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The Realization of Emotional Neglect

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 4 weeks ago.

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  • #304139

    Parker
    Participant

    Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been apathetic. I have been known for holding my emotions in and not really sharing them to anyone. In many ways, I’m still like that. There are moments where I don’t feel much. I will go days without feeling much of anything unless something personally dramatic happened. I thought this was normal because I grew up in a family that is more logical than emotional.

    Lately, I have been reading this book called “Running on Empty: Overcome your Childhood Emotional Neglect” by Dr, Jonice Webb. I have to say…I was hit on the head brick by brick as it explained the signs of emotional neglect. Everything the book mentioned about emotional neglect happened to me and the signs describe me exactly! I never realized that before!

    I’ve been going through the book and doing more research on emotional neglect and it mentions being in touch with your emotions and responding to them accordingly. I have to say, this is really tough for me. I do try to keep in touch. I put a reminder on my phone to ask myself how I feel throughout the day. There are moments where I still feel empty but I still try to place an emotion. When I acknowledge how I feel, I don’t know what to do next. I will feel happy…now  what? Then I’ll feel “okay” (not sad but not happy)…then what? I just don’t know how to take care of myself emotionally because I’ve been emotionally neglected for so long.

    Keep in mind, my parents are good people. They are supportive and loving. However, they’re not really good when it comes to emotional connection. It’s not that they don’t care. They truly do. I know they do. They’re just not good at it.

    With all that being said, I’m not sure where to go on from here. I acknowledge that I have something I need to conquer. I want to conquer it. I just don’t know how to approach it. Anyone have any ideas?

    #304145

    Mark
    Participant

    Parker,

    I can identify with you for I grew up in a family that did not show much emotion.

    It is a struggle to recognize and identify my emotions as well. Might want to check out Marshall Rosenberg‘s nonviolent communication website or gives a list of emotions to look at.

    What I recommend is to notice your body more for that’s where emotions reside.  Be more body aware. For example, when I’m afraid I notice my heart beating faster, stomach clenching, neck muscles tightening, etc.

    Mark

     

    #304173

    Parker
    Participant

    Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. But what if I don’t feel anything in my body though?

    #304229

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Parker:

    You were born a child with all emotions,  but because of emotional neglect, you were shut down your feelings, similar to a tree that doesn’t get enough water (love), shedding its leaves (emotions).

    Question: do you feel passion when eating certain foods? If you do, describe that experience, will you?

    anita

    #304233

    Parker
    Participant

    I suppose sometimes I do. Though I don’t notice that much because I usually eat fast. I mean I’m happy to see food, sure. I like my glasses of wine because I feel more confident and also vulnerable but only when I had enough. Keep in mind though: I’m a wino. I Do NOT have an alcohol problem.

    I’m also a sucker for Italian food. I get very happy when I see stuff like pasta or pizza. But again, I eat too fast to really enjoy it. Nothing personal; I’m just a fast eater by nature

    #304243

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Parker:

    When we shut down our emotions, or shed them, it happens without our choosing, it is a natural occurrence, happens as a reaction to lack of love. But our emotions don’t die, they don’t disappear, they are there, only repressed, numbed, underneath. The passion that you have for Italian food, that comes from those numbed emotional part of you.

    What happens next is that you get too-excited-for-comfort, facing pasta or pizza. You are not used to that kind of excitement, fearing it, so you rush through eating, to get the excitement over with.

    Eating differently is a way for you to make a lot of progress in your situation, but it will be a slow and gradual process. Next time you are facing pizza, don’t rush. Every time you notice a rushing, slow down-

    – this is very difficult to do and very unpleasant, but there is no way to heal from emotional shut down without the anxiety and discomfort involved in healing.

    Slow down, chew slowly, make the eating not an automatic, quick experience. Slow down. Try it, if you will and let me know how it goes.

    anita

    #304297

    Parker
    Participant

    Okay, I can do that. What about moments when I’m not eating? What then?

    #304303

    Mark
    Participant

    Parker,

    You do feel your body.  If you stub your toe, don’t you feel pain?  If you run an ice cube up your arm, don’t you feel cold and the wet?

    Practice tensing up parts of your body, starting with your skull, then face, nose, mouth, neck, shoulders, chest, stomach, and so on down to your toes.  Do each part of the body one at a time, separately.  Tense really hard, notice your body.  Then relax and notice your body then.  Note the differences.  Do this as a nightly ritual in bed before sleeping.

    Practice how you feel.  Recall the sad times in your life.  Really visualize it.  Step into that recalled experience with remembering the smells, sounds, tastes, and visuals of that time when you were really sad.  Once you gone to that place then notice your body.  What parts are tight?  Run your body inventory from the top down to the bottom and note what areas are tense, tingling, hot/warm, etc.

    Try that with other emotions like joy, anger, peace, resentment, curiosity, etc. by recalling when you felt that in your life.

    Make all of this your daily practice.

    Mark

    #304325

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Parker:

    Your post to me following my suggestion that you eat slowly, that is Mindfully, was this: “Okay, I can do that. What about moments when I’m not eating? What then?”

    When you are not eating you can do the following, right here on your thread: when you post a reply to a member who is trying to be helpful to you, address that member by name, and then thank that member, for example: Hello anita, thank you for your advice. Okay, I can do that, etc. Also, a member posted to you last, Mark, you didn’t reply at all to his valuable input to you, nothing. This is not being mindful outside of the eating context. When you treat people disrespectfully, they are left with a bad feeling about you. That is true here and in your life away from the computer.

    anita

     

     

    #304329

    Parker
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you very much for your advice. Please understand that I didn’t mean any disrespect towards you or anyone else here. If I made you feel disrespected, I’m very sorry. That was not my intention. I was just looking for advice in this area and wasn’t thinking. I apologize

    #304331

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Parker:

    I accept your apology and appreciate you addressing me by name. I suggest you thoroughly read Mark’s reply above, as well as other replies you received and post again with your thoughts.

    anita

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