Updated May 5th, 2023

For some, it can happen that your family doesn’t love you

To many people, it may seem crazy that your family doesn’t love you. But, for others, it is a painful reality. Basically, while it isn’t the norm, it does happen that people find themselves alienated from their families and unable to go to them for anything.

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You know it when your family doesn’t love you, and the impact can be soul-crushing. If you were abused or neglected as a child and had no healthy role models, you may be at risk in your teen and adult years for unhealthy behaviors like substance or alcohol use disorder. Damaged self-esteem may lead to food disorders or self-harm. Relationship difficulties are also common because trusting others is hard.

How do you know your family doesn’t love you?

We’ve heard from people who say, “I feel like my family doesn’t love me.” Or, “My family doesn’t support me.” And this too, “Why do I feel my family doesn’t care about me.” The sad news about human relationships is that not everybody is loved equally even in pretty healthy families. In some cultures and families boys are more valued. Girls are not supported. It’s easy to feel less than or unloved.

When people you love make you feel horrible, it’s hard to believe, and almost impossible to accept, that they’re just not into you. In fact, they may not love you at all. You may feel it’s your fault, or there’s something terribly wrong with you. When do you know that what your gut tells you is true?

Signs your family doesn’t care about you may be confusing

Loved ones may say they may want you around for a lot of reasons. They may want you for the façade of the happy family, or happy marriage. They may believe (or know) you give good presents or money when they need it. But if you feel bad whenever you speak to them, or when they put you off or ignore you, they’re sending you a message. “I just don’t care about you.” Believe it.

The Toxic Past: A Survival Guide

Here are 6 warning signs that your family doesn’t care about you

Denying There’s Anything Wrong

You’re not included. Your loved one (s) has better things to do when you come to town. He/she/they stand you up. You can’t get him/her on the phone. You aren’t invited to family get-togethers. You feel horrible and ask what’s going on. Your loved one (s) make excuses or say it’s all in your head, “You jealous freak, you.”

Not Listening To Anything You Say

When others are dismissive of you or argue with everything you say, you know there’s a problem. If you’re always wrong, the other person is not hearing you, not listening, not caring about you. You can’t always be wrong. When you disagree with a loved one and he/she lawyers you to death, it’s demoralizing. You’re battered with a dozen reasons you’re wrong. You may feel you don’t exist. And for your loved one, you don’t exist. There is no way you will ever win an argument or be right about anything. Does your loved one have narcissistic tendencies?

Triangulating Against You

Your loved one enlists others, your friends or family, into taking sides against you by telling bad things about you. Ganging up at any age makes you into the bad guy that deserves shunning or shaming. Triangulating is very common in toxic families. Recently, someone wrote asking what he could do about a triangulating sister spreading lies about him. The answer is nothing. You can’t make a family war. You can only be yourself and not try to control others. You may have to take a break from the family gossip wars.

Keeping Secrets

There’s a lot you’re excluded from. Someone you love doesn’t want you to know what’s going on in his/her life or hides other important facts from you. You make mistakes based on incorrect information. You feel you’re in the dark, and you are. 


The people you love deny the things he/she/they did, or lie about things you actually know the truth about. Gaslighting constantly puts you on shifting ground so that you never know what’s real. Gaslighting is intended to control and drive you crazy, and it does.

Blaming and Shaming

Signs you grew up in a toxic family include being blamed for everything–from tiny things that aren’t perfect–to everything that’s gone wrong in the family, friendship, marriage, and every relationship since the beginning of time. You’re also reminded of every mistake and humiliating thing you ever did.

Your family may not be caring period

Sometimes people are not aware they hurt you and can be taught to be more sensitive. If they love you, they will listen to your concerns, apologize and make adjustments. When they won’t listen, make excuses, or blame you for having legitimate feelings, however, they know exactly what they’re doing. They won’t change, and you need to find new, and trustworthy, people to love.

One note from a reader is to remind people that where mental illness plays a part in your feeling unloved or abandoned, it may be that loved ones may be suffering too much pain themselves to be able to express positive feelings for others. Recovery from the emotional damage is possible. There are professionals who can help.

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  1. This is actually a pretty good article, clear and direct….Thanks for writing this, its. a sad subject, wish I didn’t have to read it.

  2. Well that list ticks off everything my family does to me. They keep secrets like when they are having a get together and dont tell me till after the fact. They never call or come by, i have to go to them. When i ask them why they dont tell me whats going on they say its all in my head that i must be crazy. If i get sick or hurt they dont even take me to the hospital or come visit me. I have to find a way home by myself. You know actions speak louder than words, in 16 years they have never once come over to see me or invited me to any family function or going shopping to a movie , anything. My parents are dead this is all i have, and it seems i dont have anything. Good article but you dont really give any advice for what a person in this situation can do. I live in a very rural area, there is not a lot of support groups or anything here. Im losing my mind being shut out from my family, they pretend like they care in front of their church and important people. But when the show is over its back in the box with ya!

  3. Well iv been married 38 year an suddenly I’m on longer wanted in my family of ,6 adult children an28 grandchildren I’m 56 years old an I don’t know what to do I’m on the verb of suicide I’m so lost

  4. Hi Brian, I hope you are ok and receiving the support you need for your mental health. Here if you want to talk even though don’t know me 🙂

  5. Me too have no idea why does my family members exclude me in every events and conversations. When I am the only one who truly care for their mess up lifestyle and educating them the right living.. they have bad hygiene, living and manners. I always trying all ways to correct them and help as much as I can. Ended up, they l ignored me used me and hate me.. I have no one that I can talk to not even a single friend.. So lonely and lost

  6. Any thoughts about how excommunication plays into this, when the family’s collective addiction is religion?

  7. Yep. And the only time my family shows any interest in me is when I have money. I’ve had family steal from me like my sister, who became my legal guardian when I was 15. She used the college money my mom left me on multiple vacations. Then after the money was used up, she wanted me out. I’ve also experienced my 3rd oldest niece, who would force my grand-niece on me (Her sister’s kid), have me watch her while she was out with friends, and profit from it. I’ve had family who stole material things from me and would go behind my back to say bad things about me; making the family look down on me. My dad favors my brother and sister and never gave a shit about me when I was bullied as a kid or never came to my games when I played. But you bet your ass he went to all of my brother’s games. He would even introduce my brother first to his friends and treat him like a proud son. No one is willing to help me when I’m down and what makes it worse is when they’re angry, they use it to talk down to me and make me feel like shit. Nothing is ever good enough. Fuck them. I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.

  8. I got into some trouble with the law back in 2018 with my grandma and almost done 18 months in prison for having a nervous breakdown and going off on her and ripping her shirt off and punching her. The next door neighbor started a fight with me that lasted about a week and I couldn’t get no sleep and it made me go crazy and get very mad and I ended up taking it out on my grandma. I spent 10 months in jail and after 3 months in jail the probation officer said I could go home and my mom said no that she didn’t want me to come back home and there I was no where to go to live and it got worse and worse Everytime this different county gets involved something bad happens to me now it’s been 5+1/2 years and I’m still being tormented and hurt my family won’t have anything to do with me and I feel like I need to end it

Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.

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