Parents Split up, Feeling unloved And Rejected
Children can grow up feeling unloved and rejected when their parents split up. Our childhood experiences are those involving reliability, trust, and love, and our implicit memories are those that signify that love and relationship are about caretaking, protection, loyalty, and understanding.
Growing up with an emotionally distant parent can be very confusing for a child. A girl perceived lack of fatherly love for example, can be led to believe that male attention = male love. Basically, a child growing up feeling unloved can find it difficult to know the difference between attention and love. Another very common problem is that feelings of abandonment can make the child believe that they are not good enough to be loved.
From birth to around the age of six, children automatically assimilate all their parents’ words, thoughts and deeds into their unconscious minds. There is no filter to what is good or bad, intentional or unintentional, whatever the child is exposed to is absorbed into their unconscious, and anything that is repeatedly placed there becomes part of the very fabric of it. And for many years after age six, children’s brains and nervous systems continue to be wired, in large part by way in which their primary care-givers interact with them. If a parent is not present in a child’s life, or doesn’t relate to the child with love, the child assumes she/he must be unloveable, and grows up without the all-important core of self-esteem. This infiltrates every area of life: the way the unloved child sees herself/himself, and/or every relationship, every interaction, the career choices they make, how they spend their time, how she/he treats her/his body. A woman (or girl) lacking self-esteem may attempt to escape from her feelings of fear and unworthiness by abusing food, alcohol or drugs.
A child usually can not understand the bigger picture of a situation, in order to conclude if the disappointment was unintentional. Anger, resentment, and sadness can lead a child to feel really unworthy. It is important to communicate with the child in order to understand what is going on in their head. Sometimes, the child will find it easier to open up with someone who is not directly involved in the situation, and if that’s the case, allow the child to express their feelings with someone you trust. A child with low self-esteem is also a lot more likely to suffer from depression and/or anxiety, and to suffer longer and harder than her/his friends who grew up with their self-esteem intact.
To trust others, we must believe that the world is essentially a safe place and the people in it well-intentioned, if sometimes imperfect. With an emotionally unreliable parent or one who is absent or doesn’t show love, the daughter/son learns that relationships are unstable and dangerous, and that trust is ephemeral and can’t be relied on. Unloved children have trouble trusting in all relationships including friendships.
Parents are supposed to love, guide and protect their children. They are supposed to help them grow and develop as independent people. If a child feels disappointed by a loved one, it’s important to give them some time to experience their emotional reaction to this disappointment. Don’t act on their emotions, just allow themselves to experience their emotional reactions, because it can offer great insight into how to deal with the situation. Practice acceptance, that’s the only way that all the negative feelings will pass. Learn that everything in your journey has a purpose, and it may not be very clear now, but once the fog clears, you will be able to see the big picture. It is important to help the child to lower their expectations in relation to the absent parent, and help them to practice self-awareness and acceptance, rather than expecting perfection.
You can help a child to deal with rejection by:
Remembering that the parents’ behaviour and words is about them and not about the child;
Being kind to the child;
Doing things that they enjoy;
Replacing negative self talk with love;
Children who have developed under an emotionally unavailable parent will most likely develop into a teenager and adult who struggles to emotionally attach to others and receive/demonstrate love. They are usually shy and little suspicious all the time, they don’t like to open up and let people in, because they are afraid of rejection. In order to heal is vital to achieve a state of acceptance.