For the past few articles, we’ve talked about ghosting and how ghosting can painfully impact someone. In addition, we’ve talked about John Bowlby’s “The Attachment Theory” and how we each grow into different attachment styles. Similar to this topic, I’ve come across negligence. Negligence plays a huge role in our relationships and it stems from childhood. The lack of affection we receive as children rings into the lack of commitment in our relationships.
Dr. Edward Tromick, of Harvard University, conducted an experiment on how a mother’s depression affected the emotional development towards her child.
He calls it “ The Still Face Experiment.” In this experiment, an infant has a 2 minute interaction with her non-responsive mother. She quickly picks up her mother’s lack of expression and does anything to get her attention. Eventually, she gets angsty, shrieks and finally cries. After the two minutes are up, the mother quickly draws comfort to her baby.
The purpose of the experiment was stating that if a child doesn’t feel affection in 2 minutes, just imagine how would she feel if it were a lifetime of absence from her mother. That is exactly how it is for some of us. We look for partners who merely cannot give us what we want. This goes the same for parents. If our parents couldn’t show us love, how can we grow up to believe that others will?
Kati Morton, a licensed therapist, spoke about the topic of childhood emotional neglect, or CEN, on her YouTube video. In quote, she says “ Those who have suffered from emotional neglect often don’t know that it is happening. That’s because this type of neglect isn’t overt, or intentional, and therefore can go unnoticed for years.” This explains why some people have trouble opening up to others. Nonetheless, Kati addressed some useful tips on how to recover from childhood emotional neglect or CEN.
These are the few that I found to be most useful:
Start noticing your emotions and track them down. Just by observing how you feel ignites self-awareness and being in the present moment.
Take care of your needs. This can be hard if you take an inch for yourself, yet give everyone else a mile. Kati states, “ When any needs or desires we have are constantly ignored, we can begin to believe that our needs are just too much. “ Hence, you need to accept your needs and know that they are worthy.
Make a list that will help you feel nurtured and cared for. Out of the two, some find this one to be the most daunting. It may be because of the limited belief, “If I have never been cared for, what’s the point now?” However, making a list can help you recognize your self-worth by being able to achieve unfinished goals yourself.
In conclusion, if we experience neglect with our parents, we will most likely experience neglect with our partners. This doesn’t have resonate to with everybody. For those of you who notice this pattern, you can change it. Negligence is a touchy topic and far more complicated than I can write. It may be uncomfortable however recognizing this discomfort can be the first step towards change in love, life and happiness.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”~ Martin Luther King