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Dealing with an emotionally unavailable parent can be an isolating, disheartening experience. An emotionally unavailable parent is often unresponsive, dismissive, and preoccupied with their own issues and may not be capable of creating a meaningful and lasting bond with their child. Understanding what you’re dealing with can help you take the steps needed to cope with the situation.
Understanding Your Emotionally Unavailable Parent
It’s important to recognize that emotionally unavailable parents are often not aware of their behavior. Many emotionally unavailable parents are struggling with unresolved issues from their own childhood and may be unable to emotionally connect to their child. Others may be so focused on their career or on their own needs that they have little energy left for nurturing a relationship with their child.
In some cases, a parent may be emotionally absent due to mental health struggles such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s important to remember that these issues are not your fault, and that your parent’s behavior is not intentional.
Identifying the Effects of an Unavailable Parent
If you are dealing with an emotionally unavailable parent, it’s likely you have noticed some of the effects of this situation. These can include feeling unloved, unimportant, or unheard. You may also feel misunderstood, ignored, or judged. Such feelings can lead to a persistent sense of loneliness and low self-esteem.
You may also find yourself trying to please your parent in order to gain their validation, or alternatively, you may find yourself resisting their authority. In either case, this can lead to a strained relationship.
Establishing Boundaries with an Unavailable Parent
When dealing with an emotionally unavailable parent, it is important to establish boundaries. This can mean setting limits on what you are willing to accept in terms of communication, behavior, or expectations. It can also mean setting limits on how much time and energy you are willing to invest in trying to connect with your parent.
By establishing boundaries, you can protect yourself from becoming overwhelmed or feeling taken for granted. It can also help you avoid feeling guilty for not being able to change the situation.
Recognizing the Impact on Mental Wellbeing
Dealing with an emotionally unavailable parent can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. It can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, anger, and resentment. It can also lead to difficulty trusting others and difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
It is important to recognize the signs of mental health issues, such as excessive worrying, changes in sleep or appetite, or feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks, and to seek help if needed.
Finding Ways to Cope with an Unavailable Parent
There are a number of strategies that can help you cope with an emotionally unavailable parent. For example, journaling can help you process your thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness and focusing on the present moment can help you feel more grounded. It can also be helpful to build a support system of people who understand and care about you.
Finally, it is important to remember that you cannot control the behavior of others. You can, however, take steps to take care of yourself and create the life that feels most meaningful and fulfilling to you.
Dealing with an emotionally unavailable parent can be a difficult and isolating experience. However, by understanding the situation and taking steps to protect your mental wellbeing, you can find ways to cope with the situation and create a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.
- Greene, R. (2019). The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed. Seal Press.
- Hazan, S. (2019). The Emotionally Absent Mother: How to Recognize and Heal the Invisible Effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect. New Harbinger Publications.
- Adame, A. (2019). 6 Healthy Boundaries You Need To Set With Your Parents. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegadame/2019/01/11/6-healthy-boundaries-you-need-to-set-with-your-parents/#73d4216f5212