Childhood Emotional Neglect

It seems that the world getting crazier and crazier. As lives get more chaotic our children and grandchildren are suffering the most. What kind of future will they really have?

I can see it in some of their faces, at the grocery store, a church, or children just outside walking alone. It breaks my heart every time it happens.

As a survivor of Childhood Emotional Neglect. I might be more in tuned to feel for these children. And while I am sometimes not in a place where it’s my business to speak to these children. My heart aches for them.

I wanted to share with you the challenges they may be feeling. So if your in a place to speak up you’ll know what their feeling. I tell you, sometimes even a quick hello or positive word to them helps them tremendously.

The First Challenge

They feel invisible, like they don’t belong or are no value to anyone. “I became invisible so that every one walks by me like I wasn’t there.” They feel they don’t belong, especially in group settings, whether with family or friends. I know I always felt that if I walked out of the room no one would notice. Although they rationally see that no one is superior to them, they still feel inferior to other people.

The biggest challenge for me was believing that my wants and desires were not as important of those of others. I had a huge fear that paralyzed me. My unconscious motto became “If anyone really knew me they wouldn’t like me. I longed to be seen by others but my fear of actually being seen kept it hidden, isolated, independent, anxious and afraid.

I remember one time at age 12 years old. I did an experiment of my own. My Father always had alcohol in the fridge. One day I went to fridge and grabbed 3 beers and went outside and sat on the front porch and drank them all. Just seeing if anyone would pay attention. It was a busy street and town was about a block away. No one even noticed. I learned 3 things that day. I really was invisible and that no one really cared what I did. along with that beer helped me deal with the pain I felt inside. From that moment on I did want I pleased, I talked to strangers, took alcohol from the fridge, came and left as I wanted. No one cared. By the age of 13 I think I was an alcoholic. By age 14 I started smoking weed, and by 16 I was snorting cocaine. No one seemed to have any issues with it and I stopped caring about myself by that point.

I struggled for the majority of my childhood and my adult life with feelings that I didn’t matter much, that I wasn’t important and not interesting enough of a person for others to want to get close to me.

The Second Challenge

They have trouble recognizing their emotions or sharing their emotions. They might say things like:

“I always feel the need to hide my emotions and thoughts, I find it very hard to open up to others, even family members.”

“I am just learning about feelings, emotions. How do you know what you are feeling period!”

Even today I empathize a lot, But I have a hard time being able to feel my emotions. I still to this day struggle with recognizing my emotions and knowing whether they are “real” or whether I make them up (exaggerate).

My mother never expressed or talked about emotions at home and now I find it difficult to know how strong an emotion has to be. Whether it’s real or if it’s even worth being expressed.

My Father spent a lot of time at work or at the bar, and when he would be home he would either have a drink in his hand or sleeping.

I’m normally a very articulate person, but I lack the vocabulary to describe my emotions when I’m feeling them in the moment. I think that’s why I’m good at writing, because I can think things through before putting them out there.

At home my mother would always tell me to shut up, after awhile I just stopped talking. And kept all my thoughts and feelings tucked inside.

The Third Challenge

These children may have trouble determining their needs and desires because they can’t connect with themselves or any one else.

I had trouble understanding what a really wanted, for much of my adult life I did what society told me to do. Most of the time I just went through the actions without knowing what I wanted or feeling anything. I got used to being numb all the time. Trying to find my voice and connect with myself and the things that made me unique was extremely difficult for me.

The Forth Challenge

They may have trouble setting boundaries and saying no to others. They don’t think they have a right to say “NO.” And have a right to their own feelings. I had great difficulty setting boundaries with anyone. I also had a difficult time saying no to the point of my own detriment and I put up with my own needs being ignored. Failing to learn how to set boundaries on how to trust my gut feeling when my boundaries were crossed, the ultimately, how to protect myself. Many times I felt like a doormat.

I had to learn how to set boundaries and establish limits, which express a lot of being able to say no. In adult life it’s really hard for me to say no. I still tend to push my boundaries in relationships too far, not putting myself first but even agree to things I don’t like.

Today I still have issues with addiction but now it’s food (sugar). My life has been and always will be a struggle because of the way I was raised. So please if you see or know of someone who is being abused – emotionally, physically, or sexually, speak up. Maybe you could save the life of a child. Or save them years and years of suffering.

Counseling is available. There are caring people out there. I spent 30 years in counseling trying to undo, the hurt and pain of what happened to me in childhood and adult life. The mistakes I’ve made and the relationships I’ve destroyed. Every day I struggle but I know there is praise in from the pity out there. Or I wouldn’t be here today surviving.

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