Many of us were raised with the notion that kids are meant “to be seen and not heard,” meaning ‘don’t speak until you are spoken to.” While this idea may have only meant to keep the volume down at the Thanksgiving table, it can negatively impact a child’s psyche.
Worse still, many children suffer from Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). These children were raised to believe that not only do their ideas not matter, but neither do their feelings or needs.
Though the words may never have been said, the actions, or lack of, announced loud and clear: You don’t matter.
These children become adults who still believe they don’t matter and shouldn’t burden others with their needs or feelings. But this cycle of worthlessness can be broken.
Here are 3 ways you can heal from childhood emotional neglect:
- Embrace Your Needs and Emotions
You most likely grew up believing your needs and emotions were your enemies. You may have even been made to feel ashamed because of them.
To heal, you must embrace your needs and emotions and invite them to play an active role in your life. You can do this by listening to yourself and honoring the way you feel. When understood and managed, emotions can propel us and help facilitate positive change.
- Invite People into Your Life
Growing up, you might have felt like adults were the enemy. After all, the adults in your life made you feel worthless. As an adult, you may have an instinct to keep people at a safe distance, to “protect” yourself. But, to heal, you must stop pushing people away and invite them into your life. When we form relationships with genuine, caring, and honest people, we feel good about ourselves while adding value to our lives.
- Get to Know Who You Are
Survivors of CEN all have one thing in common: they don’t know themselves. That’s because the people in their lives who should know them the best, their family, never really took the time to get to know them.
But now is the time for you to recognize the truth fully; you are worth knowing, and it is your responsibility to get to know yourself. Knowing who you are, what you like, want, need, love, value, and desire in this life will give you a firm foundation to propel yourself into an awesome future.
Recovering from any kind of emotional trauma is not easy. It is a personal journey that will contain many highs and lows. But taking the journey one step at a time will lead you to the wonderful life you deserve.