Emotional Deprivation: a Lack of Food for Your Soul

· February 24, 2017
Can a person really get sick because they don't receive attention and affection? The answer is yes. Find out why here.

Emotional deprivation is the origin of many of our ailments.

After all, caresses heal us. Hugs make us feel safe and loved. A look full of affection is a way to cheer up our soul.

But can a person really get sick because they don’t receive this kind of affection?

The answer is yes.

Human beings are social and emotional. We need emotional ties to survive and to validate ourselves as part of a group.

If our day-to-day interactions feature selfishness, coldness, deceit or distrust, this affects our self esteem.

After, we gradually fall  into a slow, downward spiral destruction. We end up doubting ourselves. For instance, we ask ourselves: “Do I even deserve to be loved or respected?

This type of thinking leads us to fall into a state of defenselessness. Our defenses fall, our immune system weakens and the fearful shadow of depression appears.

In today’s article,  we want to delve deeper into this important subject and focus on the emotional health of human beings.

emotional intelligence

Emotional deprivation: holes in our identity

We’re taught to be strong throughout our whole life, and even more so during our childhood and adolescence. However, there are families that misunderstand the concept of emotional strength. Remember:

  • A child  won’t become strong if they don’t get hugs, kisses or affection, even though some may see this as “weakness.”
  • A teenager will not become a strong adult if they’re taught to repress their emotions.
  • Similarly, they won’t become strong if they’re criticized for crying “because only children cry” or because “being an adult means solving problems on your own without asking for anybody’s help.”
  • This type of educational approach is harmful and dangerous. A child who grows up without affection from their loved ones comes to think that the world is a hostile place in which they must defend themselves.
  • Sooner or later, this child may become hostile or develop anger problems.
  • Likewise, if young people don’t experience empathy and closeness, they’ll end up disconnecting from the world. They will put up emotional walls to lock themselves in their own universes.
  • This is extremely harmful and problematic. People who are constantly locked up to the rest of the world end up developing eating disorders, abusing drugs and keeping bad friends, etc.

On the other hand, the signs of emotional deprivation appear at other ages.

There are moments in our life where our apparent strength comes to the surface. This usually occurs when people who are important to us apply what  is known in psychology as “negative strokes.”

We’ll tell you more about them below.

Emotional deprivation transmitted through language


Sometimes, a word hurts more than a blow or a direct impact to our body. Language is a powerful way to communicate emotions and interactions to build healthy, dignified and happy bonds. Remember:

  • If our loved ones communicate with us by screaming or are continuously negative, we will experience emotional pain, which has consequences.
  • In addition to respectful, positive and meaningful words, we need to feel heard and understood.
  • The delivery of a message is not the only part of communication.  It’s also necessary for the people involved to practice active, empathetic and constructive listening.

A relationship without signs of affection is not genuine

Dale un abrazo

Love that doesn’t involve daily caresses or simple and small but powerful demonstrations of affection gradually withers away. Either that, or it ends up not leading to a full, satisfactory relationship

A romantic relationship doesn’t just mean coexisting with each other and sharing the same spaces, responsibilities or bed. Instead, it’s necessary to pay attention to the small things in the relationship in order to build an authentic bond.

A look of admiration, an unexpected caress, a hug, and seeking mutual closeness make us feel happy and safe.

Emotional deprivation can affect our health

buena persona caricias emocionales

It may seem strange, but there are times in our life when we get used to not being hugged. We become accustomed to not being kissed, caressed or not receiving positive affirmations.

We tell ourselves that we’re fine and that our relationship has reached its expiration date. We may even tell ourselves that our children are too old for these things.

However, this may not be the truth. Getting used to an emotionally empty life isn’t really living at all. A life like this may lead to depression  because we feel empty, exhausted, alone and undervalued.

Always remember that our souls need affection, emotional caresses and positive words to fully live.

Let’s put this into practice.