Healing from Childhood Emotional Neglect
"You are not defined by your past. You possess incredible resilience, wisdom, and the capacity to heal; you too can heal from childhood emotional neglect" I want to shout.
Instead, I listen. I listen carefully. Quietly.
I know how important it is to let her speak, loudly, clearly without censoring, redirecting or even giving explanations because I know childhood emotional neglect silenced her; her caregiver's voice was always louder than hers. She apologizes for cursing at times. I say "go on, please. we are not here for niceties".
Everyone is talking about childhood emotional neglect but so few talk about how to exactly heal from this.
The first place we need to visit, I say, is that place of compassion, and recognize and validate the impact of this neglect on your emotional well-being. Understand that your experiences were real and that your emotions are valid responses to those experiences.
"Can we skip that space" she asks. I note the importance of staying there as long as we need. This is where we lay the foundations of healing. Without sitting with our story, we cannot make sense of it.
Pause and recognize the emotional disconnect I add.
Recognizing emotional disconnection is our next step because childhood emotional neglect often leads to a sense of emotional disconnect from your authentic self. She exclaims that she too has been having difficulty identifying and expressing her emotions and struggles with feeling numb or detached most times. I do validate without normalizing. You see, there is a difference between common and normal. Just because something is common, it does not mean it is normal. By acknowledging the disconnect, you can begin to address it and work towards reconnecting with your emotions.
Slowly and surely at your own pace.
There is no right or wrong way in healing from childhood emotional neglect. Too fast is a real burden so slow is the new fast in trauma healing. The healing journey may have ups and downs, I remind before the session is over but I always say make room to hold onto hope; it comes in handy at times even if you find it...useless right now.