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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Being Ignored

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Being Ignored

If you have ever been ignored or felt dismissed, you know that it comes with a certain kind of sharp emotional pain.  And if this pain resonates, chances are that its not a new pain.  Sometimes, emotional pain that we experience in the here and now is that much more painful because it steps on and awakens pain that we have experienced in the past.
It often helps to know the origins of the pain, as well as if and how we somehow set ourselves up to be hurt in some way.  It doesn't always make sense consciously, but sometimes we seek out the familiar because it is familiar, or because we want to heal it in some way, or because it has a certain secondary benefit to us that we are not fully aware of and may not be prepared to let go of.
Attaching ourselves to people who are not available, either physically or emotionally and seeking time or attention when they do not have it to give, leaving us feeling abandoned, unimportant or rejected is one example.
Attempting to please someone who is angry, critical or harsh, and then blaming ourselves when the person remains this way is another.
There are many more.
In here, in my office, as people talk about what they are missing in their relationships, their lives, often, the feelings that they have now are not new.  In the unpacking of emotions, we often find painful memories of emotionally absent parents, competitive siblings, even teachers who were harsh or dismissive or caused humiliation.
Having a parent who never showed up at a sporting event, or was depressed, or addicted, or ignored one child and favored another are common childhood experiences that shape how we feel about ourselves, our usefulness in and to the world.
And we need to feel useful.  We need to feel that we matter, that we are noticed.  That we are not small and insignificant and invisible. 
When don't feel like we matter, or something in our current relationship has us feeling neglected, unnourished or ignored, old pains and current ones can blend together leaving us spinning and unanchored.
It is so important to get in touch with these feelings, with our emotional memories and to reestablish ourselves and fortify ourselves to lead with our resiliency and continue to take good care of ourselves and our relationships.


therapydoc said...


Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

thanks therapy doc, always great to have you stop by!

Anonymous said...

What is the first step to reestablishing outselves? I know I deserve more than to continue feeling ignored. It has been like this for many years but I don't believe it should continue to be just because "its what I've known".

Melissa Groman, LCSW said...

Hi Anonymous,

Good question. With many possible answers, maybe just by asking, you've taken it...a good next step might be to find a safe place where you can talk about it.