For more context read Parts 1, 2, and 3.
“The loneliness of feeling unseen by others is as fundamental a pain as physical injury, but it doesn’t show on the outside.”
Or is it?
“Parents who are emotionally immature …they discount feelings and fear emotional intimacy. Such parents may even become nervous and angry if their children get upset, punishing them instead of comforting them. These reactions shut down children’s instinctive urge to reach out, closing the door to emotional contact. This type of loneliness isn’t an odd or senseless feeling; it’s the predictable result of growing up without sufficient empathy from others.”
I’ve been on the receiving end of this emotional loneliness and the giving end too and it explains a lot, (at least to me) of my earlier emotional struggles. Let me make one thing clear. We all struggle no matter how wonderful or not our parents are, no matter the environment we grew up in, etc. Some people struggle from being spoiled brats with entitled attitudes, while others struggle to find value and meaning before it’s too late.
And it’s right about now I feel the anxiety hit me: Why do you write about these things? Who cares about this stuff? You’re embarrassing yourself. No one’s perfect so why do you have to always pick at things?
I care. As Eleen put it. I care. Deep breath in. Keep going Carmen even if it’s a mistake. That’s how you learn. Self-talk guys, that’s my self-talk as I try not to hyperventilate here. Did I tell you that I HATE BEING VULNERABLE AND OPENING UP? I do. Keep it together. Breath. Continue. With frightful tears in my eyes, I’ll continue.
“Emotional loneliness is so distressing that a child who experiences it will do whatever is necessary to make some kind of connection with the parent. These children may learn to put other people’s needs first as the price of admission to a relationship. Instead of expecting others to provide support or show interest in them, they may take on the role of helping others, convincing everyone that they have few emotional needs of their own. Unfortunately, this tends to create more loneliness, since covering up your deepest needs prevents genuine connection with others. lacking adequate parental support or connections, many emotionally deprived children are eager to leave childhood behind. They perceive that the best solution is to grow up quickly and become self-sufficient. These children become competent beyond their years but lonely at their core. They often jump into adulthood prematurely. getting jobs as soon as they can, becoming sexually active, marrying early, or joining the service. It’s as though they’re saying, Since I’m already taking care of myself, I might as well go ahead and get the benefits of growing up fast. They look forward to adulthood believing it offers freedom and a chance to belong. Sadly, in their rush to leave home, they may end up marrying the wrong person, tolerating exploitation, or staying with a job that takes more than it gives. They often settle for emotional loneliness in their relationship because it feels normal to them, like their early home life.”
From a biblical point of view here are some verses: 1 Colossians 3:21; Ephesians 6:3-4; Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 15:4; Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 22:24-25; Proverbs 19:18; Luke 6:31 are some of them.
Well, that explains a few things to me about my early lack of trust in any relationship. As a child, I had to take the role of a parent, a referee, a pleaser, and a worker. I did grow up before my time but I’ve learned strength as well, yet… that emotional loneliness was ever so present unbeknown to me.
Thank God for one thing. Since 2014 and this battle with Lyme I’ve learned so much about myself and have been recovering faithfully. I hope the same for you.
But why do you feel guilty for being unhappy? Coming up in Part 5.
*All quotes are taken from the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsey C. Gibson, PsyD