Are you struggling to make sense of your emotionally nonexistent mother or emotionally hollow father?
You’re not alone. Millions of people worldwide are navigating similar waters. The good news is that psychological researchers have conducted countless studies to help individuals in your situation, and they’ve identified numerous signs exhibited by emotionally absent parents.
Let’s unpack 15 of them.
Table of Contents
1. They Don’t Listen
Detached parents tend not to pay attention to their children. They’re either preoccupied or completely withdrawn. This lack of validation can make you feel unloved, unwanted, and a bit lost. However, it’s essential to understand that parents and children clash during certain life stages.
For example, teenager-parental relations are notoriously fraught, and the former often accuses the latter of not listening or understanding. So try not to confuse normal dynamics with emotional abuse.
2. They Unable To Sustain Emotional Bonds
Healthy parent-child relationships require emotional bonds. If that element is missing, things usually go awry for the kids. However, it’s not an insurmountable feat. Plenty of people with emotionally distant parents have gone on to do wonderful things and be positive, productive, generous members of society. Sometimes, a difficult child can help mold you into a spectacular adult.
3. They Don’t Ask Questions About Your Life
Do your parents not ask questions about your life? If so, it may be a sign of emotional distance. Feelings of inadequacy often accompany this behavior, which is completely normal — but it’s also not true. Just because your parents aren’t well-socialized doesn’t mean you’re insignificant. They’re in the wrong, not you.
4. They’re Uninterested in Your Achievements
You get a good grade on a hard test, and your parents don’t praise you. When you tell them, they barely say a word. If you’re lucky, you may get a grunt and a shrug. This type of behavior is a definite sign of emotional detachment. At the very least, they could mumble “good job,” but they don’t. Again, try not to internalize their disinterest. It’s their problem, not yours.
5. They Don’t Validate Your Hard Work
No matter how well you do in school, sports, or other activities, they never congratulate you. It feels like anything you do isn’t good enough. You bring home a report card with seven As and one B, and all they can focus on is the latter.
Not validating your efforts is another tactic tossed around by emotionally stunted parents. Sometimes, it stems from jealousy; other times, it’s just an inability to act affectionate.
6. They Aren’t Engaged in Your Activities
Not every parent has to coach the soccer team or be involved with the PTA. Truth be told, less competitive ones are not! But if they never show up to any of your events, that’s a red flag.
We’re not talking about parents who work 9-to-5 jobs and can’t get away from work. Instead, we’re talking about the guardians who could be more involved but choose not to be.
7. They Don’t Make You Feel Important
Do your parents make you feel like you’re not a priority? Being dismissed is difficult. It may make you feel worthless or unloved — which is especially hard when you’re going through growing pains.