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13 Comments to
Your Search For Meaning and Purpose: A Psychologist’s Best Answer

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  1. Dr. Jonice- a huge thank you for all your helpful insights on CEN that you present in a caring fashion, rather than as book learning would. I was very thankful to finally conclude that I’ve been a CEN and of the effects it has had on my life, my way of thinking and finally why I became a full fledged alcoholic. Having been in recovery now for six years, emotions appear that I don’t recognize, nor what to do with them. In the past the bottle would have done it and in all honesty though I’m happy to be sober and have learned so much about my ‘isms’ related to thought processes, there are times when I am in so much pain that I wish I still drank. In addition, I’ve had some major challenges pop up that have backed me into a corner. I’m very unhappy with my life and much of it stems from CEN. I’ve addressed the CEN issue with my mother, my only living parent, by writing to her how her emotional neglect has affected my life and continues to do so. I had no contact with her for about six months and then ‘forgave’ her resulting in a sensation of having accepted it, and it was now time to move on. I’m sure it’s no surprise that the issue has not been talked about, nor have any apologies resulted. At age 63 I’ve lived most of my life and want to live out the rest in relative happiness but my life seems to be working against me and have hit a brick wall. This CEN thing has brought up the questions you’ve posed in my own life and am hoping for some answers in your book. Your insight and help is much appreciated.

    • I’m so glad to be of help to you Rosebud. Keep reading and thinking and working on your CEN, and it will pay off. Thank you for your comment!

    • Hi Rosebud,
      I don’t know you but I want you to know how proud I am for you and your amazing achievement of sobriety. I come from a dysfunctional family system where everybody would prefer to live in denial rather than address the issue and I have become the family scapegoat. Both my mother and sister are alcoholics and drown their emotions in the bottle and I do wish they had your courage. It takes courage to address our demons and you are a hero in my eyes.

      • Thank you SnowOwl for sharing this – I, too, believe people in recovery are heroes! For someone to even admit to themselves and others that they need it is an impressive endeavor in itself. To achieve and maintain sobriety is an incredible journey requiring great strength, determination and self respect. And it probably takes even more strength after suffering relapse(s). Congratulations to you Rosebud and to all your brothers and sisters in recovery. Heroes to us!

    • Rosebud, I’m so proud of you!!

  2. What a beautiful commentary! I just love Dr. Jonice’s essays. I print them out and put them in my journal and re-read them many times. My wounded inner child is so terribly angry, so very hurt and so incredibly powerful that I’ve been afraid of her and hating her and kept her locked away and hidden deep inside me for so many many years. I’m just at the beginning of getting to know her and accept her feelings. I find it very frightening and destabilizing and a lot of shame comes along as well. It’s the healing process and it’s really hard for me. My abuse history is extensive, starts at the very beginning and passed down many generations, so it feels really huge most of the time. Thank you Dr. Jonice for your identifying CEN and educating us so lovingly about it and how to heal it.

  3. let me say too, huge thanks for this article.
    the need to deal with such questions is sometimes terrifying. you might find your self envious in others people lives, going smoothly. it took me years to accept my feelings.
    my purpose in the world….. i think that i have the privilege to be the one that change the defective chain of my family. my two daughters, especially the younger one, are getting totally different parenting. they can choose their way, they know their feelings count, they feel that we love them. this is my stamp in the world.
    i used to ask why me….. but it looks that the question why leads to no where….
    thanks and best regards,

  4. Hi Dr.Jonice,
    I haven’t read everything, but I do believe I have CEN which I found an article on Psych Central. My Mom had open heart surgery when she was 6 months pregnant with me. I have mild cerebral palsy and have never felt normal or like I belonged. My Dad has always been abusive. Mom was always unhealthy since childhood. I couldn’t walk, talk, and don’t have good balance or coordination. I took years of speech therapy and am basically self taught and learned ways to compensate for my weaknesses. I could have easily become an alcoholic or drug addict, but at the age of 13 my world changed drastically and had to take care of my mom and the house. I have been the caregiver for everyone else. I should add that by the grace of God I did learn to talk; I’m bilingual. I had to take the GED and have a BA non certified in Early Childhood Education. The 4 year degree took me 9 years. My Mom passed away in November 2015. She was my rock and we helped each other. My Dad is still alive and for my own safety I haven’t had any contact with him for years although it hurts me greatly.I just feel lost. Thank you for reading this and for all your information, help. This isn’t my whole story, but am sure you get a little picture.

  5. Yeah, searching for my invalidated and buried feelings, especially some feelings of joy and love that can keep me going. I soldiered on for so many years, wanting to die but trying to live. Only now at 55 I start to put me first in my life, get self-connected to my feelings and needs. If I can ever lose my indecisiveness and general feeling that suicide is an option, those will be markers of healing, of the retreat of both the turmoil and the emptiness, replacing them with something real after connecting my real self to the world.

    • I can relate. Indecisiveness is like a silent killer or something – it sounds innocent & easy to “fix” but it can be devastating. The anxiety it induces for me is exhausting & I think that’s where it can feel easier to think of ending it altogether. We made it this far so we owe ourselves a shot at some peace & can find it. Wish you the best.

  6. I understand all of this. Emotions are messages to be felt and processed. I have real difficulty doing this. Anger and sadness in childhood were unloveable emotions and shame was used to enforce this. I internalised all of this and this has been my life pattern, been destructive to me in intimate adult relationships. I have allowed others to hurt me because I have blocked anger and sadness and also block anger and sadness. I have very little experience and expression of my emotions and I then feel less than human. Others also need/do not need to see the effect of their behaviour. Recently I have managed to make small changes and stand my ground and experienced that anger can protect me and strengthen my emotional boundaries. I now see emotions as protective rather than fearful. I recently told someone to stay away from me because of his callous indifference to my feelings. While there is truth in that statement,the bigger problem I very quickly saw was my callous indifference to my feelings. I need the messages that my feelings are trying to give me and I am making space for this.

  7. The link for an article on grief seems to link through to a different article on Search for Meaning

    • Yes I made an error on my newsletter. My apologies for that! The picture does link to correct article.


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