Childhood Emotional Neglect Discussion Page

Please share your story with others here. Want to request a blog post on a certain topic? Respond to someone else’s post? Please do!

Your comment can be completely anonymous. Only your entry into the “NAME” field will show in your comment. Feel free to enter Anonymous.

**This page is not intended to provide psychotherapy advice or professional services of any kind or to replace a clinical relationship with a psychologist or therapist. It is meant only to share understanding, information and support about Childhood Emotional Neglect.

I’m sorry that I can’t answer individual questions on this page. But I have found that CEN people benefit greatly from sharing their CEN experiences, goals and challenges with each other. I hope you will participate in the general discussion, which is filled with insightful, thoughtful comments and responses.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
tiffany - May 16, 2020 Reply

I was wondering if it is common for CEN adults to have a desire to search out individuals who need to be ‘fixed’? My CEN Husband is always trying to find individuals with issues to help fix them.
Thank you for any input,

    Jonice - May 18, 2020 Reply

    Dear Tiffany, that may be a product of living too much for other people and not requiring enough for yourself, which surely is an aspect of CEN.

Anonymous - May 10, 2020 Reply

I just finished reading Running on Empty and will next read Empty no More. I want to thank you for your help in seeing myself. I was a child who was not allowed to have emotions. I felt ridiculed and ignored and grew ashamed of being human. I never realized I’ve been hiding myself for decades and how this hinders me from experiencing the relationships I long for. Reading this book has begun to set me free. It is painful to look back and relive some events, but necessary to understand why I feel the way I do and what truth is needed to counteract the erroneous thinking. So again, thank you.

    Jonice - May 11, 2020 Reply

    Dear Anon, I’m so sorry you went through that. And I’m very glad to be giving you answers and a path forward. Keep up the good work!

CHRISTINE - May 3, 2020 Reply

Dear Dr Webb,
Thank you for writing both your books. I feel a solid, long lasting positive movement in my life is inevitably coming my way. Thank you.

Now looking forward, I still am unsure on one thing, I was hoping you may be able to help me?

My mother is a narcissistic and authoritarian parent, my father is a permissive parent. My problem is I am not sure how to answer my mothers negative statements about me as she is speaking to me. For example on my wedding day she was commenting (it was more of a statement) about the makeup I had professionally paid for, she said ‘your make up will look good on photos, but in real life you look ugly’. I believe what she meant was that with the makeup I had on I looked like a drag queen but in photos I will look good. I was shocked and I could feel my mouth fall wide open. My aunty and cousin were there and heard it too, I looked to both of them and they just looked away silent. I was silent too, still stunned.

Then my mother continued and said calmly while nodding her head ‘it’s true’. Then some welcome distraction from someone happened and that was how it ended.

This is only one example of my dealings with her. But in this example I am confused on what my reaction should have been. If I did say something, I am not sure what I should have said.

Kind Regards

    Jonice - May 3, 2020 Reply

    Dear Christine, in some situations when people say hurtful things, a simple, “That’s hurtful,” can suffice. I recommend you get a book on assertiveness — there are lots to choose from — and work on learning this incredibly powerful skill.

Sherril Munroe - May 1, 2020 Reply

I am a recent graduate of Vancouver College of Counsellor Training in Vancouver BC Canada. I am a Certified Counsellor, and specialized in Family and community counselling. I would love to add a CEN Certification to my resume. When I came across your book “Running on Empty No More” through “Bookbub” I was blown away to learn about CEN. In my 25yrs of on and off personal counselling I have never heard about Childhood Emotional Neglect. I can say that doing some personal family of origin work has touched on CEN in a very indirect way, however, did not come anywhere near dealing with CEN as its own entity. I have been reading both of your books and I am fascinated by this new discovery. In my personal opinion CEN goes deeper and gets closer to the roots of a persons issues, more than anything I have studied to this point. I am so excited to learn ALL I can, for myself personally, as I suffer from CEN , my husband who severely suffers from CEN and therefore our relationship suffers, and to help my future clients with CEN in my private practice.

My questions are:

1) Which one (or more) of your programs would you recommend I take that would give me all that I need to be a Certified CEN therapist, as well as personal healing?

2) The credits gained from your courses, would they be recognized in Canada?

    Jonice - May 2, 2020 Reply

    Dear Sherril, I would be so happy for you to become a CEN therapist. We need more, for sure! I recommend the Fuel Up For Life program for which you can earn 12 CE credits. (You’d need to check to make sure the credits will be honored in Canada.) The Fuel Up For Life walks you through all the steps of recovery, using the techniques, includes all the homework. You’ll learn how to heal others in the process of healing yourself. Here’s a link to the page that describes it: If you have any more questions you can email me at Take care and stay safe!

Gina - April 20, 2020 Reply

After realising what CEN is and facing the truth about my childhood, I am for a year now struggling with an idea that I chose wrong profession in life. I was made quiet, believed I am shy and silent type, only to discover there is so much more in me, as soon as I was on distance from home. I was always out of touch with my emotions, with life, everything. I now believe even my reproductive organs have taken the toll. (Never in my life had my period naturally, only with help of medicament. Being out of touch with yourself as a person, as a girl, woman, probably did the trick).
When the time came for me to go to university (I do think 18 years old kid cannot make such a big decision for life), I choose what at that point made sense (I guess). It is a nice profession, and I achieved a lot. I studied abroad, changed few offices, and now working in, what seems to be, really good office, again abroad. But, still, even when I finally have it all on paper, to be happy and enjoy work, I really do not. It brings me sense of accomplishment, of course, and for most part is even fun. But it is not my passion, I do not find satisfaction in this, other then proving that I can do it. I want to follow my true passion, be an illustrator, but I seem to sabotaging myself buy not working on my porftolio in my spare time.

I know where I am, and I know I do not want to be here. I know where I want to be, and how to get there. But I am still not doing that work.

My questions for you, Dr Webb would be:
– Is it possible that my childhood affected me so much, I chose the wrong profession?
– Is it possible that my body rejected seeing itself as a female body, due to CEN? (I grew up fully developed etc, but with amenorrhea and PCOS)
– How do I start working towards my new career? How to push myself? I know all the steps, all in theory, but I simply don´t do it…

Thank you in advance!

    Jonice - April 21, 2020 Reply

    Dear Gina, I’m so sorry I cannot advise you on these big questions here. I encourage you to contact a CEN therapist from the list and start seeing someone who can help you. It can be a huge help to have a therapist.

      Gina - April 21, 2020 Reply

      Unfortunatelly there are no CEN therapist in my area, but I am considering a therapy. Even just writing down those facts and questions helps a little.

        Jonice - April 22, 2020 Reply

        Many of the CEN Therapists do online treatment so that’s a possibility for you too.

LizaH - April 8, 2020 Reply

Hi Dr Webb.
I am a female, U.K. late 40’s and only recently discovered words like codependency, narcissism, CEN being the most important discovery. My parents are alive and well, my siblings also yet I have been disowned for bringing up neglectful childhood, for ‘raking up’ the past.
Only in the last 6 months have I realized I have lived simply for them. I don’t know my dreams or ambitions or what they ever were – it’s only through my husband teaching me love with patience. I realize now I am emotionally ungiving and I am still hurt and so not know how to process this rejection by my family.
I am so angry with the world it’s consuming me up… please advice which book would be the beat place for me to start to heal?
My depression and hurt is affecting my marriage as I am so serious constantly.
Thank you so much.

    Jonice - April 9, 2020 Reply

    Dear LizaH, I recommend you read Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect first. It will give you a good understanding of your own childhood and how emotional neglect happened to you and affects you. Then read Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships and it will help you work on your boundaries with your family, your feelings about your parents and siblings, and also your marriage and your parenting. all my best wishes.

Noway hozay - March 30, 2020 Reply

I am 19. I am not big with words sorry. I knew that I had cen and my brother used to hit me a lot in the head and my parents doesn’t do anything about it so my older brother hits the brother that hits me and so my mother would take care of “the brother that hit me” and he gets angry and hit me more. I think I have troubles in studying as I study all day for the minimal result and studying is a big part of my life… I suffered the effects of it when I was 17. I got over it and the biggest challenge is to be nice to my mother. I never confronted her and I will never will and honestly I am not mad or anything. Like I honestly don’t care. The biggest problem that I feel like I can’t presue a relationship because (1.sadly I am gay/2. Where I live its not okay to be that and I respect that). I have friends though. Maybe because I tell jokes all the time and I don’t want to brag or anything but I do t think I am someone that is rude. I joke a lot and I dont mean everything I say.. And I got over my past because of it. Honestly I feel like I would ended my self if I don’t have that leap of faith and I still do. Amm I just read ur book like 2 days ago and honestly well done. I don’t like for ppl to know who I am and u caught me! . I am shooock. Anyway am I know that it will effect my life and I don’t mind. I just want my future.. Ooh there is a point that I think you didn’t mention. I hope it’s helpful. : it’s hard to change some habits in front of ppl.. For example if I am someway to someone in the first time we meet. I feel like I have to be like that for ever Infront of them.. And that still applies to my parents. Just a week ago. My electric ammm the thing that shaves the beard. Just somehow got broken and I didn’t shave my face for like 5 days and I didn’t want anybody to see my face so at night I stacked food in the fridge that is near my room upstairs and just ate from it. So nobody sees me. I know wtf. Anyway I find ur book really helpful so thanks!!!!!

    Jonice - March 30, 2020 Reply

    Dear Noway, first, please know that it is okay to be gay, and you are right, you will have a future when you can be who you really are. It sounds like abuse that you have experienced in your family. I hope that as soon as possible you will seek a therapist to help you work through your experiences and learn that it’s okay to be who you are, no matter how you appeared yesterday or any other day. Humans are complex beings and we all appear different to others all the time. Take care of yourself.

Leave a Comment: