Emotionally Unavailable Parents


Emotionally unavailable parents struggle to provide the emotional support and connection their children need for healthy development. They may have difficulty expressing or acknowledging their emotions, so simultaneously, they cannot empathize with their children's emotional needs. Having emotionally unavailable parents can significantly affect the child's emotional well-being and ability to form healthy relationships later in life.


Here are some common characteristics and behaviors associated with emotionally unavailable parents:


Lack of Emotional Expression: Emotionally unavailable parents often struggle to express their emotions and have difficulty recognizing or validating their children's feelings. They dismiss or ignore their child's emotional needs, leaving the child feeling unheard or invalidated.


Emotional Distance: These parents create an emotional distance or barrier between themselves and their children. They may be physically present but emotionally absent, failing to establish a deep and meaningful connection with their child.


Difficulty with Empathy: Empathy involves understanding and sharing another person's emotions. Emotionally unavailable parents struggle to empathize with their child's experiences or perspectives. They may be insensitive or indifferent to their child's emotional state.


Inconsistent Availability: Emotionally unavailable parents may be inconsistent in their availability and responsiveness to their children's needs. They may be unpredictable in their emotional presence and may not provide the consistent support and care that children require.


Focus on their Own Needs: These parents often prioritize their needs, desires, or problems over their children's well-being. They may be self-absorbed or preoccupied with their concerns, leaving little or no energy to attend to their children's emotional needs.


Difficulty with Intimacy: Emotionally unavailable parents may struggle to form intimate and close relationships with their children. They may fear vulnerability or have unresolved emotional issues that hinder their ability to connect deeply with others.


The emotional unavailability of parents can have long-lasting effects on children. It can lead to insecurity, low self-esteem, and difficulty regulating emotions. As a result, children may develop coping mechanisms such as withdrawing, seeking attention elsewhere, or becoming overly self-reliant.

Healing Process


Healing from the impact of emotionally and self-absorbed parents can be challenging, but finding healing and developing a healthier sense of self is possible. Here are some suggestions for healing:


Acknowledge and Validate Your Emotions: Recognize and validate the emotions you experienced growing up. It's important to acknowledge that your feelings are valid. Allow yourself to grieve for the lack of emotional support you may have received.


Establish Boundaries: Set healthy boundaries to protect yourself emotionally. Learn to recognize and prioritize your needs, even if it means eliminating, limiting contact, or distancing from your parents if necessary. Protecting your emotional well-being is crucial.


Practice Self-Care: Engage in self-care activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, such as exercise, meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy.


Cultivate Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Understand that you are not responsible for your parent's actions or emotional unavailability. Treat yourself with the same empathy, understanding, and care you would offer a friend in a similar situation.


Build Supportive Relationships: Surround yourself with supportive, understanding, and emotionally available individuals. Cultivate healthy relationships where you can receive the emotional support and connection you may have lacked in your upbringing.


Challenge Negative Beliefs: Challenge and reframe negative beliefs or internalized messages you may have received from your parents. Replace them with positive and empowering thoughts about yourself and your worth.


Engage in Inner Healing Work: Explore therapeutic techniques such as inner child work, mindfulness practices, or self-reflection exercises to process past experiences, heal emotional wounds, and develop a stronger sense of self.


Seek Support: If needed, reach out to trusted family members, friends, or a therapist who can provide a safe space to express your feelings and process your experiences. 


Remember, healing is a personal journey that may take time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the progress you make along the way. You can break free from the patterns of your past and create a healthier, more fulfilling life for yourself.

Free Guide:

Learn about the importance of having clear boundaries. Build up your self-esteem, identify your needs, practice self-care, detach from others' drama, or go no contact. 


The Power of Personal Boundaries is an easy-to-read guide with prompts to guide you through setting boundaries. Do an inventory: set boundaries and take your power back: