I was waiting to be served in post office when a man started talking about feeling not right. I shared what I just found out from Jonice Webb about emotional neglect in childhood. From his conversation I realised he was suffering from
CEN. We had an instant connection for shared experiences. Amazing!
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That is amazing Rodney! You made a stranger’s day, and I hope your own as well! Good job making a meaningful connection with another person.
Hi I’m new to realizing my CEN. what direction do I need to go?
I recommend first reading Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect. You can find it on Amazon or bookstores or local library. That will get you started. Also be sure to join my newsletter because that will keep you informed of every new resource available.
My wife and I are separated due to the fact that I am emotionally disconnected. I have been seeing a councilor for a few months and haven’t come to the source of my issues. When asked why I do things the way I do and unable to explain my feelings it drives my wife crazy. Let me also inform that my wife is a LCSW. When questioned by her I start feeling anxiety and discomfort and I clam up with feelings of cowardness, worthlessness, embarrassment. This is also my second marriage and I have an adult daughter from first marriage, that I don’t have a successful relationship with. Could I be suffering from CEN?
It’s a possibility, Michael, based on what you are describing. Please take the CEN Test from this website and read the book Running On Empty. You’ll get a sense of whether it applies to you that way.
Dear Dr. Webb,
After many years together, and a lot of work on our marriage (predominantly through heavy emotional labor performed by me before we started having children), my husband and I recently became aware of you, your books, and the concept of CEN. We were immediately able to pinpoint what has been covertly ailing our relationship all these years — his rather extreme difficulty with CEN. He has started seeing a therapist but it is progressing SO slowly. Too slow. Meanwhile I am desperately lonely and feel that I am drowning trying to hold our marriage and our family (1 young child and 1 on the way) together. I feel that things need to improve markedly before the baby gets here or this will be a disaster. I simply cannot emotionally carry 4 of us by myself with no emotional anchor. I am already seeing my own therapist. It does help to vent my frustrations somewhere else so as not to discourage him and spread my burgeoning feelings of hopelessness. I have also broadened my friend circle and reconnected with more distant family. But it’s not close to filling the hole in my heart. And I can feel that myself and my young child are starting to sustain damage now too. I can’t let that happen so I feel that my husband and I may be on track to “miss out” on each other in life. By the time he gets here, I worry I won’t be able to come back to love, much less the madly-in-love feelings I used to have for many years. I am so sad. What more can I do to “hold on” while I wait? Can I do anything to make this progress faster? Are we just star-crossed?
Dear Juliet I know you’re in a very difficult situation. I suggest you see your husbands therapist with him as a way to bring your feelings into the room. That may speed up progress. Best wishes to you!
Thank you Dr. Webb, I will do that. Could you also point me to any additional resources or support groups for spouses of people with CEN. I don’t want to feel so alone anymore.
Dear Juliet, I’m sorry I don’t know of any support groups like that. But you should definitely read Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships. it has lots of helpful information for you.
I am so glad to have stumbled across CEN as it “explains” me perfectly. I am 61 years old, divorced, very lonely and was subjected to CEN for 39 years until my mother died in 1996. I am also a HSP – double whamy! I bought the book right away – about a year ago – but . . . I’m scared to read it. I’m afraid i’ll see myself and feel worse or that the “fixes” won’t work and my depression will get even worse (already pretty bad even on 2 meds). Any ideas on how to overcome this? There are no CEN therapist within 200 miles. I’ve emailed a couple on the list and heard nothing back.
Wow, reading about CEN explains ‘me’, perfectly. I have had that exact thought of feeling there was something wrong with me but not knowing what. Ever since childhood I have struggled forming relationships and thought I was just a bit odd. My father had many narcissistic qualities and so CEN explains everything perfectly. Thank you for highlighting and shining a light on this issue.
Hi Dr Jonice,
I have been supporting a boy from age 13-19 with CEN it was going really well until this year. My daughter rejected his romantic advance and he changed dramatically. He will not see us and has been behaving awfully towards me. I am devestated. He says he will talk when he is ready but i am so hurt and frustrated that i have lashed out a few times and feel guilty. How do i deal with this. I guess my fear is losing him as someone in our lives he says we wont but he is like a son to me and i miss him terribly. He is punishing me i think because he knows i love him very much.
Dear Jgrohl, this is far too complex a problem for me to help you with online. Please do see a therapist who can get all the history and help you through this.
Ive read your book running on empty. How do you deal with intrusion of emotions and thoughts to the degree you self harm just to shut them up. They become so confusing and overwhelming I cant deal with them. Ive been told as a child and as an adult in a church that basically my feelings are incorrect. I know now my sense about a situation was correct, but I still have the messages running in my head…and Id rather shut them up than feel them.
I realised and posted afew years ago about the trouble of living as an adult post CEN.
As a fairly competent scientist in those few years my skills have become more in demand, and as a result I am busy enough to know I just can’t keep going like this; yet saying no when you could help others is so hard.
To make things harder I’m now in the first meaningful relationship I’ve let myself be in (as running away comes naturally when you’ve learnt not to trust), and explaining why saying no is so hard just seems to be incomprehensible to someone more normal. How do you go about explaining it to someone, that you are trying to get a better balance, but that you are just not good at putting your own needs first; and how can you let people you could help down without feeling guilty?
Dear AC, you don’t owe an explanation at all. But if it makes you feel bad, you can say, “I’m working on paying more attention to my own needs. My impulse is to always say yes but it’s wearing me down. I’m sorry but I can’t.” Or some variation using your own words.
hi Dr. jonice, let me first introduce my self, i`m inez from indonesia, I’ve read your very outstanding books (running on empty & second, running on empty no more) thank you so much for healing me, your books is really helping me to understand my self. i trough bad childhood and ever to think to commit suicide but after reading your books finally i can analyze what happened. so finally i got to stage where i am trying to forgive and make peace with my parents, but it`s really hard to do that and i just to figured out that is not fully my parents mistake because may them just inhereted from their parents too but this hypothesis can not be accepted by me because my grandparents is really lovable people especially to all their grandkids and my parents grew up in good enviroment too. please help me to figure out this case,
thank you so much Dr. jonice
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