Parental Disconnect and Unmet Needs

Feeling Disconnected Emotionally
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Emotionally Cut Off from the Source

Portrayal – A small child, standing on one side of the world, his/her mother on the other and a large rift in between them. The rift is too big to cross and symbolizes a disconnect or separation from each other. Since they are close enough to each other in proximity, I wouldn’t say it’s so much a physical separation as it is an emotional one. This could have been caused either by tragedy or by ineffective and/or negligent parenting.

In exploring the possibility that it is tragedy that caused the separation, we can look at the situation and feel sorry for both parties. The mother and child both suffering alike, longing to be back together. Perhaps, there was a divorce, or a parent or child fell ill in some way that limited their contact, or perhaps something worse. In any case, it will be difficult on them both but more so on the child as his/her coping skills aren’t in place yet.

If the rift is due to inadequate parenting, meaning the mother is neglectful, immature or narcissistic, then the situation goes beyond tragic and comes close to abuse (whether intentional or not). This can be judged as far worse for the child. The mother’s state hasn’t changed at all, meaning she is unaffected by the fissure between them and is likely in her own world, as is her habit. The child by contrast has now been rejected, which will be exponentially more painful than if the gap between them had only been an unfortunate accident of some kind.

In any case the child will create defenses against his overwhelming emotions, grow up to see these defenses fall apart, and then have to put him/herself back together again, with help from caring friends and a competent therapist.

“From now on, I’ll connect the dots my own way.” – Bill Watterson

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