Emotional DEPRIVATION is a very real issue many adults silently battle to overcome.
DEPRIVATION as a heart wound was first discussed by Dutch psychiatrist Dr Anna A. Terruwe in the 1950s.
Way back then she called it the Frustration Neurosis.
I personally can so relate to the state of emotional frustration in relationships.
When it comes to feeling comfortable and feeling worthy of love and emotional nourishment many of us have had a lot to learn.
Emotional DEPRIVATION (the state of living with emotional hunger) has been a far more familiar state of being for me, and many of my Emotional Fitness clients.
Emotional DEPRIVATION is referred to as “the lack of enough or adequate interpersonal interaction.”
It is a common problem among children who do not receive any kind of consistent positive emotional attention or affection from their elders.
This results in adults who’ve learnt to live with the expectation and normalisation of emotional DEPRIVATION.
We learn to become happy with being unhappy and comfortable being uncomfortable in relationships.
This is probably the most common emotional wound that needs addressing that I encounter with my Emotional Fitness clients.
Frequently they don’t recognise that the state of emotional DEPRIVATION they’ve accepted as “their lot in life” can be changed.
No-one has to live in a state of emotional hunger and frustrated disappointment.
So if you relate, or know someone who battles consistently with emotional hunger struggling in relationships because they feel lonely, bitter and depressed, but usually don’t know why … I’d like to offer some clarification and support.
It’s because at a core level they don’t expect others, including their loved ones, to nurture, understand or protect them.
They’ll feel emotionally DEPRIVED, and may feel that they don’t get enough affection and warmth, attention or deep emotions expressed no matter what others say or do (Frustration Neurosis). Their hunger seems endless, so they emotionally binge, make themselves and others sick, then vomit their discomfort on the relationship.
So often they feel that no-one is there who can give them strength and guidance.
They feel misunderstood and alone in the world, cheated of love, invisible and consistently emotionally empty.
These three areas may help with some deeper understanding of how emotional DEPRIVATION impacts the hungry-hearted.
1. Deprivation of Nurturance: We feel that no-one is there to hold us, pay attention to us and give us the type of physical affection we desire, such as touch and holding.
2. Deprivation of Empathy: In which we feel that no-one is there who really listens or tries to understand who we really are and how we honestly feel.
3. Deprivation of Protection: In which we feel that no-one is there to protect and guide us (even though we often do our utmost to give others a lot of protection and guidance). This is often related to the indoctrinated belief that excessive Self-Sacrifice is our role in all relationships to give, but never dare be selfish enough to receive.
I’m very experienced in these areas as I’ve felt all three of these almost constantly prior to my recovery commencing back in 1995.
I numbed my emotional DEPRIVATION issues (Frustration Neurosis) with drugs and alcohol for the first two adult decades of my life.
Some people use alternative weapons of mass distraction like food, spending/gambling, become workaholics, absent dads, helpaholics, smother mothers (self-sacrifice junkies) to fill our emotional hunger.
This behaviour of denial has a use by date, it doesn’t work long term.
Some typical behaviors exhibited by those battling issues around emotional DEPRIVATION include ….
Not asking loved ones for what we need emotionally.
Not expressing a desire for love or comfort when we need it most, but rejecting it instead.
Focusing on asking the others questions, but offering little about ourself.
Acting stronger than we really feel underneath.
In other words, reinforcing the DEPRIVATION by acting as though we don’t have emotional needs. Because we’ve learnt not expect emotional support we don’t ask for it, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because … as a consequence, if we don’t ask, usually we don’t get.
I hope I’ve offered some food for feeling for any emotionally hungry hearts that may be starving or binging within your inner circle.
Next time we spot ourselves or others out of emotional balance misusing drugs, alcohol, food, spending (gambling/shopping), sexual favours, sexual blackmail or other emotional weapons of mass distraction, let’s become more willing to let go of our harsh judgements.
Instead, let’s compassionately ask the question …
What is this heart really hungry for, and what can I do to help not harm myself or them?
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™