I'M READY TO fix this right now
Childhood Emotional Neglect sounds interesting..."But my childhood was fine."
Childhood Emotional Neglect is what you didn’t have done for you.
- mistreatment, trauma or abuse.
- an action.
- a lack of love.
- physical neglect.
- the physical absence of your parents.
Here’s some symptoms you may have and never understood:
- Emptiness, numbness and lack of feeling. You might feel like something isn’t right with you. You might realise that you don’t seem to have the number of emotions that other people do. You say to yourself “I don’t feel things” or “I feel empty.
- A fear of relying on other people. People with Childhood Emotional Neglect don’t like to ask for emotional help. They tend to not share their lives on a deep emotional level. This is because they learned as children that when they did, they would be rejected.
- An unrealistic view of yourself. Pretty much a general lack of self-knowledge. And by self- knowledge I mean what you like, what you don’t like. What your strengths and weaknesses are. Who you like and dislike and why. People might always say to you “I feel like you are going along with what I want to eat/do/watch.” and this might confuse the heck out of you.
- Low compassion for yourself but plenty for other people. Most of the people I treat with Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) have tonnes of understanding for other people. They can’t do this for themselves. They did not get enough emotional understanding from their parents. They can be very tough on themselves.
- Feeling like you have a fatal flaw. Imposter syndrome on steroids. You could even feel like other people are living in a different universe altogether. Feeling that you have a fatal flaw will cause you to wall yourself off. You have a deep feeling that something is wrong with you. That you are missing something that other people have.
- A tendency to blame yourself for things, get angry at yourself and carry around a lot of guilt and shame. This is because you feel you should be happier, healthier, doing better, achieving more. You get my drift.
- Low emotional intelligence. Now – this isn’t something anyone wants to hear so I’m going to say right here that it isn’t a character flaw. It isn’t anything that’s your fault. Not at all. It’s an inability to notice, name, tolerate, share, feel and identify emotions. You might know when you are angry – but can I tell you how many different shades of anger that there are….tonnes. You might also have decided certain emotions are “good” or “bad” and be very inflexible on this. No matter the circumstances. This is because you skipped the training as a child. These are all skills and must be taught and learnt.
- You might have a fear that you don’t matter. That you aren’t valid. That you aren’t enough. That you are “less than”. This is because as a child you and your feelings were invalidated. Under these circumstances, it’s normal to feel less important than other people.
There is a child. Let’s call her Rebecca (cough).
Rebecca receives the often unspoken message that her feelings don’t matter. That her feelings are “lesser”, irrelevant, invisible or totally unwelcome. She definitely gets the vibe that sometimes her feelings are wrong or weird.
In fact, she may even hear “We do not do anger or hate in this house.”
All children want to fit in and feel safe. So, Rebecca shoves her feelings away behind a huge wall. She doesn’t want to make a scene. Or worse, interfere with her parent’s lives. She relies on them for everything.
She’ll do anything to keep life peaceful.
This leaves her missing a huge resource that she’ll need as an adult.
Her emotional toolkit is almost empty. As she gets older she always feels that she has missed something. She can’t put her finger on exactly what.
How would this child know what is missing if she wasn’t told that it was important?Therapy can suck because she cannot describe herself to her therapist. So she gives up.
This child grows up feeling that she has a flaw. That she is a flaw. She actually feels deeply but she shuts herself off emotionally from other people. Heaven help her if anyone else sees how flawed she is.
Relationships get messed up. She cannot express herself well. She uses a wicked sense of humour to deflect any emotional issue that comes up. She smiles when she talks about horrible or not so great things that have happened to her in her life.
She rarely tells you anything too personal in any conversation. But you don’t realise it at the time.
She is a master at changing the topic when she feels uncomfortable.
She may be good at her job. It requires less emotion and personal connection.
She is able to describe herself and her problems very clearly – intellectually. But it’s like she is reading from a book. Talking about someone else.
During therapy she gets asked what she enjoys to do – and she has no answer. None. Zero. Zippo.
She feels like she is baring her soul to people but they don’t seem to be getting the message about how much emotional distress she is in.
In fact, she is often called strong or brave or even, gulp, unfeeling.
YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME AND YOU ARE ENOUGH.
WHAT WILL WE BE DOING?
Ease your self-blame and shame.
Providing you with a whole new set of words to talk about what didn't happen and what is happening in your life right now.
Getting your emotional skills sorted. We will take away the blame and guilt of being flawed. Because you aren't. I know that is a big step to take in your mind right now. But we'll get there sooner than you think.
Stopping this from affecting your parenting and kids. Study upon study has proved does happen. It is so fixable. Don't stress.
Getting rid of the symptoms that I talked about earlier. We'll draw up a practical plan and I will be your wing-man - here with emotional support.
I first met Rebecca at a time in my life when I was at my lowest. I had battled with depression since I was about 4 years old. I went to her with a very pessimistic attitude. The amount of psychologists and counsellors I had been to in 20 years was more than I could count and it had always resulted in me feeling misunderstood and angry. Rebecca was relatable and down to earth, I couldn't believe how much time and energy she was willing to dedicate to me. For the first time in my life I felt like I had met someone who just got it, someone with her own experiences and completely free of judgement. Someone who believed in me and someone who was in my corner. This woman was my savior. She taught me more than I could have ever imagined and the impact she has had on me has been life changing. My world has been flipped upside down and the past year has been a lot of hard work but at no point was I ever alone. At 25 years old I am now exactly who and where I want to be. For the first time in my life I am happy and I owe that all to her, my polly pocket!!
When I first met Rebecca I was suffering from panic attacks which caused debilitating physical and emotional problems. Traditional counselling and doctors had very little effect. With her expertise in a range of therapies I soon found myself not just coping but actually improving. Rebecca has an edge (insight) to quickly get to the heart of problems. What a joy to find someone who ‘gets it!’ I trust Rebecca implicitly and I’m so grateful for the changes she’s brought about in my life.
Everyone in my family has benefited from Rebecca's most amazing talent. My youngest child Lachlan who is nearly 10 will ask me to ask Rebecca to help when he is finding life a little challenging. He was mauled by a dog whilst at school a couple of years ago and suffered serve night terrors after the incident. To start with we would be up most of the night trying to calm him, yet in the morning he would have no recollection of what had happened. I called on Rebecca for help. After the first session his night terrors reduced from several times a night to one every few days. After a couple of sessions they had gone completed. Not only am I grateful for what Rebecca has done to help; Lachlan often expresses his gratitude for what Rebecca has done and lets me know when he feels he needs more help from Rebecca.