When a Woman Feels Emotional Neglect: Understanding and Addressing Her Needs

A stressed woman covers her face while sitting on the sofa. Learn how a relationship counselor in Chicago, IL can offer support in addressing neglect. Search for a female counselor to learn more about counseling for women in Champaign, IL and more.

I often see clients who come to therapy for emotional exhaustion they believe is due to anxiety and depression. I quickly find that these clients also suffer from emotional neglect in one or more of their relationships. And that this emotional neglect relates to much of their stress and pain.

A woman covers her face while in bed as their partner sleeps. This could symbolize the stress of relationship neglect that a therapist for women in Springfield, IL can address. Address feeling lonely in a relationship in Chicago, IL, and how a relationship counselor in Chicago, IL can offer support. All relationships need continual care and attention for connection to thrive. An emotional connection binds people in love, support, and understanding. However, emotional neglect strains a relationship, leaving the other feeling unimportant and alone. 

In this post, I will address emotional neglect from the perspective of women in romantic relationships. Not all women feel emotional neglect the same way. Also, not all romantic relationships are between one man and one woman. However, the following are the similarities of emotional neglect in this group of clients from my work as their therapist. 

What is emotional neglect?

One way to define emotional neglect is by what's missing in a relationship that impacts connection. In most cases, that is attention, comfort, and support.  

A woman's partner pays attention to her in a fulfilling romantic relationship. He responds to her bids for connection with care. He also notices if something is off and offers her comfort and support. This behavior makes a woman feel safe and secure in herself and the relationship. 

Emotional connection is not about grand gestures. While those can be fun bonuses, simple everyday actions are the foundation. Small gestures like actively listening and providing comfort make a woman feel understood and valued. 

In the post below, I will further describe some other signs of emotional neglect in women and how to start addressing it. 

Understanding the impact of emotional neglect on a woman's communication 

Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. When a woman feels emotional neglect, one of the first signs of her pain can be the way she changes her communication. 

If her partner lacks understanding, she may hold back her thoughts and feelings. She won't risk being vulnerable if her partner doesn't show her attention and care. Instead, she may check first to see if her partner is listening and understanding her more indirectly. 

Indirect communication as a sign of emotional neglect 

For example, a woman might mention a successful work presentation. She would then observe her partner's reaction to get affirmation. She may also ask her partner's opinions on things she has already decided. She does this to seek conversation and added reassurance. 

A couple sit on a couch while facing away from one another. This could represent the stress of neglect in relationships that a relationship counselor in Chicago, IL can address. Search for counseling for women in Illinois by searching for a therapist for women in Springfield, IL and other services. Women also mention feeling unsure about their abilities. They hope their partners will offer them encouragement or support. Sometimes, women might test their partner's reactions. They do this with hypothetical scenarios to gauge their level of support.

These acts remind her that she is loved, valued, and seen by her partner. While these acts may not solve the deeper issues behind neglect, they give her temporary relief and hope.

Aggressive communication as a sign of emotional neglect 

If a woman's partner responds well to indirect communication, she may feel encouraged to try more direct methods. She will feel safe and supported. As a result, she may be willing to risk more vulnerability and renew trust in the relationship. 

But suppose a woman already feels emotional neglect. If her partner does not respond well to her indirect attempts to connect, she may show more frustration in her communication. 

Instead of calmly discussing her feelings, she might repeatedly bring up the problem. This comes off as nagging. Her frustration might lead to passive-aggressive comments and behavior. This shift in communication causes more conflict in a relationship, and the couple usually drifts further apart.

Hypersensitivity as a sign of emotional neglect 

Feeling alone with your emotions can be overwhelming. This isolation can make a woman more sensitive to her partner's criticism. Even nice feedback can feel like a personal attack. She's been on guard so long that it's hard to trust what's real. This hypersensitivity is often a defense mechanism. It shields her from the pain of feeling more alone.

Hypersensitivity from emotional neglect leads to a cycle of frustration and resentment. A woman who feels ignored struggles to express her needs and desires more. Her emotional connection also relates to her ability to show affection. Without it, intimacy in a relationship will start to erode. 

How to address your feelings of emotional neglect

When you feel emotional neglect, being on guard and hinting at things in a relationship may be tempting. I understand it. But I usually don't support this approach. It tends to create more issues in the relationship and start unhealthy communication habits. 

Instead, I recommend that women focus on improving their direct communication. Learning to express one's feelings and needs assertively is a key skill. It's important even when things are difficult, and it shows emotional maturity and self-respect. 

I won't make you waste energy with indirect messages. Not wasting your energy will help your mental health. Instead of becoming scared and resentful, you will gain clarity. You will gain it by knowing your feelings and being able to express them. As a result, you're more likely to know what needs acceptance and what needs to change. 

Therapy can help

A close up of a couple holding hands while sitting across from a person with a clipboard. This could symbolize the support a relationship counselor in Chicago, IL can offer when feeling lonely in a relationship in Chicago, IL. Search for counseling for women in Illinois to learn more. I know how difficult it can be to speak up for yourself when you're in pain and feeling alone. Therapy can help you build self-awareness and practice assertive communication. Treatment can help you meet your part of a healthy relationship. It can help with good communication and resolving the hurt from emotional neglect. 

Reach out to a Relationship Counselor in Chicago, IL

I am happy to offer support in navigating emotional neglect and finding solutions to relationship issues. Therapy can be a great place to create deeper bonds with your partner and practice healthier forms of communication. You can start your therapy journey with Live Lekko by following these steps:

  1. Call or text to schedule your first appointment at 217-402-7817
  2. Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice
  3. Start feeling more connected with your partner!

Other Services Offered in Illinois

Live Lekko is happy to offer support with a variety of mental health services including counseling for women and grief and loss counseling. I also offer counseling for people-pleasing, anxiety treatment, and therapy for childhood emotional neglect. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with teletherapy. Visit my blog for more info today!