The emotional disconnection in adolescents
Teens tend to get into their world and it is difficult to communicate with them. Find out if your child is experiencing emotional disconnection.

At present, it is very common to see young people living centered in themselves, distracted or immersed in social networks. However, this apparently normal situation can hide a serious problem: the emotional disconnection in adolescents.

What is emotional disengagement in adolescents?


Relations with others

Emotional disconnection is a tendency to obviate (consciously or unconsciously) one's own feelings and those of others. The basis of this situation is, on the one hand, the belief that each person is responsible for himself, which leads to a lack of concern for the other and a lack of empathy. They think that the only concern that must be had is for oneself, which denotes a certain dose of selfishness.

The other side of the coin is the idea that it is only I who should take care of my problems. For this reason, disconnected adolescents are usually accompanied by a feeling of false omnipotence. That "I can with everything”, which in reality is more like "I must be able to do everything”.

Relationship with oneself

Regarding their own feelings, which are sometimes overflowing, these adolescents adopt the defensive mechanism of disconnecting from an emotion they do not know how to manage. In this way, they ignore it, "put it under the rug" and continue their lives in automatic mode.

The disconnected adolescent is not interested in generating bonds of trust or lasting relationships with other people. The interactions are superficial, because in this way, they avoid the commitment to empathize and at the same time, they continue to avoid facing their emotions of anguish or fear.

In this way, a life of inner solitude is generated in which meetings are attended, relationships are established and it appears (especially in social networks) a full and satisfying life that truly hides an emotionality without attending.

For the adolescent in this state, the intimate life is a monster that should be avoided at all costs. People are together, but not connected; a wall rises that protects you from risk, but also isolates you from the possibility of obtaining understanding and affection. Although his environment offers genuine love and attention, this adolescent will continue to feel alone, since he does not register it internally.

Symptoms of emotional disconnection in adolescents

  • Difficulty to experience emotions, as well as to identify and communicate them. Inability to know what I want and what I need.
  • Show extreme rationality in situations with emotional charge.
  • Lack of empathy with others and problems to create solid and deep relationships.
  • Feeling emotionally numb and confused
  • Distance from the environment (especially the family) either by putting physical distance (when something happens that bothers me I go somewhere else to not face it) or emotional (stay, but do silence, ignore the situation or change the subject).
  • Lack of appetite, insomnia, apathy and excess drama in trifling situations.

Where does the emotional disconnection come from?

A key factor in this pattern of behavior is having developed an avoidant attachment in childhood. Those babies whose parents did not know how to meet their demands and needs consistently develop a defense mechanism based on repressing or ignoring their negative emotions. This pattern is transferred to adult life as a lack of trust in others that leads them to close in on themselves.

Another point to keep in mind is to reach adolescence without having developed the necessary tools. At this time, the person begins to be required to take responsibility and act as an adult, and if the person has not acquired sufficient self-esteem or independence, they may feel overwhelmed by the situation and fall back on themselves.

The influence of the peer group and the media is also relevant. These tend to support and favor superficiality and selfishness in relationships.

What can be done?

The main thing is to offer this teenager listening, understanding without judgment and unconditional support. It is important to give him the freedom to discover himself, to experience and learn from his mistakes, always reminding him that his family is a safe refuge to be able to go to.

Try to encourage conversations about deep aspects instead of holding light talks or even scolding. In case it is an extreme situation, it will be necessary to seek professional help.