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Childhood Emotional Neglect

Narcissistic parents don’t really recognize their children as people separate from them. Instead, they see their children as little extensions of themselves. The needs of the child are defined by the needs of the parent, and the child who tries to express his needs is often accused of being selfish or inconsiderate.”
― Jonice Webb, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

Childhood emotional neglect or CEN for short, refers to the power of emotion, and how it affects us when our emotions are invalidated, ignored or suppressed; first by our parents in childhood, and later by ourselves in adulthood. This is a parental failure to act, and CEN therapy seeks to provide a framework to treat the fall-out. There are many ways this subtle form of abuse shows up in ones life, from counter-dependent people who go to great lengths to avoid asking for help to not appear, or feel, needy , to those who will make every effort not to rely on another person, even at their own great expense. 

When a child’s emotions are not acknowledged or validated by their parents, they can grow up to be unable to do so for themselves. As an adult, they may have little tolerance for intense feelings or for any feelings at all. they might bury them, and tend to blame themselves for being angry, sad, nervous, frustrated, or even happy. The natural human experience of simply having feelings becomes a source of secret shame. “What is wrong with me?” is a question they may often ask herself.”

“running on a half-empty tank of low-octane fuel that had been diluted by a pool of unshed tears.”
― Jonice Webb, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

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