Group Discussion Questions for the Book Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
Since the release of the books Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect and Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships, people all over the world have been forming book groups, forums, family discussions, and Meetups to discuss them.
When you are working through the effects of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) on your adult life, whether you are working with a CEN therapist or on your own, it is incredibly helpful to have support.
When another person talks about their own CEN childhood, their struggles to understand emotions and how they work, or the discomfort of a visit with their emotionally neglectful parents, it is validating and informative.
When you talk about your CEN experiences and struggles with others who share your pain, you learn about yourself, and you realize you are not alone.
After being asked many times to offer discussion questions for each book, I have finally created them.
Recommended Format for Discussion Groups
- Some of these questions are deeply personal, and not everyone will be comfortable answering every question. In the first meeting, decide together which questions or sections you might want to skip as a group.
- If there’s no full agreement on which questions to skip, then proceed with all questions with the understanding that any member of the group can choose not to answer any question without any explanation needed.
- I recommend you take the sections and the questions in order. Go through and have one person read the question and have each member answer it, one at a time with no interruptions.
- After each member has answered a question, take some time for group discussions, questions and reactions.
- If your group is live and wishes to be more structured, set a timer to limit discussion time so that you can move to another question. I highly recommend this but it’s not right for every group.
- If you feel your group needs a leader, one can be assigned who is approved by all members.
Discussion Questions for the Book Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect
- Compare “The Ordinary Parent in Action” described in Chapter 1 with your parents. How did they compare?
- Which category of emotionally neglectful parents describes your parents the best?
- Were your parents neglected themselves when they were growing up? If you are not sure, can you find out?
- Many people gloss over thinking about their parents and holding them accountable by saying, “They meant well” or “They tried their best.” Can you say this without a doubt, about your parents? Were your parents truly well-meaning?
- What did your parents teach you about emotions and how they work?
- Of the 10 characteristics described in Chapter 3, “The Neglected Child, All Grown Up,” what would you say are your top 3 CEN struggles?
- Describe a way that each of these struggles challenges you in your daily life.
Ability to Change
- Of the 3 Factors That Get in the Way of Successful Change (Chapter 5), which apply to you? How do you foresee these factors getting in your way?
- How hard is it for you to believe that feelings have value and a purpose?
- How good are you at identifying and naming your feelings?
- Do you believe that you can trust your feelings?
- Do you often feel guilty, ashamed, or rejecting of your own feelings?
- Which step of the IAAA is the hardest for you?
- Of the 7 False Beliefs About Relationships described in Chapter 6, which have been a part of your life?
- Describe a way in which these false beliefs have affected your relationships with family, friends and partners.
- How good are you at vertical questioning? Does it come naturally to you or is it a skill you will need to work on?
- Do you believe that sharing a problem with the right person could be helpful? Or do you worry that others will use it against you?
- On a scale of 1-10 how assertive are you?
- Of the 4 areas of self-care described in Chapter 7, which are your greatest challenges?
- Are you afraid of becoming guilty if you pay more attention to yourself and your own feelings and needs?
- Is it possible for a CEN person to become selfish?
- Do you often find yourself “going along” instead of stating your own wishes?
- Is it hard for you to even know what you want?
- How important is it for you to have fun?
- Do you habitually focus on other people’s needs over your own?
Parenting, Marriage and Your Own Emotionally Neglectful Parents
- These 3 topics are covered in-depth in the book Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships With Your Partner, Your Parents & Your Children.
- Watch for a separate post with questions for Running On Empty.
Fuel Up For Life
If you are interested in joining an ongoing, structured and supportive Childhood Emotional Neglect recovery group online that is created and run by Jonice Webb, Ph.D., CLICK HERE learn more about Fuel Up For Life.
To learn more about Childhood Emotional Neglect, see my first book Running on Empty.