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Not All Childhood Emotional Neglect is the Same: 5 Different Varieties

Source link: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-neglect/2020/05/not-all-childhood-emotional-neglect-is-the-same-5-different-varieties/

Coming between a child and his feelings should not be an easy thing to do.

After all, every child’s feelings are literally neurologically and biologically wired into them. Every child’s feelings are a crucial expression of their deepest selves. Every child’s feelings are a vital resource for connection, direction, stimulation, and motivation for a lifetime.

And yet, it happens all the time. Lovable, adorable children grow up in homes where their parents are simply not able to fully see, know, or adore them. Sweet, healthy children reach out to their moms and dads for emotional support and too often find it lacking. Excited, energetic children just want to share their pure joy with their parents and too often end up being tamped down instead.

Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN happens when your parents fail to respond to your emotions enough. Believe it or not, that is all they need to do to separate you from your feelings for a lifetime

Childhood Emotional Neglect is far more common in this world than any of us would care to believe. Every household is different and every child is different. But every time Childhood Emotional Neglect happens in the life of a child, no matter what form it takes, it leaves its indelible footprint there.

This simple definition says a lot about what CEN is, but the reality is that not all Childhood Emotional Neglect is the same. It can be quite a complicated thing and it can happen in many different ways. Keep in mind that you may have experienced just one of these versions of CEN or even all of them.

5 Varieties of Childhood Emotional Neglect

1. Physical Presence

Was one or both of your parents physically present enough as they raised you to meet your needs for supervision, attention, and response? When most people first hear the term, “Childhood Emotional Neglect,” this is the kind they think of. They assume it refers to a latch-key kid who sat home alone, unattended, too much, or too young. This version of CEN is the easiest to see and remember because it’s concrete. You are likely to recall whether your parents were home or not.

CEN Effects: You learn to be very independent and perhaps, hyper-competent. You have learned not to need anyone, and asking for help or accepting it is a challenge.

2. Structure and Consequences

Did your parents enforce rules and responsibilities in your home? This may involve homework, household chores, mealtimes, and bedtimes. Did they give you rewards and consequences based on your behaviors and choices? If your household was too unstructured, too unpredictable, or too inattentive you may have been left to your own devices to figure things out on your own. But children’s brains are not prepared or able to effectively process this.

CEN Effects: Having received too little discipline from your parents, you now struggle to discipline yourself. It’s hard for you to organize yourself and make yourself do what you know you should do, and you may also have a hard time stopping yourself from doing things you shouldn’t do. Chances are high that you blame all of this on yourself, assuming that you are weak or defective in some way.

3. Observation and Feedback

Did your parents see you? Did they notice who you are and then share their observations with you? Children are not self-aware. They learn who they are by looking into their parents’ eyes and seeing themselves reflected there. Your preferences, abilities, weaknesses, challenges, talents, and needs are all important information for you to have about yourself. What happens if you are launched into adulthood without enough of it?

CEN Effects: Not knowing yourself well enough, you have difficulty making good choices for yourself. You may marry wrong, choose the wrong field or trade, or end up simply going with the flow instead of making choices for yourself. When people ask you what you want it may be hard for you to know. Unaware of what you’re good at, what you like or what you want makes it difficult for you to pursue it.

4. Quality of Love

What were the true depth and quality of your parents’ love for you? This one is difficult to write about because I know it may be painful for you to read about. The reality is that even though emotionally neglectful love can be real, honest, and earnestly delivered, it does not deliver the full package of parental love that every child needs. How can you feel fully and deeply loved by your parents if you don’t feel fully and deeply seen and known by them? Sadly, what seems like real quality love in the CEN family is, actually, not.

CEN Effects: You are set up to feel most comfortable when people don’t fully see or know you because it feels familiar and somehow right. You have internalized emotionally neglectful love as the gold standard for love because all children’s brains naturally do this with the type of love they receive from their parents. You may be attracted to other CEN people or tend to keep your friendships and relationships focused more on the other person. Deep down, you’re not sure you deserve to be loved the way you see other people loved.

5. Feelings

Did your parents respond enough to your feelings? Did they act like your emotions mattered? This form of Emotional Neglect envelopes all the others because emotions underly everything in your childhood home. A major parental responsibility is to emotionally validate and educate the child. Your parents need to teach you what you are feeling and why you are feeling it and that it’s OK to feel it. They are meant to help you navigate the world of emotions, both your own and others’ so that you will understand people and how to navigate relationships in every area of life.

CEN Effects: You grow up under-valuing and under-attending to your own feelings. You may even feel ashamed for having them. You may be blind to the world of emotions (as your parents likely were) and focus too much on facts or plans or concrete things. You may be deeply uncomfortable with intense feelings whether your own or another person’s and wall yourself off when you are challenged to deal with feelings. You may feel empty or numb at times and this may cause you to question whether you are somehow different or flawed. Since you’re unschooled in the world of feeling, you may find relationships with others somewhat confusing and perplexing.

What Now?

Whether you grew up with one or all of these forms of Emotional Neglect or somewhere in-between you can be sure that it has left its mark on you. But the imprint of CEN has a silver lining that’s meaningful and real and important for you to know about.

Childhood Emotional Neglect is not an illness or disease, nor is it a life sentence. All of its effects are rooted in the way you had to cope as a child. Think about it. If your parents acted consistently as if your left arm was a useless, unpleasant burden for the family you would, eventually, learn how to hide it. The same applies to your emotions.

So now, just as your arm is still there, so are your feelings. You can reclaim them now and you will see that the vital aspects of life that you have been denied thus far will be within your reach.

Coming between a child and his feelings should not be an easy thing to do, it’s true. The amazing thing is that rejoining that adult with their feelings is remarkably well possible and has a deep and lasting impact on the quality of your life. And there is a well-worn path to take you there.

Socially Depressed — DSM (Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

For children and adolescents, staying at home may not be so bad; they get to play more video games, read more books or indulge in whatever activity they always craved when they used to be in school. But I’m sure some adolescents are also feeling depressed as they cannot gather in their social cliques as frequently as they used to. There’s no doubt that social distancing is increasing the rate of depression worldwide.

via Socially Depressed — DSM (Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Positive parenting: Ideas to help guide children’s behaviour — Pregnancy to Parenting

Parents of children age birth to 6 years (or any age for that matter), will agree that parenting can be a difficult and challenging time. No matter how well you model behaviour and teach your child, no child can behave the way you want allthe time. […]

via Positive parenting: Ideas to help guide children’s behaviour — Pregnancy to Parenting

Children and Divorce — Parenting Today dot ga

Children and Divorce: What happens after? Summary: The greatest issue of divorce is the children because it is they who will witness a breaking of a union, something which they have little or no inkling about. The greatest issue of divorce is the children. It is because every divorce can change lives –all the lives…

via Children and Divorce — Parenting Today dot ga

Tips for Parenting an Introverted Child — Human Performance Psychology

Introverted children are often mistaken for shy children, but being introverted and being shy aren’t the same thing. Parents may see that their child doesn’t seem to socialize as many other children do. Their child may prefer to spend time alone reading or engaging in other individual activities rather than eagerly seeking out the companionship […]

via Tips for Parenting an Introverted Child — Human Performance Psychology

Is Epilepsy Inherited? — Epilepsy Talk

epilepsy-and-disability-e1575904974245.png

Just because you have a parent, sibling, cousin or aunt who has epilepsy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have it also. In fact, if you have a close relative with epilepsy, the chance of you having epilepsy is only about 2-5%, depending on the specific type of epilepsy. The risk in the general population is about 1-2%. On the other hand, there is a 92-98% chance for the close relative of someone with epilepsy to NOT have the same condition! So, even though the risk in families with epilepsy is higher than in the general population, most people with epilepsy do not have any relatives with seizures, and the great majority of parents with epilepsy do not have children with epilepsy. [. . .]

via Is Epilepsy Inherited? — Epilepsy Talk

sick woman fake smile

Feeling Sick, Faking Well

Source link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/chronically-me/201910/feeling-sick-faking-well

The Costume of Health in Chronic Illness

Many of us who live with chronic illness engage all year round with a costume that we take on and off: the costume of wellness. This post addresses what that costume looks like, the social pressure we may feel to wear it, and ways to be mindful of when and how we don it.

The Costume of Wellness

The visual accoutrements of the costume of wellness include makeup and clothing that mask the effects of illness. Behavioral manifestations can include denying the impact of illness in words (“I’m fine!”), in silence (pretending we are not in pain), and in actions (not slowing down or limiting activity, even when we endanger our health).

Sometimes we wear the costume of wellness because it helps us feel better about ourselves.  Sometimes we wear it because we prefer our privacy. And sometimes we wear it because social pressure dictates that we must, and we feel we have no choice but to comply.

The Pressure to Appear Well

Many of my chronically ill clients fear exasperating family and friends when they have to limit activities due to illness. Some also are fearful of complaining too much and “being a downer” by bringing up their illnesses. They’ve internalized the message that they will lose relationships if they dare show up without the costume of wellness.

Psychoanalyst Judith Alpert theorizes that our culture is terrified of death, illness, and vulnerability. Thus, “[t]hose who have contact with the chronically ill . . . do not want to be reminded of vulnerability and ultimate demise. In turn, the demand placed on the chronically ill is to control, hide, and overcome the chronic illness.” (Alpert, 2012).

We who live with chronic illness feel this fear in our interactions with family, friends, and the larger public. We may see friends drift away, unable to manage their own uncomfortable feelings in the face of our suffering. We may have disappointing experiences when we reveal our illness selves, receiving the message that this is something that cannot be spoken about. And so we learn, experientially, that we’d better not remove the costume of wellness.

The Pressure to Manage Well

Inevitably, there are the times when we can’t pass as well — when we’re hospitalized or incapacitated in ways that we can’t hide. We may not be expected to wear the costume of wellness during these situations, but we likely are expected to wear the costume of “the heroic sick person.” The heroic sick person never complains, is able to joke through her pain, and comforts the well with her positive attitude. There’s a lot of social approval for this type of heroism. As Alpert (2012) notes, “The person who smiles and jokes while in obvious physical misery is honored by all.”

Little Women’s sickly Beth is the prototype of the heroic sick person. Angelic in looks and character, she meets her illness and ultimately death with acceptance, bravery, and good humor. There’s no room in this sanitized depiction of illness for terror, bitterness, ugliness, and bodily fluids. There’s no room for being human. There’s no room for truly being sick. (Machado, 2019).

Wearing Wellness Mindfully

There are times that we make the decision to appear healthier than we feel. We may have discovered that it’s good for our mental state to act as if we are more robust than we feel. We may be discerning in determining not to share the vulnerable details of our illness experience with people who would not hold that information safely. The choices of how to define ourselves—both internally and relationally—are ours.

It’s important to be mindful, though, of how much our decisions to mask our illness identity are driven by our perceptions of social pressure. Do we fear abandonment if we appear ill? Do we fear disapproval and distance from those we love if we fail to live up an ideal of wellness? If so, putting on our wellness costume can have negative effects on our mood. Research shows that when people perceive that others think they should feel happy, and not sad, it leads them to feel sad more frequently and intensely (Bastian, et al., 2012). Putting on a smile may NOT be in our best interest, especially if we do so because we fear relational ramifications for being authentic.

How to Wear Our Costumes

Each year, I look forward to interacting with the trick-or-treaters who come to my door. They are delighted with themselves. The five-year-old Superman half-believes he can fly. The seven-year-old movie star feels beautiful enough to walk the red carpet. I conspire with them in their put-on identities, admiring the strength of the pint-sized Hulk and shrinking with fear from the ghost wrapped in an old sheet. We revel together in the playfulness of the holiday and in the thrill of power we feel when we mindfully choose how to present our identity.

It would be crushing to these children to fail to believe them, to say, “You’re not a princess; you’re only the child next door.” But it also would be frightening to insist that the presentation is reality, that the skeleton has negated the little boy inside the costume. Indeed, sometimes children will pull up their masks as if to reassure themselves and say, “I’m not really a monster; I’m just me!”

Can we wear our costumes of wellness as children wear their Halloween costumes? Donning them can be powerful, playful, and resilient. But we don’t want to wear them so rigidly that others can no longer identify us — or so rigidly that we can no longer identify ourselves.

References

Alpert, J.L. (2012).  Loss of humanness:  The ultimate trauma.  American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 72, 118-138.

Bastian B., Kuppens P., Hornsey M. J., Park J., Koval P., Uchida Y. (2012). Feeling bad about being sad: the role of social expectancies in amplifying negative mood. Emotion, 12, 69–80.

Machado, C.M. (2019).  The real tragedy of Beth March. https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/08/29/the-real-tragedy-of-beth-march/

Air Pollution Linked to Mental Health Issues in Children: Studies

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cincinnati, have underscored the link between air pollution and mental health in children in a series of three new studies.

One of the studies published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives demonstrated that short-term exposure to environmental air pollution was related to worsening of symptoms of psychiatric disorders in children one to two days later, as marked by increased use of the emergency department for psychiatric issues in Cincinnati Children’s.

The study also revealed that children living in underprivileged localities may be more prone to the effects of air pollution in comparison with other children, especially for disorders related to anxiety and sui**dality.

The above study was led by Cole Brokamp, PhD, and Patrick Ryan, PhD, researchers in the division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Cincinnati Children’s. According to the Dr Brokamp, “This study is the first to show an association between daily outdoor air pollution levels and increased symptoms of psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and sui**dality, in children. More research is needed to confirm these findings, but it could lead to new prevention strategies for children experiencing symptoms related to a psychiatric disorder. The fact that children living in high poverty neighborhoods experienced greater health effects of air pollution could mean that pollutant and neighborhood stressors can have synergistic effects on psychiatric symptom severity and frequency.”

Two previous studies by researchers from Cincinnati Children’s have also linked air pollution to children’s mental health. Published in the journal Environmental Research, the study led by Kelly Brunst, PhD, a researcher in the department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, and Kim Cecil, PhD, a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s, found a relation between recent high traffic related air pollution (TRAP) exposure and higher generalized anxiety. This study is believed to be the first to use neuroimaging to relate TRAP exposure, metabolic disturbances in the brain, and generalized anxiety symptoms among otherwise healthy children. Higher myoinositol concentrations in the brain—a marker of the brain’s neuroinflammatory response to TRAP was observed.

Another study, also published in Environmental Research, and led by Kimberly Yolton, PhD, director of research in the division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s, and Dr. Ryan revealed that exposure to TRAP during early life and across childhood was significantly linked with self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms in 12-year-olds. Similar findings have been reported in adults too, but research demonstrating clear connections between TRAP exposure and mental health in children has been limited.

“Collectively, these studies contribute to the growing body of evidence that exposure to air pollution during early life and childhood may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems in adolescence,” states Dr Ryan. “More research is needed to replicate these findings and uncover underlying mechanisms for these associations.”

Reference: Cole Brokamp, Jeffrey R. Strawn, Andrew F. Beck, Patrick Ryan. Pediatric Psychiatric Emergency Department Utilization and Fine Particulate Matter: A Case-Crossover Study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2019; 127 (9): 097006 DOI: 10.1289/ehp4815

The Abusers in Mental Health—ACCREDITED SENIOR PSYCHOTHERAPIST/COUNSELLOR -Dr.Fawzy Masaoud-LONDON, ENGLAND

Unfortunately, there are still situations where children are physically, mentally and sexually abused by their parents, caregivers, family members, family friends, teachers etc. You can’t say “Who is an abuser?” Anyone could be an abuser. This is not to scaremonger, but you cannot recognise…

via THE ABUSERS IN MENTAL HEALTH — ACCREDITED SENIOR PSYCHOTHERAPIST/COUNSELLOR -Dr.Fawzy Masaoud-LONDON, ENGLAND

child throwing tantrum

How to Deal with Your Child’s Tantrums

Tantrums are sudden outburst of childish rage or temper. They involve intense emotions like that of anger, loss, frustration, and disappointment which can result in a child crying loudly, throwing things, biting, kicking, or head banging. Interestingly, they are quite common among children of 1-4 years of age, and almost every child goes through them. Tantrums are actually a child’s way of dealing with an unpleasant or frustrating situation. Temper tantrums in toddlers are often a result of frustration. Since a child of 2-3 years has limited vocabulary to express how he or she is exactly feeling and often have difficulty in finding a solution to a problem that he or she encounters; this leads to a feeling of frustration  and anger and is often expressed in the form of tantrums. No matter how common tantrums are, they can pose a huge challenge for parents and often cause great distress to them. However, if dealt properly tantrums can very well be prevented and managed when they happen. Knowing the reason behind your child’s tantrums can help you prevent the sudden outbursts. Some kids are naturally more prone to temper tantrums due to temperamental issues; they are more sensitive and get easily upset; also, stress, hunger, and tiredness can also lead the kids to throw tantrums. Additionally, sometimes kids find themselves in situations that are beyond their coping levels, situations that can be emotionally overwhelming. Here are a few ways to deal with and manage your child’s tantrums:

  1. Stay calm: It may be easier said than done, to remain calm when you find yourself in the middle of your child’s emotional outburst—when he or she start crying loudly, kicking, biting, throwing things at you. You are bound to react, but the key to managing tantrums, being a parent, is remaining as calm as possible. Reacting with an angry outburst will only make the situation worse. Speak slowly in a calm composed manner. As a thumb rule, if you see your child yelling or crying loudly, speak as softly and in a voice as low as possible. Do not try to reason with child as it is very late once a tantrum has started.
  2. Acknowledge the emotions: Very small children throwing tantrum mostly don’t know how to express their emotions and they don’t even know how to label each and every emotion they go through. When your children throw a tantrum help them acknowledge their emotions. If you see that your child is throwing tantrum as a way to express anger, tell him or her, “I know you are angry or upset.”
  3. Allow them to choose: Most of the time a toddler throws a tantrum over things that involve a sense of control. In situations where your child wants to assert his or her own choice especially over issues such as what to eat or wear, it is better to allow your child a little bit of control. Let your child decide what he or she wants to eat or wear or which toy he or she wants to bring along. Give them a chance to decide by giving them two or more options. Don’t make a big deal out of your child’s choice of a weird food combination or if he or she decides to wear some bizarre clothing.
  4. Appreciate good behavior: Find instances when your child behaves in a calm manner in a situation that would have normally caused a tantrum and praise your child effusively—give a pat on their back or hug. Tell him or her “you did wonderful!” This will help your child understand the behavior that is appreciated.
  5. Maintain a routine: It is important to follow a routine. Sudden change in activity sometimes makes children upset and restless. Play-time, lunch/dinner-time, sleep, everything should follow a routine. If you are about to introduce a change in the routine activity or schedule, let your child know five to ten minutes in advance. Say for example, your child is playing, and suddenly you realize that you have guests coming in half an hour, tell your child that he/she has five minutes of more play-time left today as you are expecting guests. Also ensure, especially in case the child is a toddler, that he or she is getting appropriate rest and sleep and is well fed. Sometimes hunger, fatigue, and sleeplessness may make little kids irritable and ultimately trigger a tantrum.
  6. Be consistent with rules: You need to establish some rules early on and follow them consistently. Rules work as a guide to what behavior is accepted and what is not.
  7. Build emotional vocabulary: Toddlers often have limited vocabulary especially when it comes to communicating their feelings. Help them learn emotional vocabulary by finding situations where you label their emotions. You can even engage in role-play of emotions with your child to build his or her emotional vocabulary.
  8. Whether to ignore or not: While many suggest that ignoring a tantrum will stop it. But this is a tricky matter. Imagine you are upset or feeling low and everyone around you starts ignoring you, how would you feel. Same is the case with children. A tantrum, as we know, is an emotional outburst. Suppose your child is upset because his or her sibling took away his or her favorite toy, and you, instead of addressing the issue, ignore his or her displeasure—imagine how frustrating it can be for the child. In a long run, this tactic of ignoring will not only be futile but is also going to set up a bad example as far as the child’s responsiveness to other’s plight is concerned. Your child will learn that whenever people are upset it is better to ignore them. Or, if you feel upset don’t reach out to the loved ones as they are going to ignore you. Thus, when your child throws a tantrum, it is better to go to your child, give him/her a hug and acknowledge his or her feelings.

In cases when you are not able to reach out to your child right away, wait till your child calms down and then hug the child and tell him/her that you were aware of their emotional outburst and now that they are calm, you can help them or comfort them. Most importantly, if you do feel that, in a certain situation, responding to your child’s tantrum will only encourage the child for worse, make sure, while ignoring the tantrum, that your child is safe and well within your visibility so that you can observe his or her reaction.

Affectionate Moms with Depression May Epigenetically Buffer Their Child from Stress

Different environmental factors experienced by a child can undoubtedly impact their life in the long run. Whether they were born into poverty, lack access to education, or are surrounded by violence, these experiences have the ability to dramatically disrupt their lives if they’re without the right support system. [. . .]
via Affectionate Moms with Depression May Epigenetically Buffer Their Child from Stress

5 Parenting Quotes

1. Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.

Carl Jung

2. At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.

Jane D. Hull

3. There is no job more important than parenting. This I believe.

Ben Carson

4. At every step the child should be allowed to meet the real experience of life; the thorns should never be plucked from his roses.

Ellen Key

5. Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.

Nadia Boulanger

How Cats Can Help Children With Autism Become More Social — Katzenworld

Numerous challenges exist for both autistic children and their parents, but new research has indicated that the interaction between autistic individual and cat has positive benefits for the child. This article investigates more about this relationship. Promising New Research A lot of people characterize […]

via How Cats Can Help Children With Autism Become More Social — Katzenworld

Does Sport Enhance Your Academics? — Human Performance Psychology

The studies made on athletic and non/athletic people, have consistently demonstrated that physically active people remain healthier and are able to perform better on tests of cerebral or intellectual ability. Some studies even indicate that the results are sharp and immediate – even a quick 5-minute walk can yield immediate results. Most studies show that […]

via Does Sport Enhance Your Academics? — Human Performance Psychology