Emotional neglect – the withholding of parental love during childhood – can have a psychological impact no less profound than other forms of abuse. Before we can start to recover, we first need to acknowledge the scale of its effects.
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“When we imagine the difficulties involved in a so-called ‘bad childhood’, we most readily think in terms of children who are physically harmed – beaten, underfed, sexually abused – or else treated with active contempt: screamed at, blamed, put down, mocked and tormented.
Such harrowing images make it hard for us to picture that there might be another, in many ways more prevalent yet just as damaging form of injury to which children may be exposed. In this case, there is no physical violence, there is no taunting or shouting. It looks – at first glance – as if all must be well. But that would be to miss the particular kind of wound that can be inflicted through what psychologists term ‘emotional neglect.’…”
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