What To Do When You’re Feeling Neglected
By: Robert Porter
Updated July 30, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Judson Haynes
Feeling neglected is one of the most disheartening feelings in the world. In many cases, it is even worse than being disliked because it is simply a person's passive response to your existence. When someone is being neglected it may feel like the person who is neglecting you is saying, "You are not important enough to me to waste my energy on." This has the potential to make you feel sad, lonely, and even depressed. Remember when someone you love is neglecting you, these feelings are a normal response. Many people have gone through a similar struggle and have recovered from this relationship rough patch.
Neglect in a Relationship
Neglect can creep into any relationship over time. When two people are together for an extended length of time, it is completely normal for them to take one another for granted. One gets used to the other person being around; they stop dressing up for each other and going on dates, and sometimes they prefer going out with friends as opposed to spending time together. It is completely natural for relationships to go down that route; however, this can be extremely dangerous for the couple, if the feelings of neglect are not disclosed or dealt with. There are some things you can do on your own, with your partner, or even with outside help to address the problem and move forward.
How to Address the Issues of Feeling Neglected
It is important to step back and view the situation as a whole. It can be helpful to understand that many small changes from both partners occurred over a period of time- leading to the current situation. We also say convoluted things, which our partner misinterprets, and it evolves into a huge problem- instead of being taken as the misunderstanding it should have been. Such problems are simply a breakdown of communication. In a relationship both partners have the shared responsibility to address current issues in the relationship, and when a breakdown occurs, one of them must step up and begin to take healthy action. Here are some approaches to begin addressing this issue.
The most important thing to do is communicate. Communication is fundamental to healthy relationships. Without it, we are working with inaccurate beliefs about each other- making it entirely possible for hostility, confusion, resentment, or apathy to present itself. Prepare your thoughts, sit your partner down, and let them know that you have been feeling neglected and would like to discuss ways to address this issue.
There are some communication exercises that relationship experts use in therapy that can help you and your partner discuss what is going on in your relationship. Some of these exercises include positive language exercises, sharing your emotions, active listening, and gratitude lists.
1. Positive Language Exercises
This is simply using positive language to talk to your partner- no matter what you are talking about. Even if you feel like calling your partner a name or yelling at him or her, practice using positive words when speaking with your partner. This may sound like a difficult thing to do when talking about hurt feelings, but it promotes productive and mutual problem-solving.
2. Sharing Your Emotions
Many people are just not good at sharing their emotions. Maybe they grew up in a home where emotions weren't discussed, or they were teased when they tried to share. Social or cultural obstacles may arise. For instance, men may be hesitant to share feelings, as they may perceive vulnerability as a sign of weakness. It is important to keep in mind that even though obstacles may rise, telling your partner how you feel is the only way they will know the dissatisfaction you are experiencing. This exercise starts out with one of you saying "I feel…" and then filling in the blank with how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. You take turns telling your feelings and listening without interruption. The goal is to better understand your partner's feelings- even if you don't agree with them.
3. Active Listening
Communication is one of the most important parts of your relationship, and if you are not listening to each other, this communication is not going to do either of you any good. If the other person is not listening, it is like talking to a wall. You may think you are listening, but many people just grasp onto the first few words that are said; from there, they are either preparing what they will say, or they are just waiting for their turn to speak. To be an active listener, you have to focus on everything your partner is saying and try to think about it from their point of view. Also, when you are the one doing the speaking, stick to one point or thought rather than jumping from one thing to another.
4. Gratitude Lists
How much does your partner really do for you? You probably have no idea of some of the things he or she actually does that benefits you. We tend to take our partners for granted, and all of those things that they do get overlooked a majority of the time. Does your partner pick up your wet towels off the bathroom floor every day without complaining? Or, maybe your partner makes sure that your favorite television series gets recorded every week- even when you forget. Yes, these may seem like small and silly things, but they make your life just a little bit better, right? This exercise includes writing down all of those things you are grateful for that your partner does.
5. Think Rationally
Even though they are your significant other, you cannot directly control their actions. There is a limit to how much influence you can have over a person, and if your efforts are still resulting in their indifference towards you then try to not let them affect your day-to-day behaviors. Their neglect will continue regardless of whether you enjoy your day at work or not, so being mindful of what you can control may help you regain a sense of manageability over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
6. Look at Things Through Their Eyes
It is possible that your partner's neglect is not related to you in any way. Their disregard for you may just be a byproduct of another issue they are currently dealing with. Maybe they are feeling under the weather mentally or physically, or they may be busy with work or suffering with a family problem. It's important to try to do your best to understand things from their perspective.
They might not be giving you as much time as you are used to. This doesn't necessarily mean that things will stay like this forever. Relationships go through ups and downs. People sometimes go through personal struggles that take time to get through, too. Give your partner a little bit of time if they haven't been attentive lately. Don't be afraid to ask them about what is going on, though. They might actually need your love and support to get through something that they're having a hard time with. If you truly love your significant other, then you'll definitely want to be there for them even if you're feeling frustrated by their attitude or actions as of late.
Knowing When to Let Go
Sometimes, no matter how hard you both try, the relationship is just not working. If you are putting so much time and energy into trying to make something work and you are still miserable after getting help, it may be time to let go. Just taking a short break from each other may be all you need to realize what you are missing. Other times, it is better to go your separate ways. Doing this may even help you get along better, and you can start over as friends. Who knows? Maybe you can rekindle things later on down the line.
Before you decide to take drastic measures and end your relationship, consider all of the above and take the necessary steps to address the problems at hand. There is a very good chance you will be able to build a stronger bond with your partner as a result. If you are still feeling neglected after attempting to resolve your issues, it is useful to seek professional guidance to uncover the underlying issues in your relationship.
BetterHelp Can Assist You
If you are feeling consistently neglected and you do not seem to be getting anywhere with communication, maybe you should see a couple's counselor. Sometimes, when you are having issues and you cannot work it out on your own, having a therapist mediate can be a big help. If you are too busy or live too far from town, online therapy is a good option for you. The both of you do not even have to be in the same room. In fact, sometimes, this can be even better- though it is important to try to be together for our counseling.
Every couple will go through tumultuous times at some point in a relationship. These feelings that you're being neglected can be addressed in therapy sessions. You can learn how to connect with each other again and things will improve. Signing up for online therapy is very simple and you can get the help of renowned online therapists today. Read the reviews for BetterHelp below, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Erin really helps me set goals for communication, and it's really crazy how much it's improved the communication in my marriage. She also asks me every week what I'd like to work on, so it's just really great to be able to decide and then to put it into action. Without her, I wouldn't even know where to start."
"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks Steph!"
You don't have to feel like you're alone in life. Being neglected in your relationship can be difficult, but know that things can improve. Don't hesitate to reach out to dedicated online therapists who can help you. Your relationship can get better, and you can live a life that is full of love once more. Take the first step today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What does feeling neglected mean?
When an individual starts feeling lonely in a relationship, there are a series of factors that could steer up this feeling.
One major factor is the feeling of being neglected by a person you consider your emotional support. You are feeling lonely because you sense that the person you crave their attention is continuously sending the signal to you that they do not value you. How painful this feeling can be! This is understandable as we have all gone through this phase at one time or the other. For some, it could be the person they are in love with. For others, it is that one person that you want their friendship so severely.
Whatever time this feeling is experienced, it takes a toll on your mental health and can cause other psychological defects.
- Is it normal to feel neglected in a relationship?
This is one of the frequently asked questions that those who experience this kind of feeling ask. The thought of being seen as the needy person in the relationship keeps popping in their mind whenever they feel this way. Often they try to hide it and act indifferent, which can cause havoc to their mental health.
Neglect in a relationship is not meant to be a normal feeling. However, most people go through it. When you feel lonely and unattended to by your partner, it is a sign that your relationship is no longer at the stage where you both invested in each other's emotions.
At this point, one of you has gotten used to the other person being around, and the little efforts no longer matter. This is the time to talk to your partner and let them know that you feel lonely so that the relationship doesn't hit the rocks.
- How do I stop being so neglected?
Do you want to stop being neglected? Then you have to choose to be the proactive person in the relationship. Feeling lonely in a relationship is a sign you are not being given the time that you are used to having with them any longer. You should note that this can be caused by the negligence of both party. Any reaction based on this could tamper with your mental health.
Now quit playing the blame game and address the issue at hand. This is the way forward. Have an honest evaluation of the relationship to find out where things went wrong.
To get to the root of this emotional state, you have to ask yourself specific questions! E.g., "Why do I feel this way?" and "What is my partner doing that makes me feel neglected?"
- How do you know if you are being neglected?
Your mental health instability is a signal showing neglect has crept in. When you are feeling lonely, the effort that demonstrates that you are loved has been omitted. The unstableness of your mental health is your body revolting and seeking the closure it once had; this could be a hug, a kiss or any other show of affection that gets to your person.
When trying to figure out signs of being neglected in your relationship, you would have to ascertain your love language i.e., how you receive love. That is what determines what you term as neglect. Remember that this is a personalized feature of every individual, so don't feel bad when they think they are putting in their best.
You could talk with your partner to communicate actions that make you feel loved and watch for their response.
- How does being ignored feel?
What can be more painful than the feeling of being ignored? You feel lonely and out of place around whoever elicits this feeling in you. As human beings, our core need is the need for connection. We desire to be accepted by society, friends, lovers, and our family members. It is often what steers our course in life (the feeling of being heard). It makes our relationships beautiful.
However, there are people that we will come across who would not consider our needs of utmost importance. We are also guilty of ignoring another person due to negligence on our part or lack of affinity. So whenever you feel that someone is ignoring you, be calm. See what can be done to lessen the friction but never try to cajole anyone into giving themselves to you.
- What does emotional neglect look like?
Emotional neglect occurs when a person is starved emotionally of the rights reserved in any relationship. One's mental health is tampered with, and if not addressed immediately, you become prone to eating disorders. Immediately you notice that you are feeling neglected emotionally, please seek the help of a mental health therapist.
This mental health professional should reduce the stress on your mental health through the questions that would be asked. When asked questions, you should answer honestly and accurately. This would open up the unresolved neglect issues tampering with your mental health. Do not be perplexed about getting a counselor that you can trust even within your home front.
- What are the four types of neglect?
Evidence-based researches have shown that there are four types of neglect. They are physical neglect, emotional neglect, medical neglect, and educational neglect. Mental health instability and feelinglonely cuts across these four types of neglect. When a child is involved, the effect is intense as feelinglonely sends unacceptance to their mind.
A caregiver is responsible for the child's basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, education, health concerns, and emotional stability. When any of these needs are ignored, a child can be feeling lonely ina relationship with the parent. Since the child is not mentally mature to understand life, he would often read any action of his need not met as neglect.
When a child is continuously feeling lonely, it has a long-lasting effect on the child. This feeling impedes growth.
- What does being ignored do to a person?
Being ignored has massive out-turn on the individual's belief in himself. It is such an awful experience that low self-esteem, anxiety disorder, and panic attacks cannot be ruled out. Your mental view of yourself becomes toxic and can affect your mental stability. These are indications that you are no longer in a balanced mental health state.
Feeling lonely because you are ignored puts you in a vulnerable position where you are prone to actions backed up by wrong assumptions. Stop feeling lonely, talk to someone. Family members or any person you have a close emotional connection with would be suitable.
However, based on frequently asked questions such as "Would this person I am sharing my hurt with not sell my personal information out? You could visit the site map of BetterHelp.com, where your privacy is of utmost importance.
- Why someone ignores you for no reason?
This is one of the frequently asked questions by people experiencing neglect. They try to find out why they are being ignored. They wonder if they have said or done something wrong. Well, mistakes happen.
After their research, some discover that their actions have nothing to do with the attitude of the other person. This is shocking, right! You don't have to be so shocked. The feeling is understandable; however, nothing can be done to change a person's actions towards you. Except you accept this, you would continually desire closure from a person who doesn't care. Remember, you are only in control of yourself.
You are responsible for your wellbeing, so focus on what you can do to alleviate the suffering. They may realize their misdeed and reach out to you. But for now, choose to let go and explore a new relationship.
- Is emotional neglect abuse?
Feeling lonely, neglected, and ignored does not mean abuse. This thought that you are invisible should not make you conclude that you are experiencing abuse. Yes! You want to feel loved and supported, but it is not everybody's duty to give you that. Different people are around you, acquaintances, friends, colleagues, and family members, yet not all are duty-bound to you.
Though you feel lonely, you are not entitled to have all of these people as your support system. When this becomes abuse is when it relates to anybody that you have the right for them to perform specific duties. For example, parents have to tend to their young children's emotional needs. These children at that age are vulnerable and need to believe that their caregivers are their support system.
Parents or caregivers, who do not nurture their children's emotions or show they care about their feelings, are breeding emotionally neglected children.
- Why do I always feel ignored?
When you realize that you've asked questions like this, it is a pointer to underlying issues that have gone unresolved. In this state, it is not about how this individual is treated by people. It is instead about how you view yourself and the actions of others. This is often an issue of acceptance of oneself based on an identity crisis. There is no other long-lasting solution than having a counseling session.
You need a mental health professional to guide you through the discovery of yourself. If you are bothered by the monetary expenses that would be accrued to you when taking this step, you could try out a free, confidential session in your home's comfort.
- What is emotional neglect marriage?
Marriage is a legal union between two grownup adults for the sake of companionship and procreation. A partner can still feel lonely in a relationship even though he or she lives under the same roof with the lover. It can be concluded that being married does not rid one of feeling lonely.
Neglect in marriage is a passive response to each other's existence as a couple. Taking each other for granted would happen, especially if this has not been consciously curtailed. A marriage full of neglect would likely lead to an imbalance in the mental health of the partner most affected. You as the person feeling the brunt must take charge.
Reach out to a marriage counselor at BetterHelp, book an appointment for a family therapy session. Your spouse may be oblivious to the problems. A family therapy session would open their eyes to the havoc that the neglect is wrecking in your marriage.
- What are the signs of neglect in adults?
An adult being neglected means that their needs are not adequately met. A person's failure to provide proper care and support to other adults may be because they are unaware of the need. It may also be that they have made a choice to be negligent. The adult that is being ignored will, therefore, feel lonely.
During family therapy, these neglected adults' frequently asked questions tend toward what is causing them to feel lonely. They can sense that their mental health have been tampered with even if they can't pinpoint what is steering it.
When you've asked questions like this, the possible signs that a mental health therapist picks out to ascertain neglect are pain, discomfort, being very hungry, or thirsty. They also examine the loss of appetite, disorderliness, untidy outlook, failing health, substance abuse, shame, or fear. They interrogate the adult and help develop safety precaution measures.
- Can emotional neglect cause PTSD?
People have asked questions along this line. In clear cut words, emotional neglect is capable of causing PTSD. PTSD is triggered by the accumulation of traumatic events that occurred, especially childhood experiences. The residue of the hurts not resolved definitely finds its way of expression years later. When you find out that you've asked questions such as why you are feeling lonely, or why you're short of words, it's because you've gone through an unpleasant situation.
Ignorance and denial of one's feelings show the need for self-awareness education connected with our health services. Unawareness limits mental wholeness. We should hasten the buildup of structures that bring about enlightenment in the health services care unit.
To be more aware of your emotions, you might need to be invited to the press room; this could be online or face-to-face. In the press room, the counselor introduces the link between your emotional instability pari passu childhood neglect.