How Procrastination is a Form of Self-Neglect


Procrastination. Is it a choice? Is it an affliction? Or is it simply the annoying habit that most people think it is?

My answer is that it’s a little bit of all three, but not really any of those things. Does that clear things up for you? No?

OK, here’s the thing. Procrastination is actually a coping mechanism. It’s a form of avoidance that you use when you have no other option. It does not work for anyone, ever. It’s basically a coping-mechanism-gone-wrong.

The reason procrastination does not work is that it’s a set-up to bring feelings of guilt, self-blame, dread, stress, and overwhelm upon yourself. In this way, whenever you procrastinate, you are ignoring your own need to feel good about yourself and your life. You are neglecting yourself.

The Relationship Between Procrastination and Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN)

There are many different types of emotionally neglectful parents and many different ways that parents can emotionally neglect their children. Generally, CEN is made up of some version of “not enough.”

Here are 3 different forms of CEN that set a child up to have problems with procrastination which may endure life long.

**Special Note: Most CEN parents don’t emotionally neglect their child on purpose. Your parents may have given you everything they have to give but they did not receive the 3 things below themselves when they were growing up.

  1. Not enough structure and discipline in your childhood home. Why? You don’t get to internalize the structure and discipline and make it a part of your personality. As an adult, you may find yourself lacking in self-discipline.
  2. Not enough attention or responsiveness to your feelings. This teaches you that your feelings do not matter. You do not learn that you are your own emotional steward and that it’s your responsibility to watch out for yourself by, as much as possible, making choices that bring you good feelings vs. bad ones.
  3. Not enough encouragement or reward for your strengths and accomplishments from your parents. This does not set you up with the awareness that accomplishing things should feel good and does feel good. You may lack a sense of pride in finishing things that keeps other people motivated.

A Weekend in the Life of Lisbeth, a Procrastinator

It’s Friday. Lisbeth is leaving work to meet up with her friends as planned, but she knows she hasn’t finished a report that her team needs to see first thing Monday morning. “I’ll work on it tomorrow,” she reassures herself, putting it out of her mind for the evening.

Lisbeth awakens Saturday morning feeling burdened and tired, and goes through her entire day under that dark cloud trying not to think about the fact that she must finish the report. The weight of the unfinished task drags down her energy all day. She ends up watching Netflix all day, feeling vaguely lazy and guilty all the while.

Sunday is like a repeat of Saturday except under more pressure. As the hours pass, Lisbeth feels the available time slipping away from her and grows angrier and angrier at herself for not having attacked and task and finished the report first thing Saturday morning.

Finally, at 10 p.m., the pressure moves her and she gets to work. Immersing herself in the task, she finally finds her focus and ends up finishing the report at 2 a.m. Of course, she pays the price on Monday. She feels sleep-deprived but also angry at herself for having such a burdensome, joyless, unproductive weekend overall.

Do you identify with Lisbeth? How many days or weekends have you lived like hers?

Growing up emotionally neglected teaches you many things that will color your life forever — until you address it, that is.

CEN teaches you to ignore your own feelings which are the deepest expression of who you are, plus also the loudest alarm bell that alerts you to whether your choices bring you positive or negative results.

So, in essence, CEN teaches you to emotionally neglect yourself all through your life. And procrastination is just one of the possible ways for you to emotionally neglect yourself.

Just as procrastination is not simple, the secret to getting over procrastination is also not simple. But it is definitely something you can do! It involves going directly against your childhood experience and making a conscious effort to do the opposite of the 3 forms of CEN above.

How to Start Dialing Back Your Procrastination

  1. Resolve to teach yourself discipline by providing yourself what your parents missed. In the book Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect I shared a daily exercise that will help you reprogram your brain to become better able to control your impulses and decisions better. It’s called The 3 Things Exercise.
  2. Since your parents, probably inadvertently, under-attended to your feelings now you will do the opposite. You will pay attention to what you are feeling and start to value your feelings. This will help you make decisions that bring you positive feelings instead of negative ones.
  3. Make an effort to take pride in your accomplishments. No matter how small, everything you force yourself to do or not do, if it’s a positive decision or step, is something you should feel proud of. Try to focus more on rewarding yourself and feeling proud of yourself in small bursts throughout your everyday life.

Imagine that Lisbeth follows these 3 steps for long enough that she starts to gain better control of her avoidant tendencies.

Imagine she begins to notice her feelings more and realizes that completing tasks brings her happiness while avoiding tasks drains her energy and makes her angry at herself. Imagine that this emotional awareness enables her to start facing tasks instead of avoiding them.

Imagine that Lisbeth finds herself feeling proud of her daily accomplishments and of how she is no longer neglecting herself.

Now, imagine that instead of Lisbeth, it’s you.

You CAN do this.

You can find the 3 Things Exercise to retrain your brain in the book Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Tracy - July 25, 2021 Reply

Hi Dr. Webb. I was just reading this and it hit me that one of the reasons I procrastinate is that once the thing I’m working on is done, there is no one to applaud my efforts so part of me feels like “why try?” But it feels good to finish things I start, so I want to learn how to break through this habit and start looking for my own “applause” instead of waiting for another person to notice what I’ve done.

    Jonice - July 25, 2021 Reply

    Dear Tracy, maybe the applause is actually just that good feeling you get when you complete something. Seek more of that good feeling because it’s your true reward.

    Jack - December 19, 2023 Reply

    Great! it’s cool to read this to help gain the strength to tackle this me myself. While reading I found I always undervalue my achievements as if they were worthless. What a lie! What an ignorance! Now I will be good with myself valuing and rewarding my efforts and tasks initiated and finished

LJ - November 3, 2020 Reply

I definitely have CEN raised in 50’s with no emotional attunenent and states away from grandparents.there was no structure given for home chores but always tried to help mom. I was shy didn’t see my mom make friends and didn’t know how. What are three things you describe? How do I build a sense of support to learn to break out of isolation and procrastination? I am avoidant but want to learn how to lessen this and find a sense of feeling good and make positive progress

LJ - November 3, 2020 Reply

I definitely have CEN raised in 50’s with no emotional attunenent and states away from grandparents.there was no structure given for home chores just bussed across town to religious school that taught a terrorizing God. I was shy didn’t see my mom make friends and didn’t know how. Husband left me 5 years ago, he was primary breadwinner. What are three things you describe? How do I build a sense of support to learn to break out of isolation and procrastination when my immaturity is turn off if I’m honest with others? I deal with much fear and I procrastinate, want to break out.

Debbie - October 19, 2020 Reply

I can’t help wondering if ADHD is also part of CEN especially now seeing Dr Jonice Webb’s work in correlating procrastination as part of CEN – I do wonder if much of this is linked.

Anna - October 15, 2020 Reply

My neighbour suddenly commented to me about my dog “what a mean, angry looking beast”. I felt hurt, offended, I felt my dog was being insulted. I have always been nice to my neighbour. This dog breed might look little bit “sharp” but he has the sweetest character, has never been aggressive to any human.
When I explained my hurt feeling to my mother, she was like “but it was a joke, I would have taken it as a joke, you are over reacting”. How an insult can be a “joke”? Sometimes it’s just so damn hard to be a cen child and now a cen adult…First being hurt by my neighbour and then shamed and invalidated by my mother. All I did was to spend some nice time outside with my beloved dog!
It’s super annoying, when my mother’s attitude is that her reaction and emotion is “correct” and mine is therefore wrong! She doesn’t seem to understand, that different people might react, perceive and feel different way in the same situation. Would I say to my neighbour that “your wife is a fat and mean looking woman”, and expect him to take it as a light joke? Obviously not! And I’d never voice such things! (he actually doesn’t have a wife, but as an example)
My point is, I realised maybe I should stop trying to share my emotions with people, like my mother, who will not validate or understand me. Instead are very quickly to invalidate me. Would an emotionally healthy/developed person do so??
It’s sad, I realised, if I don’t share anything about me personally, emotionally with someone…then there is really no real relationship, no depth in the relationship, no deeper connection. Then it is just in the superficial level…talking about the weather, news and celebrities etc. non-personal things. I love what someone said what intimacy means…it’s in-to-me-see.
That’s what I as a former cen child would deeply want…to be seen, felt, connected.

    Karen H - October 27, 2020 Reply

    Reading your comment helped me see a pattern I never had words for until this morning. And it was a dingdong bell of insight ringing in my mind. Thank you. Your sharing helped me recognize and see a familiar hurt. And the importance of sharing to be heard and validated appropriately. I must discern the few treasured people even capable of listening and caring about feelings. Truly listening to myself and others is a skill and a gift I yearn to optimizeThis whole thread has so many ahas and yep, know what that feels like recognition.

      Anna - November 16, 2020 Reply

      Hi Karen!
      Thank you for your kind comment! I’m glad I was able to say something that is useful for someone.
      And suddenly I myself got this huge aha-moment. All this cen-stuff, limiting beliefs, they can be like years hiding under the surface, and then suddenly they the burst into the surface like a volcano!
      Just now I realised…I’ve always felt little bit embarrased to share something here, worrying that I “bother” Jonice, take too much space, that I make a mountain out of a molehill with my cen stuff, that what I have to say is probably nonsense and nobody is interested in to hear…worrying that others perceive me as “drama queen” or “over thinking” etc.
      No wonder I used to many years feel non-stop shame about myself, I also had body dysmorphia (feeling myself very ugly, despite of people saying I was pretty). And the truth is, I’m just a plain ordinary human. With cen, apparently 🙂
      But you know…when our feelings are not validated, are ridiculed or said they are wrong, incorrect, not being heard…then it is easy to “draw the conclusion” that the problem is me, in me, that I’m wrong, my feelings are wrong…I think especially as children we automatically “make it mean” something about ourselves. For example, if I’m not heard or ridiculed, I thought it meant what I say/all I say is ridiculous/not worth hearing…and it never occurred to me that the problem might instead be with the person who made me feel that way! Woo-hoo, awareness! 🙂

Phyllis - October 11, 2020 Reply

I find my procrastination filled w fear — even terror — at the prospect of being judged wrong and stupid for whatever is that I am doing. Based, of course, in the reality that I was called wrong and stupid for whatever it was I did. For being me. For showing up. My needs and feelings were not neglected. They were actively denied and ridiculed. Procrastination as self-neglect is fascinating! It demonstrates that my needs are just not important enough to address. Because I may not really know what I want or need! How very regularly I was told that I didn’t know my own wants, needs, likes/dislikes, or anything else about myself. I have only recently begun to recognize that I don’t even consider meeting my needs or wants. It actually never even occurs to me! Taking action on my own behalf now joins that recognition!! Sigh ….

Julia - October 10, 2020 Reply

But what if I’m just lazy? Or is any of us truly lazy? If I’m motivated, inspired, interested in about something, I’ll do it fast and efficiently!

I’ve wanted to write a book (I’m complete amateur), but just taking the first step, starting, seems to be the hardest part.
The nasty inner voice says, who do you think you are to write books…Fear that I’ll just waste my time. Could procrastination
be some form of self doubt, fear of failure?

Also diets always start on mondays or “tomorrow” for me…which basically means never 🙂 I think my routine, habits, even an unhealthy one provides some sense of familiarity, safety, comfort…starting to do something in a new way consumes energy, feels uneasy, unpleasant…it’s just hard. Could procrastination actually also be somekind of self-protection…I’ll procrastinate so that I don’t have to face, feel, those mentioned “negative” emotions? And what’s the “cure” for this? I just realised, procrastinating things endlessly means nothing will change for the better, nothing will be done 🙁

P.D. Reader - October 8, 2020 Reply

Perhaps you should also consider how parents being TOO punitive and too harsh in taskmaking can create the same thing. I was the kind of kid who came home every Friday night and was made to clean half the house immediately. I couldn’t even sit down and watch the last half hour of a soap opera I liked without my mother screaming at me to get to work and that I was lazy. I had to vacuum half the house, clean both bathrooms, and dust. Often this would take me til 8pm. What kid had to come home on FRIDAY after a long week of school and do all this? Then first thing Saturday morning it was homework until it was all done. I was in a gifted program at school and was piled up with homework every night. I hated it. It would take me longer than it had to because I wanted to play, read, relax, and I would start to daydream.

I treated myself like this most of my life. OK, so I have a professional degree, but I have suffered a lot because from school to college to professional school to jobs I called “cot jobs” (“Bring a cot and a hot plate, ’cause you ain’t NEVER going home!”) to elder care over the past ten years, I. AM. SICK. OF. WORK.

Sick of it, sick of it, sick of it. And, you know what? IT DOESN’T MATTER. There’s just more and more and more and more of it. More chores. More bills. More hours at work. The older you get, you have to work harder and harder and harder and harder for less and less and less in terms of fitness and leanness. Nobody will ever want my writing. And for what?

When I am old, I will still be the same little old lady in the same nursing home, doddering and crippled or demented or whatever I am going to be. I will still be alone. What difference will it make?

Today I had plans. I was going to get up! I was going to walk a mile or two! I was going to go and vote early! I was going to clean the house!

I opened the doors and windows and started my day doing a tarot card reading. And it was such perfect, perfect weather and it was so nice to have the windows open and the sun shining and be able to hear the creek and the birds outside, I. FUCKING. DID. NOT. WANT. TO. DO. A. THING.

And I didn’t. I enjoyed the nice weather and the beautiful view outside. I goofed around on the computer. I took a nap. These are the things I never, ever felt like I had luxury to do.

Who CARES if I clean the house? No one. Who cares whether I vote this week or next week? Does it really make any difference to anyone what I do? No, it does not. And I am sick of working, working, working myself to death to accomplish, accomplish, accomplish, accomplish things that really don’t matter very much at all in the overall scheme of things.

I am widowed. I am alone. I’m likely to spend the rest of my life that way. The day is coming when I won’t be able to do anything else but sit.

Might as well learn to be happy with that. Because, in my experience, all this do-do-do-do-do has left me with expectations for my life that were unrealizable and a big pile of doo-doo.

Why be so driven all the time?

    Jonice - October 12, 2020 Reply

    Dear P.D., it sounds like finding some balance would be very helpful instead of going from one extreme to the other. You are your own steward and it’s very important for you to bring yourself joy. You are the only one who can do that, and you must!

Annita - October 7, 2020 Reply

I could be Lisbeth!! Running On Empty has been my go-to since starting therapy with a CEN professional. Your blog post really hit home this morning though. I’ve come a long way in the last year but I need to work harder at overcoming my procrastination. If often holds me back when trying to address other areas of CEN – either by avoiding or by letting my list obsession overwhelm me. I’m going back to the 3 Things Exercise today & work harder on that area. Loving your work! I have a long way to go still but it’s been life changing already. Now I UNDERSTAND where all this comes from and I can finally focus on correcting the behaviors. Thank you Dr. Webb!!!

    Jonice - October 12, 2020 Reply

    I’m so glad you’re back on track, Annita. The 3 Things Exercise really works.

Harmen - October 7, 2020 Reply

Thank you Jonice, this article makes me think about my own procrastination.

I have significant procrastination issues, but not always. Much has to do with whether I feel involved in the work, and have faith in myself.

I do believe that there are links to my upbringing. My father and mother were never much involved with my school. They didn’t have much schooling themselves, and I went to a top-level school. My father was not much interested in it, and my mother too insecure to involve herself into it.

Unfortunately, my father especially was also totally ignorant of, and uninterested in, my feelings. When I struggled with social issues at school, I was all alone. When the age had arrived to explore possibilities for university (I was first in my family) I was all alone.

I chose the wrong subject at university and I wanted to switch to medicine. I gathered all my courage to say that I wanted to switch. Itself a bad sign: I needed courage to tell my parents about my feelings! My father responded way worse than with indifference: he outright forbade me from switching. In one single sentence. And that was the end of the conversation.

He never, not at that time and not later, asked me even about my feelings or thoughts on the matter. He was not at all interested in why I wanted to switch.

I now understand that I have never had a relationship of trust and intimacy with my father. He was unable to create that relationship, and unwilling too. He was never interested in changing his approach, or learning, or opening up, or getting to know me.

Over the years my relationship with him ossified and marginalized. Eventually we landed in years of fights in which I desperately tried to connect with him. Sometimes I tried in good ways, sometimes I tried in bad ways. It never worked. And the effort always came from me.

A moment that really hit hard was when I in a conversation told him – not for the first time – that I needed to hear from him that he loved me. That these words were important to me. His response: “I love you? Those are just words. I cannot do much with that.”

He couldn’t even acknowledge – perhaps not even hear me say – that I needed this. And I realized anew the vast distance between us.

I broke with him two years ago. It is a sad choice. But I feel in my heart that it is the right choice.

There is a line in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2 that always rings true to me: “He may have been your father, but he was never your daddy.”

    Laurie - April 17, 2022 Reply

    Dear Harmen,
    Please know that your father’s inadequacies are his. I have had the same experience with my own father, but at age 57, after trying so hard to establish a meaningful relationship over a few years, I was at a loss. I had contacted him to go out to dinner, three different times, over 4-5 months, but he had other priorities. I couldn’t do this anymore. I wrote him a heartfelt letter, explaining why our relationship was important, especially for my daughter to know her grandfather. I wrote in closing, that if he wanted me in his life, to please find a spot for me. He never responded.

    I, like you, never felt loved or nurtured. He had remarried and had a second family, and that’s what mattered to him.

    I know, with a clear conscience that I did everything possible. I have no regrets, but I do wish I had stopped trying sooner.

    I’m glad that you told your father you needed to hear him say that he loved you. You were very brave! As I said earlier, don’t take his response as you’re inadequate, because you aren’t. My thinking is he has hidden guilt or doesn’t know what love really is. My father doesn’t know what real love is.

    Good luck to you. I’m still struggling, but I’m very relieved that I ended a toxic relationship where I was not valued. You and I are both valuable.

Charles - October 5, 2020 Reply

I think that my tendency to procrastinate goes back to the iniquity of school homework and having to focus on something that I really didn’t want to have to do – and in the evening when parents were able to relax after their day at work. Then there is the desire to turn in a good job. What I write, whether an email or a report, when it finally emerges, is good but oh! the effort taken to get there; where a single sentence can take over an hour due to finding other things to become engaged in. A computer offers endless sources for distraction so I feel that my procrastination is becoming worse and worse (I even put off reading your article!). I shall certainly try your exercises.

Melina - October 5, 2020 Reply

Thank you so much for this post! In the last couple of months, I have really been trying to understand my procrastination habits and had recognized that it is rooted in self-neglect and in fulfilling that feeling of chaos because of the lack of structure in my household growing up. This post just perfectly put together what I was picking up on.

    Jonice - October 6, 2020 Reply

    Yes, that makes sense, Melina. We all tend to unconsciously recreate our childhood somehow.

Sophie - October 5, 2020 Reply

This makes perfect sense. My procrastination drives me crazy, I feel like I’m wasting my life. I feel guilty saying CEN applies to me to because my parents did their best and were great in so many ways, but having two older, troubled half siblings rendered me the good, quiet girl who asked for nothing and never let her feelings show. Now, at 46, I feel paralysed and unable to distinguish the difference between being selfish and recognising/asking for what I need. It feels like nothing matters yet everything does, and procrastination is the middle ground. Thank you for this insight Dr J, and I look forward to working my way through your books and other material.

    Jonice - October 6, 2020 Reply

    Dear Sophie, please keep in mind that having well-meaning parents doesn’t erase the effect of the Emotional Neglect. I’m glad you are working on it!

56beverley . - October 5, 2020 Reply

Oh Dr Webb this is me to a tee. I put non urgent things off endlessly to the point where they become urgent and I stress endlessly about them. I have realised though that this is a form of self neglect and am trying to address it. Thank you so much for writing this.

Lori - October 5, 2020 Reply

Where can I find the 3 Things Exercise in the book? Thank you!

    Jonice - October 5, 2020 Reply

    It’s in the Self-Care: Part 2 – Improving Self-Discipline section. It’s at the very end of the section.

Susan - October 4, 2020 Reply

My issue with procrastination has always been fear of failure/doing poorly. This has re-emerged in my efforts to learn to draw. I have little patience with the learning period, as I expect that I should be perfect right away. When I actually apply myself (e.g. when I was working in a job that involved writing legal appeals), I generally do OK. But the whole process is agony. I’m not very kind or patient with myself (you can guess that I had highly critical parents). I just can’t give myself the leeway to be less than perfect. *sigh*

    Jonice - October 5, 2020 Reply

    Dear Susan, you may want to take the CEN Test and start trying to access and use your feelings better. I also suggest you check out a great book written by my colleague, Sharon Martin called The CBT Workbook For Perfectionism.

Amy - October 4, 2020 Reply

Hi Dr. Webb, thank you for making this connecting between procrastination and self-neglect, as it helps me develop an “aha” that began for me about a year ago. I began to realize that my lack of self-discipline was tied to my low self-worth. I would happily do things for other people and help them, but cleaning my own room or doing my own dishes felt like such a burden. Even things as simple and basic as brushing my teeth felt like an necessary chore. Once I made the connection to my self worth, I stopped telling myself I “should” do such-and-such. Instead, now I ask myself if I’m worth doing it for (with the implied, “yes, I am!”). The shift in perspective has been transformative, and this article you’ve written helps drive this point further home for me. Thank you!

    Jonice - October 5, 2020 Reply

    Excellent work, Amy! You realized that you ARE worth caring for.

Anon - October 4, 2020 Reply

This makes a lot of sense, but I’d also love to read about how CEN and Procrastination intersect with ADHD and the Rejection Anxiety that often comes along with ADHD.

Esme - October 4, 2020 Reply

Thank you for your very encouraging articles Jonice, they lift my spirit. For many years I was married to a very controlling man, but even after divorce, I still waited for him to return, although he left me for someone else. Well procrastination comes in here, because I realise that I used this waiting to prevent a dream of moving to a beautiful place near my sister, and maybe find peace and love. It has taken 20 years to finally put this into operation, and my house is up for sale! Scared yes, but at 70 it is now or never. My lovely mother, was unable to show feelings to us because my father was cruel and controlling to her.

    Jonice - October 5, 2020 Reply

    Dear Esme, it is natural to repeat our parents’ patterns in our own lives. I’m glad you are making healthy decisions for yourself. All my best wishes to you.

Anonymous - October 4, 2020 Reply

I am an only child of parents who were so busy brainwashing me into liking what the liked with regards to music, clothing, furnishings, etc. that I was discharged from making my own choices. I was an old soul at a young age. They were also perfectionists. As a result, my procrastination stems from being a perfectionist and overachiever. I am totally exhausted just thinking about everything on my to list before I even start. I have been trying to take small baby steps so I don’t get so stressed out. Unfortunately, I never realized how manipulative and controlling they were until my late 50’s. I feel like my life was more their life than it was mine and it’s very depressing. Thank you for your books. Some parts are upsetting as they reopen old wounds that were buried so deep. Thanks again

    Jonice - October 5, 2020 Reply

    Dear Anon, I hope you are realizing that you only are meant to live for one person, and that is yourself. It’s time!

Lisa - October 4, 2020 Reply

I have struggled with procrastination my entire life (61 years old), and unfortunately, there have been professional consequences for my delays, inaction, and procrastination. There was definitely a lot of structure, rules, chores, and discipline while I was growing up, but there was little emotional involvement, encouragement, or recognition from my mother…never felt I measured up in her eyes. (My father was more engaged, but he was very passive, so my mother dominated everything.) I’ve tried lots of the recommendations for overcoming procrastination (lists, reminders, schedules, timers, etc.), but nothing has ever worked…thanks for offering comments and advice that really makes sense. Now I just need to not procrastinate and actually work on applying it!!!

    Jonice - October 4, 2020 Reply

    Yes, exactly, Lisa. Get right on it!

Richard - October 4, 2020 Reply

I am so glad you didn’t decide to leave this topic for later Jonice !

    Jonice - October 4, 2020 Reply

    Very funny, Richard! Haha.

Karin - October 4, 2020 Reply

Hi Jonice tried to use your coupon code to sign up for the Introduction to CEN webinar but told it had expired. I had only just received your email about it! Quite disappointing 🙁 Is there any way to sort this? Thanks

    Jonice - October 4, 2020 Reply

    I’m so sorry, Karin! I’m checking with Core Wellness to see if they will extend it. They had not informed me that it had expired before I sent out the email this morning.

susan - October 4, 2020 Reply

SO TRUE. People would tell me how smart, talented I was, but parents ignored all this, and mother’s favorite saying was : “You think you’re so smart! Well, if you knew just half of what you think you know, you might know something”. (IQ was 126 before 16 yrs. of university and 4 degrees later). I never realized how this reception by less educated, probably jealous parents, created me as scapegoat to my siblings and other family members. Today, I’m 75 and now understand what happened (early in life) to keep me disconnected from most people, not truly believing in or appreciating myself, and depressed for most of my life. Diagnosed as bi-polar II at @age55. Now doing well emotionally, after new understanding of unintentional (generational) abuse from parents (long deceased).
Loved your books and recommend them to others who love them, too. Thanks for you wonderful work !!!

    Lou Lou - October 5, 2020 Reply

    Oh my goodness Susan, my mother used to say exactly the same to me whenever I had an opinion, or spoke out about something I believed in. I really struggle with procrastination and goal setting. I’m nearly 60 years old…just thought I was lazy, hopeless. Slowly getting better at just getting on with tasks, but it’s a struggle.

Susan - October 4, 2020 Reply

Hi Jonice
This one on procrastination really hit home for me! It’s about making decisions, not hesitating so much and finally helping me to feel responsible for my own happiness and life!

Claire - October 4, 2020 Reply

Sometimes I am reluctant to begin something because I’m not confident I can do it all or do it perfectly. I’m beginning to be able to do something half way. For instance cleaning out part of the inside of my car when I don’t have enough time to do both front and back seat areas or picking up the clutter in a room when I don’t have time or energy to dust and vacuum that afternoon as well. Even completing part of a task gives some satisfaction and energy to do more later or the next day. It’s even better when somebody notices and comments on it.

    Juan - March 7, 2021 Reply

    I have exactly the same type of issue. Everytime I procastinate is because I feel the task at hand is to large, difficult or complicated and I end up doing nothing. What I’m tryring in the last few years is to mentally brake the tasks in smaller pieces and encouraging myself whenever I get something done, and actually get going. This also alliviates the guilt associated with procastination because you are not “doing nothing”.

Lisa - October 4, 2020 Reply

Excellent insight and really does make a ton of sense
Thank you Dr. Webb

Diane - October 4, 2020 Reply

I had far to much discipline and consequences for not following the rules. Very strict father and house ran with military precision. And a mother who criticised me a lot. Don’t remember any encouragement to do stuff. My procrastination is always about starting things/finishing. I find it much easier to stop things. After reading your article and the link to the other one I’ve concluded that I need to encourage myself/reward myself for attempts at starting things. I have never ever been able to stick with my physio exercises for my bad back. I have rarely even started! So, I will attempt this again now and see what happens. Thank you. PS the reason I found you in the first place was because I googled procrastination. I do hope this works for me!

Ron - October 4, 2020 Reply

Thank you Dr. Webb. I felt like you were describing my life exactly. I can’t tell you how many weekends I felt like Lisbeth. Procrastination is something I’ve struggled with all my life. I usually get whatever I need to get done completed – but at a huge price of guilt, anger and anxiety. Yet I repeat the same process over and over. I’m 51 with a very successful career but I am filled with self-doubt, imposter syndrome and lack of motivation. Thank you for this blog. I never realized procrastination was a form of self-neglect and tied to CEN. I just thought there was something wrong with me and that I was lazy. Having ADD on top doesn’t help! Thank you again. Ron

    Elizabeth - November 20, 2020 Reply

    I too echo what Ron said. “I never realized procrastination was a form of self-neglect and tied to CEN. I just thought there was something wrong with me and that I was lazy. ” Now I know what is wrong… CEN. (I didn’t even know the term). I’m in my 50’s & find I seem to rebel against my parents by not doing chores in my own home for myself. Meanwhile my parents are no longer in my life telling me what to do & the only person I hurt by letting the dishes pile up or clutter get out of control is me.

M - October 4, 2020 Reply

Makes a lot of sense! Thank you for this post. Just a heads up, the link to 3 Things Exercise is not working on my iPhone.

ELIZABETH - October 4, 2020 Reply

Lately, more than ever, I have been procrastinating more and more. The more I thought about something I was avoiding, the more I avoided it. And, I couldn’t figure out WHY!!! Your message, therefore, was especially welcomed. I shall keep the 3 things in mind as I go about my life. Hopefully, since this has been explained, I can correct this unwelcome behavior that has persisted throughout my 74 years. Thank you, Jonice!!

    Jonice - October 4, 2020 Reply

    I’m so glad to have explained this for you, Elizabeth.

Anonymous - October 4, 2020 Reply

Recently I participated in riding competition, first time in my adult life! I had also 2 years ago a dangerous near-accident situation with horses. So I had a lot of this bubbling nervous, worried chat, energy and emotions just before the competition. My friend (!?) said to me, in a judgemental and irritated tone “could you just for once focus on something/someone else than yourself!”. I felt very hurt and offended. Once again, I felt as a cen person, I was not known, not “felt” by other people. She doesn’t even know “my story” (cen childhood etc.).
Irony is, I wasn’t even so much focusing on myself actually. I was worried for example I will screw up the competition, and then what other people, THEY, will think (or feel).
I have tried to follow your advice Jonice. I paid attention to my feelings, shared and expressed them. (I think in that moment being aware of my emotions was critically important, because horses can infallibly pick that vibe from humans anyway and act accordingly!). And then when I did that, I became judged and wronged, she made me feel I’m somekind of a self-absorbed egoist. It hurts. I’m not. As a cen person, I’m typically NOT focusing on myself at all. Now I don’t know what to think about all this. She made me feel I did something wrong, or worse, that I “am wrong”. Jonice, is there actually in real life situations, where indeed it would be better to distract and focus on “something else” (than my own emotions)?

    Jonice - October 4, 2020 Reply

    Some friends get used to us CEN folks taking up very little space, and then when we do show some needs or wants, they are taken aback and see it in an exaggerated way. I suggest instead of taking your friend’s word that she’s right, instead tune into yourself and trust yourself first on this.

      Anonymous - October 4, 2020 Reply

      Thank you for your reply! So true what you said. I’m used to feel as if life was a theatre, other people are on stage, but I’m kind of outsider, observer but not “acting” with them as an equal. When I occasionally do “take space”, true, it surprises/”shocks” even me too 🙂

Tracy - October 4, 2020 Reply

Very Good Information.
I really appreciate it. I have been struggling with this again a d not understanding why I don’t have any discipline. Tracy

    Jonice - October 4, 2020 Reply

    A reminder can be helpful so I’m glad you’re back on track.

Ellen - October 4, 2020 Reply

Where in your book do I find the 3 things exercise?

    Jonice - October 5, 2020 Reply

    It’s in the Self-Care: Part 2 – Improving Self-Discipline section. It’s at the very end of the section.

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