On Feeling Disconnected and Lost after Entering Adulthood

Over the years, I have encountered, observed, and professionally worked with many people who come from difficult childhood environments. One common feature that these people, and the vast majority of people, have after becoming adults is feeling empty, lacking, and lost.

Many of us enter adulthood hurt, deprived, misled, lonely, anxious, tired, angry, numb, bored, or terrified. When a person grows up, leaves their childhood home, and “becomes an adult,” it is common for them to feel totally lost and disconnected. They don’t know who they are, what they like, how they feel, where to go, and what to do about it.

Now why do so many people feel this way?

If, as a child, it is forbidden to be yourself, and if your true self is met with violence, rejection, scorn, or invalidation, then you learn to hide it. This is necessary to your survival in an otherwise problematic or dangerous environment. And so you repress your feelings, you hide your thoughts, you abandon your interests, and you don’t show anything that may get you hurt or otherwise rejected.

This is not a momentary event but rather a long and continuous process. Eventually, you become so shielded, numb, and disconnected from yourself that you no longer have an idea of who you actually are.

That’s why we have so many adults walking around saying, “I don’t know what I like.” Or, “I know what I am supposed to feel but I just don’t feel anything.” For a lot of people, it takes years of mental rehabilitation, healing, growing, and soul-searching before they are able to rediscover their hobbies, or to become more in touch of their emotions, or to set better boundaries, or to develop their own individual thinking, or to have healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Many others live their whole lives without even entertaining the possibility that there is something wrong, and then one day they simply die and that’s it. This is tragic.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Things can be better. It may take a lot of work and some time, but it’s possible.

Human beings can endure a lot. We are also highly adaptable. It is never too late to change your life.

You can make a conscious decision right now, set a goal, and start working towards it. Ask for help if necessary.

Or don’t do anything. It’s up to you.

That’s the best thing about being an adult: nobody is in charge of your life anymore. You can make your own choices. And sometimes it takes some time of doing nothing before you feel free and comfortable enough to widely open the doors of your life and venture out into the world with a different mindset.

Is it something you can personally relate to? Do you know people who have experienced this? What did you find helpful in your personal journey? Feel free to let me and others know in the comments below or write about it in your journal.

Support my work by becoming a Patreon subscriber for $5/mo or more and get access to bonus articles. And check out my book Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults. Thanks!


  1. It was and is certainly true for me. Thanks for writing about it, for hope and advice.

  2. Imagine feeling this from the very first day you were born. Adoption separation trauma is permanent.


Post a Comment


Character Assassination—and How to Handle It

Empathy And Laughing At Others’ Misery

8 Reasons Why People Deny Childhood Trauma and Its Results