How many of these questions seem to define who you are?

Do You...

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:

  1. Feelings of emptiness
  2. Counter-dependence (not independence, but actively refusing help)
  3. Unrealistic self-appraisal
  4. No compassion for self, plenty for others
  5. Guilt and Shame, What's wrong with me?
  6. Self directed anger, self blame
  7. The Fatal Flaw (a thing we hide, which if known would repel others)
  8. Difficulty nurturing self and others
  9. Poor self-discipline
  10. 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.