The cruelty inherent to emotional neglect cannot be found in that what one has been subjected to; consisting mostly of that what had been withheld. Specifically this would be attention, a safe environment, freedom in relationships and most important of all; the ability to develop your individual identity. The lack of these is not as cruel as it is tragic.
The cruelty however can be found in the second order effects of neglect; through a lack of identity, an absence of healthy boundaries, and the self preservation mechanisms one developed. The fundamental lack of support requires one to find their way throughout life completely on their own, only to learn that the rules they are taught are not the rules which the world lives by. A long, chaotic, confusing and painful process is required to start and make sense of the situation one is in. A process which should not have been necessary in the first place. It's a result of the inability and incompetence of parents to properly guide their kids to adulthood. To add insult to injury those neglected usually will have to resolve the emotional issues several generations before have literally neglected to do so. All in all it'll drop those affected crippled in the real world, woefully unprepared for whatever they still have to deal with.
The inability to see how these processes influence one another makes it rather difficult to talk about, while at the same time being easily dismissible by outsiders and victimizers. It adds to the confusion, ensuring victims remain gravely misunderstood.
It's as if the neglect of ones personal issues will eventually lead to the neglect of their offspring, virtually signalling that any continuation of their characters is not worthy of existence; it would not be worth salvaging. When neglected for long enough the lineage will indeed kill itself off, if it does not succeed in resolving these issues in a timely manner.