Emotional Neglect

Recently watched a teaching on the “Mother Wound”and it kicked up the question; what do I remember from my childhood? As I considered the question I became aware of what didn’t happen in my childhood.

I certainly am aware of the physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my father. What I began to realize was there was heaps of emotional neglect. Realizing this I searched for “neglect” and its definition.

Neglect: fail to care for properly. Synonyms: fail to look after, fail to care for, fail to provide for, leave alone, abandon.

My childhood felt like I received little to no attention that was caring or nurturing. It really is rooted in the sins of omission, rather than commission. Feeling emotionally starved I “acted out” constantly for someone to provide attention and care that felt loving. I lived with feelings of deep emptiness and a lack of fulfillment for many years. I was running on empty and trying to find fuel any way I could.

Emotional connection, empathy and ongoing attention would have brought a greater wholeness and development so that I could’ve grown into a somewhat emotionally healthy adult.

I realize much of this is connected to the “mother wound.” My mother was “good enough” but not enough. Please understand there is not a perfect mother out there so you might relate to some of what I’m writing about. I know it was difficult for my mother to recognize all my emotional and physical needs because of our life circumstances. These definitely interfere with a parents ability to bond with their child. Throw in their own unhealth and character flaws and you have a recipe for emotional abuse.

All parents are guilty of emotionally failing their children. What parent doesn’t get angry, cranky, overwhelmed or weary? I think for me it was those “crisis” moments in my life where I needed someone to listen and to empathize. Unfortunately these were the times where it felt like emotional neglect thrived. My parents were deaf and blind to my emotional needs and I believe this somehow “stunted” my emotional growth.

Chew on that and send me your thoughts. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this in the days ahead.

 

    • noun: the state of being uncared for.