Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?

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Oscen

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Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« on: February 08, 2019, 06:11:19 PM »
I'm struggling with the fact that I seem to have developed CPTSD after an emotionally barren childhood, but have none of the horror stories most people seem to have.

I read about physical, verbal and sexual abuse, parentification, and so many other terrible details, and I feel so sorry that people have suffered that, but I also feel guilty that I am considering myself similar to them. I was never beaten, rarely verbally abused, never sexually violated, and rather than being forced to do lots of housework, my parents just gave up trying to get us to do our chores. Intellectually, I know that trauma can be caused by poor attachment alone, and I can certainly see that that's what happened to me, but emotionally, it rings hollow and I feel guilty, confused, and unable to trust my judgment.

If there is anyone else out there in the same boat as me - emotional neglect and poor attachment alone have wreaked havoc on your life - then I would love to hear your thoughts about whether this bothered you, and if so, what helped you to trust your assessment of the situation. I'm struggling to take the next step and try to slowly build some aspects of personality from scratch without first being able to accept what I think is the truth - I was abused by my parents and that abuse has caused trauma, which has affected me profoundly and is still creating problems.

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Blueberry

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 07:59:24 PM »
rather than being forced to do lots of housework, my parents just gave up trying to get us to do our chores.

Intellectually, I know that trauma can be caused by poor attachment alone, and I can certainly see that that's what happened to me, but emotionally, it rings hollow and I feel guilty, confused, and unable to trust my judgment.

I used to think emotional abuse was the only abuse I'd suffered and so I compared myself negatively with others who had really bad childhoods, the kind you might read about in the newspaper. I used not to think that anything I'd suffered growing up was a real horror story. Part of the reason behind that belief was years of FOO telling me I was lying, inventing things, making mountains out of molehills etc etc. Maybe your FOO did similar? It's a form of denial and very common. Maybe check here https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=11010.0 ?

I wasn't forced to do lots of housework either. I was more neglected in that area. Check here https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=9664.0 and you'll see some of us see that as a form of betrayal. Our parents didn't do their job in preparing us for the adult world. About most domestic tasks including cooking, my M said it was easier to do it herself than teach us. That might not be the motive behind your parents' behaviour but whatever their motive was, it seems to have harmed you in some way or you wouldn't be mentioning it! When we're traumatised, there's enough going on without 'inventing' stuff. We actually tend to minimise.

Reading here https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=9511.0 might help you too. I'm giving you these links partly because the forum is rather quiet atm and so with the links you can see mbrs other than me who think emotional abuse is very destructive whether or not they had physical and/or sexual abuse in the mix.

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Blueberry

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 08:07:41 PM »
Sorry Oscen, I kind of misread your post, I missed "neglect" and inserted "abuse" in my mind instead.  :stars: However I'll leave my previous post up because what I wrote might still apply to you. If it doesn't, you can let me know and I'll delete/modify so your question doesn't get hijacked and go off in the wrong direction for you.

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Kizzie

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 08:11:48 PM »
Hey Oscen, I moved your post from the emotional abuse sub-forum to this one because it's specifically for members who suffered neglect and/or abandonment. There's some information in the first thread in the forum and I think you'll see you definitely suffered the core wound all of us experienced from childhood trauma; a lack of love, safety, nurturing, guidance and connection that all children need to develop in a healthy way.

There are or have been members here who were neglected/abandoned like you and if any are still active they are likely to show up here. I would encourage you to also post elsewhere under symptoms, causes, etc., though because we all get that CPTSD is caused by psychological trauma that injures the self in deep and debilitating ways.

 :grouphug:


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Oscen

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 10:14:15 AM »
Thanks very much for your post Blueberry, I really appreciate you sharing and feel reassured.

Thanks in particular for mentioning "betrayal trauma" - I'd never heard of that, but I can see it is a big part of my emotional wound. As well as not being prepared for the adult world and this causing so much more pain as I struggled through my twenties, my mother betrayed me in another way - she always managed to find other children to parent.

Throughout my childhood and early adulthood she was a childminder, a housekeeper, and offered help and support to people in difficult situations - a family of refugees, and a friend of my sister's. But there didn't seem to be enough emotional support or energy left over to take care of me and my three sisters when she got home. The fact that her actions were very kind and beneficial to the recipients of her care further compounded my denial, guilt, and confusion. If my mother was such a nice, caring person, why didn't I feel cared for? She poured her energy into the relationships that felt more rewarding for her and made her look and feel good. Mothering her own children seemed to require too much energy and not enough reward, and so my needs were subordinated to others'.

I knew I had come to the right place but when I started reading about other posters' horrific ordeals I started to doubt myself. How crazy that I'd feel like somehow I've got to "compete" with others' abuse - but that is what the messages programmed in my head are telling me, I think.

Thanks again for your kind words and information.

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Elphanigh

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2019, 09:48:08 PM »
Oscen, I am really glad you posted about this and am hopeful that reading some of what Blueberry sent and some of what is on this board has helped. I can't identify with "only" having the neglect, I hesitate to use that word because it is certainly traumatic and needs to not be minimized. So I wanted to validate how hard that can be and that you do belong here. As someone that has what Blueberry called "the kind you might read about in newspapers" I wanted to say I felt like I had to compete originally too, like what I went through wasn't enough. I think that is common with people who have CPTSD or have experienced any trauma. I hope this has helped some, although I feel like it is really jumbled.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 05:02:41 AM »
I think people tend to categorize abuses to where they seem separate, when actually all contain emotional elements. Even physical abuse stems from emotional roots and its impact originates in the emotions. It's never isolated from the emotional factors. This is true for all forms of abuse -- the emotional failures in each abusive type are connected by some emotional aspect.

Bottom line -- all abuse is corrosive to the human spirit, and all of its types originate in misusing one's emotions one way or another. They all can result in damage to one's sense of being; in their effects they can be pretty equal that way.

All sorts of abuse survivors can be found on this forum. The common thread almost always is ... I'm hurting. In the end, abuse is not a competition; it all hurts, a lot. And it's all a struggle to find that next place of safety.



 
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 05:18:45 AM by woodsgnome »

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DontPanic

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 10:33:38 PM »
Hello Oscen,
I just read your post and, YES!
I, too, find it hard to justify myself, and I, too "didn't have it bad" - no physical or sexual violence, no this, no that. Just a big empty hole in my self where self-esteem could reside.

I had an encounter last week that made something clear to me: it made clear to me that sometimes i cannot recognize abuse/trauma as abuse/trauma as long as I do not fully experience the good experience. That has been very strange for me. I couldn't tell what exactly "was so bad" that it justified myself, that it counts as real abuse, that is a story that convinces some listener instead of "So what? No one has perfect parents, why do you complain about these faults, move on and let go".

The encounter that made a difference for me was this: I had a sexual encounter with a man the same age as my father. And during this encounter, he held me in his arms for hours and looked at me as if i were a gift from heaven. And i melted in his arms, cuddled in his arms for hours, was so so so glad and felt it deeply, as if it were the first time in my life a man looked at me this way. And it felt unbelievably great, relieving, relaxing, soothing, healing: i was a gift, a precious gift.

A few hours later, back home alone, a terrible wave washed over me and i broke down crying and shouting. Because now i had had the positive experience, and all the memories of my father came up, and how he always looked at me as if i was inappropriate. And through all my tears i knew that only because i had experienced being a gift, i have come to know how abusive it was, always being unwanted and disgusting instead of being a gift. I was denied being a gift and being a joy to my father, every day, day after day, year after year. And it has hurt me deeply. But i couldn't have told a coherent story until i had had the opposite experience of being precious beyond words.

So, to sum it up: what helped me validate my own truth was positive experiences that showed me what would have been possible and how it feels to be treated with love and respect.

This is not the only answer to your question, there are lots of other ways to validate myself, but today it is too late and this post is already longish... good night! I wish all of you positive experiences full of love and respect  :wave:

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LilyITV

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2019, 02:05:38 PM »
I realized how traumatic emotional abuse and neglect is when I observe my daughter and her friends.  She is 8 now and at that age where she communicates in words, but big emotional upsets still come out in a very pure form.  For some reason, there is nothing so sad as seeing a little kid this age cry.   The things that make them cry--the last day of summer camp, moving to a new school, a mean comment by a person they thought was a friend, being reprimanded in front of the class by the teacher, finding out you are the only one whose mom didn't come eat lunch with you--these things are very upsetting to children this age but seem very minor to us now.   But at that age, these things make up 100% of their life.

Then when I compare with the emotional upsets I had in my life that led to my C-PTSD, it's easy to see why they affected me.  Imagine having something that is hugely upsetting in your 8 year old world and then coming home and instead of getting a hug, you get further criticized and shamed.  Then imagine that happening every day again and again when you're still in your formative  years--yes it all makes sense to me now. 

And those are the things that seem "minor" to us as adults.  When you're talking about feeling like your mother has abandoned you or doesn't love you--that is devastating even for adults.   

I guess emotional abuse is harder for people to grasp because with physical abuse, you can see the harm done, but with emotional abuse the wounds are not visible. 

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Oscen

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2019, 12:05:35 PM »
Hi guy, thanks for the comments.
Dontpanic - I agree that I didn't realise how bad the abuse was until I'd been in a loving relationship for many years, and it made me realise what a loving relationship should actually be like. You should like each other! And use physicality and words to show love and care. And be supportive, and patient with each others' flaws, not catch hold of it like a handle to control the other person with. I hadn't even had friendships that had taught me that, because I was too damaged to really get close to someone.

LilyITV - it's really interesting to hear you say that about your daughter. I think a part of me is probably frozen at about that stage of development actually - around 8 or 9 years old. I was ok up till then, but by age 10 or 11, there was most definitely something wrong and felt like I had no close friendships. And it's all those things you are saying that you must give to your daughter - support and care and understanding for all these events in her life. They don't sound small to me, tbh. I know that those upsets were happening to me, like everyone, but I don't remember feeling able to talk about them at home. Being one of four daughters didn't help; I think my mum did use that to her advantage as well, to keep me quiet and manageable by making me feel insignificant.

Even now, although I really have always tried to be mature, reasonable, and self-effacing, I get triggered by very petty things. Like a perceived mean comment, or feeling snubbed because a person who was not at the counter as long as me got served first, etc. I don't share my feelings with those around me, because I know it's ridiculous, but that allows the feeling to fester inside. Dealing with this stage of development in adulthood feels like a catch-22 - it's ridiculous, so there's good reason not to share it, even with friends, but on the other hand it doesn't go away just by trying to ignore it, and needs to be processed, with loving care and attention. I guess that's where a therapist comes in! So thank you; that's a very useful insight into my current situation.

Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2019, 03:39:38 PM »
Hi Oscen

I know this thread is alittle older, but I am a new member and just discovered it. I was just diagnosed with Cptsd last year stemming from lifelong emotional abuse from my NPD Mother. I知 44 and most people I share with look at me like I知 crazy, so I only share with a few close friends and my hubby now.

I see emotional abuse as a silent killer. I feel like I知 bleeding out from a million little paper cuts. I知 not sure if that makes sense? I was misdiagnosed as depression & bipolar earlier in my lifetime, I just keep reliving flashbacks and when my Mom was still in my life I came close to an actual nervous breakdown twice.

I was lucky to find a counselor last year that really helped me get to the root of all my pain. I致e felt invisible my whole life. Anyone, even a parent can say they love you, but if you constantly keep getting ignored or invalidated you don稚 feel it.

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Kizzie

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2019, 04:26:03 PM »
Quote
I see emotional abuse as a silent killer. I feel like I知 bleeding out from a million little paper cuts. I知 not sure if that makes sense?

It makes total sense. I've often described my abuse/neglect by covert NPD parents and B as "death by a thousand cuts" too.  It's not the "Big T" trauma MH professionals have focused on in the past (physical, sexual abuse), but like all ongoing relational trauma, the abuse/neglect accumulates in our body, heart and mind and leaves us with Complex PTSD.

You're in the right place - welcome!  :grouphug: 

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Stained

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 04:24:12 PM »
I haven't been to this site for a while (must be making progress!), and just discovered this post.  Oscen - I could have written it!

I suffered emotional abuse (sometimes physical, but very rarely) from my older brother throughout my first 15 years.  He was just a mean kid, and I was his favorite target.  Literally whenever he saw me, he'd make sure I knew I was fat and weird - different from everyone else.  I never fought back, and would easily get upset.  My parents (fine, upstanding citizens both), because of their own issues, looked the other way and only got involved when I reached the breaking point and screamed at the top of my lungs.  Then, they were telling me to calm down and wondering why I'd get so crazy.  I learned quickly to hold it in, because the only way I could get him to stop would result in my parents being upset with me.  Looking back, I realize that I knew my parents loved me, but I didn't FEEL it very often.  They weren't there for me at the times I really needed them to be.  I've talked with my brother about all of this recently (he's a changed person now), and have learned that he was being physically bullied by neighborhood kids as well as school bullies, and our parents didn't do anything to help him either.  That was really eye opening for me.

My parents were loving and provided everything we ever needed.  I did great in school, and had lots of friends.  School was my safe place - everyone there respected me and I received lots of positive attention.  I didn't realize that I'd suffered emotional abuse and emotional neglect all throughout childhood until I started processing everything a few years ago - when I hit my 40's.   Because of the emotional abuse and neglect, I had ZERO self-esteem (again, without my knowledge).  This resulted in me not sticking up for myself when I started to experience emotional abuse from my husband.  It was awful, and went on for about 7 years until I snapped out of it and began "figuring out my *" (as I like to put it).

Have you looked into CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect)?  This is exactly what I experienced from my parents.  Once I learned about CEN and CPTSD, I finally understood what was happening to me.  I feel extremely lucky to have "figured out my *", and even luckier because my husband has also figured out his, and is a completely changed person.  He is the loving, supportive man I always knew he was deep down.  Best of all, I've started developing some self-esteem.  While I may be triggered and fall into a flashback occasionally (rarely, now), never will I allow myself to be abused again.  If the abuse ever begins again, I'll cut that person from my life.

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this.  I don't know why we feel the need for such validation, but I certainly do.  It's been hard to make that switch from "I didn't suffer enough abuse to feel this way" to "I was abused and neglected as a child (and as an adult), and it had a profoundly negative impact on me and my mental health that I'm still working through".

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Tee

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2019, 05:04:26 PM »
Hi ocean I have not read through all of the posts here cause I only have a few minutes but I read the first one and your second one. 

I can totally relate.  My first firm if abuse was neglect. Later there was other things too but the start and think the most scarring that in currently really struggling with is that neglect.  My NM is a " minister" and helps all these other people and gets posts on the back for all the good she does for the community.  But none one ever saw the damage done to me so I can totally relate.  Hugs your not alone! :hug:

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Just Hatched

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Re: Anyone else have trauma from emotional neglect only?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2019, 04:47:48 AM »
Hi,
I know this is an old thread, but I'm new here and this caught my attention.

There was a small amount of physical and emotional abuse in my family, m had anger issues and occasionally shout and hit, when d wasn't around,  but most of my damage, I think has come from the consistent emotional neglect, and invalidation from both my parents. For whatever reason, neither of them was able to handle anything emotional, in themselves or anyone else.

Emotions were not allowed, not really even the good ones. I remember being told I was silly and to stop making a fuss if I went to either of them for comfort or support when something bad had happened to me. There were never any hugs or loving words, and if I cried, I would be sent to my room until I learned how to 'behave properly'.

I experienced normal kinds of childhood events, like mild verbal bullying, being rejected by friends temporarily, minor accidents, fear of new situations, bad teachers, but there was never anyone I could turn to for validation or support, because I would be ridiculed and shamed for my feelings, so I quickly learned that there was something wrong with my feelings, that I didn't matter and learned to keep everything to myself, which led to me feeling completely alone and isolated my whole life, because I was too scared to get close to anyone for fear of rejection.

When I was 10, my family moved half way around the world, I was taken away from everything I knew, my friends, school, community. But there wasn't any discussion about it, I wasn't allowed to talk about it, not to my family or my friends. I remember being confused and scared, not knowing what to expect. And when we did arrive in the new country I was abandoned even more, left to my own devices a lot as my parents dealt with the stress of the move themselves. I was in shock, because everything was so different, I didn't fit in, but there was no support from anyone. We moved several times before settling down somewhere, but I never developed a sense of belonging.

I've subsequently experienced physical and sexual violence in my adult life and haven't sought help for any of it, believing it just didn't matter, that it was my fault and I needed to deal with it and move on.

I developed extreme social anxiety, dropped out of school struggled through life, wasted my potential and spent years searching for love and acceptance in all the wrong places.

I've had some counseling and therapy, but no one mentioned emotional neglect, or CPTSD, my problems were blamed on my brain chemistry or my beliefs and choices.

Now in my 50's I finally realize why I've never had a close friendship with anyone or a normal, loving intimate relationship. I've had a string of relationships with emotionally unavailable men and married an N type who is much like my father, only worse. I got a bunch of misdiagnoses and further damaged by long term use of psyche meds, which were extremely difficult to stop. Now I'm divorced, alone, no friends and newly woken up to the truth of why my life has been so difficult.  Sometimes I wish my abuse had been physical and obvious, because then at least it might not have taken so long to recognize where my problems have come from.

Yep! I feel like a fraud for trying to be part of this community, because I only had emotional neglect from my parents, but it set me up for unconsciously neglecting and abusing myself, for bringing further trauma into my life and making it impossible for me to seek help and support from anyone, no matter how bad it got.