. This can make it hard for us to develop healthy relationships or find comfort in moments of struggle as adults because of a deep-seated mistrust of others.
The void of an emotionally unavailable parent becomes especially powerful during times of transition and vulnerability. Trying to cope with difficult decisions, such as changing jobs or starting a new relationship, can lead to a sense of fear and inadequacy. This feeling of individual inadequacy creates an anxiety that affects our ability to take risks and feel confident in our lives.
The resulting void of an emotionally unavailable parent can be hard to overcome, but it is possible. Taking the time to create meaningful relationships where communication is valued and trusting boundaries are set is a great place to start. Acknowledging past pain and suffering by reaching out for help and finding a true friend to confide in can help us begin to fill those gaps of emptiness. Learning to be independent and developing our identities without relying on the approval of others is also essential.
Additionally, it is important to remember that closure is also key to successfully restoring our self worth. Allowing ourselves to grieve and come to terms with what could have been can provide cathartic peace. Writing in a journal or talking about our innermost thoughts with a counselor can be a great way to move forward, so we do not get bogged down in guilt or regret for the past.
Finally, learning to forgive ourselves can be the greatest gift of all. Understanding that we are capable of making improvements today, no matter how hard it may seem, is the best way to honor our childhoods and unlock the potential for growth and success. Through these processes, we can eventually emerge from the deeply rooted void and discover a newfound appreciation for life—something every child (emotionally available or not) should have a right to experience.
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