Having low self esteem is the result of the emotionally neglectful relationships you have had, and still have, in your life.

If you were, and still tend to be, emotionally neglected by other people, you will naturally end up not valuing yourself.

The longer you have had those kinds of relationships, the more effect they will have on the way you see, and feel about, yourself.

Emotional neglect usually starts when the parents fail to respond to their children’s emotional needs whilst they are bringing them up and can lead to low self esteem, self doubt, uncertainty – even depression and anxiety disorders. .

Most parents are well intentioned, but parents who are emotionally neglectful,  usually have children who find it difficult to trust and value themselves as adults.

If you have been in relationships, or still are in relationships, that do not attend to your emotional needs, it creates huge difficulties when you are facing big changes in your life and need to take decisions. 

Psychologists have identified five types of parents that are more likely to emotionally neglect their children:

Permissive parents
Authoritarian parents
Parents with narcissistic qualities
Absent parents
Perfectionistic parents

“What people don’t do for you, hurts just as much as what people have done to you………… 

……….and is much harder to deal with”.

Most people cannot recall being emotionally neglected since their brains didn’t record it as an event.

Instead, as adults, they struggle with low self esteem, self-doubt, depression and anxiety/uncertainty.

And more importantly, you are likely to continue the pattern of having relationships with people who are emotionally neglectful that makes it likely that your symptoms will continue.


Once you understand the real reason for your burden of low self esteem and the recurring patterns of emotional neglect in your life, you can learn how to change the way you feel about yourself and stop thinking that there is something wrong with you. 



These 10 signs imply you were emotionally neglected:

(Adapted from a brilliant article in Good Therapy).

1. You struggle with self-discipline
You have troubles standing up for yourself, even when you think you are right. This makes you unable to change your relationship patterns.

2. You have a feeling that something is missing
You have a strange feeling of emptiness which is a result of the love you were deprived of as a child. You feel like something is missing in your life, but you can’t identify what it is.

3. You never rely on others
You pride yourself and you never ask for help when you need it. You feel deeply uncomfortable if you depend on someone else.

4. You prefer to be alone
You have the feeling that you don’t fit in with other people and that they don’t really understand you. Therefore you prefer to spend time alone.

5. Sometimes you feel unhappy for no apparent reason
You often feel unhappy but you can’t explain why. It even makes you feel anxious because these feelings show up unannounced and out of nowhere.

6. You have difficulty in identifying and expressing your emotions
You often have strange and overwhelming feelings and you can’t identify or deal with them. You also seem unable to express your own feelings and emotions.

7. You have compassion only for others
You always comfort your friends when they share their problems with you, but you find it difficult to share yours. You have little compassion for yourself and you are prone to self-criticism.

8. You often feel guilt or shame
You feel ashamed of the things that other people would never be ashamed of and you always blame yourself for every negative situation that has happened to you.

9. You love animals more than people
Animals are able to love unconditionally, they don’t judge you and therefore you find it easier to connect with animals rather than with people.

10. You have low self-esteem
If your parents ignored your feelings and emotions you will certainly do the same in the adulthood. Consequently, this can result in low self-confidence and low self-esteem.

Learning how to reconnect with your emotions and learn ‘self love’ are the ways to recover from emotional neglect……..I can .hear your sharp intake of breath from here!

“It is not easy to overcome all the negative emotions and self belief that you have accumulated over the years that you have been neglected in this way, but it is absolutely possible”.

Want to find out how you can boost your self esteem?

Each week I have a limited number of free 50 minute Clarity Calls. Discover the root of your low self esteem, get clear about the strategies that will work for you and start feeling more clear, calm and confident.

After just one hour this is what Helen said:

‘I wanted to say thanks very much for your time and the helpful conversation, which has kickstarted all kinds of thoughts (all helpful and positive!) about what changes I need to make in myself and my own ways of communicating/doing things, in order to improve how I feel about doing the things that need doing. You vocalised things I’ve thought but probably never said out loud’’               


With 20+ years of experience supporting hundreds and hundreds of people through challenging or even traumatic times in their life, I can give you the understanding, tools and techniques that you need to make positive changes quickly.