What is Childhood Emotional Neglect?

Almost everyone realizes that what happens to us in childhood has an effect upon who we become as adults.  The good and the bad: awards, accomplishments, mistreatment or abuse.  It all has an impact.

But there is another factor from childhood which has an equal or even greater effect than childhood events, like awards, mistreatment or abuse.  This is a factor that people can’t see or remember.  It’s invisible.  I call it Emotional Neglect.

Emotional Neglect is a parent’s failure to respond enough to a child’s emotional needs.

Emotional Neglect is, in some ways, the opposite of mistreatment and abuse.  Whereas mistreatment and abuse are parental acts, Emotional Neglect is a parent’s failure to act.  It’s a failure to notice, attend to, or respond appropriately to a child’s feelings.  Because it’s an act of omission, it’s not visible, noticeable or memorable.  Emotional Neglect is the white space in the family picture; the background rather than the foreground. It is insidious and overlooked while it does its silent damage to people’s lives.

Children who are emotionally neglected then grow up to have a particular set of struggles.  Because their emotions were not validated as children, they may have difficulty knowing and trusting their own emotions as adults.  They may have difficulty understanding their own feelings, as well as others’.  Because an important part of themselves (their emotional self) has been denied, they may find themselves feeling disconnected, unfulfilled or empty.  They may have difficulty trusting or relying upon others.  Many describe feeling that they are different from other people; like something is wrong with them, but they’re not sure what it is.

Another way that parents can unwittingly emotionally neglect their child is to fail to give him the structure and rules to live by, like consequences and discipline.  As a result, the emotionally neglected often struggle with self-discipline as adults.

Whatever the level of parental failure, the emotionally neglected have no childhood memories to explain their difficulties. So, too often, they blame themselves.

To this day, Emotional Neglect has been overlooked. Because it’s invisible, unmemorable, and the absence of something (emotional validation), It has been greatly overshadowed by more visible, but also worthy topics, like childhood events, abuse, or trauma.

My goal is to shine a light on this powerful but invisible force. To give people a common language to talk about it, and to offer an explanation to the scores of people who are suffering in silence, wondering what is wrong with them.

Dr. Jonice Webb knows that it is possible to recover from Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) and lead a connected and fulfilled life.

That’s why she is dedicated to shining a light on this powerful but invisible force from childhood. To give people a common language to talk about it, and to offer an explanation to the scores of people who are suffering in silence, wondering what is wrong with them.

She is a recognized psychologist expert with over 25 years of experience, and the author of the popular self-help book Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect.

More about Dr. Jonice Webb…

 

 

Dr. Webb’s Programs

Fuel Up For Life Program

This 5-week program is designed to help you recover from Childhood Emotional Neglect and reconnect with your feelings to become the connected, fulfilled person you were meant to be.

Click Here to learn more.

Free CEN Recovery Training

This free CEN Recovery Training is designed to help you understand what CEN is, how it has affected your life and what you can do to recover. This training is perfect for people who aren’t quite ready to go further with the Fuel Up for Life program.

Click Here to learn more.

Success Stories

This program has changed my life.

“This program has changed my life. I have had many deep insights into myself that I never understood before learning about CEN, Dr Webb, and now this program.”

I no longer feel so alone.

“It’s wonderful to know that, at last, I can put a name to my condition (CEN) and it’s comforting to know that there are others struggling with this condition too. I no longer feel so alone.”

I cannot thank you enough for your help.

“I cannot thank you enough for your help. At last I feel I have a diagnosis for a condition that I have dragged around with me all my life. Your Book and Programme have given me the tools to understand and hopefully recover from this condition and I truly cannot thank you enough.”

I'm closer to my wife

“I’m closer to my wife than I have ever been in our 16y of marriage. Through the CEN lens she understands me and as I am beginning to understand myself.”

It answered so many questions for me.

“It answered so many questions for me and seemed to give me a confidence I didn’t have before knowing that not all the issues I’ve had to deal with were just mine.”

I am eternally grateful for you.

“I have spent 55 years wondering why I would feel so hurt or depressed whenever I would open up to people, and they would either not respond or just make a small superficial response. Understanding WHY this feeling has repeated itself so many times throughout my life has been a huge epiphany, and I am eternally grateful to you for shining a light on that. Understanding the root is gold, and is doing so much to help me heal. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

We were pulling for each other emotionally.

“I’d not known how to approach my elusive emotions, and here was a way in. As everybody explored the lessons and exercises, I heard echoes of my own story. The support was there for me to get over my embarrassment. Soon I realized we were pulling for each other emotionally. What a welcome experience after an emotionally neglectful childhood. I now have tools for emotional awareness I can use every day with myself and others. My relationships are growing deeper and more satisfying.”

People who knew me before have noticed.

“This program has helped me realize that my feelings of unworthiness are valid, but that it is possible and essential to release the chains of blame. I am taking the steps to grieve, heal, and enjoy life in a way previously impossible. People who knew me before have noticed. It is much easier and fun to be with new people as well. This program gets to the “truth” of the way we were intended to live.”

Dr J has lived through this issue

“I liked the fact that Dr J has lived through this issue and is an expert in the field. The program targeted my specific issues better than previous attempts at therapy.”

It has resonated with people

“I have been surprised at how many people, in the course of conversation, have read Running on Empty or have, at least, heard of it. Whenever it has come up, it has resonated with people at what they recognize to be the core of their very being: the validation their value for simply being human–as being essential for life.”

The program is the game-changer.

“This is better than all of the myriad self-help books and therapy sessions I have experienced. The book is a great introduction, but the program is the game-changer.”

This program opened my eyes.

“This program opened my eyes to how much impact my CEN upbringing had on me. Everything I learned has initiated an underground explosion in me. But it’s been of the best kind, for it enabled me to reorient my therapeutic goal – recovery from CEN. This is not a quick fix, but then again, CEN wasn’t a quick experience. Together with therapeutic support following the course, I note measurable progress. My effort is more focused and finely tuned. I can’t say enough how important this course has been to me.”