How to overcome Childhood Emotional Neglect | Kati Morton

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When we grow up in an emotionally neglectful environment it can cause us to believe that our thoughts, feelings, and desires don’t matter. This can in turn cause us question anything we experience and struggle to trust how we feel. We can find it difficult to let people in, and constantly worry what others think about us.
Those who have suffered from emotional neglect often don’t even know it was happening, because this type of neglect isn’t something we can easily see. Many parents who were emotionally neglectful give their children every material thing they need, and from the outside look like amazing parents. But if their child needs any emotional support or encouragement from them, they are nowhere to be found.
HOW TO RECOVER:
1. Start noticing/tracking your feelings: Print out feelings charts and track them each day. It may be hard at first, so start with the easier ones (often tired, sad, and worried are easier to begin with). It’s normal for us to not know how we feel all the time, but give yourself the chance to listen to your body and acknowledge all that you may be feeling. 2. Try describing the feeling word you selected without using that exact word (ex. I am feeling energized, excited, and bubbly – when describing happy)3. Begin noticing your needs: What are the things you need physically to survive? How about things you need emotionally? When do they come up? Take your time thinking about these, and even pretend that someone you love had those needs to. What would you think about them then? 4. Self-Care! I know I talk about this a lot, but when it comes to healing from CEN self-care is our way of nurturing and caring for ourselves. Are there things you wished your parents had done for you? Let’s make time to do those things for ourselves.5. Accept help and support from others: It can be hard to let people in when we weren’t supported as a child, but we need other people in our lives who can help us through the tough times. Ensure these people are worth having around, and that they are trustworthy, and then slowly let them in. 6. Set healthy boundaries: This is SO IMPORTANT! It’s okay to say no! You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to, and people will understand and respect you more because of it.

Unavailable Father book link: https://goo.gl/LcXh9k
Emotionally Absent Mother book link: https://goo.gl/yZ87jt

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36 Comments
  1. Lindsey Hebert says

    I am always tired sad and worried almost every day I don’t feel everything is in my chest when my emotions get to me I burst out crying

  2. l3l3Cakes says

    My father use to yell at us instead of talking to us. Thank God for school or else my vocabulary would consist of one word sentences. He also didn’t allow me to go anywhere, so now I don’t have any strong friendships and unfortunately took those habits with me to college.
    Also doesn’t help that I was sexually abused as a child and developed trust issues towards the opposite sex. Im healing these issues now, but my childhood set me up for failure. Unfortunately, I don’t have the spiritual drive of Oprah Winfrey to push me towards a greater purpose. Everyday feels likes battle, and if I manage to get up in the morning there’s a small hope for victory.

  3. nana warda says

    good done

  4. Pedro Vieira says

    What if someone tells me to do something for my own well-being and I say no because I'm afraid?

    Should I say "No." because it's a bigger deal for me? What if being a coward all my life seems important and I don't go after what matters? =(

    It really sucks when you suffer with CEN but it's really sad when your parents suffered/suffer from it as well… It's a never ending story!

    Fortunately, it ends with me… for I can't "seed the fields".

  5. TheBeatKeeper says

    2:18

    "… and since I know that childhood emotional neglect can feel different to everyone, here're some other signs you may suffer from it."

    "Number one: are you a people-pleaser?"

    Yes, very much.

    "Number two: are you easily upset and concerned by what others think of you?"

    Extremely so.

    "Or number three: do you struggle to know how you feel until the feeling is just so overwhelming that you can't even manage it?"

    …Have you been spying on me, lady?

  6. janaehayward says

    This has really been helpful, I’m 28 and I have struggled with childhood emotional neglect for some time. I want to overcome the dramatic experience I have been thru and now I have kids if my own and I still can’t overcome it 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

  7. L o l a says

    It’s scary how much this rings true for so many people.

    My mum was physically there, but emotionally she really was not. My parents split when I was 6, and I have a seven year older half sister from my mum; different dads, and she despised me. Instead of being close and having a sisterly bond, she was such a bitch to me growing up, and now we barely have any contact.

    I’ll never forget wanting a hug from my mum and her response was ‘why? What do you want?’

    Funny how certain things you’ll just never forget. I’ll never forget my mum and half sister making fun of me for being an overweight child, when I was around 11/12/13.

    There was no interest whatsoever in me growing up. I felt like the outsider in my own home. At the time though, I just got on with it and it wasn’t until I grew up that I realised how wrong it all was.

    For so, so long I’ve wondered what was wrong with me. I still do. But yeah, I’m introverted. Because I struggle to make friends, I’m awkward, I say the wrong things. Most of all though, I truly feel like a burden, or that I’m just plain annoying. It’s a horrible feeling that leaves me feeling so hopeless. I have extreme OCD which I’ve had from being very young, and really bad anxiety now too, which has gradually gotten worse the older I’ve gotten.

    It all sucks.

    Sorry to rant, but I have nobody else and from the comments it sounds like we’ve all been through something similar.

    Thank you for the video!

  8. ScorpionStingz says

    I was the son of a catholic priest… I was always in a new babysitters home on a live in basis never seeing my real parents till I was older.

  9. Tom Frazier says

    I was a bit unhealthily raised, divorce American style will do that I saw my father once before his death around 1990. The biker gang drug dealer lifestyle will do that. I've learned a little of the circumstances, which were not violent. We had no support after the 1974 divorce. My Mom has said little, and I remember being frightened of him. This divorce epidemic is our WWII? Still yet, I'd have turned into a different, probably worse and maybe dead person had we stayed a "Family". Even white kids can get a ghetto life?

  10. s khan says

    You’re the therapist I need in my life.

  11. Bryan Cobcobo says

    wtf! Why is this video making me cry 😢

  12. Sir Sid Fosse says

    After I was exposed to radiation at 5, I turned into a zombie. The abuse, neglect and abandonment was beyond Dickensian. No hard feelings: the radioactive rod that went up my nose lobotomized my emotions. So here I sit broken-hearted – paid a nickel and only farted.

  13. Rikko K says

    Childhood neglect can be even worse for those of us with Autism, Introverts, Highly Senstive and Empaths.

    Bessel, Pete Walker, Neurofeedback, drums, volunteering, exercise, time in nature, parks, reading, drawing have all helped my childhood abuse and warehousing.

  14. Wytcoles Ofthebells says

    This is one of the reasons why it was so hard for me to let go of the person I am dating. I think he has one. He always pulls away everytime he thinks he is getting too close. And he has confessed about feeling hollow and empty. But I am now the one who is emotionally exhausted from the way he treats me. I don’t want to hurt him but I would probably go crazy if it continues any longer. How can I help him while keeping my sanity intact?

  15. Ydursot says

    I feel if you want to have a baby, you need to be psychologically assessed first and given the go ahead.

    Its messed up, but it will prevent so many more sufferers from being born.

  16. Flan The Dude says

    Arrived here via your Dysthymia video … and I think these two apply to me.

    Thanks for putting these out there, it is it's own relief to know the labels for the noise that rattles around in my head 🙂

    Much of the signs and signals don't apply to me now, but definitely did 10 years ago. It was around that time I read the Tao Te Ching: this (and other Taoist reading) taught me what I do not want and do not need and was fabulously freeing. The flip-side to this is I have since been acutely aware that I do not know who I am or what I want. But thankfully I have excellent coping mechanisms which allow me to function.

    This and your Dysthymia video might just be the launch point I needed to find.

    Thank you!!!

  17. India M says

    Feelings chart with what is being done is so useful. I was recovering from depression but was having some downbepidodes. When I looked at the chart it showed that when I saw my boyfriend I felt like crap. He got kicked to the curb and things improved a lot

  18. ChuckandMax says

    This made me cry

  19. My Pet Crow says

    Ah yes, childhood depression. It ‘didn’t exist’ in the 50’s and 60’s. My mother embarked upon a career as an alcoholic when I was 11 or 12. My father was a distant workaholic who tried to keep up with my mother’s drnking as well. My brother and I were basically nonexistent. I remember hanging onto my bathroom sink and looking in the mirror saying, ‘I feel so old. I feel so old. My god, I am only thirteen!’

  20. Carly Peterson says

    Growing up in a single parent home with a special needs sibling made me feel guilty for my own needs and feelings I was also suffering from gender dysphoria and felt so alone. I pushed my feelings down for years and it wasn’t until 2013 that I had an amazing opportunity to go to Antarctica, it was then that I realized I couldn’t enjoy my life experiences. When I was standing at the South Pole it dawned on me that moment wasn’t authentic and I was just going to feel empty if I got married or had kids and all of my life experiences would be diminished. I almost killed myself but instead decided to start therapy and practicing self-care. During my transition I faced a lot of hatred but I stayed strong and six years later I had my first gender affirming surgery. I have amazing authentic friends and most days I am super happy. However, I have had issues with lingering feelings worthlessness and being unlovable. I still go to therapy and I’m working really hard to reframe my feelings as an adult. Thank you so much for your videos Kati they have really helped to supplement my therapy sessions.

  21. Char. Fotopoulos says

    Society fails.

  22. Molly Hamilton says

    Thanks so much for posting this

  23. Sarah Jo says

    this is the most validating video I've ever watched. Thank you for this

  24. i never had that neither, my mother was there for 6 kids, and my father had his own family, he neglected me too and was to dumb to be a a father
    great to be born from people who dont know how to raise kids right

  25. Andrea Shink says

    Thank you for this. I have two nieces who need to heal. I am sending them to your channel… having said that, the one that is 15 yo, the mother blocked her access to the internet, so she may never see it. 🙁 May G-d help her…

  26. F. Silmi says

    I can't decided if I'm NEC or just over sensitive about my own feeling, because I can't remember which valid part of my childhood that affect my emotion 😢

  27. Roel Baardman says

    For me, ACT (and mindfulness in general) worked wonders in acknowledging my emotions. It has helped me to listen to the emotions, instead of fighting them or trying to run away from them. I am increasingly experiencing emotions as a source of strength and beauty, rather than a burden.

  28. JG Alegria says

    Kati one point on your list is just much easier said than done "accept help and support" – you make it sound as though there is anyone who wants to help and support and all's I need to do is let them in… wait, listen nope no phone ringing, no one knocking on my door. Sure I have people I'm friendly with but they'r not offering help and support. They just want to gossip and have a catch up. They want me to tell them fun and happy things and if I say anything more deep and true they just want to lay out some cliche'd answer and move on to the next topic. So I ask. Where are all these people who like to help and support their friends and acquaintances? And obviously if my family were any good at that I wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

  29. Spartaeus says

    Neglect is a universal problem. Ìts the way our sick modern culture mistreats others in general, even if we were not neglected in childhood. People in general place a certain value on people depending on how useful they might see them as. People are looked on as objects rather than God's children. Very sick world! And it's all learned behavior!

  30. Naomi Tyson says

    Sounds like the voice off the savy physiologist podcast!

  31. StarofJon 3 says

    I'm 50, have no close friends to talk to and no family. I can't keep or make new friends and live a very lonely life. I think about suicide all the time and feel no hope that things will ever change.

  32. Shinda Ratto says

    This got me so bad I never had a deep emotional connection with anyone. I never dated, considered dating or even felt the need and I'm 23 at this point. I will die alone because at this point I have no idea how relationships work. People usually like me a lot and lots of people even fell in love with me but I just want to be left alone and not a bourden to anyone. I find most people very immature emotionally and I'm very tired of it. It would be nice to go back and experience parental love and grow up into a healthy human.

  33. Becca Emerson says

    lol i wish i could form relationships

  34. K S says

    I think I’m a bother, or bothering ,others.

  35. Patricio Martínez says

    what are those "feelings" everyone talks so much about? is it like when you drink a lot of coffee and the walls start saying AAAAAAAA?

  36. Derrick Barney says

    Mom grew up a farmers daughter, work came before anything else sort of. The TV was my baby sitter because she thought it would be quicker to do house work herself, instead of having me at least help out a bit and get underfoot.
    Her reasoning was sound, but the long term effects made her regret it after the fact.
    (I was a lazy teen).
    Got verbally bullied in elementary school (didnt help i was an only child with no social skills to start with)
    I probably didnt talk to mom about it because she was possibly busy with some house work.
    I ended up growing a thick skin, and became a quiet reader during high school. Im 25 now, mom passed away and i'm finally monkeying out how to socialize with people (still not very good at it because i dont have my experiences to talk about)
    Plus it has dropped me into the deep end of adult responsibility (have a sister 14 years younger than me to take care of).
    Edit: not sure if my neutral emotions is due to:
    1. Not having unique experiences to have an emotional rollercoaster
    2. Myself turning my emotions down, so silly hurtful words can't affect me.

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