Everyone of us has our own childhood stories to share to the world if given the opportunity.
Some of these stories are fascinating and some are unfortunately sad, but they are all stories that form part of our life experiences.
When we reminisce about our early years, wrestling with the idea that perhaps the emotional and physical absence we experienced was not simply a figment of our imagination, but an actual issue we had to deal with.
If you truly suffered neglect as a child, these tips will deeply resonate with you and you probably may have been exuding them without knowing it.
High sensitivity to rejection.
All beings have a desire to be accepted, approved of and have a social connection because we’re social beings by nature. But for those of us who found ourselves lonely in our formative years, developed a heightened sensitivity to rejection and whenever that mirror of rejection is being reflected back to us, it triggers something in us that takes us back to our childhood and magnify the internalised fear of rejection within us.
As adults, if we haven’t gone through the process of healing, we begin to manifest excessive fear of being rejected in our relationships and express an extreme reaction to those who mirror that to us. We tend to overanalyze interactions and perceive criticism even where there isn’t any.
Difficulty in expressing emotions.
This is one of the most difficult traits to understand if you suffer rejection in your most vulnerable years as a child. This may become a serious issue. We may have learned to suppress our feelings as a surviving mechanism, making it difficult for us to understand and articulate our emotions in adulthood.
This can make us struggle with emotional intimacy, keeping our feelings locked behind an impenetrable wall. If you find it difficult to communicate your feelings and understanding the feelings of others around you, it could be a sign that you are still struggling with the effect of childhood neglect.
Excessive desire to take care of others.
People who were rejected during childhood develop the need to care for others in order to be deserving and accepted by them. They tend to overcompensate for the care and attention they were denied as children by becoming overly attentive to the needs of others.
These are the people that often get trapped in unhealthy relationships, they are constantly being taken advantage of because they consistently put the needs of others before their own, sometimes to their own detriment.
This compulsive desire to care for others stem from an unconscious need to fill the void they are carrying within them from their early childhood.
Lack of trust in your ability
When a person lack the attention of their care giver, emotional support and guidance, they internalised the belief that their thoughts and feelings are not to be considered, as a matter of fact, they are not important. This belief makes them to question their sense of judgement and abilities.
As they grow into adulthood, they begin to second-guess their thoughts and decisions, and start to doubt their capabilities and struggle with trust in their own judgement.
They may have people-pleasing behaviour and a constant fear of making mistakes and disappointing others. This fear of judgement and failure can make people to lose themselves and prevent them from pushing forward to realise their achievable goals.
Creating awareness and understanding the effects of childhood neglect
The environment a child grows in, forms the foundation of the person’s beliefs, children fundamentally become indoctrinated into the beliefs that plays in the environment, and that impact their perception about life and of themselves and their world view. Growing up, children absorb whatever they come in contact with within the environment, that is why they need guidance and attention. But when they don’t receive such guidance and are made to suffer neglect that experience sets a pedestal for how they determine their self esteem. They may subconsciously feel that the neglect maybe because they are unworthy, and undeserving, and when a child grows with these unhealthy beliefs into adulthood, it can create a distorted self-image, where they begin to perceive themselves as not good enough.
Struggling with self-worth and seeking approval.
Neglected children constantly seek validation from others in adulthood, bending over backwards to please people and prove their worth. They may find it difficult to say no even when it’s not convenient for them as they seek approval by serving others.
This neglect can also manifest itself in another way, they might find themselves pushing people away to protect themselves from being harm. These people may find it difficult to trust, and may view the world as unsafe, making it impossible to build meaningful connections.
However, it important to understand that all beings have the ability to overcome or undo whatever happened to them in the past and that’s why awareness and healing are essential, these are just clear signs that usually manifest when a person experienced rejection as a child, sometimes these signs are conscious and sometimes unconscious and they may be other ways in which some of these traits appear in others.
When we recognise them, it helps us to understand how these past experience might have shaped one’s behaviour and thoughts patterns.
When children are neglected growing up, they are left to depend on themselves for their physical, emotional and psychological needs. Learning to be independent is a positive trait in my opinion but if the independence is rooted or stem from a troubled past experience, it cannot be viewed as a positive trait as it can make the subject to believe that others cannot be trusted enough to rely on making them to become self-reliant.
In adulthood, these people often appear exceptionally independent, and always prefer to personally deal with situations on their own without seeking help from anyone even when it’s necessary but perceive it as a sign of weakness and sometimes not wanting to bother others or giving them a burden but rather result to finding a way to resolve it in isolation.
Growing up with the feeling of neglect unavoidably set you up to embark on a healing process of embracing yourself fully. When one embark on a journey of self-love it’s a process of recalibrating yourself and undo all the negative beliefs and feelings of unworthiness that may have been internalised from the rejection experience and start to love and treat yourself right with the awareness that it’s not your fault but it’s an experience of life. When you become aware of this, it easy to forgive yourself for any short-comings, heal and begin to acknowledge your feelings and give yourself the permission to feel without judgement and criticism. Understand that it’s okay to ask for help and put your needs first, this doesn’t mean you are selfish. It simply means you prioritise and value yourself. Let go of any belief that is not serving you and any unrealistic expectations and standards you may have set for yourself and that set by the society for you.
When people begin to realise who they authentically are and start to make adjustments accepting the fact that it’s okay to not be perfect and embrace who they are, others don’t seem to understand them anymore, they are often misunderstood, the reason being that they start to make new choices, setting healthy boundaries and surrounding themselves with people who uplift them and won’t violate their boundaries in order to safeguard their mental health.
Finally, having this kind of experience as a child can make you as an adult to settle for less and become trapped in patterns of dysfunctions and codependency. It’s important to be aware in order not to allow the past control your life, stop people pleasing behaviour and learn to say no, avoid toxic and destructive patterns, promise yourself not to allow the opinions of others about you rule how you show up in the world.