Childhood emotional neglect is more common than you might think of. You may say that you had good and loving parents and a fine childhood.That is why when you get older you may not connect your empty feelings, feelings of not belonging, anxiety or depression with your childhood upbringing.
Maybe your parents did not notice what you were feeling, respond to or acknowledge what you felt. Parents may even try to meet their own personal needs through their children. Or deflect their childs emotional needs because it un-consciously reminds them about how they themselves grew up in emotional neglect.
It is easier to remember what happened to you in a bad or horrifying manner than to remember what did not happen to you but ought to have happened. (It is easy to remember being slapped or shouted at than to remember the non-existent hugs and kisses.)
If you as a child had difficult feelings that your parents did not attend to you might have gotten the impression that your feelings did not matter. You may even have reached a conclusion about yourself that you do not matter that you as a grown up carry on with as an invisible shadow, a core belief.
Listen to this interview of Jonice Webb: Länk
Jonice Webb wrote a book on the same subject called:
Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
Customer review of the book by EL:
Good inventory of the ills of growing up with emotional dysfunctions brought on by our oh so influential parents, all sorts included. This part will probably resonate with you.
The Solutions-to second half left me uninspired…much like the frustration one likely feels ( if you do? I do) upon reading CBT…..the problem is identified, the steps laid out to solve the problem, and yet, somehow it just doesn’t really work. I wish it did, but it doesn’t, I guess because our psyches are so resilient and unreachable, logic just doesn’t suffice….So, I can’t say anything was wrong with this book, it just seemed like prescribing aspirin for cancer. Maybe you’ll like it more. (not that this is a CBT book per se, but it approaches problems in a similar kind of paradigm; that is, identify the cognitive errors (In this case we would substitute emotional problems for cognitive ones) caused by the unfortunate circumstances of one’s earliest days as a child under the 10 or so common parental failings of connecting with you, then know what it is that’s distorting and thus blocking your own fulfillment caused by these “foundational” wounds to self, then route out that core problem through raised awareness. But it just doesn’t work like that in reality because mostly we already know what went wrong and the problem is our minds haven’t the capacity to change their own inner patterns. I found that this book did not empower me to change, just rather to inventory emotional problems.
Comment on this post:
I have tried the CBT approach numerous times (with intensive “professional” intervention) and agree with EL. It sounds good on paper but it doesn’t translate to practice, at least not for me. Sometimes, brain wiring isn’t malleable enough after years of torment to adapt, despite good intentions (and numerous medical scripts I might add). I’ve accepted that understanding brain dysfunction in every particular case is still way beyond our grasp. Maybe a few hundred years from now. Länk
Yes, it takes more than the “talking cure” can do, to change attachment and developmental issues and traumas. Mind-Body i.e. neurosomatic or psychobiological methods have the power to make deep enough AND lasting change.