Feeling invisible or ignored

Why You Feel Invisible and Alone (And What to Do About It)

 

Have you ever felt invisible to everyone around you? Whether you've been ignored in conversation, had your feelings dismissed, have been discounted because of your gender, left out at social gatherings, or something else, feeling like you don't matter hurts. 

The solution to feeling invisible isn’t always easy, especially if the reasons are beyond your control. But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to rid yourself of feelings of invisibility and inadequacy. In fact, many people feel invisible to others because they are invisible to themselves. They ignore their own feelings, put others’ needs above their own and accept one-sided relationships as the norm.

Once you understand what makes you feel this way, and why the emotions are so strong, you can begin to heal. Read on to learn more about some common underlying issues that might be causing you to feel invisible.

Your emotions were never validated growing up, and now you’ve emotionally withdrawn from friends and loved ones

In order to feel loved, respected and validated, we need to feel comfortable feeling and expressing our emotions. Ideally, this emotional development will occur during childhood. Otherwise, children are more likely to feel invisible as they get older. These feelings then continue through adulthood. 

This explanation about why so many people feel invisible as adults is spot on: “Healthy emotional development is based on parental attunement and secure attachment. When children grow up in a family [with] a chronic lack of attunement and their feelings are invalidated, they often grow up feeling invisible as children as well as feeling invisible later on as adults.”

Feelings of invisibility then lead to emotional withdrawal, especially in social settings. If you can relate to the above statement, you may be giving off unintentional cues that make others hesitant to approach or engage with you. Think about your body language, facial expressions, language and other social cues to see if they could be contributing factors.

You aren’t an advocate for yourself

When we think about feeling invisible, it’s tempting to blame others. Do you feel unappreciated because you regularly do nice things for other people, but they never seem to return the favor? If you’re a parent, do you feel like the rest of the family takes your sacrifices for granted? Is it impossible to get a word in when hanging out with friends, because they don’t ask for input?

These situations are frustrating and painful. But, at the end of the day, you need to be an advocate for yourself and take responsibility for your emotions. In the examples above, and in similar situations, try a different approach:

  • Don’t give with the expectation of receiving. Give freely and compassionately, otherwise it isn’t a gift.
  • When you feel taken advantage of, whether it’s with your spouse, children, or anyone else, work on creating healthy boundaries.
  • Tell your friends how you feel and express your needs (without blaming or becoming defensive.)

We “train” people how to treat us. When you treat yourself with respect and love, others will follow, and your feelings of invisibility will lessen.