10 thoughts on “A Surprising, Hidden Cause of Depression

  • February 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I lost years of my life to depression – all for this reason.

  • February 27, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I’m 27, currently recovering from a bout of depression, the fourth major episode I’ve had in my life. I’ve been working for years to understand why I struggle with this. Recently, I’ve been reading about childhood emotional neglect, and it resonates deeply with my experience. (I’m currently reading Running on Empty.) My parents were physically supportive, but emotionally completely inattentive. My mother was also depressed/anxious throughout my childhood, and it’s only gotten worse with time.

    This article in particular describes my recent experience almost to the letter. My default is to walk through life feeling that others live more fully. I do what I can, taking life step by step, but seem to be more vulnerable than most. For the past year, my husband has been struggling to find work, and our relationship has suffered, precipitating my recent depression. It caught me by surprise and seemed like an overreaction. “How did I end up here? Shouldn’t I be more resilient?”

    4 of the 5 ways CEN sets you up for depression in adulthood resonate with me: I don’t have good coping skills, I do feel alone in the word, I do direct my anger inward, and feel shame almost constantly… Yet, despite the seeming centrality of ignorance of one’s emotions as a consequence of CEN, I feel that I’m very in touch with my emotions, and mental health professionals have validated this and it confuses me. (It’s something I’ve run up against as I read “Running on Empty.”)

    It’s as though knowing what I want, what I need, what soothes me and what hurts isn’t enough. No one has ever validated these feelings, so I keep them to myself and feel ashamed when I express them. Perhaps that just makes me one step ahead, and I need to share more with others… easier said than done.

    • February 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      My depression is worse now. I’m on Wellbutrin but it’s been 6 months & I lack any motivation. I’m an extrovert but avoid my friends now by text or phone. I don’t want to depress them.

    • February 27, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      I meant I’ve been on Wellbutrin 6 weeks not 6 months. Mom is in denial. Depressed. Sister on Wellbutrin younger brother we’ve not seen in 36 years & older brother died 20 years ago thus September. Pancreatic cancer. Intelligent but dad/mom fighting every night none of us are emotionally healthy. I really don’t want to be depressed. I’m hibernating I stead going out. I’ve been to Caron Institute years ago. May not have been ready then. No addictions. Just shame and feelings of not good enough. My friends know my worth. I don’t.

  • February 27, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    I’m definitely a product of CEN. I bought 10 books Running on Empty. Went to counseling years in NYC & now im near Boston. We never discussed CEN. I’d like to talk to therapist who knows Dr. Webb structure. Books and newsletters are great but I’m procrastinating to avoid pain so I get depressed. I’d rather have meetings. I enjoy book & newsletter but put them on back burner when I am not ready or doing my usually procrastinating. I know it’s wrong.

  • February 28, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Good morning,

    Thank you so much for an interesting article, its perfect for the average Joe who just wants to know “what the heck” and you almost “label” the way forward directing the reader perfectly, painting the past, present and what they need to do to start healing.

    With all the extra care you really wrote an excellent article. If ever you write a book or two, please copy me in. I would love to purchase it.
    Specifically in South Africa, we come from a very difficult background where hatred was rife and discrimination was a daily procedure and many men and women try their best to overcome these things by themselves.
    If only government spent more on alleviating the hate via psychological assistance instead of just handing out funding/housing to a few and hoping it buys them enough votes.
    But keep up the good work, we have an entire country of poorly aimed intentions due to the past. We can only hope that help and healing will come from somewhere.

    kind regards

  • March 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I agree entirely with the article . I teach families, teachers and Nursery Nurses how to apply The Nurtured Heart Approach at home in schools and day nurseries.
    The focus us on acknowledging the greatness in each child by giving them heartfelt genuine appreciation.

    This gas a profound impact on Intense children(ADHD and Emotional Disorders and Educational drop out)
    By focusing on the best actions and okness in children and feeding it back to them with genuine heartfelt appreciation you install the essence of greatness in their hearts and minds. I have seen a complete turnaround in a noisy and unruly class to a very calm focused and respectful class within a month of running The Nurtured Heart Approach
    So give lots of positive feedback to your kids and genuine appreciation or better still run The Nurtured Heart Approach at home.
    Joseph Grennell
    ChildPsychologist and Psychotherapist.

  • March 2, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    I have been struggling for years, but up until recently have always thought I just needed to get over being so sensitive. As an “older” woman, I feel like it’s time to give up.

  • May 21, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I’m a 54-year-old military brat. My CEN occurred as a result of the necessity to be independent at a very young and — though never said — asking for help was a shameful act, you know, “a soldier gets it done”. My father loved me immensely, but he was gone fighting war in Viet Nam. My mother just did not have emotion, so I took on “protecting” and caring for my special needs brother.
    My mother and brother have passed away and my dear sweet father passed this last February. I have a lot of work to do on the aftermath of CEN, but I did make peace with my father on this issue. Here is what I wrote for his funeral.


    As I was sitting at my desk in grade school, I was poised in a sprint position waiting for the bell to ring and then I was off like lightening for five blocks home. I busted through the door to where I knew he would be. In his chair. And then there he was, home from Viet Nam, but I hesitated. I felt my breath suck out of me. He was skin-and-bones. He’d lost about 50 pounds. I ran and jumped in his lap and didn’t leave, seemed like, for hours.

    When my dad was home on leave, I would wake up to the heart-wrenching sound of his nightmares. I would fly out of bed to check on him and find him in the kitchen, drenched in sweat, drinking a big glass of water.

    At a young age I knew my daddy had immense responsibilities. I could see the weariness on his shoulders. I think that’s when I realized I needed to stand in line for my time with him. Physically seeing the toll on him, especially at such a young age, it was almost like I was giving him an offering, that it was okay if I needed to stand in line.

    Through my early adulthood and beyond, a slow burning anger started in me. I started to resent having to stand in line. I mean, I’m his daughter, so why should there be a line at all?

    It came to a point where my emotions and anger weighed heavily on my dad and, I’m sure, tested his faith and purpose in life. I came on strong.

    My first visit with my dad since knowing about his illness was on Jan 27th. It brought me to my knees. I was gonna lose him.

    On my drive home from seeing him, I could feel my heart soften and the anger subside a bit, just enough for our Heavenly Father to give me a message he’s been trying to send me for so long.

    “Do you not know you were CHOSEN to stand in line? Your strong faith, strong will, and tolerable stubbornness were the tools you needed to uplift, to support your soldier, your pastor, your dad?”

    I made amends with my dad before he passed. I laid my head on his lap and wept for his forgiveness. And, of course, being my daddy, said, “Forgiveness for what?”

    Through it all, my father never wavered in his faith or purpose in life.

    I am honored to stand in line. And as my dad would say, I will “March on.” He truly was my very dearest hero.

    • September 14, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Absolutely beautiful writing about your father! I think it was a wonderful way for you to express the feelings you had for all those years while you were growing up. Thanks for sharing. God bless!


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