Up until recent, most studies regarding childhood neglect, focused on abuse. These could be different types of abuse such as physical and sexual abuse. However, recently more research has been focusing on the absence of being provided with the needs that a child must get in order to develop properly. For a child to develop emotionally, the child must receive what it can only get from parents and caregivers. If you wonder whether you might be suffering from childhood emotional neglect, take this free test.What types of children don’t get their needs met?Here are some examples of parents that are not able to provide for their children properly:
A narcissistic parent – focuses mostly on themselves and their education is not geared towards the need of the child
A very permissive parent – lacks the ability to set necessary boundaries that a child requires
A bereaved parent -internally focused on their pain and sorrow and are not able to see the child
An addicted parent – absorbed in their addiction, and much of the time either in the peak of it or seeking it out
A parent struggling with mental illness – for ex. a depressive parent that is unable to focus on the needs of a child
A workaholic parent – the most important focus is their work and family comes later
A family in which there is a special needs child – much of the attention goes to that child
These are some typical examples of parents that are simply not able to provide and take proper care of their children. They might be able to provide for their physical needs but not for the psychological and emotional needs. The well-being of their children will ultimately suffer. Many of these types of parenting are covered in ‘Running on Empty’ by Jonice Webb.See Jonice Webb explain the effects of childhood neglect in adulthood in this video
How childhood neglect could influence your choice of partnerThe effect of childhood neglect in adulthood is strong. As long as proper healing has not taken place, it may influence many decisions you make in life, including the type of partner you seek out. Here are several ways childhood neglect can influence the choices you make in your partner.
Here is a main principle: We tend to seek out the type of love which we received in childhood
For those that did not have a positive childhood, this might not be the greatest news. But first we need to understand this psychological rule. The parental relationship is the first relationship you experience. The way they express their love and their relational style, gets internalized.
In psychological terminology this is called the ‘Internal Working Model’. This means inside your psyche, there is a map of what a relationship looks like and this you may end up copying.
This is a major reason why people that come from dysfunctional homes, often end up leading dysfunctional homes themselves as adults, although that is the last thing they wish to recreate. In fact, many of them promise themselves to do the exact opposite when they grow up and then are filled with self-criticism that they ended up in a very similar situation.
Or even drop a suitable partner….Since your upbringing lacked the emotional depth that you needed, it created a certain conflict. On the one hand, it lacks substance but on the other hand it is familiar. And familiarity = comfortable. So as an adult, you may even drop a partner that offers you the depth that you were missing for someone that doesn’t, simply because it is familiar and just feels more ‘right’.
These traps are discussed by Jonice Webb in her second book called ‘Running On Empty No More‘ which focuses on transforming your relationship with your partner. This is a very important piece of work since those that suffered in childhood require healing in order for their pain and wounds not to influence their adult life.
The first coping tool I would like to offer is that if you are not yet in a relationship, is not to commit too soon. You might be driven to fill the emptiness inside of you by means of a relationship (or addictions) and that is best held off for a while until you get yourself healed.
Remember that it is better to wait than to end up getting involved with someone that could hurt you. In a fascinating book by Ross Rosenberg called ‘The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us‘, you can read more about why we tend to pursue precisely what we would like to avoid.
Essentially the best would be to get healed from those childhood wounds. DNMS (Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy) is a therapy that is designed specifically for those that suffered from childhood neglect. In other words, when the things that needed to happen, didn’t happen.
Until then, the best thing to practice according to Jonice Webb, is mindfulness. In mindfulness exercises, you change your attention from being outward to inward and you start focusing on yourself. What you feel, what thoughts are passing through you, what sensations….etc.
I’ve seen people practicing mindfulness and meditation and it has helped them to increase self-knowledge which is something they clearly lacked. At the beginning it is best to practice with some guided meditations. I’ll offer some resources here. All of them come with money back guarantees so you don’t stand to lose anything.
This mindfulness pack consists of 5 great audio downloads. Start with the download called ‘Mindfulness Meditation Training’ and listen to it daily. After 3 days, start listening to the other recordings as well, with one each day. You will notice that your mind will gain more clarity and you will become less absorbed in situations in which you reacted on auto-pilot until now. In other words, more awareness = more choices in how to react.
Another guided meditation for those with a history of childhood neglect is called a troubled childhood. In this download you will be guided through a mediation that will help you get rid of pain from the past and less reactive.If you’d like to focus on healing your childhood in depth – consider finding a DNMS therapist which will help you clear these wounds at the core.