32 thoughts on “7 Signs You Are Emotionally Numb

  • December 8, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Keep up the good work!! 🙂 You’ve hit this whole CEN thing on the nail!! =)

    • December 8, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      I’m glad you think so, Heather. Thank you!

  • December 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Jonice, I very much appreciate your insight which helps open doors and soften the walls I have built over the years. I can say I had feeling and memories since single digit (18 mos) in age to the over ripened age of 66. I have had feelings and didn’t know how to communicate nor handle them, nor did my parents. I didn’t feel I belonged. Felt inferior and “the black sheep”. (5 siblings) Sensitive to ridicule and being the center of a joke. I was encouraged to suppress those feelings. Especially tears and sadness. But also emotions of joy and success. I could never live up to my parents expectations. I didn’t fit very well with that. I became stuck. I had overtime felt I was on the inside looking out instead of the other way around. In a concrete box with no way out. I still am learning. I have read your 1st book. Bought your second. And have purchased your program which has helped me accept where I am. I was diagnosed with childhood emotional neglect when I sought CB therapy due to feeling like I don’t belong and unloved. I have been sad and grieved over my lost happy childhood, but am grateful I have come to acceptance of where I am now. When given the dx. I started to explore what that means and came across your book and program. Life is becoming more colorful as I am learning to deal with old suppressive feelings and embrace the freedom and knowledge of expression and managing them. Thanks, Jeanne

    • December 8, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Dear Jeanne, I’m impressed by all the good work you have done. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • December 8, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    It has been both insight-inducing and helpful to work with the two books.

    My entire family has functioned with little emotion, or rather positive emotions, and at first, having become sensitive to my own , I found that resentment arose as substitute.
    My sister even married a man who could not show emotions – or was rather schizotypal, having less interest or expression toward his children. most interested in his own hobbies.
    Over this period, about six months, of looking through the CEN lens, I realized how little interest our own father showed, spending only moments, and largely off on his own private interests.

    Both of the two men later developed full-blown problems, our father becoming an explosive alcoholic, and my brother-in-aw gambling – “day-trading’ losing what appears to be hundreds of thousands of dollars, mortgaging and second-mortgaging three houses, including that of my now-separated sister.
    These problems appear lifelong, and may well have been developed through lesser CEN occurring to them. This is the reason for my note.
    My sister, , being in the medical industry has always been brusque, as those in medicine can be toward other adults, and there I see reflected that resentment-as-familial -interaction.
    I attempt to approach emotional openness with as much kindness as possible since beginning to work through the books’ suggestions toward developing more loving interactions, writing and leaving messages entirely focusing on emotionally supporting those affected by those two.
    CEN unconfronted, I’d now speculate after experiencing and working to heal it, causes increased trauma as it is ignored and , as I can witness, is passed along.
    It’s really up to ME, and you, to stop it, as well and gently as possible.

    i’d emphasize, blame is not really functional in this case, only arousing further resentment. It is inaccurate to place blame, in my opinion, as I work on not only my own, but the real devastation occurring in others who shared the lack of early modeling of love and honesty.
    CEN almost certainly is transferred down generations and generations, very possibly a root cause of the family and personal traumas occurring when one seeks shelter in drug, alcohol, and may even have a significant part in developing or exacerbating some personality disorders.
    It will require some large-scale research to uncover whether this latter is the case, but because the varied personality disorders cause so much individual and social distress, approaching developmental psychologists with the hypothesis that CEN may even be a great part of the etiology and cementing of cascading frozen responses so absent in many later relatively intractable disorders.
    I nearly weep as I type this, as I think that the abuse I’ve seen so often around us, might well have been or could be averted, with the small acts of courage it requires to address CEN.

    I apologize for not editing this – it’s merely a comment on the importance of dealing with, of healing this emotional absence, as soon as one can.

    • December 8, 2019 at 7:13 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience and observations. And I agree with you, it is so very important to heal one’s CEN as soon as one can. All my best to you!

  • December 9, 2019 at 12:25 am

    I just want to thank you for your research that has enlightened so many of us that never knew what was wrong with us. It has allowed me to fit so many pieces of my life puzzle together. Never truly knowing myself, my strengths, weaknesses, interests, led me to become a follower, never reaching my full potential in life. I do grieve for the life I know was attainable if only I’d been raised to be more intuitive to my feelings. I never truly understood why I found my life’s purpose in caring for others as I watched so many of my peers pursuing careers that were personally fulfilling. I now understand it was easier than looking into myself and finding my own answers into what career would be suitable for who I was. I didn’t know who I was! I know that my caregiving has been a gift to many so I don’t feel my life has been without fulfillment but I know I had much more potential. I’m going to go through your lessons again & take notes that I feel are pertinent to my own healing and circumstances.
    Thank you again for bringing the information to the forefront Dr Jonice

    • December 9, 2019 at 10:06 am

      Dear Julie, it sounds like you have contributed a lot to the world already. Now it’s time to contribute to yourself! I’m so glad you’re on the right track. Keep on it!

  • December 9, 2019 at 9:50 am

    I’d be interested to know what your experience has been of emotional neglect continuing into adulthood…. where the capacity to speak up and stand up for yourself has been so thoroughly quashed because of what has occurred in childhood.

    As I look at my situation, I now recognize that EN has always been in my life, but I was never aware of it as such. At the age of 56 I am still neglected emotionally by my 80yo mother.

    • December 9, 2019 at 10:14 am

      Dear Robyn, CEN from one’s parents almost always continues into adulthood. But the biggest problem is that the child has learned how to neglect herself. This is what I am trying to help folks reverse in their adult lives. You can do it!

  • December 10, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Thank you.

  • December 11, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Hi Jonice,
    This sounds exactly how my son and I both feel which makes me feel guilty because I obviously did something wrong in raising him. How far back can it go? Could my parents have also suffered from it and so on?
    Thanks, Janice

    • December 11, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      yes, absolutely. It passes down through generations. Not your fault! But you can learn more about CEN and start to heal, and that will affect your son too.

  • December 11, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    I know this feeling but more as an after effect of PTSD. Any helpful advice for that?

  • December 11, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    I’m not sure what number it was but reading that people who feel empty are thrill seekers really validated me. I would often tell others that I do certain things to stir up emotion but they could never understand why because I would purposely select these that cause anger, sadness, etc. I’m not really sure why I gravitate towards negative things when I am empty. However, at least I know why I’m seeking a thrill in the first place.

    • December 11, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Nicole, negative emotions are just as stimulating as positive ones. I hope you’ll start trying to get in touch with all of your feelings so you can have more positive feelings too. All my best to you!

  • December 12, 2019 at 9:26 pm


    • December 13, 2019 at 6:44 am

      I am so sorry Janine. Please seek the help of a cen trainee therapist. And learn all you can about cen.

  • December 12, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    This is so spot on for me. I remember telling my best friend in high school that I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. Everyone seemed happier than me and I didn’t know why. Later on, the feelings of emptiness and numbness came around more frequently. I would engage in self-destructive behaviors to just feel SOMETHING. Anything was better than nothing. I’ve tried to address my CEN in therapy but I really don’t know much to say, because I feel like I’ve blocked out a lot of my childhood. Sometimes I feel like I will never heal. How can I heal from what I don’t remember?

    • December 13, 2019 at 6:46 am

      Dear Mishi, you can go through the steps of recovering your feelings and learning the emotion skills. As you do that some of your childhood memories may start to come back. Please read my book, running on empty!

  • December 16, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    What is do striking for me about this list, apart from it spookily describing me so accurately, is that thrill seeking being a CEN trait.

    For all of my youth and adult life I’ve been an avid extreme rock climber, caver, surfer, etc, with a reputation for taking big risks even within those activities (i.e climbing without ropes).

    The suggestion that I’m drawn to these things because of CEN is….wow. I never knew!

    • December 16, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      Dear Tim, now that you have some ideas about the cause of your thrill-seeking I hope you will take steps to get in touch with your feelings so you can feel more on an everyday basis. It is very important that you address this! It may be a matter of life or death for you.

  • December 17, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    thank you for the support.

  • December 21, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Very interesting and familiar.. Would love to see an overlay with similarities and distiguishing characteristics between CEN and Borderline Personality Disorder..

    • December 31, 2019 at 8:43 am

      David. Spot on. I would love to see that as well. I always thought for me that it was BPD. After reading everything it seems I suffer from both to a certain extent. Would love to know if they correlate.

      • December 31, 2019 at 10:46 am

        Hi Kelly, please see the articles from this blog about CEN and BPD. I have written about this!

  • January 16, 2020 at 11:55 pm

    Father used to pull my hair and/or kick me when I was angry. If I was happy or proud about something I had done I was told I suffered from hubris. My mother was and is mainly bitter. She seems detached. I remember being around 6 years old fishing. I got a bit angry for not getting any fish. My almost at that time 50 year old mother ran away sobbing. I also recall being around 3-4 year old asking if my father had some time over. He didnt. I was a bit disappointed so I went some km away from home for a while. I dont think anyone even noticed I was gone. After being bullied in a home with temperatures of sub 18 degrees and ice cold showers for the one using it last I totally shut down. It was like some bubble around. Even my voice sounds like coming from a distant. It went away once for about 45 minutes after me having a fight with parents. It returned and now Ive been living with this state of numbness or perhaps depersonalization for over 23 years.

  • February 23, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Very interesting read! I have often felt like this and I’m wondering if being a premie and being in the hospital for 60 days (in 1958) could have anything to do with it. In those days hospitalized babies weren’t held as much nor were parents allowed to visit daily and not for more than a short period.

  • April 22, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    When I am reading this, my mom said to me, “Are you still not feeling anything” and she laughed.

  • April 22, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    When I am reading this, my mom said to me, “Are you still not feeling anything?” and she laughed.

    • April 23, 2020 at 10:04 am

      I’m sorry. It is not funny.


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