Source: Courtesy of kieferpix/Adobe Stock Images
Emotional neglect in a relationship is insufficient emotional awareness and response. It may not be visible to everyone, even the couple themselves, but it is painful. both partners not there.
In the now classic 2004 study, researcher John Gottman, Ph.D. They found that the difference between prosperous and divorced couples was the frequency with which couples met each other’s emotional connection requests.
In relationships, emotions provide connection, warmth, fire, and glue. It is important for couples to reach out and respond emotionally to each other.
What if you or your partner simply cannot make a request or respond?
And beyond that, what if it’s nobody’s fault?
emotionally indifferent relationship
If I had to describe an emotionally neglected marriage in one word, it would probably be “lonely”.
It’s emotionally a thousand miles away, as if someone was right next to you. You can see them, but you cannot feel their presence. You can talk to them, but not the way you want to talk. You are with them, but you feel lonely.
It’s like there’s a wall between you and them. A wall that can be seen but cannot be crossed. That wall consists of emotional neglect.
How Childhood Emotional Neglect Penetrates Marriage
In fact, it doesn’t really permeate. Instead, it goes through the back door, quietly and covertly undermining communication, connection, compassion, and warmth in your relationship.
Typically, emotional neglect is introduced into marriage through the childhood of one or both partners.
If one or both partners are not aware of their emotions and come from a family that lacks interest in them (emotional neglect in childhood), the partner naturally continues the process.
When you grow up with emotional neglect, you become ignorant of your emotions, an essential ingredient in connecting with your spouse in a genuine way. “Emotional blindness” also applies to partners. You too may have trouble recognizing and reacting to their feelings. This can lead to emotionally lonely partners.
If both you and your partner have brought an emotional blind spot to your relationship, a somewhat different problem arises because neither can see what’s missing.
Neither of you will realize what has to happen and what to feel. In a situation where no one can call for trouble, you are in danger of slowly and painfully moving away, a growing wall of emotional neglect distorts your view of each other, and the positive, healthy feelings that hold you together slowly fade away. will be
problem of accusation
In most families, there is no blame for emotional neglect. No child demands emotional neglect, and most parents are unaware that they are emotionally neglected. This is how emotional neglect works. Emotional blind spots pass quietly from one generation to the next.
But while no one is responsible for the emotional neglect they receive, we are responsible for the emotional neglect we inflict once we recognize the problem.
When we discover it in ourselves, we become agents of change. We are responsible for stopping the cycle.
No one says it’s an easy “fix”. However, emotional neglect in marriage can be addressed. The skills of emotional intimacy and connection can be learned.
10 Signs That Emotional Neglect Is Quietly Ruining Your Relationship
- You and your partner often misread each other’s true feelings, actions, thoughts, or intentions.
- As a couple, you avoid bringing up difficult things so as not to upset the other person.
- I didn’t know how to argue productively.
- Most of your conversations focus on facts, events, or logistics.
- Your spouse is not the first person you want to talk to when something great happens or you have a problem.
- When you ask your spouse for comfort, they often say the wrong thing.
- You don’t feel like the team you have life with.
- You often feel lonely when you are with your partner.
- It can be difficult to find something to talk about together.
- Positive emotions, such as love, warmth, or emotional bonding, feel awkward or occur only during sex.
Source: Courtesy of Monkey Business/Adobe Stock Photos
First, consider the potential for emotional neglect if several of these ten apply to your marriage.
Then remind yourself that accusations here are not helpful and unnecessary.
Now, with the Gottman study in mind, consider emotional connections in a new way. rather than thinking thing Think what you have or don’t have. movement. The process of giving and receiving actively between you and your partner.
Ask your spouse for emotional support or to share happy, sad, or painful moments with you. Observe when they ask for an emotional bond with you and offer it.
Ask – give – receive. Ask – give – receive. Each time you do so, you are removing unseen pain from your marriage. You are healing emotional neglect, one step at a time.
Finally, instead of being quietly hurt by what is not there, you will be connected and enriched by what we create together.
© Jonice Webb, Ph.D.