How many of these questions seem to define who you are?
1. Sometimes feel like you don’t belong when with your family or friends ?
2. Pride yourself on not relying upon others ?
3. Have difficulty asking for help ?
4. Have friends or family who complain that you are aloof or distant ?
5. Feel you have not met your potential in life ?
6. Often just want to be left alone ?
7. Secretly feel that you may be a fraud ?
8. Tend to feel uncomfortable in social situations ?
9. Often feel disappointed with, or angry at, yourself ?
10. Judge yourself more harshly than you judge others ?
11. Compare yourself to others and often find yourself sadly lacking?
12. Find it easier to love animals than people ?
13. Often feel irritable or unhappy for no apparent reason?
14. Have trouble knowing what you’re feeling ?
15. Have trouble identifying your strengths and weaknesses?
16. Sometimes feel like you’re on the outside looking in ?
17. Believe you’re one of those people who could easily live as a hermit ?
18. Have trouble calming yourself ?
19. Feel there’s something holding you back from being present in the moment?
20. At times feel empty inside ?
21. Secretly feel there’s something wrong with you ?
22. Struggle with self-discipline ?
For me, it was 21/22.
Adults who have been emotionally neglected are complicated people. We can't look back on our past and see any neglect. Our childhood seems ideal. But we are messed up, in a bad way, because out emotions were not validated. We have learned to distrust them.
Here are the ten consequences of not trusting our emotions:
- Feelings of emptiness
- Counter-dependence (not independence, but actively refusing help)
- Unrealistic self-appraisal
- No compassion for self, plenty for others
- Guilt and Shame, What's wrong with me?
- Self directed anger, self blame
- The Fatal Flaw (a thing we hide, which if known would repel others)
- Difficulty nurturing self and others
- Poor self-discipline
- Alexithymia (poor awareness or understanding of emotions)
My fatal flaw is that I don't feel a lot of emotions. Mom says, "I love you," and I know she's lying because I feel nothing. Sometimes emotions breech the surface, but it's rare, and I suppress them all until I am alone, when they torture me.
I'm working on them, though. Daily exercises where I try to give a name to what I feel. Allowing myself to experience feelings, even the negative ones I used to think defined who I was. Learning to say , "no," and ask for help. Allowing time for myself.
I think the activities to conquer emotional neglect are the same as nourishing my inner child/true self. It's going to take a lot of work. It'll probably take years, and there will be many small epiphanies, but It's nice knowing just how I'm screwed up. Finally.