When it comes to what one generation passes onto the next, genetics are at the forefront. Some experts say that whatever one generation has, the next are certain to have the same. However, others, through their understanding of epigenetics, have said that their needs to be a trigger in order for anyone’s DNA to have an effect.
And this trigger could be an external trigger, so environmental, or an internal trigger and how one feels or thinks for instance. What doesn’t receive as much exposure as this, is how emotional neglect can be passed on from one generation to another.
But, if one were to step back and look at how the western world is, this is not going to be much of a surprise. And this is because the western world and the countries that have been influenced by it are out of balance. The masculine side has been embraced, whereas the feminine has largely been rejected.
For example, genetics are seen as building blocks and as something that can be changed or removed. Just like how one would build a house, create an extension or remove a part of the existing structure.
Emotions on the other hand, can’t be seen directly, but they can be seen through the consequences that they create. It is also not possible to remove them, like one would move a brick from a house. The masculine approach is all about doing and the feminine approach is about being.
With there being a focus on the masculine or the left brain and a denial of the feminine and the right brain, an imbalance has been created. And that has meant that emotions have largely been ignored.
They are often seen as insignificant and the impact they have ends up being ignored. One can’t see air, but without it one would suffer and die shortly after, if this absence lasted for too long.
And the same applies to emotions; they can’t be seen and yet they define one’s life. If one feels good or balanced, certain things will be done. But if they don’t feel good and are out of balance, it could lead to one behaving in ways that are destructive to themselves and to others.
So genetics will be often seen as the primary reason as to why someone grows up to be how they are. And when this relates to someone’s emotional development, it could be said that they feel as they do because it runs in the family for instance. Here one might suffer from depression, have what is often described as an ‘addictive personality’ or have mental problems.
And while there may be some truth to this outlook, what it doesn’t look into is the kind of care one received as a baby and a child. The kind of nurturing one did receive or didn’t receive during this time will make a massive difference to the kind of person one will grow up to be.
Through the focus being on genetics, its stops attention going where it needs to be. It is through awareness that change takes place, without it, nothing can truly change.
To be neglected during ones formative years is going to create problems and the severity of these problems will depend on many different things. Two people could experience neglect and turn our completely different; one person could elevate themselves and another could end up living a life of pain and suffering or even commit suicide.
Firstly, there will be how the neglect affects them and how they respond to these consequences. And then there will be the kind of support that they do or do not receive.
However, no matter what happens after the neglect has taken place and one becomes an adult, it is likely that one would have said to themselves that they would not do this to anyone. But time passes and one ends up doing to their own child or children, what was done to them.
And as one suffered so much through being neglected themselves, it can seem strange that they would do the same thing to another. Logically this doesn’t make any sense and why would it.
So if one was to work on their neglect through therapy or was able to heal it in another way, then the chances of them passing it on are going to be very low. The problems arise when ones becomes out of touch with what happened all those years ago.
And this is a normal response to trauma, disconnecting from what happened is a way to handle the pain. But although this does allow one to ‘survive’, it also means that they are liable to repeat the same pattern all over again.
This is because the pain of what happened has remained within them and to be around a baby or a child that is incredibly needy and dependent, is going to trigger that part of them that feels the same. And because the child reminds them of this, they will want to avoid the child.
It would be easy to assume that in order for a caregiver to act this way, they must be bad or evil. And yet this behaviour will be a reaction and not something that they have consciously thought about.
Their pain will be triggered and then the child will be neglected; either through the caregiver physically leaving them or by them being emotionally unavailable. The ability to act consciously is taken away as a result of them carrying so much pain.
What this emphasises is the importance of education, especially when it comes to the area of emotional development. Emotional neglect can cause someone to be emotionally stuck and so it will be important for them to deal with the pain of what happened or more to the point, what didn’t happen, many years ago.
Unless one wakes up and takes responsibility for their emotional development, then there is strong chance that nothing will change and the past will be repeated once again. With emotions being generally ignored in the west, it means that in most cases, one will need to take the initiative themselves.
To heal emotional neglect will take work and patience and is likely to require the assistance of a therapist or a healer. They will provide the mirroring and attunement that one didn’t get as a child and allow one to release the emotional pain that they have been carrying ever since.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.