Is There Psychological Harm In Feeling Unappreciated?

By Dylan Buckley|Updated June 22, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Avia James, LPC

Feeling unappreciated can affect not only your emotions but also how you think and act which may influence your mental health and probably lead to mental illness. 

woman feeling unappreciated, staring out window

I Can't Help Feeling Like I'm Not Appreciated, No Matter How Hard I Try.

You might wonder if the things you do for others are really worth the effort. From there, it might seem easier to isolate yourself from them and stop trying rather than feel unappreciated. While there is harm in these behaviors, the question you need to answer for yourself, first, is whether feeling unappreciated can harm you or these feelings of resentment may result in mental illnesses. Speaking with an online therapist can help you answer this question. 

Does It Matter?

To live a fulfilling life, you need to pay attention not only to your feelings, but also to your thoughts and behaviors. Thoughts influence feelings; feelings influence behaviors; and behaviors influence thoughts and feelings too. Your feelings are definitely important to you because they can give you a sense about what matters most in your life. They are also a crucial part of the human experience. Feeling alone or unappreciated means certain actions are hurting you psychologically which can possibly lead to mental illnesses. That’s why how you deal with the feeling of being alone or unappreciated really matters.

Feelings can have a profound effect on the choices you make and the way you behave. But, no feeling automatically leads to any specific behavior. Knowing that you own your own being and that you can choose to stay in the situation or move on is the best way to avoid psychological harm (mental health problems) from ungrateful people. Here are some things you can do if you don’t want to continue moving forward with relationships where you feel unappreciated.

Communication Can Improve Appreciation In Relationships

When you feel like none of your family cares about who you are or what you've done for them, you can often solve the problem of feeling unappreciated by communicating your feelings to them. Without accusing them of anything, express your emotions clearly. Talk about the times when you didn’t feel appreciation or what’s currently making you feel bad. This can help you prevent potential mental illnesses. Many times, the other person just doesn't realize that their actions have influenced your emotions that way or affected your mental health. If, on the other hand, you get the sense the person truly doesn't appreciate you, you know where you stand and can choose better ways to get the appreciation you deserve.

Model Appreciation

It's interesting when people are resentful when they get no appreciation or a lack of appreciation, while at the same time they don’t express appreciation or show appreciation to those in their life either, like their own family members. If you want to be appreciated or currently feel unappreciated, make sure you're injecting your own appreciation into your relationships by showing appreciation for others. Even if you have to search hard for something to appreciate in someone such as a family member, it’s still important to find ways to express gratitude, practice positive affirmations, and show respect. This can have a great effect on your family life. Again, don't do it to get appreciation, but be ready to receive it happily if it comes. Being a good role model doesn't always work out, but when it does, the results can be powerful.

 Look for and Show Appreciation in Actions as Well as Words

Too often, we feel unappreciated because someone doesn't say the words. But don’t forget there is more than one form of appreciation. The friends and family you've done things for may not be as verbal as you are. They may show appreciation in other ways- perhaps with a tender touch on the shoulder or by giving you a small gift. You may still need to hear those words occasionally, though. If so, get back to basic communication. Talk to your friends and family about what you need and how they can supply it- if they choose.

Rethink Your Motives For Appreciation

Why do you do what you do? Do you do it so someone will appreciate you? If so, try something different. Instead of acting out of a need for recognition, choose your behaviors because they're what brings you happiness, and improve your mental health. This doesn't mean you'll never do anything for anyone else. Most of us get pleasure out of doing things for the ones we love. We add purpose to our lives by doing things for people who have needs they can't meet. When you focus on that pleasure you've received by doing it- instead of the reaction the person gives-, you can stop feelings of resentment cropping up for the things you do for them.

Stop That Feeling From Growing

Being in a state of constant resentment is definitely not healthy. It can lead to mental illness. To improve your life and mental health, you have to change your thoughts and behaviors surrounding doing things for others. Before you do something for someone else, consider whether you'll resent it if you get a negative response or no response at all. Then, if you're going to resent it, just don't do it. Or, if you decide to do it for another reason, focus on that rather than relying on someone else to feel grateful.

Don't Get Caught Up In Role Identities

Decades ago, it was more common for a husband to earn a living and a wife to stay at home to raise the children. The husband also took care of the yard, the car, and home maintenance. The wife also cooked, cleaned, ran errands, and did any of the other little things the husband didn't have time for. The world has changed dramatically since then - at least it has for many people. The problem is that people who are older or more traditional still live their lives in accordance with these roles. Even young, progressive people sometimes discover that they simply expect their partner to take care of certain responsibilities, perhaps because it was what their parents did. You don't have to do something just because your parents and parent’s parents have done it before you.

Forget gender roles, and define your own roles based on what works best for you. Work together with your partner to come up with a way for each person to take care of the parts of daily life that they enjoy, are good at, or don't mind doing. If something needs to be done regularly that no one wants to do, take turns. Come to an agreement that works for both of you. If you can't and you continue to feel worse about the state of your relationship, couple's counseling might help.

Work On Teamwork

Although agreeing who will do what can make your life simpler, it doesn't completely solve the problem of not being appreciated. You may redefine your role, but until you and the other person decide to work together as a team, you might still notice you are bound by a strict list of chores and responsibilities at home. Where's the appreciation in that? However, dividing up chores fairly can be the first step toward having a relationship where neither party ends up feeling unappreciated. If so, the next step can be working together, pitching in when you're needed, and showing appreciation all around.

Being Objective About Appreciation Can Help You

Looking carefully at a situation in which you're feeling unappreciated can help you notice and get a clearer understanding of what's really happening. Perhaps the person who seems to be unappreciative has gotten so wrapped up in their busy life that they don't show their gratitude for what you do. But, that's about them and their life. It isn't about you. Noticing what seems to be behind the lack of appreciation can help you realize that what you're doing matters to someone- even if they don't show it. If it's hard to remain objective and reason out what to do next, a therapist can help you better define why you're feeling unappreciated and make reasonable changes to help you feel more appreciated.

You Can Get the Appreciation Ball Rolling

You can't recreate your relationship to make it the perfect combination of teamwork and appreciation. The other person has to be willing to do their part too. So, what do you do if they're unwilling? You can begin by working on your own mental health issues to avoid mental illnesses. Find out why their appreciation means so much to you. Discover what brings you happiness. Practice positive affirmations and gratitude. You can learn to be more assertive in asking for recognition. You can reassess what you want in life. You can practice techniques that help you gain a better understanding of your emotions, thoughts, and actions. You can also start making the changes that are in your hands.

When you choose to address your own mental health and avoid potential mental illnesses, you might find out very quickly if the two of you can coexist in a healthy way. On the other hand, you might find out that the two of you get along better, show each other more appreciation, and get more pleasure from the time you spend together after you've worked on your own mental health. Either way, you'll be in a better position to make important life decisions and find the appreciation you deserve. Licensed therapists are available for this discussion at BetterHelp, whenever you are ready to take charge of your emotions and make the choices that benefit your mental health. This may be one of the best ways to avoid mental illnesses and learn new strategies to feel appreciated.

Keeping Your Progress Steady: 4 Tips To Move Forward

The key to creating any change in your life is to get started. However, maintaining consistency is equally important. If you want to see a change in your relationship, here are four valuable tips that will jumpstart the process and set you on a path to success.

  1. Set Aside Time For Open, Honest Communication

“Try talking” may seem like too simple of a solution but being communicative and open to talk can be hard work for couples, especially given the hustle and bustle of daily life. If you have trouble communicating your need to feel appreciated, try setting aside specific times and days for open, honest, non-confrontational communication and quality time, so you can talk about how you are feeling and recognize the progress you have made.

I Can't Help Feeling Like I'm Not Appreciated, No Matter How Hard I Try.

  1. Take Care of Yourself And Give Yourself Appreciation

Couples who require too much of each other and struggle to spend time apart lose themselves in the process. Make sure you are taking care of your own needs, achieving your own goals and maintaining your independence by practicing self-care and leaving time open for yourself to appreciate your own worth. Search for ways to improve your mental health, see your intrinsic value and avoid believing negative thoughts that may spiral into mental illness such as depression, eating disorder, anxiety, and isolation.

  1. Give Your Partner Opportunities To Appreciate You

It can be easy to forget to cherish someone when things have become stale. This can lead to you both feeling taken for granted. Have a date night or spend some quality time switching things up to remind both of you why you entered the relationship and to create windows of opportunity where more appreciation and recognition can thrive so you both feel valued.

  1. Seek Help When You’re Feeling Unappreciated

When you’re feeling unloved, couples counseling, family therapy and individual therapy can drastically improve your ability to work on the issues in the relationship and simultaneously tackle some of the problems that you may be facing with your self-esteem and confidence. Instead of using various therapists for these purposes, you can meet all of your needs by making a quick visit to BetterHelp.

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that helps to connect individuals and couples to certified therapists quickly and easily. Whether you think individual, couples, or family therapy will be most helpful– you can find a variety of great options for talking to a therapist on BetterHelp. No need to sit in traffic or take time out of your day to drive to an appointment -- you can access BetterHelp from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues or read more medically reviewed articles about therapy on BetterHelp.

  1. Support Groups: Support groups are support systems that can help you get over your emotional pains and anxiety which may affect your mental health and lead to mental illness. People join different support groups to positively impact their relationship. Search to get the most appropriate one for you.

Counselor Reviews

"I've been working with Nicole for a year now. During that time I faced some of the toughest situations ever and she was there with me every step of the way. With her great advice and support, I saw the bigger picture and learned to appreciate myself more thanks to her empathetic approach. Always quick to respond to any message, always on time for sessions and always helpful. I'm absolutely sure that without her, I wouldn't have come as far as I did."

"Ruth has been amazing thus far, she helped me figure out how toxic and awful my relationship was and has supported me though the transition of finding myself again. I would highly recommend her to anyone. Extremely helpful, a wonderful listener and just all around great to talk to! Thank you Ruth."

Conclusion On Appreciation

When someone feels unappreciated it can be hurtful; sometimes, it may be intentional, but it may also be simply something easily fixable. If you are experiencing psychological harm in feeling unappreciated, reach out for help, rediscover yourself, mend your relationship, and start feeling appreciated. Tomorrow is a new day, and you deserve the love that you are worthy of! Take the first step today.

Other Questions On The Topic Of Appreciation:

  1. What does it mean when you feel unappreciated?
  2. What should I do if I feel unappreciated?
  3. How do you know if you’re unappreciated?
  4. Is feeling unappreciated normal?
  5. What happens when a woman feels unappreciated?
  6. What do you call a person who doesn’t appreciate?
  7. How do you know if you are valued in a relationship?
  8. How can I feel more valued?
  9. Why do I need to feel appreciated?
  10. How do I know if I’m being taken for granted?
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