16 thoughts on “The Link Between Childhood Emotional Neglect and Codependency

  • December 9, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    This is me. Thank you for putting a name to this. I am not going to bore you with my story. I am 66 and still I suffer the effects of my dysfunctional childhood as I set in my apartment by myself. I have children, grandchildren who are successful an I love them. I am in another state 5 hours away but don’t spend holidays with them although I go there occasionally. I don’t want to burden them. They have families and I am divorced, probably my fault as I think about it. Anyway thank you so much for your article. I have been to a couple therapist and I know I will always feel like this, like my existence on this Earth is wasting space. I have been diagnosed with mdd take medication and I honestly feel a little better, just struggling with the holidays, I hate them. I have suicide idealizations and tried it twice but I suppose God wants me here for something. Sorry so longwinded. Thanks again Yvonne White

    • December 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Hi Yvonne,
      I’m sending you good wishes during this difficult holiday season. Yes, it’s hard when you’re struggling with family relationships and depression…I hope you’ll continue to learn positive ways to cope and continue to believe that God does want you here for a reason! I also believe you have a purpose even if you can’t see it. Best wishes.

    • December 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

      Hi Yvonne, Your parents did most likely not mean to harm you, but were themselves lacking the skills to cope in healthier ways. The facts are what happened did happen and left its mark on you like everyone else in similar circumstances and these can be worked through, healed. The effects are lying just under the surface and want desperately to come out and be taken care of so you can live the decent life, you do deserve as a human being. But after so many years it can maybe be too much. It will definitely feel like too much and where to find the necessary support and understanding while you might start this journey of processing. For me at age 50 it has taken 4 years already to get through a lot but still more to go. Our circumstances might be different enough if you do have some good sense of what did go on. You can start from there. Writing is a good way. Slowly, gingerly while taking care to respect your feelings along the way including the pain which will be there probably a hell of a lot. Give yourself permission to cry which will carry on for many years to come but becomes somehow easier. There is a lot of buried pain which needs to be grieved for. Understand that it is necessary and healing. Anger should also be a part of it, but not so much in my experience – yet. I think that maybe it could help push things along a little if I dared open up for my anger – which I am doing although slowly. I believe that god would like for you to live the life meant for you. It might be a present for yourself to now start looking into your own life with all the pain, sadness, confusion. Your family is okay thanks also to you, so now is maybe time for you to look after yourself for once. On the other hand, you have survived this far and your family is okay but to gain som peace and happiness just as you decide to do it. I am sorry, if I am overstepping any bounds. Wishing you well and hoping for the best. Margrethe

      • January 6, 2018 at 1:54 am

        Beautifully written.

    • April 3, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      This is me also. I am just now, (almost retirement age) beginning to see “some” Worth of my life. That I dont have to be a Servant to others to be worthy of exixtance. That I do have the right to exist & be happy for it. I pray for peace & comfort for you. ☺

  • December 10, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I have symptoms of CEN but I’m having a hard time accepting that this was my life. My mom put me in harms way, but I don’t think she meant to. My Dad threatened to kill my mom and I in our sleep, but did he mean it? My dad died by suicide a little over 4 yrs. ago so I can’t talk to him about this. I don’t know who I am anymore. I’m glad that articles like this are coming out to help people like me to try to understand the significance of what went on during childhood.

    • December 12, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Thanks for your comment, Confused. I hope these articles are a starting point for understanding yourself better. It’s understandably hard to make sense of all that has happened to you. Take care!

  • December 12, 2017 at 1:54 am

    thank you so much! I’ve been trying to explain this to my mum for years and everytime I do, all she hears is “you’re a bad mother”. this relieved me to know I wasn’t just ‘making it up because I didn’t get enough attention ‘

    • December 12, 2017 at 8:15 am

      I’m so glad it was affirming, Naomi. You are not alone in this and trying to communicate it to your parent(s) is very challenging. I highly recommend reading Dr. Webb’s books, if you haven’t already. They’ve been really helpful to many of my clients.

  • December 16, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I was physically abused, and emotionally abused, my father drank a lot, and my step mother I’m sure had split personality disorder.

  • April 24, 2018 at 2:08 am

    I`d love to encourage everyone feeling “yes, it`s me” to step on recovery track better sooner than later. It has taken 25+ years for me since I realized that the only person that can change my life is me, and I see now that I have left only 5 “somehow me” of 15 “absolutely me” bullets in CEN list to go. At first, when you are a mess and don`t have money for therapy, you start with your first self-help book, but it`s getting better with every small step you accomplish. The trick is to keep going.
    And my special thanks to Sharon – I love the way you are doing this, not letting us forget the right path. I feel kind of OK now, but sometimes in bad day your small pieces in FB is just what I need to remind me to detach from my favorite stressors. 🙂

    • April 24, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Thank you, Aiki! I’m sure it’s really helpful to others to read this hopeful message and know that healing is possible. I wish you continued progress!

    • April 24, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! A couple of months ago I suddenly realised that all the work I was doing was for MY healing. Sure, it’s been helpful to understand the issues behind the dysfunction and perhaps gain some compassion and forgiveness but the bottom line is for my recovery.

  • May 18, 2018 at 7:22 am

    As a person who was raised by two narcissists I find this article incredibly informative. The more information I find about this topic the more I understand what really happend during my childhood years. Being codependent is incredibly dangerous because it is a form of slavery. It’s hard to overcome codependency especially if somebody was indoctrinated by his/her own parents but it’s possible. THANK YOU!!!

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks for reading, Kate. I’m so glad the information was useful.


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