Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?

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DecimalRocket

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Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« on: October 30, 2017, 07:47:11 AM »
I think Iím onto something and after realizing this, Iíve been grieving and the feelings around it are overwhelming.

My parents were warm in the small times there were there and seemed rather well intentioned but they were often at work or off doing hobbies I didnít share with them. When I cried, my mom and teachers told me not to cry ó so for years, Iíve never told them any of my pain and to this day, I rarely do.

I remember when I was young ó the school had surveys given asking what values they should emphasize in the curriculum. It asked what values your family valued most and to circle them. I told my teacher I had no family values and he told me I must have been taught something in life. But I had next to nothing ó my parents have barely taught me anything about life.

Iíve cried as a kid over the years and it was often alone. When I had confusions about life, I didnít trust my parents enough to turn to them. And many of the causes of my deep depression and anxieties could have been fixed by correcting some basic misunderstandings.

I was warm the little time I spent talking but most of the time, I was distant. Never really believing there was a point to friendship or family and believing that people only liked me only out of pity. In my later years, I attracted classmates and teachers who often wanted to take special care of me ó but I rejected them and went through the majority of my problems on my own.

To me, it seemed normal. . . That my parents barely talked to me about these things. Iím confused. Wasnít I born distant? Wasnít it all my fault? Other people saw my parents as warm and good parents and I was the problem child. Whatís healthy parenting like then?

But whatever it is, for most of my life, Iíve been alone.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 07:58:20 AM by DecimalRocket »

Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2017, 08:31:55 AM »
I think you could definitely call it all emotional neglect. The way others see your parents doesn't mean much though in my opinion, it's easy to put on a mask and often people will treat others differently depending on the relationship they have with that person. I saw this quite clearly - I remember being yelled at or hit by my F, then someone would knock on the door and my F would open it - his voice was so different talking to the person outside, gentle, happy, considerate. But as soon as they stopped talking, he'd close the door, glare at me and return to his rage-filled self - like a switch was flicked. It's no surprise everyone else loves my parents, I'm sure they're good people - when they're not parenting.
I don't know what healthy parenting is like, I wish I knew. But don't think any of it is your fault, Decimal. You don't have to go through any of this alone anymore, you deserve some kindness and company.

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I remember when I was young ó the school had surveys given asking what values they should emphasize in the curriculum. It asked what values your family valued most and to circle them. I told my teacher I had no family values and he told me I must have been taught something in life. But I had next to nothing ó my parents have barely taught me anything about life.
Reminds me of this familiar piece of advice directed towards those with mental illnesses; "Don't suffer alone, talk to your friends and family, they care." I laugh out loud really hard whenever I read something like this. It's such a strange thing, knowing people actually talk to their parents about this stuff - share values, share thoughts and emotions. It's such a strange concept to me and it's so unbelievably fascinating to watch other families interacting with one another. It seems surreal.

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Gwyon

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2017, 01:13:41 PM »
I'm hoping you have a T to work with on this, or would consider seeking one.

It sounds like neglect and abandonment to me. I also would wonder how you were related to before you were aware. The mirroring and attachment during that period is critical.  For myself, recognizing this was the beginning of my path towards healing.... which still continues.

Kindly.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 02:19:10 AM by Gwyon »

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Gwyon

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2017, 01:19:40 PM »
And no.... You were not born distant. And it is not your fault.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 05:32:08 PM »
yeah, dr, it is overwhelming to realize that your parents weren't there for you.  when i first learned about trauma and prolonged abuse, i only looked at my adulthood - there was plenty there, and i thought it's where the c-ptsd started.  it wasn't until i was well into looking at the c-ptsd beast that i realized it totally began in my foo.

family values?  i pretty much created my own when i became a mom.   i was taught very little about how to go out into the world and manage.  'stop crying or i'll give you something to cry about' was almost a mantra in our house growing up.  emotional neglect?  sounds like it to me.

much support to you as you go through these realizations.  and a big hug.

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 12:42:18 AM »
Thanks guys. I needed some support.

@AA. Thatís pretty sad. Itís hard to get help when the abuse is so well hidden.

I find it strange that my parents seem to have adjusted more quickly towards changing themselves for the better compared to other people here. So why? While Iím not perfectly sure, looking back in the past when my mom told me to stop crying and I did, she seemed to truly have believed I stopped hurting. I remember her telling me that I was a happy kid ó that I had no problems in life and so often seemed to have continued on with work believing she has cured me of all negative emotions. She had this belief that to be happy you have to think positively and supress all negative emotions ó which she never questioned didnít work well even if she was often an incredibly anxious person.

The emotional abuse began when I couldnít control my pain anymore and I released my anger towards others, especially her. She didnít conclude that she parented me wrong ó no, she concluded I was a bad child and thought punishing me repeatedly would cure me. For so long I wondered why I was so especially angry at her even if to me she did nothing wrong, then I read about trauma.

My dad though ó was even more distant than my mom despite being humorous the little he was there. . . It seemed he thought he would leave all the heavy emotional stuff to my mom and stick to casual joking around with him when he was there.

From how they promised to changed and showed empathy after telling them the extent of my pain rather than just suggesting them what to change ó they seemed to have good intentions. But they had clearly really terrible parenting skills if you ask me.

My mom still treats my emotions as overreacting sometimes. Still views me as being too emotional . . . as when Iím in a flashback and Iím near her, she thinks Iím being stupid for still remembering something so far away.




« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 03:19:36 AM by DecimalRocket »

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 01:22:37 AM »
@Andrew @Sans

Iíve considered a therapist, but itís too difficult for me to open up to people in real life at the moment. I have much more need for practice before I can open up to someone else in real life without suffering some kind of emotional collapse.

How I related to other people? I had some skills in casual talking but went on years without really gaining skills in intimacy ó communicating heavy problems, confusions about life and showing vulnerability. And as my misunderstandings about life piled up ó the more isolated I became.

I did have one person I would call more of a father than my actual father. My tutor after school since kindergarten. Iíd never share my private life with him ó but he still managed to be a good influence. I wasnít really much with social skills but he noticed I had a certain strength other kids didnít have ó A deep love for learning.

Heíd praise how much I loved to read a variety of books even above my age level and often invited me to share some of what I was interested that day after studying the lessons in school. By age 12, I was correcting him with unupdated facts he read and found counterarguments with several of his teachings in life.

I never really thought of him influencing me in life ó but it answers a question I always wondered. Why in the world did I maintain a sense of wonder about the world despite being so depressed as a kid I considered ending it? I used what little curiosity I had left to reflect, solve and research on my problems in life with an obsessive focus. This, as well as give me the little comfort I had to keep me alive in a life where I cried everyday alone.

You know, whenever he meets me, he asks for a hug but I reject him because often even small forms of touch can give me anxiety.

I. . . uhh . . . Iíll try next time. . .
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 03:07:11 AM by DecimalRocket »

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rbswan

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 11:32:05 PM »
I feel emotional neglect and abandonment are just as painful and damaging as other forms of abuse.  My F barely even looked at me unless he was drunk and my M would either rage, shame or ignore me.  I had to figure everything out for myself and was never taught anything.  The only value that was passed on was unspoken until I found it in black and white in the ACA big red book - "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel".  I grew up unable to relate to people, accept praise or nurture, or practice self care.  Therapy and various recovery programs are providing a path but I'm still experiencing the pain and grief of being alone all those years.  The hardest thing was the self-imposed isolation that resulted.  I'm moving out of it though.  Identification was the first step toward finding that path.  There are lots of paths and I relate to being careful to not step on the wrong one.  :)

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sanmagic7

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2017, 02:06:46 AM »
no pressure intended, d.r.  your comfort is paramount and practice is a good thing.  when you're ready, according to your own pace and space.

i'm just glad you've been able to open up a bit here.  thank you for sharing.  your voice is valid and important just like everyone else here.  sending you a cyber hug - is that ok?

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BlancaLap

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2017, 08:58:14 PM »
It is never your fault, never.

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BlancaLap

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2017, 09:03:38 PM »
And I can relate with what you said. I know it is hard to believe it is not our fault, but it really isn't.

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Andyman73

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Re: Confused. Did I go through emotional neglect?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2018, 03:08:31 PM »
I wanted to respond to this as well...but can't. too hard.

But have suggestion about touch with mentor...maybe gentle fist bumps like Comedian Howie Mandel does?