Understanding Father’s Day After Growing Up Feeling Unheard

A father and son sit back to back with upset, distant expressions. This could represent the struggles of feeling unheard that therapy for childhood emotional neglect in illinois can address. Learn more about traumatic invalidation in Champaign, IL and contact a therapist for childhood emotional neglect in Chicago, IL today.

My clients often find Father's Day a painful reminder of what's missing in their lives. They want a better relationship with their dads. But after a lifetime of being unheard, celebrating feels fake. This feeling is especially true if their fathers have failed to improve the relationship or admit they were wrong.

A road sign shows a family of 4 with the father busting out and leaving the borders of the sign. This could represent the effects of having an absent father that a therapist for childhood emotional neglect in Chicago, IL can help address. Learn more about emotional neglect in Chicago, IL and how therapy for childhood emotional neglect in Illinois can help. As Father's Day nears, my clients often feel a range of emotions. They can feel:

  • Sadness: Mourning the nurturing relationship they wished they had.
  • Anger: Feeling upset about the neglect and invalidation they've experienced.
  • Confusion: Not knowing how to honor a father who didn't meet their emotional needs.

It's important to know that these feelings are real and make sense. And understanding where these feelings come from can help you cope with the pain Father's Day can bring. 

Recognizing Emotional Invalidation

Emotional invalidation occurs when someone dismisses, ignores, or belittles your feelings. Growing up with a father who doesn't listen to you is a clear example of emotional invalidation. Invalidation can harm your mental health and self-worth, leading to deep psychological scars. 

Below, I highlight some ways my clients felt unheard by their fathers. This isn't an exhaustive list of examples, but I hope it can help you see that your feelings about your experiences are real. And that it supports your further healing. 

What Does Being Unheard by Your Father Look Like?

Children need attention from their parents. A child can experience that attention when a parent listens to their feelings. This is important in simple, pleasant moments like when something goes well for the child. But it also includes paying attention to unpleasant emotions, such as when a child feels hurt by a friend or is upset by canceled plans.

A father is invalidating when he dismisses these kinds of moments. He's dismissive when he says, "You're making a big deal out of nothing." And when he says, "Stop being so sensitive," or "I can't talk about this now." 

A woman covers her eyes with her wrist while appearing to be upset. Learn how therapy for childhood emotional neglect in Illinois can help you cope with absent parents. Search for a therapist for childhood emotional neglect in Illinois to learn more today. With his dismissal, he also makes it more difficult for his child to talk to him about feelings in the future. 

My clients found that over time, these responses from their dads made them feel like their feelings were wrong. And they also felt overwhelmed by their emotions because they had to deal with them alone. 

Being Unheard Ignores a Child’s Emotional Needs.

Being seen and heard by a parent is important to a child's emotional development and essential to the relationship between the parent and child. Parents can show their children in simple ways that they care and are there for them, whether recognizing a milestone or providing comfort in a stressful moment. Both help a child feel secure in the relationship and then in themselves. 

Yet, my clients had to keep good and difficult moments to themselves. They quickly learned that their fathers didn't pay attention. They also felt like a bother if they brought anything up to them. Over time, this made their experiences feel unimportant, and they started to devalue themselves. 

When Your Father Didn’t Protect You From Your Mother.

A toxic mother is a common experience many of my clients have. Their mothers would also often display toxic behavior in front of their fathers. And their fathers let it continue by doing nothing. 

My clients have many memories of trying to seek help from their fathers. But instead of listening and believing them, their fathers would blame them. They would say things like, "You need to go easier on your mother." "Your mother only wants what's best for you," or "No one else has a problem with her like you do."

In these situations, the fathers were enabling the toxic behavior of the mothers. This results in even more invalidation of the child. Instead, the child needs a parent to see reality and make changes to protect the child. If not, the child learns to hide their feelings. They doubt themselves and become insecure. They learn to assume they are always wrong. As a result, this can make it hard to navigate relationships and personal decisions. 

Therapy Can Help You Heal From Invalidation.

A man with a clipboard sits across from another man listening. This could represent the support a therapist for childhood emotional neglect in Chicago, IL can offer. Learn more about therapy for childhood emotional neglect in Illinois and how it can help you overcome traumatic invalidation in Champaign, IL and across the state. Therapy can help you acknowledge your feelings further without judgment. You can also learn self-compassion and how to set boundaries that support your emotional needs. As a result, you will not only be able to overcome your past but also build inner security and have healthier relationships with others. 

Start Therapy for Childhood Emotional Neglect in Illinois

Remember, you can reframe Father's Day as a time of healing and growth. Accept your emotions. Honor your journey and celebrate the strength you've shown. You can start your therapy journey with Live Lekko by following these simple steps:

  1. Take the step by calling or texting 217-402-7817
  2. Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice
  3. Start establishing healthier boundaries!

Other Services Offered in Illinois

People likely need support with more than one mental health concern at a time. This is why I'm happy to offer support with a variety of mental health services in addition to therapy for child emotional neglect. Other services offered include counseling for women and grief and loss counseling. I also offer counseling for people-pleasing and anxiety treatment. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with teletherapy. I look forward to hearing how I can help you. Please visit my blog to learn more!