My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*

  • 9 Replies
  • 1323 Views
*

Alice97

  • Guest
I just discovered that I was extremely neglected and abandoned emotionally as a child. I don't know why it has taken me so long to realize it - I suppose I'm still working through denial. I just read Pete Walker's article on it and it it felt like reading my mind. I'm so glad I found and read the article.

Anywho, I'm going to detail (to the best of my ability) my experiences with emotional neglect, mostly for my benefit, as I find it therapeutic to write things down. I also really need any support and encouragement anyone can offer. And if my post can help someone who has been through a similar experience, yay!

Just a quick note before I start... Some time ago I identified myself as being almost entirely a Freeze type.  Pete Walker's description of that type fits me perfectly. One part of the description I never completely understood, however, is when he says that the freeze type is the "most profoundly abandoned" child. I wasn't sure what that meant until now, and now I realize that it is this deep abandonment that is at the core of all my troubles.

So here goes... I'm just basically going to ramble as the thoughts come to me... I hope some of it makes sense.

I never remember feeling safe. Like never. No exaggeration.

When I was very young (I'm really bad at remembering what happened when), I had an overwhelming sense of impending doom most, if not all the time. Two phobias that I was particularly obsessed with were that our home was definitely going to burn down, and that my parents would die soon. I remember one nightmare from when I was little, and never understood what it meant, but now I think I do. In the dream, I remember going down a street at night, and there were houses lining the sides of the road. There were evil witches on the tops of the houses and I was absolutely terrified. But the worst part of the dream was that I watched my parents left me alone in that scary place. Now it's obvious to me that the dream represented my deep sense of emotional abandonment, even though I was too young to recognize it at the time.

I also developed severe depersonalization, which got worse as I got older, until I was in a DP state most of the time. I also want to note that as I got older my F's emotional abuse of my M got steadily worse (or maybe just more obvious to me). Even when I didn't recognize it as abuse, it was very clear to me that something was very wrong in their relationship, and I constantly walked on eggshells to avoid causing trouble between them or setting off my F's criticism.

Anyway, as I got older I became very isolated. I basically had no lasting friendships until I was 17. Part of this was because I felt so detached and depressed most of the time that I felt it was easier not to interact with people, so I put up walls. But part of it was also that people didn't interact with me much, aside from the typical "how is school going" and "what are you going to do with your life" questions. I felt very invisible. I was frozen in fear, screaming inside for someone to see my pain, but acting as normal as possible on the outside because I didn't want to hurt anyone or do anything to upset the normal flow of life. Basically I was left alone to deal with the pain of my home environment, and I "dealt with it" by dissociating.

I know I'm still in denial and that's probably why it seems this way, but I'm having a really hard time accepting that my childhood was "that bad." But I know for sure that deep down I feel completely abandoned, different, and alone.

When my F would tear apart my M in front of me, that was neglect because he couldn't (or wouldn't) see how much it hurt me.

When my F told me I would make a good fat, lazy, old lady, that was verbal abuse.

When my older brother repeatedly mocked me and called me fat (when I really wasn't the least bit overweight), that contributed to my low self-esteem.

When F became so absorbed in his anger and bitterness for weeks at a time that he couldn't see anything else, that was abandonment because I was left to process it alone.

When I told my F multiple times how his anger made me feel, and he seemed to understand, yet went right on being angry and narcissistic, I felt very abandoned because my last hope that he might be able to understand my heart and be nicer was shattered.

When I became my M's surrogate friend, and I felt the need to protect her from my siblings and F (mostly when I was older), and when she would constantly bounce ideas off me, and talk to me, and vent to me when she should've been able to do all of that with my F (she's doing better at not doing that now as I have gradually been building boundaries with her, but it doesn't change the fact that she did in the past) - I was neglected and abused. I still feel the need to protect her so it's hard to admit that she did those things because I know if she realized how wrong it was she would fall to pieces.


And on and on and on. This is becoming a very triggering post for me to write. There are many more examples but that will suffice for the purpose of this post.

I have a few questions for anyone who reads this (kudos to you if you made it this far in the post):

(1.  Am I being over dramatic or is what I described actually abuse/neglect/abandonment?
(2.  What are some of your experiences?
(3.  Is there anyone here who is a freeze type who has been able to recover and have healthy relationships? I have this insatiable need in my soul for human love and comfort but I fear I will never be able to fill that void.

Time to go have a good cry.   :'(


« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 07:48:34 PM by Alice97 »

*

Wife#2

  • Member
  • 1025
  • Helping another helps me, too
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 08:38:00 PM »
Alice,

Welcome! I'm new here, too as a CPTSD (undiagnosed) sufferer through neglect. If you want, you can read my journal - I talk about my experiences there. But, I understand a lot of what you're posting.

For me, it was both parents emotionally unavailable to me. They must have been through too much by the time I was born, they were there but not there. Being present is not the same as being a parent. I was lucky in that I had an older sister and brother who saw that I was the forgotten one. They 'raised' me the best they could, for only being a few years older than me themselves!

To answer your questions -

1) YES, calling names, making you feel unsafe and unloved is neglect and therefore child abuse.
2) Being a last child, with the child before me being high needs (Severe, profound Autism - non-speaking, prone to seizures), fifth daughter - I was superfluous. I was not wanted, but their faith prevented abortions. I was not liked (I was a pest, chatterbox, blabbermouth). I was loved (by older sis & bro mostly), but had to understand they (parents) were too busy, etc for me.
3) I qualify as a freeze/fawn, I think - having never been diagnosed. And, no, I've never been able to have a good, loving relationship. Not yet, anyway. I was in therapy with the goal of being able to have a good, healthy, loving adult relationship. I quit therapy when I met my husband, against therapists advice. There is regret.

*

Alice97

  • Guest
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 09:10:05 PM »
Wife # 2 - I am also undiagnosed, I'm hoping to get evaluated someday to put my mind at ease that I really do have PTSD. Thanks for the invite to your journal, I will check it out.

My dad was emotionally unavailable, probably as a result of his father being the same way. I love how you said "being present is not the same as being a parent." That is sooo true. I'm glad you had older siblings to support you as well as they could.

Thank you for the validation that what I described was abuse. I'm sorry you've been through all that  :hug:

When you were in therapy, did you find it helpful?

*

Me204

  • Member
  • 2
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2016, 02:31:56 AM »
Hi,

It sounds like you are struggling with what happened. I would highly recommend finding a professional that you can talk to - it's hard to find but once you find a good one it's worth it. I went through a few of them before I found one that works for me. Psychology Today's website has a listing of therapist/counselors ect.  that you can chose from. I have been diagnosed with PTSD ( my Councillor has never called it C-PTSD though) with a side of Dissociative Disorder. It's better to laugh than cry I guess? My situation is long and drawn out - I was neglected in the physical sense, experienced emotional and physical abuse. So, to answer your questions:
1.) Absolutely, it is emotional abuse.
2.) My M is mentally ill ( in my opinion, undiagnosed of course), I am an only child (thank god - no child should have go through any abuse)
3.) I have no idea what I am - but I can tell you this - yes, there is healing. It takes time - possibly the rest of your life but there is healing with help. I have a family. I still have "flashbacks" and some other issues I am sorting out - but it is getting better. Much better than when I was 20, 25, 30 and now (I am in my early 30's) Find someone to help you - that you like and trust- and than be prepared for some pain and being uncomfortable. With that pain comes healing - and you will be survivor - not the victim.

Also, thank you for sharing this. It was very helpful to me to see that I am not alone.

*

chairmanmeow

  • Member
  • 51
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2016, 03:35:20 AM »
Sounds familiar, were the same species.
Except for me and maybe why its more brutal and kinder in a way is my situation was a bit more clean cut so I didnt have confusing emotions fogging things for me. I was pretty much emotionally severed from my mother because my stepfather was threatened by me, I had a bully at home never safe zero support, this translated over into my school life where I was quiet and abused by my peers and translated to my teachers the authoritarians who would force me to do feats labor beyond me with the burden I was allready carrying and the threat of failure was just another more valid excuse for that monster my mother married to abuse me more. Total shutdown, I didnt wake up untill about 18 years latter where I struggled and fought alone in the world with a crippling anxiety disorder getting nowhere for a decade not knowing whats wrong with me except I hit a point where I simply cant do things anymore, and thats not an acceptable explanation in school or as a man.
I met a girl was with her for 8 years, there was no other, her abusive family messed her head up and manipulated her and threatened our child to the point she ran away and some ugly guy pretty much stole my entire family. One thing leads into another and another.. CPTSD for me I find is something that only gets worst untill you really see and understand it.

I find cultivating emotional intelligence is something key, that void I feel is a side effect of the disassociation to feel connected and fulfilled and part of a community and others is a emotional experience, and that sort of a psychological beating divorces you from that part of yourself.

Anyway thats my experience, a lot of your experience could be my own words I feel for you, feel free to talk to me if you ever want.

*

Wife#2

  • Member
  • 1025
  • Helping another helps me, too
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2016, 05:28:25 PM »
Alice,

Yes, I found therapy very helpful. Sadly, my husband does not really see the value in it, though he did go to a few sessions with me for marriage counseling.

In my 20's it did help me see that I had some pretty stinking thinking and how I could change that. It helped with my self-esteem issues. That was my stated goal, so I ended therapy when I felt strong enough to stand alone and be enough for myself.

Out of therapy, I drifted back into stinking thinking patterns, probably because I was still so enmeshed with my mother - still seeking her approval and signs that her love was more than words or show for strangers.

I ended up in a horrible personal situation through work and that landed me in a mental health facility. From there, I entered therapy again. The stated goal was to be capable of having a healthy, loving, adult relationship. I quit because I thought I'd found that with my now husband. The therapist saw the red flags and tried to warn me, but I was 'in love' and quit him instead. I was suffering from intentional blindness about what was going on.

I do want to get back into therapy. Knowing what I know now, being a mother myself, having a very difficult marriage (we both have undiagnosed C-PTSD), I do believe it could sincerely help me to keep my eyes open, deal with my flashbacks and fuzzy memory and be a better parent to my son. That's a lot to ask of a therapist, but the good one I saw before marriage is still seeing patients and is very good. I do want to get back to him again, and this time listen when he sees things that I do not.

I do recommend seeing a therapist, even if you're not ready to delve into all that went on in your childhood. Make the first goal a simple one, something you've wanted to address since before you ever heard of CPTSD. And, don't be afraid to make an appointment and 'interview' the therapist to be sure he or she is a good fit for you. Be VERY aware of any gut feelings you get. Anything that feels off or unsupportive or judgmental, get out of there and find another therapist!

*

Alice97

  • Guest
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2016, 02:33:03 AM »
Thanks for your thorough answer Wife#2, it was very informative and helpful. I will definitely get into therapy as soon as possible.


*

Sandstone

  • Member
  • 156
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2016, 04:39:34 PM »
I was neglected by both parents too. My F was/is very controlling and my M used to tell me everything,  i was her best friend aged 7. I remember her telling me how ny F made her become a prostitute,  dont think i fully understood at the time obviously.  They were big drinkers and every weekend i could guarantee they would fight and id have to beg dad not to hit mum  (tho she always caused the row) she was a very nasty drunk and would call my dad some horrible things. She would then another time say im just like my dad.
They used to leave me home alone at 7 while they went to the pub at night but it was ok cos i was 'sensible' apparently. Other times i had countless probably unsafe babysitters.
In between that my mum would leave with me in my nightclothes in the middle of the night. She would also have lots of new boyfriends. I remember once my dad putting his hand through the glass front door and my mum was stood at the other side with an axe in her hand. Very frightening for me.

She recently reminded me of the time the took me to the movies. I went in and they went to the pub and forgot about me. Nice.

So no youre not being dramatic,  neglect has a very profound effect. I am a freeze/fawn type and the reason i just had therapy was to try and get myself sorted so i can have a good enough relationship with my partner as i have massive trust issues. Im certainly not cured uet and am hopefully getting emdr in the next yr or so but i do have hope that we can have a 'proper' relationship one day xx

*

Ren

  • Member
  • 32
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2016, 12:12:17 AM »
No. not dramatic at all !   Self-absorbed parents find children a "handicap" after their initial phase of getting attention over having children has passed.

Find a therapist that you can talk to though.  I recommend trying a few.   I had the rapid eye movement work of Francine Shapiro which helped process a lot.

With therapy and my own self-directed learning, stumbling along in the self-help vein some of the time, I remember Nina Brown's book on 'Children of the Self Absorbed" as the great moment.   I gradually learned how to look after myself when no one had done so all my childhood.  Oh I looked okay and people didn't know.  All the superficial things were done to keep up appearances.  Only later did I recognise how little emotional and supportive help I had.   

Time to devote to yourself now Alice.  You've earned it !

Sandstone - I recognise the parentified child syndrome so well !!  And I was told how underendowed my father was..... :aaauuugh:

*

deptofhearts

  • Member
  • 34
    • View Profile
Re: My experiences with Emotionaly Neglect/Abandonment *trigger warning*
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2016, 03:09:27 AM »
Emotional neglect and abandonment is so painful, and confusing - hard to see it for what it is, yet its SO crucial to be kind to ourselves, stand up for ourselves while we figure it out. I am in the same boat, you aren't alone. X