Relatives With a Lack of Emotional Integrity

Relatives With a Lack of Emotional Integrity
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 14 April, 2023

Some people define themselves as having integrity and being respectful. However, what they say is often a world away from what they do. In fact, it’s usually the case that those who defend their virtues the most are those who neglect their relationships with the people around them.

A lack of emotional integrity favors behavior in which an individual ignores the psychological and emotional rights of another. Therefore, the basic needs that make up the relationship aren’t covered. However, it’s essential that we receive honest, upright, and respectful treatment from those who supposedly claim to appreciate us.

That said, some mothers don’t hesitate in manipulating their children. There are also dishonest parents who promise the moon but only offer absence and oblivion. And, of course, there are selfish children, those who only act out of their own interests with their parents or siblings. Let’s find out a little more.

To become emotionally complete, high doses of empathy and emotional intelligence are needed.

Teenager in conflict with his father
The lack of emotional integrity between family members creates gaps and even traumatic experiences.

Characteristics of relatives with a lack of emotional integrity

Integrity is one of the most beautiful words. It defines those who do the right thing in any circumstance, even if it sometimes goes against their own interests. Integrity is respect, correctness, and personal responsibility. Moreover, on the spectrum of emotions, this term acquires even more value and significance.

Emotional integrity is a part of emotional intelligence. It outlines a kind of courage. The individual is honest with their feelings and with those of others. Indeed, those who master this competence are congruent in what they say and do, possess good self-control of their emotions, and are experts in relational responsibility.

Research conducted by Monash University (Australia) claims that emotional integrity enriches our sentimental lives by making it easier for us to better manage conflicts and daily challenges. In fact, people skilled in this tool tend to have a more resilient psychological approach.

However, not everyone is skilled in this dimension. Indeed, it’s common for many of those close to us, such as our partners or family members, to exhibit some incompetence. Its effects can be immense. Here, you can find out how these figures act.

Relatives with a lack of emotional integrity ignore both their own emotions and those of others. In addition, they’re not not honest with what they feel, and they neglect the needs of others.

1. They’re always nice, but they don’t show real interest in you.

A lack of emotional integrity could be defined as being ’empty’. Consequently, these family members may appear close and affectionate, but appearance is all it is. Because, in reality, they don’t listen when you talk to them about your hopes, dreams, opinions, and plans. They’re right there, in front of you, nodding, but they’re not paying any attention.

These are figures who appear to be most helpful and kind. However, although they’re close family members, they make you feel lonely, because they have no genuine concern or desire to care for you.

2. They don’t admit their mistakes

Throughout your life, you make infinite mistakes and go through difficult times. You learn from those around you and you also accept the responsibility of improving yourself and not harming others at the cost of your experiences. But, there may be figures in your life who avoid the mistakes they’ve made and pretend they never happened.

This means that if their lack of emotional integrity offends you or causes you harm, they won’t take responsibility for it. They’ll act as if nothing has happened. Even worse, they’ll make you believe that it’s your fault.

Moreover, they’re unable to improve as human beings. After all, those who are unaware of their actions don’t develop, either personally or emotionally.

3. What they say doesn’t correspond with what they do

Some parents make promises and commit themselves to things they don’t fulfill. What’s more, they’re in complete disharmony with what they do and what they say. They’re individuals who verbally defend certain values and virtues that, later, they don’t exhibit, even with those closest to them,

Family members who lack emotional integrity are dishonest. That’s because they don’t practice what they preach, they break their promises and continually disappoint you but they have no regrets.

4. They deny their emotions and feelings

It’s really difficult to build a healthy and happy bond with a parent or sibling when they don’t express what they feel. Honesty is also evidenced by exposing emotions with respect and intelligence without fear and resistance. Doing so brings oxygen and richness to every relationship. However, when there’s a lack of emotional integrity, this doesn’t happen.

These people will hide their anger and sadness and even the moments they feel proud of you. Unsurprisingly, this emotional incompetence takes its toll, both on them, as well as those who live with them.

Behind a family member who lacks emotional integrity, can lie anything from an education based on emotional neglect, to an extremely dishonest and problematic personality style.

5. They avoid their problems and don’t face them

With family members who lack emotional integrity, you’ll never solve a disagreement, not even the slightest problem. They’d rather pretend that nothing has happened than handle any difficulties. In fact, they often make a situation even more difficult by addressing it in ineffective ways. For instance, apportioning blame and forcing others to deal with it.

In effect, they’re born deniers. They’re the kinds of people who postpone problems until they become so big that there’s hardly any space left for coexistence at home. These scenarios leave fallout until the relationship with them completely oxidizes.

Many family ties are dominated by a lack of emotional integrity.

What can you do?

Emotional integrity is a skill that anyone can learn. That said, we have to want to take the step. If you have a family member with poor skills in this sphere, you should ask yourself what’s causing it. It could be that they were raised in an emotionally neglectful environment.

They won’t really know what emotional integrity is if they’ve never felt it themselves. Therefore, they need to understand the cost of not taking care of all the aspects of a nutritious relationship. But, they only see differences, problems, and a gradual distance. So, if they love you, they must improve their attitude, behavior, and way of loving you.

On the other hand, family members who lack emotional integrity could be suffering from personality disorders or be hostile and problematic characters. If this is the case, you should gauge to what extent you want to invest in the relationship. If they don’t make any changes and deficiencies and damage continue to occur, you’ll need to make a decision.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • de Silva, Padmasiri. (2018). Emotional Integrity and Resilience. 10.1007/978-3-319-97514-6_11.
  • Landa, I., & English, T. (2021). Variability in state authenticity predicts daily affect and emotion regulation. Emotion. Advance online publication.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.