Why Do I Feel No Connection with My Family? (12 Reasons)

When people say they don’t feel any connection with their family, it usually really implies their parents. In fact, it’s also likely that your parents are the cause of your feeling disconnected with them. This is a reason why parenting is a huge responsibility, no matter the upbringing of the parents themselves.

This feeling of having no connection that I’ll tackle is the one that lingers for too long, not the one caused by some momentary conflicts (which are normal).

Let’s make it clear from the start that feeling no connection with your family does not automatically mean you’re mistreating them. Having this feeling can happen even to the best of us.

On the other hand, we’re not skipping the fact that strong family connections are associated with a high likelihood of flourishing in life.

why do i feel no connection to my family

Why do I feel no connection with my family?

1. Intergenerational trauma

You have not developed the natural ability to connect with your family because it’s simply riddled with intergenerational trauma, which God only knows how many generations it’s been running in already.

For example, you may be employing emotional detachment, most likely involuntarily, because you’ve been resorting to it as a defense mechanism against abuse from your parents who have likewise suffered the same. Emotional detachment is a means for survival.

Related: Am I the Problem in My Family? (For Adult Children & Parents!)

2. Your parents are toxic

There’s a plethora of resources on the internet tackling toxic parents, but this can also be a result of intergenerational trauma.

Toxic parents can simply be helpless people who have learned pathological ways to deal with their trauma. There’s the alcoholic, or the one with an untreated mental illness, or the one who was emotionally neglected as a kid.

It’s simply difficult or impossible to connect with toxic parents. The whole attempt at the relationship quickly becomes futile. You cannot enjoy one you can’t establish in the first place.

3. Your parents’ behaviors erratically change

There are times when you just feel right in their company. But then they become toxic—suddenly, of course.

You feel enmeshed in this kind of dynamic that constantly you somehow wish they were better, and you believe it’s true, but reality simply does not prove it.

Because of this you get confused, and this confusion keeps you from having a genuine connection with your parents.

4. Low emotional intelligence

To have an emotional connection with your family, you have to have the skills to develop one.

We know that everything we learn (or the way we learn things) starts from the family. If your parents didn’t show the right attitude towards handling difficult emotions, then you may find yourself suffering the same.

Emotional connections do require some level of emotional intelligence. The good news is you can learn this no matter your age.

Related: I Resent My Parents for How They Raised Me (9 Tips)

5. You were expected to be an adult way too early

This could be for several reasons based on your circumstances in life. Say, finances might have been a problem. Or you grew up in a rough neighborhood.

In any case, you were taught to be an adult even though literally, a human brain is not mature until the age of 25 at least.

Because of this you did not organically learn how to deal with emotions, stress, or hard lessons in life. As a result you’re now finding it hard to make emotional connections.

6. You blame your parents

You may think your parents ruined your life for whatever reasons and this is keeping you from moving on.

True connection is only possible without the blame. Sure, you could hang out with them and display a fake image, but deep down you know you’re only fooling yourself.

7. Unresolved past conflicts or issues

“Agree to disagree.” How I wish this applies to all conflicts just so we can settle them all!

Either you or the other family member may be guilty of this, where you hold grudges over conflicts that seem impossible to resolve. When this happens you may find yourself always dwelling on that conflict even though there are avenues for you to exercise healing, letting go, or reconciliation.

8. You have nothing in common, and you don’t make the effort to connect

This may be sad, but it’s normal and I would argue it’s also pretty common.

Relationships are always a two-way street and it takes work to maintain them.

However, some people, let alone blood-related family, just lose that spark to rekindle those relationships. Each then goes on their own adult lives and just treats the days of their young selves as but a memory.

Related: The Older I Get the More I Dislike My Parents (What to Do)

9. You think you are “not being good enough”

This is more for when you’ve lost touch with your family for quite a while now.

It’s when you somewhat blame yourself for all the interpersonal conflicts you’ve had in the past when it’s simply not true. Because of this you constantly dwell on them, analyzing and contemplating what-ifs, or things you might have done better.

This is detrimental to you because it pins you in the past when you could be working on your relationships right now.

10. Poor boundaries

Boundaries are important even in your childhood when you were unaware.

When you were a small child, you needed boundaries to figure out this big and new world on your own. If your parents always jumped in to “help” when you did not need it, then they most likely ended up hurting your growing autonomy instead.

Now that you’re an adult, you still need those boundaries to make sure you’re getting what you need. If your parents do not respect that, then it sure is a recipe for emotional detachment.

11. You’ve formed other intimate relationships

You could be having this great relationship, maybe with a relative or a family friend—whom you treat as a parent figure.

This is more like a consequence in which the responsibility of your parents was shouldered by someone else. It is amazing. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve found those good people.

However, it could also keep you from trying to emotionally reconcile with your parents especially when your parents don’t share the values you admire in your “other parents.”

Related: Is It Normal to Dislike Your Parents?

12. On the other end of the spectrum, your emotional detachment is simply by choice

You have helplessly learned you just cannot connect with your family anymore. Perhaps you’ve tried but failed.

This is more for your wellbeing, your peace of mind. You most likely have a toxic family that just wouldn’t listen to what you have to say, let alone change.

You’ve decided that the drama is enough and it’s never worth it. In most cases, this just works wonders for you.

What to do if you feel no connection with your family

Engage your inner child. Deep inside you long for that family connection but sadly, it isn’t the reality. This may be traumatic for you. Take care of yourself as if you were that little child once again. Be mindful of your needs. Give that child what lacked before.

Be aware that you are likely to gravitate toward emotionally immature people. Having grown up around your family, you have learned destructive patterns and they’ve been ingrained in you. You’re aware of them but the subconscious can be too strong to resist. These patterns are familiar to emotionally unavailable people and they’ll see them in you.

Related: I Don’t Want a Relationship with My Parents 

Look into possible shortcomings you’ve had. To be fair, try to understand your decisions and reactions in the past. Perhaps you went somewhat stubborn in that you would not listen to what your family had to say, too. Maybe they’re trying to reach out but you are still stuck to some conflict, and you’re holding on to anger.

Try. Else, accept. When you try to work on fixing your relationship with your family, you probably won’t have regrets for otherwise doing nothing. It can also bring peace of mind for both parties if you accept the fact that it is simply what it is. (On the other hand, the worst case, estrangement, probably won’t last forever.)

Set your expectations criminally low. Even when you’ve talked this through, don’t expect them to accept your views or even apologize. You’ve already reached out and tried. Now just focus and work on yourself.

Find emotionally available people. We are humans after all. And even though we can be rational, we are simply emotional creatures. You might as well make the best out of it. Emotional detachment within your family has left a hole in your heart, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve other people who genuinely care about you.

Stick to your values. Free from your emotionally unavailable family, you now learn more about yourself and stick to who you really are. Whenever other emotionally immature people seem to find their way to you, you can now set your boundaries so you can be more comfortable with yourself, committing only to things you want to do.


Image Credits: Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

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