3 Ways You Can Heal from Childhood Emotional Neglect
Many of us were raised with the notion that children are meant “to be seen and not heard,” meaning “don’t speak until you are spoken to.” While this idea may have only meant to keep the volume down at the Thanksgiving table, it can have negative ramifications on a child’s psyche. Children are often much more emotionally sensitive than what is within the consciousness of many adults who allow themselves to speak and act harshly or abusive to a child.
There are many children who suffer from Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), and maybe this is true for you. Neglected children are brought up in environments that create the belief that not only do their ideas not matter, but neither do their feelings or needs. Though the words may never have been said, the actions, or lack of, announced loud and clear: You don’t matter.
If you grew up being neglected (and have unhealed wounds around being neglected), it’s highly likely you’ve become an adult who still believes you don’t matter, and that you shouldn’t burden others with your needs or feelings. The good news is this cycle of feeling worthless can be broken.
Here are 3 ways you can heal from childhood emotional neglect:
1. Embrace Your Needs and Emotions
Because of the lack of acknowledgement and care you received growing up, you most likely developed the belief that your own needs and emotions were a burden or unimportant. You may have even been made to feel ashamed about your emotions, most specifically, your need to be nurtured and loved.
In order to heal, it’s important for you to embrace your needs and emotions. Invite your needs and emotions to play an active role in your life, communicating them in an assertive way to those around you. Listen to yourself and honor the way you feel. When understood and managed, emotions can propel you and help facilitate positive change.
2. Invite People into Your Life
Growing up, you might have felt like adults were the enemy. After all, it was the adults in your life that made you feel worthless. As an adult, you may have a natural instinct to keep people at a distance that makes you feel safe, thinking this will keep you from being hurt. It may also be difficult for you to know the difference between a quality relationship and a toxic one.
The truth is; however, you don’t learn to stop negative relationship patterns by pushing people away. Healing requires you to invite people into your life (with the appropriate boundaries in place as needed). The dynamics of a relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic, will serve to help you self-reflect and ultimately grow. When you can form relationships with genuine, caring and honest people, you feel good about yourself while adding value to your life.
3. Get to Know Who You Really Are
Survivors of CEN all have one thing in common: they don’t really know themselves. Do you ever feel this way? This is because the people in your life who should know you the best, your family, never really took the time to get to know you.
But now is the time for you to fully recognize the truth, you are worth knowing. Maybe this is something you don’t currently think is true, and you are in the process of learning to believe. Either way, it is within your power to get to know yourself; think of it as being your responsibility. Knowing who you are, what you like, want, need, love, value, desire in this life will help you create a firm foundation. From this foundation, you can propel yourself into a place you want to be if you’re not there already.
Recovering from any kind of emotional trauma is challenging. It is a personal journey that will encompass many highs and lows. But taking the journey, one step at a time, will lead you to living a wholehearted life that you’ve crafted and is what you’ve always wanted.
If you or a loved one is struggling due to Childhood Emotional Neglect and would like to explore how Therapy can help, please get in touch with me. Schedule a phone consultation with me today to get started. I look forward to helping you create the highest quality of wellness in your life.