If someone was abused as a child, it might be possible for them to see that their childhood was anything but nurturing. However, if they were neglected during this stage of their life, this might not be possible.
The reason for this is that when it comes to abuse, someone might be able to see that they were hit or put down, for instance. Yet, when it comes to neglect, one might not be able to think of anything bad that took place.
A Forgotten Time
Therefore, although both abuse and neglect can be something that can’t be remembered, it doesn’t alter the fact that early abuse is more likely to stand out. And when early abuse and/or neglect are blocked out, it is likely to be because of how painful it was.
To get in touch with what took place could be too much for them to handle. There is also the chance that what they experienced as a child had an effect on the parts of their brain that are involved in memory, which is why they can’t remember anything.
If someone was neglected as a child, and they were to look back on this stage of their life, they might see it as a relatively normal childhood. They might see that were times when they were lonely but that could be about as far as it goes.
If their basic needs were met, such as their need for food, clothing and shelter, they could say that this proves that everything was fine. They could say that their caregiver/s did the best that they could.
Still, without even going into what their adult life is like, what is likely to prove that this was a time in their life when they didn’t receive the love that they needed are their feelings. If they were able to get in touch with how they feel, they could find that they are carrying a lot of emotional pain.
Just as the remains of a building would provide an archaeologist with the evidence that is needed; ones feelings will provide them with the evidence that is needed. These won’t be feelings that have been created by their thoughts; they will be feelings that are held in their body and are a reflection of what took place when they were a child.
When it comes to the feelings that are held in their body, there can the sadness, loss, helplessness, hopelessness, rejection, and abandonment that are held in their chest area. Further down, in their stomach, can be the feeling of being powerless, worthless and having no control.
In their hip area can fear, terror and the feeling of wanting to die. As an adult, these feelings might not make sense, but if they were to imagine that they were small child that had been left, a child that didn’t have the ability to handle their emotions and being left at this age was seen as something that would cause them to die, they might make complete sense.
The feelings that they experienced during this stage of their life can be feelings that they are accustomed to feeling now that they are an adult. There could also be moments when they shut down emotionally and are unable to connect with how they feel.
So as a result of not receiving the love and care that they needed during this stage of their life, they are likely be in an undeveloped state. They probably won’t be able to handle their emotions and they could have a weak sense of self.
All at Sea
If they are unable to handle their emotions, their emotional self could have the tendency to take over. When this happens, one is going to feel as though they have no control and it can be incredibly painful.
What this will come down to is that they didn’t receive the attunement that they needed as a child to develop the ability to regulate their own emotions - this is not an ability that one is born with. And, as there was no one available on a consistent basis, one would have had to disconnect from their feelings (body) in order to survive.
Starved of Attention
Not only would this have had a negative impact on their emotional development, it would have also stopped them from being able to develop a strong sense of self. As an adult, then, one can find that it is hard for them to know what they want and to maintain who they are around others.
They could then have the inclination to do what other people want and to lose themselves around others. One will have their own body, but it will be hard for them to express who they are, their true-self, and to live a life that reflects who they are.
At The Root
Another thing that one may find is that it is hard to feel good about themselves and to be comfortable in their own skin. What this is likely to come down to is that they were egocentric as a child, meaning that they would have taken everything personally.
In reality, what took place had everything to do with their caregiver’s and absolutely nothing to do with them. Still, one can believe that there is something inherently with them and they can carry a lot of toxic shame, with this being partly due to the interpersonal bridge between them and their caregiver/s being broken.
There are just some of the symptoms that can arise if one was neglected as a child. If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support.
This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or a healer. There will be the beliefs that one needs to deal with, the emotional wounds that they need to heal, and the trauma that they need to resolve.
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Oliver JR Cooper
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.