Most of the emotional wounds we express in our current life through feelings and behaviors originated in the early months and years of our life. Emotional Neglect is the least publicly discussed or scientifically researched of the Adverse Childhood Events or ACEs. But it is more prevalent and just as damaging as physical or sexual abuse in the long term. Neglect is not dramatic enough to make the headlines. It is difficult to see what’s missing in a child’s life, and neglect often occurs together with abuse. So, it goes overlooked. But the consequences of Emotional Neglect are very real.
Current understanding about childhood needs estimates that parents need to provide affection and validation in an age-appropriate way to the child at least 30% of the time. Emotional Neglect is not always about bad parents making bad choices. Often emotional neglect is learned and passed down in a cycle to the next generation. And caregivers may be overwhelmed, struggling, or pre-occupied in other areas. Regardless of the cause, if children don’t get the emotional modeling they need when young, they will learn from peers and adults outside the home. 
How our parents treated us as children is how we view ourselves as adults. Emotionally Neglected children learn that their feelings and emotions are irrelevant. Dr. Jonic Webb, the author of Running on Empty, explains that this profoundly impacts developing self-identity and understanding/processing emotions in themselves and others. They will grow into adulthood and experience many of the following internal narratives.
· Feelings of emptiness
· Counter-dependence (the fear of being dependent on anyone)
· Unrealistic self-appraisal (not sure of self-identity or desires)
· No compassion of self, plenty for others
· Guilt and shame; what is wrong with me?
· Self-directed anger, self-blame
· The fatal flaw (if people really knew me, they won’t like me)
· Difficulty nurturing self and others
· Poor self-discipline
· Alexithymia: poor awareness and understanding of emotions 
Do any of these stories ring true for you?
The self-talk of Emotional Neglect colors every interaction and expectation in life. These are meta-emotions—how we feel about how we feel. We behave and interact with others based on how worthy we feel and how deserving we think we are.
How can self-talk change?
Our behaviors and interactions led us directly to the emotional injuries that need resolving. By working to resolve the emotions associated with neglect and self-talk, individuals can change their current stories and feelings about their past.
Emotional Resolution®, EmRes®, uses current-ish real-life episodes to reset the subconscious triggers that promote negative self-talk and self-esteem. Self-betrayal, self-denial, and any other internal or external action that reflects negatively on the self is fodder for this work.
Often it can feel like a swampy, tangled mess of emotions and behaviors. Where to start?
One of the many beautiful things about EmRes® is that the end goals and session topics are self-directed. The client chooses.
My client, Clara (not her real name), started her EmRes® journey when she had a big decision to make and couldn’t bring her mind to grasp what she wanted. Her fiancé, whom she had been living with for four years, wanted to move forward: get married, have kids, buy a house, settle down into family life. Clara was frozen in indecision. When the subject came up, he would bring up so many positive reasons. She agreed with all of it. Clara just couldn’t commit to saying, “Yes, we can start. Let’s do it now.” Every time they would talk about it, she’d say, “I need more time” and think, “This can’t be right for me. I’m missing something, but I don’t know what.”
Clara’s first EmRes® session started right there: a previous conversation with her fiancé about marriage and kids. Her following EmRes® sessions began with conversations or situations where she didn’t feel confident or felt shamed by someone. These included talking to her mother, getting through job interviews, was the offered job right for her, understanding where she wanted to live, did she want children with anyone, etc. Her EmRes® work healed the emotional wounds and triggers that kept her from living and feeling fully
Clara didn’t have a diagnosis of Emotional Neglect, as far as I know. She was successful in business and a quiet, kind, and caring person. Anyone would love to have her as a friend, wife, or daughter. But it was clear through session conversations that she had no sense of who she was inside, what she wanted, or how to express her opinion or emotion without fear of reprisal.
Through a series of Emotional Resolution® sessions, Clara found her voice. She realized what she wanted and under what conditions they could happen for her to be comfortable. As she found her voice, Clara also discovered herself and was happy with the person she is.
At the beginning of one session, Clara shared that she had been singing and playing guitar privately for years. At a small local pub the previous evening, a friend invited her on-stage to sing with the band. She hesitated a little, then joined the group for a couple of songs. Then with their encouragement, borrowed a guitar and sang on her own. They loved it. She loved it more. Clara was thrilled with her new confidence in sharing music. She wasn’t interested in a music career but loved the joy of a shared musical experience. She would try it again soon. It was just an outward manifestation of the new and beautiful changes that were going on internally. A wallflower no more!
Using EmRes® to work through the consequences of Emotional Neglect uses recent events to access past wounds. EmRes® doesn’t need to know or understand where or when the injury happened, just that it did. This kind of emotional hygiene will have profound effects. Each session brings relief, even if multiple sessions are necessary to bring on large internal shifts in confidence and contentment.
Are you ready to change your self-image and self-talk?
1. What is Developmental Trauma / ACEs, https://www.porticonetwork.ca/web/childhood-trauma-toolkit/developmental-trauma/what-is-developmental-trauma
2. The Hollower: Childhood Emotional Neglect and Its Effects, https://www.themeadows.com/blog/the-hollower-childhood-emotional-neglect-and-its-effects/
3. Running on Empty, by Jonice Webb Ph.D. with Christine Musello, PsyD
Sue Siebens is an intuitive holistic healer based in Dallas, Texas. In her practice, she uses techniques that work at a fundamental level, where the roots of the illness, fear, and pain can be accessed and resolved. Sue teaches and blogs to broadcast and raise awareness about these new technologies so that as many people as possible can find relief and peace in their life.