18 thoughts on “5 Ways Childhood Emotional Neglect Makes it Hard to Feel Loved as an Adult

  • December 1, 2019 at 11:45 am

    The five points given are all meaningful . Many of us lived them. And still do!
    The other side effect is this is about the house is not a home .
    Then their is reality .The outside world is very small .
    People sense that CENs are different like outsiders . It is easy to get labeled .
    A CEN wants to fit in, but the harder they try to fit in they are looked at “ just being different”.
    Comments like oh so & so is a loner or he/she does not like anyone .
    Small knitted communities and schools can be a stop sign to breaking in .One has to leave their area/ community to start over .Period !
    This is why after receiving my professional accreditation I chose to not work within any company or university teaching but to be the outside technical problem solver .However after a company death it was the death of me coming inside as GM of operations . People got nosey about my past . It cost me my pension after 15 years of dedicated service to increasing the business and client in-house problem solving providing solutions . It cost in other ways and most are not repairable as looking for closure can be more damaging and time consuming than letting it all go and finally saying, enough all ready and just getting on with today today not today’s yesterday’s! So I had to decide is it The Them or is it The Me. After years of rebuilding everything The Me won .
    Even after 15 years I still run into people at trade shows that like the feeling they are so superior and know the situation better than I had to endure for many years . And now I just ignore them because most are at that age they have less time on earth and I can not allow their prejudices to inculcate within me and because we are all of that aging group and forward is not my reverse and either is down under presently living in the now. .
    There reaches a point we must rewrite our own scripts to both life and living one .
    My only regret is the person who caused me to lose my pension and the financial effects of the loss to my family . However the upside was my children were at an age and went out and got part time jobs stocking food store shelves . Both excelled in areas of law, math & economics and engineering . These are the blessings that outweigh the losses of being a CEN who got most of it back as the teeter- totter of justice came into its own balance of abundance and rewards .


    • December 1, 2019 at 12:02 pm

      Dear Paul, thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you were able to raise great kids despite such hardships. I hope you are working on feeling loved, as I’m sure you deserve it.

  • December 1, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    “Having experienced a watered-down version of love from the people who were supposed to love you the most, it is all you know.”

    Your sentence there fitted a big piece of the puzzle of my life together. I just realised that throughout my life, if anyone showed me the smallest bit of kindness, friendship, special treatment, I thought they were my friend or loved me. I’d only ever experienced the watered-down version of love from my mother so if anyone showed me anything more, I was overwhelmed and assumed they really liked or loved me!

    Thanks for enlightening me!

    • December 1, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Dear Catherine, that makes perfect sense. I hope you will now move forward to require more from people before allowing them access to your heart.

      • December 1, 2019 at 4:36 pm

        I have been learning about and feeling my emotions for a while now and making progress. I have some local friends now! Not just internet ones.

      • December 1, 2019 at 5:13 pm

        That’s fantastic, Catherine! You are a good example of progress. Thanks for sharing!

  • December 1, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Dr. Webb, I appreciate your quick reply and your comments.

    One topic “to just keep going “ after “ the roof fell in “ I was looking after two dying aging parents simultaneously about 150 miles away. The weather on the County Roads going deep into a farming plus growing residential area made travelling dangerous ; the black ice and slick Ivey roads as most of us are facing today as hazardous and deathly.

    The reason I took on this task as an only child the rest of the family half turned on me and the other were aging and had issues and events of their own both within and without the family and even keeping viable businesses now downsized and employing good people that needed a pay-check because of their lack of education, bad breaks over the years to complete in the new technical world from sophisticated farm machinery to operating computers.

    After many trips into this area of my birthplace , now without income and my reputation ruined I decided while going to two different hospitals each having their own areas of specialties to treat my parents now at critical mass it hit me when many of the students I grew up with their parents were now there as well just too much to handle .Then it hit me again , if I drive home after every trip sometimes twice a week my children will adsorb my me I grew up with a hell on earth.

    Coincidentally a geriatric specialist Dr.from England and his MD specialist and assistant in training ; the floor supervisor suggested I had seen it all with more to come at the clinic and asked privately could I separate this so I would not ruin my children’s growing up simply by osmosis .I realized after they were doing an on-site study of Q&A about how grown children look after their parents who suffered through growing up in pills , alcohol , violence and total neglect being left to live on a diet of hot dogs until I got out of high school to head off to college .

    My answer simply someone has to do it but then I realized it was my reserve regimental training that to this day keeps me upon the level and by the square because my senior officer at one time was my neighbour until we lost our home .

    Fortunately I was able to set limits but as I pointed out I did not know that some of staff in the company I now managed started to use all of this against me in their subtleties as a loser. Once released by the corporate head office my pension was cancelled by someone on site and not being informed I suppose I broke but had to make the trips home 150 miles away to give the only care I could muster.

    The positive points are I kept it all out of my home and quietly returned to education
    In a far away geographical area within the industry of laboratory, chemistry , biology and assisting in developing positions for graduating chemical engineers.

    Although there is an old expression Lions = 1 or won Christians =0 or loss I saw it the other way the lions finally got declawed and our family picked up the pieces and moved on with our lives and gone thanks we did not ever give up on each other or one another .

    The house then became our home again after many years of every conceivable type of wolves trying to blow it down. Fortunately they became breathless and we grew and grew noting the teeter- totter of life can return to balance after one sided weights of physical , financial, mental and ethical and spiritual are brought back into balance . There reaches a point we must must let the demons and monsters die and just get on with living or continue with the brakes constantly grabbing into the ditch .
    And closure is fine but one has to get on with it even if closure is a luxury to just give
    thanks to live today in the now.

    • December 1, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story and your observations, Gwor. All the best to you.

  • December 1, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you for these emails and sharing what you know with us. I always look forward to them because they help me so much. They not only validate EVERYTHING that I’ve experienced in my life but also put words to those experiences and how I have always felt. Now I know. Thanks to you, just knowing is a relief for me. However, I know I still have a lot of work to do. Blessings to you and all that you do!

    • December 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Dear Dorine, I am so glad to be helping you!. Now it is up to you to do the work, just as you say. I’ll be here to help you along the way.

  • December 2, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Yeah this hits the nail on the head for me. I have read both of your books as well. I am working through this issue with a counselor. Thanks for your post.

    • December 2, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Dear Matt, I am so glad. Keep up the good work!

  • December 2, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Thanks Dr. Jonice for your dedication to the people who have experienced CEN growing up and as well your consistent articles on recovering CEN as an adult.

    Thank you!

    • December 3, 2019 at 7:56 am

      I’m glad my articles are helpful to you, Mho! Thanks for your comment.

  • December 2, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    They say you have to love yourself first in order to be loved by others right? But I’m not sure how to do this. I feel completely numb and disconnected from everyone and everything in my life. It’s like I can’t seem to cultivate anything that feels like happy or joy or love. And you may be right. Maybe I don’t even know what real love would feel like… I’ve read self help books and I’ve tried going to a few different therapists but I never seem to get anything out of paying a stranger to validate me. I always feel misunderstood and If they offer any kind of support it feels fake- my brain goes “they don’t really care- nor do they mean it- you are just paying them to say those things to you.” (Which might be truth- I really don’t know) how can I reframe this? Thank you

    • December 3, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Dear Jackie, have you been evaluated for depression? This is no way for you to live! I hope you will see a CEN-trained therapist (see the list all over the world on emotionalneglect.com) And have an eval for depression. You deserve so much better and more!

  • December 3, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Wow, after taking this quiz, even though I’ve been to three therapist, I realize why I think the way I do, and why I can’t get back to sleep after I wake up in the night. It makes me sad to think I might have not raised my kids as well as I wanted. I have always questioned whether people really loved me. My dad left us when I was eight and never came back. My step father was a pedafile, and I thought holding me was what I always wanted, until the shame became overwhelming. I was too ashamed and unable to confide in anyone as I didn’t feel I could trust anyone. I was nine years old. My wife has been a Godsend, but still I have questioned even her love in my mind during times of depression. Depression seems to eased some since most of my family have passed away, but I have always felt cheated out of what I could have become. I have had difficulty commiting myself to a relationship with God.

    • December 4, 2019 at 8:46 am

      Dear Jim, I am so sorry you were treated in such harmful ways as a child. You were taught that you were not loved (or lovable). But you actually, clearly are! Now it’s a matter of adjusting your inside to match the outside. I suggest that you see a CEN-trained therapist from the Find A CEN Therapist List on Emotionalneglect.com. There is likely one near you.


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