Childhood trauma can be more covert and appear in the form of emotional neglect. In these cases, the child grows up with the belief that all of its needs were met, when, in fact, their emotional needs were not met in a satisfactory manner. Meeting a child’s physical needs is crucial for their survival, but it is not enough. In cases where the caregivers were not emotionally present, the child is left feeling like he or she has nothing good to offer, or that they need to “perform” in order to be recognized and loved. Many times, children of mothers that were depressed or extremely anxious, feel compelled to “enliven” the mother with positive behaviors. Such children grow up to become anxious adults who feel that their only worth is in serving a function for others, while their essence is not enough to deserve the attention and love of others.
Other types of childhood trauma can also lead to abandonment anxiety, such as childhood abuse, neglect, parental substance abuse, depression, or other mental disorders that parents unavailable can lead to long-term abandonment trauma.Children who do not form secure attachments to their caregivers face challenges socializing with peers, which then impacts their social development and their ability to form connections with others. Some adults who experienced childhood abandonment struggle to form satisfying relationships throughout their lifetime. A lack of a social support network deprives them of resiliency factors that provide protection from stress and a coping mechanism for handling the hardships in life.
A person who suffered such an emotional abandonment at an early age, may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of long-term attachment issues, ongoing fear of abandonment, and lack of a supportive social network. The confusion and difficulty separating physical from emotional needs, leaves such people in the dark, and prevents them from knowing they suffered such trauma, and more importantly, that these feelings can be changed.