Neglect: The Silent Abuser

Let me just hang this out in the air for a moment there: neglect is a form of abuse – a SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE form of abuse.

What the *eff, and WHY?! Let me spin it this way, if a child was neglected the media would be up and arms and social services would be contacted immediately to have the child removed from the parents’ “care”. So please tell me why, once we enter the romantic the dating arena, it is completely acceptable to be neglected. We make excuses for it! When it reaches a certain point this is no better than verbal abuse – it can have irreparable damage on the psyche causing one to jump and fight for attention any time their mate (or family member or friend) pulls away in the slightest bit. I’m going to say that I have been guilty of this in the past too; I have allowed it to happen in my past relationships and I make the normal excuses. The more your run around this circle the more you teach the “neglecter” that it’s okay to treat you that way. Personally, it left me crazy starved for attention.

I’m not talking the run of the mill he/she’s too busy to hang out with me this weekend, he/she doesn’t show interest in what I like, he/she never does anything romantic. I’m talking no communication, disappear for a few days, never willing to indulge in or encourage you to pursue your interests, doesn’t even care to discuss what’s happening in their life. Serious and willful neglect – the kind of relationship where you know you’ve felt less alone by yourself. If that person isn’t filling ANY of your needs there is a problem there. If a relationship is not fulfilling any of your needs, it IS causing you pain because placeholders are not as innocent as they seem.

If you take nothing else away while you’re reading this – relationships tend to flow so much into the other parts of your life that it is imperative that they are alive and breathing freely. So if it’s not a HELL YES – it’s a no. I know that my romantic partner tends to be my best friend, my anchor and I need that balance because I’m a little (maybe a lot) on the floaty, whimsical side and it may be different for you, but interpersonal relationships in general are such a big slice of my pie that if I’m not getting what I need from them I melt a little and sometimes my boundaries come undone.

A little aside about feeling supported in your relationships:

How to Feel Supported

Gabby Bernstein featured a vlog about feeling supported in her life – throughout her career, in her relationships, in her finances. Supported – I love it. She speaks about Danielle LaPorte’s “Desire Map” and her practice of intentionally designating a set of feelings as core feelings. In the front of my planner at work, on the background of my laptop, sometimes scrawled on a post it and stuck on the surfaces surrounding my desk, but I never once thought about being supported until I heard that. Take stock of your feelings surrounding relationships.

What do you want to feel? Neglected, lonely, constantly fighting for attention? I didn’t think so; I certainly don’t want to feel that way. I can be lonely all on my own.  Are you in a neglectful relationship? With others? With yourself? Are you the neglected or the one who neglects? What would you make room for if you let that relationship (that isn’t serving your needs) go?

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