38 Daily Affirmations For Healing Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN): Happens when your parents fail to respond enough to your emotional needs as they raise you.

Growing up with your parents under-responding to your feelings throughout your childhood sets you up to under-respond to your own feelings through your adulthood. Essentially, you are trained to ignore, minimize, and perhaps even be ashamed of, your own feelings.

But the good news is that Childhood Emotional Neglect is not a lifelong sentence. You can heal it. And it’s not as difficult or complicated as you might think.

By beginning to pay attention to yourself and your own feelings, you can begin to honor your deepest self; the self that was so ignored as a child. The more you focus on yourself, your own feelings and needs and wants, the better you can take step after step through the CEN healing process.

Why You Need Affirmations

As a psychologist who specializes in treating Childhood Emotional Neglect, I have walked hundreds of people through the 5 stages of CEN recovery. And I have watched motivated people slip off-track, distracted by the demands of their everyday life or discouraged about their inability to make it happen fast enough.

One thing I know from going through this with so many CEN folks is that the ones who succeed, who really change their lives, are the ones who never give up.

The best thing you can do to heal yourself is to keep your goals in your mind as you go through your day. And to help you do that, I am sharing with you daily affirmations in every area of your recovery: healing yourself, healing your marriage, parenting your children, and coping with your emotionally neglectful parents.

Once you get started, you may want to use some from all 4 areas, because once you start to see yourself through the lens of CEN, you may reflect differently on every important person in your life.

How to Use The Affirmations

I recommend you read through all of the affirmations below. As you do so, you may notice that certain ones jump out at you. These are the ones that you likely need the most right now.

You can use these affirmations in two different ways. You can say them to yourself when you need them, to keep you on track, remind you of what’s important, and strengthen you. You can also use them as starting points to help you think about, or meditate on, what’s important in your healing. I hope you will use them, and use them well.

38 Daily Affirmations/Meditations For Healing Your Childhood Emotional Neglect


My wants and needs are just as important as anyone else’s.

My feelings are important messages from my body.

My feelings matter.

I am a valid human being with feelings and needs.

I am worth getting to know.

I am a likable and lovable person.

I am the only person responsible for getting my own needs met.

It is not selfish, but responsible, to put my own needs first.

Asking for help is a sign of strength.

Feelings are never right or wrong. They just are.

I am proud to be a deeply feeling person.

All human beings make mistakes. What matters is that I learn from mine.

I deserve to be cared for.

My feelings are walled off, but they are still there, and they are important.

Every feeling can be managed.


My children’s feelings drive their behavior. Feelings first.

I can’t give my children what I do not have myself.

My child is important, but so am I.

The better I care for myself, the better I can care for my child.

I don’t need to be a perfect parent. I just need to pay enough attention to their feelings.

I will give my child what I never got from my parents.

The best way to do better for my children is to do better for myself.


I matter, and so does my husband/wife.

My partner cannot read my mind.

It’s my responsibility to tell my partner what I want, feel, and need.

My partner and I each have hundreds of feelings each and every day.

It’s okay if my partner’s feelings are not the same as mine.

The facts are less important than my partner’s feelings.

When it comes to my marriage, sharing is key.

My partner needs me to talk more and ask more questions.


I did not choose to grow up emotionally neglected.

My parents could not give me what they did not have.

My parents are not capable of seeing or knowing the real me.

I am angry at my parents for a reason. They failed me in a very important way.

I can spend time with my emotionally neglectful parents. My boundaries will protect me.

I don’t have to be validated by my parents. I validate myself.

If my parents are not able to see me, I will see myself.

It’s my responsibility to give myself what my parents couldn’t give me. And I will.

You can find out more about reparenting yourself and healing your CEN by signing up for my Free CEN Breakthrough Video Series.

Childhood Emotional Neglect can be subtle and unmemorable so it can be hard to know if you have it. To find out Take The Emotional Neglect Test. It’s free.

To learn much more about how Emotional Neglect happens and how to heal it, see the book Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Richard - April 25, 2019 Reply

Dear Dr Webb,
I came from a family where my father loved me and was good to me but my mother was jealous and hated me intensely. She repeatedly abandoned me alone in a room for many hours and left the house when I was one year old. She was a trained PE teacher with an interest in psychology and calculated the most effective ways to make me suffer. Left me all day alone in a house at 4 after telling me not to touch razor blades, which she left out for me to find and you can guess what happened. Deliberately starved me at 13 so I had malnutrition, while my 8 years old brother had three times as much food as me. Grounded me for while I was 13 to 16, so I had no friends out of school. Blamed me for her not having a dazzling career. Told me that I had to earn her love and that was impossible because whatever I did it was never good enough. I did very well at school because I worked so hard but was never given any praise from her, only complaints. There are many other bad things she did but the worst was not telling the truth during a custody hearing so I lost custody of my first son who had to live with an abusive mother. Also she was very horrible to my father when he tried to help me during my marriage breakdown and that led to him dying shortly afterwards.

My problem is that I do not believe the affirmations even slightly. My question is would your book help in those cases where the harm was deliberate?

    Jonice - April 26, 2019 Reply

    Dear Richard, I am so very, very sorry that you were born to a woman who was capable of treating an innocent, helpless child that way. You endured far more than emotional neglect. Your mother sounds like she took sadistic joy in hurting people, and you were a close person she could harm. I do think Running On Empty could help, but I strongly encourage you to see a therapist, if you have not already done so. It takes a lot of support and help to undo what your mother has done. Sending you all my warmest wishes for your deserved healing.

Kalia - March 31, 2019 Reply

Hi Dr. Webb,

Thanks for writing your book. I always knew that I experienced this in my life but now it has a name! Long story short – grew up in Asian family, oldest, with a brother who was just a year younger. Asian families worship first born son. I was the referee in the family between my parents and brother. I remember hurting myself to get attention, thinking I needed to give people things so they would like me. When I got older, I realized that to survive, I just needed to hide my emotions. So I did that and ignored them. I was married to a wonderful man for the past 25 years, with both a high intellectual and emotional IQ, who would just deal with my infant like anger. I am a widow now. I just dated a man for the past 3 months when my CEN just blew up the relationship – my inability to handle anger in an adult way. Lesson learned. I am not mad at my parents, I understand they were doing their best and didn’t get what they needed in their lives. At least I now know what I need to do to fix this problem. Thank you for putting a name with this for all of us who experienced this in our lives and providing steps so we can heal and move on.

Jenn Seeley - February 26, 2019 Reply

Hi Dr. Webb! I would like to make these affirmations into printable cards to use with my clients. With your permission, I would gladly send them your way in a printable PDF for sharing. What do you think?

    Jonice - February 26, 2019 Reply

    Hi Jenn, what a great idea! That’s fine, as long as you include attribution to my work. I’d love a copy. Thanks for your support of my work.

      Jenn Seeley - February 26, 2019 Reply

      Thanks! Where should I send them when they’re done? I’m working on them right now!

rachel - February 21, 2019 Reply

Thanks for sharing these affirmations. They’ve got me thinking…..I’m not sure about thinking that my wants are always as important as others..I think it can depend on what they are.
I also found that I wasn’t agreeing on some other affirmations but will look at them again.

Maria Powell - February 19, 2019 Reply

I am CEN I never knew this category existed it all makes sense Dad was a depressed voiceless soul, Mother was Narcissistic with five children from the 60’s and 70’s. Mother prided herself on her looks as she looked like a Mexican Elizabeth Taylor as I was the oldest I was just a fixture as her right hand to her babies and her; picking up on the baby duties washing diapers, bottles, rocking the babies putting them down for their naps the only thing missing was breast feeding. I
never got acknowledged I live with this dark cloud over my head as I am not deserving of opportunities, or I don’t allow myself to get close to others and do not seek making friendships, I get passed this rage and channel through my nursing and seek happiness in providing of myself to the underdogs: patient’s in nursing homes, individuals with mental health issues or drug addicted patients . It is a work in progress to try to find balance and to be neutral I’m used to being verbally bullied by this elder parent I guess I am desensitized but I can understand in the movie MOMMY DEAREST the scene where Joan Crawford tells Christina Crawford ” Why can’t you treat me like i would be treated like any stranger out on the
street?” and Christina Crawford responds ” Cause I’m not one of your fans”! I will continue to look for CEN affirmations and further self books.. Thank you mp

    Jonice - February 20, 2019 Reply

    Dear Maria, bullying by a parent is actually abuse. And it sounds like emotional neglect was a part of the fabric of your life as a child. You deserve now to have everything you missed out on. I sincerely hope you will start taking a new path instead of continuing on the one your parents set you up for. Sending you all my best wishes.

Lou - February 14, 2019 Reply

What are the 5 stages of CEN recovery?
I see the 4 areas are healing yourself, healing your marriage, parenting your children and coping with parents.
Anyone know what the 5 stages are?
Many thanks!

    Jonice - February 14, 2019 Reply

    Dear Lou, those are actually not the 5 stages. I avoid simply listing them at the end of a blog post because it’s not a helpful way to present them to people. It’s important to have some knowledge and understanding about CEN first. I recommend you either visit my website, emotionalneglect.com and sign up for my newsletter or read my first book, Running On Empty, to start learning more about the 5 Stages. Thanks for your very good question!

Karen - February 12, 2019 Reply

Thanks Dr Webb
The one that jumped off the page is “I’m worth getting to know “. That is, worth getting to know myself first then letting others get to know me. The real me, the one that’s been hidden away for so long.

    Jonice - February 12, 2019 Reply

    Yes, exactly Karen! The real you.

Len - February 11, 2019 Reply

Thank you. This is wonderful stuff..i will definitely using the affirmations and i will share them with a couple of friends and myfamily

    Jonice - February 11, 2019 Reply

    I’m glad to hear that Len!

CEN - February 10, 2019 Reply

Thank you Dr. Webb!

I realize now that the affirmation ‘I am likeable and loveable’ is about how I see myself – how I value myself; and not how others see me and value me.

So, am I ‘likeable and loveable’ to myself? Sure! I certainly have some positive traits. I’m not perfect by any means – have a long way to go in some areas, but I’m on the journey, and thats what counts.

Deep down, I would not have answered in such a positive way before my healing journey.

Thanks again for the ‘ah-ha’ moment!

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    That’s all good! Keep up the great work you’re doing.

Catherine - February 10, 2019 Reply

I’m a little stumped. The affirmations that have to do with marriage are hard for me. My spouse is the one who has picked up the baton of emotional neglect from my parents. Any time I have tried to express feelings and wants I am negated and made to feel that I am unreasonable and worthless. I am at a point where I don’t really know what to do anymore. I keep blaming myself for the whole mess. It seems the more I try to practice things to heal from CEN, which for me was not invisible, but an integral part of the abuse I suffered as a child, the worse our relationship gets. Thank you for writing the book. It has really explained a lot of things about me.

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    Dear Catherine, I hope you’ll keep working on your CEN no matter how your husband reacts. Maybe you can take him to see a CEN therapist with you at some point. It’s hard to heal when someone is sabotaging your efforts.

      Catherine - February 11, 2019 Reply

      Thank you for your encouragement. I’ve already tried therapy with him, after a few sessions he said that it took too much time and effort and he didn’t want to do it anymore. I’m trying to build support outside of the home to keep me more grounded. It is indeed very difficult to live with someone who invalidates anything you say.

Mom2_8 - February 10, 2019 Reply

Thank you. I’m struggling in life in so many areas. I’m a lifelong learner back in formal education, and as life goes there’s many bumps along the way. As I sit here writing a paper for a class, my mind drifts and I come upon this email in my inbox. Just the reminders I need. They come right after learning my friend from junior high father just passed. It reminds me of my own mother’s time on earth is almost gone at 88.5 and forgetting more than she’s remembering these days. I’m trying to stay focused on my goals, but so much is against me. One day at a time, new mercies I see. Thanks for the encouragement I need right now. Gratitude always~~

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    Dear Mom2_8, it sounds like you are coping with quite a lot. But you sound like someone who will keep plugging away and get through it. I hope the affirmations ease your way.

CEN - February 10, 2019 Reply

Thank you for these affirmations. Very helpful and empowering.

The only one I have an issue with is ‘I am a likeable and loveable person.’ I’m not sure that is true – certainly the feedback I get from everyone else is that the true me, my core, is not likeable and loveable.

When I was a child, this used to upset me very deeply, thus, for years, I lived a shadow of myself, doing whatever everyone else wanted, even alerting my thought patterns to match everyone else’s – trying to be ‘likeable and loveable.’ Honestly, it didnt really work that well. All I had were some superficial relationships, which did nothing to fulfill me internally. And morally, I felt like a hypocrite.

However, now, as I am healing from emotional neglect, it does not bother me nearly as much that I do not seem ‘likeable and loveable’ to others. I am who I am. Whether that is ‘likeable and loveable’ does not matter.

I am spending lots of time alone, exploring myself and my interests. And I find that so much more fulfilling than being around others.

I find modern society encourages ‘likeability and loveability’ as key, dominant traits one should have – and this is at the expense of traits that I see are far more important, like integrity, honesty, being virtuous, etc (people literally chase after facebook ‘likes’!!!)

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    Dear CEN, It is not possible that you were not likable and lovable as a child. Of course you were! But sadly, the people around you were not capable of it for their own reasons. I think it’s great that you have discovered your positive traits, and can see your value. Loving and liking yourself is key to so many parts of happiness.

    Miss Anita Pearce - July 4, 2019 Reply

    Dear CEN,
    I agree with you about being given the message that your core self was not likeable or loveable. But I have had the same problems as an older child and adult with the outside world – eactuuallly I have been treated worse by counterparts than by my familly. So I am sure I have fundaental flawas. The older I ge,t the more I feel despised by other people and the message is constantly drummed home that I AM RESPONSBLE for my own feelings an problems. Nobody else wants anything to do with them, or me.
    I have noticed that it is twice on the list of affirmations that I AM RESPONSIBLE and I have to provide everything I need for myself. I have no idea how that can be possible.
    Also, I notice that feelings are given a high level of importance. The other self-help people see to say that I A RESPONSIBLE plus that feelings are not to be trusted, your own mind is noto be trusted either. The thing that matters is that thoughts cause feelings, whereas I always felt that feelings are a kind of wordless alarm system and when they are given attention by the person with the feeling, the person only then puts them into words and they become a thought. In other words, all experts and many ordinary people accept this is the order – thought first, which causes a feeling. Opposte to the way I feeel it happens. So they then ay we are responsible for controlling the thoughts, which then controls the feelings… so easy! Perhaps the author Dr Jonice Webb should look into this as an option for change?

GWOR - February 10, 2019 Reply

Only Child comments: Age 70+
My one parent or both parents had absolutely no intention of giving anything they already had.
Signed: “ A mistake by the lake” where I strangely worked for many years while going through both college & university; it is the continuing rhythm of the waves of the lake going to and fro being my continuous healing. It is always out my back door.
Other Info:
I was the only one left to bury them , both having long drawn out serious illnesses and with guidance and caring of the small town family funeral director who lifted my weight and allowed closure with equanimity to both parents .

And those within the community that supported my decision to do what is just and right. Those aging people remained friends knowing the true story have also now passed away and their children as well did what is just and right to get their closure.

And by attending their parents funerals it is a way to let the waves ebb and flow as life must move on in order and balance to keep one’s sense of direction & purpose.

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    Dear Gwor, thank you for sharing. Your writing conveys a deep and healing acceptance of the pain of CEN.

Jan - February 10, 2019 Reply

Your affirmations on how to cope with emotionally neglectful parents is most helpful! Actually, both of my parents have died but the memories of them and the damage they did to both myself and my siblings still plague me as if they were still living!

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    Dear Jan, I understand what you mean. For all of us, our parents still live in our heads and hearts. It’s up to us to take control of their influence over us. Sounds like you are working on it, so good for you!

Arlene - February 10, 2019 Reply

I am working on forgiving my parents for making me responsible for their happiness.

    Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

    Dear Arlene, just be sure you honor your own feelings about your parents. Jumping over that to trying to forgive may not be good for you.

      No Hope - February 10, 2019 Reply

      Can you elaborate more on this? The only two feelings I am aware of my entire life are terror when younger, and anger/bitterness/rage all of my adult years. My father was a raging alcoholic and my mother emotionally incested me (“her little man”). She told me I was conceived in rape and they wanted an abortion but it wasn’t legal back then. She told me I was responsible for all of my father’s rage. My older brother died last year and on his death bed told me that both he and I was sexually abused by a male neighbor who watched us after school (both parents worked). I have no memory of that but have never been able to initiate relations. My wife of 25 years and I have had a sexless marriage for 20 years (she got tired of both having to initiate and my frequent impotency). I’ve also been touch averse my whole life and find all affection unpleasant. Anyway, my wife and secular friends all say I “just need to get over” my past, and my Christian pastor and friends say I need to repent of my anger and bitterness towards my parents and God. So I’m interested on how one can get past only having ever felt terror or rage (I have never felt love, affection, gratitude, joy, or peace). My wife is also CEN and the only child of a raging alcoholic father and mother killed herself at 5 years of age. She claims she has no issues and has dealt with it all through prayer, but I don’t believe her because she shuts me down any time I get anywhere near expressing even negative thoughts, never mind negative feelings.

        Jonice - February 10, 2019 Reply

        Dear No Hope, I am so sorry to read your story. No child should grow up in the way you did. Everything you said makes sense, and I totally understand why your feelings are restricted to the ones you describe. I very much encourage you to see a CEN therapist. You can find a list of them on my website, emotionalneglect.com. You deserve help and support, and I hope you will accept some for yourself. All my best wishes to you.

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