“Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.” -Rumi
Welcome to my first blog post. I'm writing this blog to explore what it takes to achieve healing and growth from the consequences of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). I'm inspired in this work by several authors, such as Dr. Jonice Webb, Jasmine Cori, Alice Miller and many others.
The cumulative effects of emotional neglect in childhood are often invisible, insidious and damaging. It's about what didn't happen for you in childhood, when your parents failed to recognize, acknowledge and validate your emotional needs often enough. It derails you from the life you’re meant to live and the person you're meant to be.
As human beings, we’re wired for connection and belonging, and when that goes well, we gain the solid sense of self that blossoms into the person we're destined to become. Being acknowledged and validated supports our optimal growth and development. However, when our essential being is disregarded by the people we depend on to provide us with the support and guidance we need, we come to believe that we don’t matter, that we aren’t valuable.
We may exercise resilience and resourcefulness over the course of our life to achieve our goals, but often these amount to external accomplishments. We may be left to ask, how can I be so successful in my life when I feel so empty and alone? Does my childhood really make that much of a difference when it comes to my adult experience?
By now, it's commonly accepted that our childhoods shape who we become as adults, for better and for worse. The full expression of our gifts and talents is impacted by the degree to which we are nurtured and encouraged. Realizing our full potential, as cliche as it sounds, is our birthright. If you’ve suffered from emotional neglect in childhood, there will be work to clear out the obstacles that keep you from getting there. I'm here to say that it can be done.
This was my own journey for much of my 50+ years. Without knowing why, I felt empty and without a sense of meaning or purpose. In an attempt to fill that void, I went down many different paths in search of discovering who I am. I thought, if only I knew WHAT I was meant to do, it would tell me WHO I am. To paraphrase the song, I was looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places.
With much soul searching, I left the corporate world after 20+ years, and first became a personal development coach, then went on to graduate school in counseling psychology, and now I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. They say that wounded healers are the most effective because they have walked the same path as those they help, and my own process of healing and growth certainly informs my work with others.
Insight for Growth is about deepening awareness, gaining insights into one's thoughts and feelings, and growing in emotional and relational skillfulness. It's for those who have experienced emotional neglect in childhood, and want to get to the roots of their suffering and find healing. It's for therapist who work with people overcoming CEN. Whether you're a therapist or an explorer like me, those who come along on this path can discover new insights that lead to greater freedom in ways of thinking, feeling and acting. In other words, Growth.
I invite you to let me know whether and how these posts impact you.