Is it a challenge for you to give love and express your feelings to your children? If so, you may be an emotionally distant mother. Then this article is for you.
This topic touches me very closely. When I was a child, I didn’t really understand why it was so difficult for my parents to express how much they loved us, or to give us a hug or a kiss just the desire to do so. Those are things that a child does not understand and does not know how to approach. However, being a little older, I asked my mother one day why she didn’t love me. In my naivety, I felt so. At that time I was still too young to understand that it was not that my parents did not love me, but that they were emotionally distant.
Someone can become emotionally distant for a number of reasons, starting with the type of parenting that was received. It can also be due to some type of addiction, the effect of a compulsion, daily stress, or due to certain unmet needs.
People with the ability to express their feelings and emotions spontaneously are confident and have good self-esteem. This means that they are people who understand their feelings and needs, and therefore know how to express and show affection towards others. On the other hand, someone who is insecure hides himself in rejection and estrangement, thereby creating emotional distance in their relationships.
I will explain in more detail some of the possible causes of a person becoming emotionally distant:
1. By breeding
Children of distant parents may, for parenting purposes, repeat the pattern used by their parents and re-apply it with their children. In my personal case, I found that my mother was distancing herself in emotional terms because my grandmother had been “sparing” with her. At the same time, I understood that my great-grandmother had treated my grandmother in the same way; it was like discovering a kind of “inheritance” passed down from generation to generation. Regarding my father, I found that he was raised in a strict and even somewhat violent way. That was the training he learned and applied to his children to “teach” discipline and obedience. Rare? I don’t think so: children are like a kind of “sponge” that absorbs the information that is closest to them, they retain it, they make it their own.
2. By addiction
The person addicted to alcohol, drugs or sugar will not be emotionally available, since they invest a lot of time and emotional energy to continue with the uninterrupted use of these substances. Relationships become contiguous with your addictions, they can become cold and distant. They respond to the questions that others ask them with incisive answers, or even, ignoring the needs of their relatives. Addicted people generally refuse to talk about feelings, needs, or issues that are important to their partners or children.
3. By compulsion
People locked up in their compulsions can show a behavior similar to that of addicts: they are so voluntarily linked to the activity that generates “addiction” that they cannot devote time, energy and interest to personal relationships.
4. Due to stress
Overwhelmed by anxiety, illness, work, or fear, some people may not have the emotional resources to handle intimate relationships. They may ignore the emotional demands of their family members. Some other people are unable to help; even so, there are those who need the “adrenaline” resulting from incessant stress to feel alive.
5. By manipulation
Not giving affection can be a manipulative tactic used to force a person to open up and become more loving. In this way, it is sought that the other responds to their demand for love. This method is characteristic of a couple locked in a power struggle.
Despite these possible patterns and causes, you can fight them and be an exemplary mother. Here are some tips:
Determine the nature of your emotional distance
Remember that it can be caused by physical (stress) or mental (compulsion) illness, emotional trauma, difficulties in a relationship. For this I recommend you see a therapist or doctor, in case of a physical illness.
Achieve effective communication
If you have problems with someone close to you, find an effective way to solve it. Try to be more attentive to the emotional needs of your loved ones and ask yourself about your way of acting with respect to others.
Look for possible external causes of your emotional distance
If your marriage is going through a crisis this is the way for you or your partner to deal with the situation, the consequence can be physical separation and with it the appearance of even more emotional distance. It is a kind of “punishment” in order to avoid being hurt.
Emotional distance doesn’t come overnight
Take into account what it is that helps you overcome it and what makes you “fall” back into it. Test yourself and overcome each challenge, because you are the only one who can make the change and improve your interpersonal relationships. Of course, do not give up on the first effort.
Be open to identifying other problems
In some cases, emotional distance signals some other problem, pay attention to signs of substance abuse or depression, and act effectively on it.
Affective or emotional distancing is not something impossible to overcome. Don’t let him take over your life and ultimately separate you from your children. Overcome fear and start small: a hug and a show of affection for each of your children and even your partner. When you least realize it, the barriers will have been broken down and you will have the power in your hands to be happy and make your loved ones happy, especially your children. Remember that what children need most is love, not money.