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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Childhood Emotional Neglect

Topic: Childhood Emotional Neglect

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye
    FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye avatar
    3 posts
    14 August 2019
    I was emotionally neglected throughout my childhood. It's a recent revelation for me too. I'm middle aged, and am only now able to piece together the 'how' of why I am the way I am. It's an enlightening process, like I'm seeing things for the first time. Though I'm having trouble dealing with all these connections I'm making between my past and how it has shaped me. There's a lot of amazement, which is why I used the word 'enlightenment' to describe what I'm finding. But as well there's sadness over the loss of what I missed out on.

    I think back to the child I was, and it makes me cry for him. I wish I could hug him and just listen to what was on his mind.

    I have a Son now, and I couldn't imagine treating him the way I was treated. So when I ask myself why I was treated the way I was, the emotional reaction I get is resentment towards my parents. I can't understand why I was treated like furniture that could be packed up and moved from city to city, school to school, and told that it would toughen me up. I know that my parents had their own demons, so much so that I'm surprised they stayed married throughout all the upheaval and fighting. But even so, I still can't understand why they thought that I could simply deal with things on my own, rather than viewing me as a vulnerable child who needed to be cared for. I'm a very withdrawn personality now, and I think that I must have withdrawn at a very young age, because I don't remember ever acting out or protesting their behaviour. I think that I simply accepted that I was an expendable part of their plans.

    Regardless, the resentment I'm feeling troubles me because it's unresolved. My parents are elderly now, and I want to confront them about my childhood, because I want answers. But I know that it would hurt them. My Father would react with scepticism and deflect it somehow, likely assuming CEN isn't a serious issue and that other people had far worse childhoods (which the latter is true). Or he'd just get angry and blow his top like he always does. My Mother would be hurt. She wouldn't know what to say other than that they tried their best. These predictions make it seem like a hopeless conversation that wouldn't have any positive outcomes.

    Has anyone ever confronted their parents about their own emotional neglect?
    2 people found this helpful
  2. Robray77
    Robray77 avatar
    2 posts
    14 August 2019 in reply to FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye
    My Father emotionally and Psychologically neglected me. I like the dismissed. In public however, he was the great dad etc.......behind our family doors he controlled all of us with his narcissistic ways. I was 37 (am now 42), before it all started to unravel. Fortunately, I linkedf up with a great Psychologist who was great for me. It took me a few years to fully understand and comprehend the damage inflicted and all the barriers and ways in which I tried to manage. It all made sense and I begun my complex PTSD healing journey. It isn't over, I still have many backwards steps but most importantly I have healed the hurt of my inner child. this was my first and critical step for me. Anyway good luck, thanks for sharing. Its a constant journey for me.
    2 people found this helpful
  3. Robray77
    Robray77 avatar
    2 posts
    14 August 2019 in reply to FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye
    oh, I have always and still have a fantastic relationship with my mum. But tried for years with my Dad but he was happy to dismiss me as angry and mentally unstable. All I wanted was him to try and empathise. No such luck. AVO's, court battles etc....he takes great delight in it....
    2 people found this helpful
  4. FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye
    FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye avatar
    3 posts
    16 August 2019 in reply to Robray77
    Thanks for sharing your story. Can I ask, were the AVOs and court battles worth confronting your Dad? On a personal level? Despite the legal outcomes, did you get any catharsis or healing from confronting him? Or do you think your neglect was something that should have been left unsaid?
  5. Alexlisa
    Alexlisa avatar
    196 posts
    18 August 2019 in reply to FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye

    Hello FortySix and welcome to the forums.

    I only recently came across CEN and would describe it as an enlightening revelation also. It’s been overwhelming, but it makes so much sense in what I experienced growing up, as well as who I am now.

    I’ve also thought about confronting my parents, and sometimes worry it will just pour out of me unplanned when I see them. I haven’t decided what I’ll do in the long run, but right now I just can’t see how it would be worth it. I think it would only add to the dismissive nature of our relationship and trick me into the feelings of guilt and self-blame that I’m so used to falling in with them. Like you I just don’t think they’d respond in a way that would fulfil that yearning for some type of closure.

    I was wondering if you’re working with a psychologist? Mine has been fantastic in guiding me through all of this confusion so that I can finally make sense of it all. I struggle with the grief of missing out on the childhood I could’ve had. I’ve been told it decreases with time, but most of the time I can’t believe that and unhelpfully try to push the feelings/thoughts away. My psychologist has been great in validating what I went through and is helping me to accept that I can’t go back in time to change anything. I wish I could go back to hold that girl’s hand while she finds her voice.

    If (in a magical, ideal world) our parents did take a confrontation well, what would it look like I wonder? Would they apologise profusely? I can’t imagine that happening with my parents. But something I’ve been doing with my psychologist is an exercise where she would let me yell and say everything I need as though they’re there in the room. It actually does help because at least hearing the words come out of my mouth, words that I never realised I had the right to say, was quite empowering. It also helped to validate the feelings I was having by pointing out what exactly they did/didn’t do.

    Another exercise was writing a letter to them that you don’t send. I found this really emotional and it triggered a lot of difficult memories and feelings. But again, I got to express what I wanted to them.

    I’m sorry we’re going through this. I wish there were an easy answer and that the discovery of CEN alone was enough to bring us peace. I understand that struggle to cope with the grief and anger that’s been left behind. I hope we can find some calm and strength in ourselves, because we deserve it.

    Take care


    3 people found this helpful
  6. FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye
    FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye avatar
    3 posts
    20 August 2019 in reply to Alexlisa
    Thank you for sharing your story, Alexlisa. I'm trying to find a psychologist at the moment. I don't know what to do with all this knowledge I'm discovering, so guidance seems really necessary.
  7. CassieBellaRose
    CassieBellaRose avatar
    1 posts
    20 August 2019 in reply to FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye

    Thank you for what you have written. I can not believe that there are other people who were brought up and treated very similarly to how I was. Love and support were things that I never new, I too am now well into middle age as well and have 2 elderly parents and they sound very much the the same as yours. Mine went that step further where I have the abusive and aggressive father who went off, and then became violent with the added mix of alcohol, a very weak pathetic mother who is incapable of love, support or even discussing any of these issues. I was like you in my younger years and did not know anything different and thought that the way I was treated in childhood was normal. It was not till later in life that I realised that the family I grew up in was not a normal family, and this has caused me to suffer through sometimes terrible periods of depression, low self worth and some dangerous trips down the attempted suicide path . I constantly feel the loss of not having had a normal parents that loved their children, parents that were there for their children through the ups and downs. I grew up in a family in which violence and abuse were not norm, and love, caring and support were totally foreign. So thank you again for your post, the fact that I have been made aware that there are others out there who have experienced the same pain that I have, I think makes it that little be easier when I have to shoulder my own pain.

    2 people found this helpful
  8. jacqo
    jacqo avatar
    1 posts
    25 October 2021 in reply to FortySixAndTwoJimmyThirdEye
    I am carer for my mum but as a child with two siblings I believe we were all emotionally neglected. I guess it came from their upbringing/their parents. Emotions weren’t important. Physical abuse however did occur but it was swept, like emotion, under the rug. Now difficult circumstances due to my sisters child’s bad choices count as something but when I said it reminds me of our relationship she said she can’t talk about that. I feel bad. Like nothing I feel matters. I know what I felt way back never mattered but thought it might change over time. But it doesn’t. She won’t even acknowledge abuse my brother has apologised for. Is there something wrong with me?…or is she just not right?

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