Individual Therapy: Healing Childhood Neglect

Childhood neglect can wound you deeply and leave you with scars that never fully heal. Childhood neglect is a bit insidious, it’s not always perceived as abuse by our society and yet it is. The pain is the same and the life-long wounds just as damaging.

Imagine A Happy Puppy

Happy PuppyImagine a happy puppy, so excited that Mom or Dad are finally home, he rushes to the front door, tail wagging vigorously, Mom and Dad enter, look at him distractedly, pat him on the head and walk on by, they enter their office, get on the computer and shut the door. Its like they never even saw him.

Or maybe this puppy doesn’t get fed until 9pm or doesn’t get fed at all, he’s hungry and lonely.

Our theoretical puppy dejectedly lays down against the wall, his need for love and affection not met, he puts his head on his paws and looks longingly at the closed office door.

Maybe, if he’s a better puppy he’ll get the love he needs, or maybe he’ll chew up their shoes out of anger & pain and be scolded and punished as a “bad dog.”

This is how childhood neglect can feel; sad, alone, dejected, shut down and angry.

Were You Neglected? Indicators Of Childhood Neglect

~ You have difficulty experiencing emotions such as grief or anger, you can get swamped by them or not feel them at all
~ Painful relationships, you can push people away keeping them at a distance or cling to them needing constant reassurance
~ Its hard to feel safe in relationships
~ Being touched can feel uncomfortable and troubling
~ Its much easier to give, its hard to receive
~ You can’t remember much of your childhood
~ You betray yourself when in connection with others
~ Its painful and scary to ask for help. You end up going through life feeling alone and unsupported
~ You’re a Perfectionist and hard on yourself
~ Reaching out for support is painful and awkward
~ You feel shame and hide parts of yourself from others
~ you have strong tendencies to control situations and people
~ You don’t show your true self to people, you fear being rejected, you try to meet others needs before your own
~ You don’t feel seen and yet you’re afraid to be seen

Its difficult to heal childhood neglect all by yourself

Its difficult to heal childhood neglect all by yourself. The whole wounding, in a way, is that you were on your own. Perhaps physically, definitely emotionally. Part of re-learning and healing the wound is to be supported while in connection, so you don’t have to do it: alone. To heal, you must have an opposite, corrective experience of your childhood wounding.

Another key to healing is vulnerability

Another key to healing is vulnerability. To be fully yourself, to share your true being and essence with another and be fully embraced and accepted, just as you are. This is tremendously liberating and healing. You need another person or a group to safely practice sharing and being accepted.

You may have already seen this. It’s the 4th most viewed Ted talk ever. It’s that good!
If you can’t watch it now, bookmark it and come back later, you’ll be glad you did.

A third key to healing childhood neglect

A third key to healing childhood neglect is to feel all of your feelings and the sensations in your body. This is a BIG one. Most times it’s too painful to fully feel our childhood experience when we’re young. We have to suppress things in order to emotionally survive, so we shut off parts of ourselves. This is a survival mechanism and a smart one. And yet, there comes a time when we need to begin re-opening these doors within ourselves. We need to do this because we begin to recognize that the unconscious material we’ve suppressed is causing painful havoc in our lives and destroying relationships.

As you learn to feel everything fully, in a safe and supported setting, though hard in the short-term, long-term your life gets better and richer, more filled with love and joyous support. It’s worth it and you can start seeing results faster than you think possible.

Healing the Neglect: Things To Do

~ Become aware of your body, feel all that is going on for you. With practice you can feel the fullness of life (both good & bad) and not be overwhelmed. You will need to do this in a setting that feels very safe and supporting
~ Experience sharing your truth and being accepted. A good, safe therapy group will help you with this
~ Grieve and gently release your childhood pain while feeling any physical sensations in your body
~ Practice letting in the support you need
~ Connect with yourself, honor yourself and your truth in all situations. This is hard, but it’s simply one step at a time
~ You first, others second

Finally, is it worth the work?

Finally, is it worth the work? You have to go back and experience the pain and this is hard, it’s not easy. And yet, I think it’s absolutely worth it. My own life now is a cumulation of joyous experiences mixed with the pains of life. I can tell you that my joys are higher, my relationships feel more alive, my happiness fuller, my life richer and more rewarding. I’m so happy now that I’ve done this deep personal work and cleared away a lot of this suppressed trauma. Is it worth the time and effort? I absolutely believe it is.

The Results you’re Working Towards

  • You will feel more alive and have more joy in life
  • A lessening of phobias and anxieties
  • Receive support: A much greater ability to reach for support and let it in!
  • Greater self care and self love
  • Be true to yourself. An ability to share yourself, your true being, with others
  • More confidence in all your relationships
  • Feel Good. Greater peace and serenity in your body, an ability to feel everything
  • Greater feelings of safety and security. Feel safe in relationships
  • You will feel emotionally strong because you have faced your demons and come through stronger than before
  • Live your life authentically, sharing who you are with the world
  • You will develop the courage to be fully seen
  • Drastic lessening of shame
  • The confidence to meet people and be in connections that feel good and nourish you
  • The ability to speak your truth and be heard
  • You will make better choices in relationships
  • The courage to be vulnerable

How long?

For me it took time, it was not an instant fix. But what I learned was that when I focused on just the right things (those things listed in the “things to do” section), the changes became markedly faster. It’s not instantaneous but every step forward is an improvement of your life. If you had a neglected childhood, get support from someone who can support you fully. If you want to talk to me about your healing process, please reach out.

I offer my clients 2 versions of therapeutic support. One is group psychotherapy. It’s important to have group experiences of sharing, embodiment, safety and being accepted to move fully forward in your healing. (I can’t emphasize this enough, it helps you feel safe expressing yourself in groups and in society). I also offer 1 on 1 therapy services. I believe both, group and individual support are necessary to accelerate your healing process.

Contact me to learn more about the work that I offer and if it feels like my services can support you.

Very best from Boulder, Colorado
Jack Blackwell
Jack@HealingFamilyTrauma.com
(720) 275-2756