Childhood Emotional Neglect: Why Validation is Vital for Recovery

Imagine the scene:

    You’re in a large room, full of people. As you wander among them, you watch them interact, talk, laugh, but not one of them pays any attention to you. Not one gives you even the slightest glance, acknowledging that you’re there.

    You stop and turn to some, asking questions. Nobody reacts. You yell, you scream. You hop up and down and wave your hands in front of their faces to get their attention. But nobody so much as flinches. You get completely ignored – as if you didn’t exist.

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

There are those that live that nightmare each and every day of their lives. Ignored. Non-existent. A zero. Completely invalid.

Although they exist in bodily form, they feel like a shadow of a person, a ghost. Pushed into oblivion by childhood emotional neglect.

They don’t understand themselves, their world, or those who live in it with them. They don’t feel they can voice their opinion or ask questions. No one notices them.

No one ever told them: “I see you. I hear you. I’m here for you. I’m listening.”

But that is exactly what they need: Validation.

Why Validation is so Vital for Recovering from Childhood Emotional Neglect

The fact is that a wound can only begin healing when it’s noticed and attended to.

Emotional neglect is a wound deep inside a person that’s often not noticed easily by others. Validation is like hearing the silent screams of this person and paying attention to it.

Only then can any healing begin. How?

Validation promotes recognition and acknowledgment.

It allows the person suffering from emotional neglect to feel heard. No longer are their feelings ignored. No longer do they feel as if everyone is thinking they’re crazy. Finally, they get recognition that their feelings exist and that there are reasons for them.

In particular, acknowledging their negative feelings can bring great relief. When you acknowledge their anger, frustration, and sadness as something real, it confirms the validity of those emotions. That they’re not simply an overreaction.

Once a person feels validated, they can begin managing their emotions. Now, they don’t have to convince others anymore that their feelings are real. They can openly talk about them, recount their thoughts and worries. It unlocks the door to their secret world.

Validation leads to acceptance and understanding.

No matter if you agree with them or not, accepting and not judging the feelings of those pained by childhood emotional neglect, helps the healing process. It shows them true compassion, sympathy, and empathy. That, in turn, facilitates understanding and promotes trust.

Understanding comes through active listening, absorbing, and reflecting back what you heard them say. Once that person feels understood, they can then start seeing their past as what it truly was. They can see that their pain is not their fault and they can begin accepting those feelings themselves. It eventually can lead them to forgive and move on.

Validation provides assurance and support.

Knowing that their feelings are normal, can provide great relief for a victim of childhood emotional neglect. They no longer have to worry about feeling odd or anxious. Their self-esteem can begin to recover.

When you validate them, it assures them that you’re by their side and that they’re important to you. It helps them to understand that they’re not alone anymore. And when you give them support without telling them what to do or minimizing their feelings, you give them freedom. It takes a lot of pressure and self-doubt off their shoulders and helps them to be motivated.

As you can see, validation has immense power. It teaches a person suffering from the effects of childhood emotional neglect to exist as an individual. It confirms and testifies to their feelings and opinions. That they exist, have substance and value, and that they’re valid, worthwhile, and important. Validation is vital for healing.