Raised To Have No Emotional Needs

emotional needs

How do you raise a child to have no emotional needs? Turns out, it’s remarkably, shockingly easy. It’s so easy that many parents do it by accident, despite wanting everything good for their child, and despite trying to do everything right as a parent.

In fact, raising a child to have no emotional needs is so easy that it’s scary.

You just have to do a few special things. Or, rather, you just have to not do a few special things. We will talk about those special things in a minute, but first, I have a question for you.

Might you think this sounds like a desirable outcome, or a sign of strength, to have no emotional needs? If so, you are joined by lots of other people who think that adults should be “strong,” meaning need little from other people, especially not emotionally.

Yet we humans are emotional beings. Our emotions are built into the deepest parts of our central nervous system. They are the deepest, most biological expression of our past and present experiences, wants, responses, reactions, and needs. Our emotions are the expression of our deepest selves.

What connects two people together in a love relationship? Emotions. What has motivated some of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time? Emotions. What enables every single human being to make decisions that are authentic to themselves? Emotions.

What makes life mean something? Yes, you are right. It’s emotions.

What It Means to Have Emotional Needs

Let’s take a moment to consider what it means to have emotional needs. It means that you are human, and it also means two more things. That you are open to messages from your inner self and that you are open to connections with others that are based on vulnerability and emotional honesty. These are the ingredients that make relationships feel true, resilient, and rich, all of which are paramount to being able to emotionally thrive.

Do you have emotional needs? Yes, you do, because you are human. But the real question is whether you allow yourself to know, express, and try to meet them. 

Raised to Have No Emotional Needs

So, back to our initial question: How do you raise a child to have no emotional needs? Essentially, you raise your child to ignore, hide, or be ashamed of their emotional needs. This enables your child, once grown, to believe that they have none. 

Many well-meaning, caring parents do this without intending it or knowing. Sadly, when you ignore, hide, or belittle (even if only subtly) your child’s feelings, you inadvertently teach your child how to suppress their own emotions and emotional needs. This is a lesson that will endure throughout children’s entire lifetime.

I call it Childhood Emotional Neglect. If Childhood Emotional Neglect (or CEN) sounds like the intentional act of an unloving parent, I assure you it’s usually not the case at all. Many CEN parents are simply missing the emotional awareness, understanding, and knowledge their child needs because they didn’t receive it from their own parents.

The bottom line, we can only give our children what we have to give.

The CEN Adult’s Fear of Being Seen as “Needy”

One crucial point, having emotional needs, and sharing them is not the same as being needy. Nor does it make you appear needy. 

Quite the contrary, having emotional needs and expressing them makes you appear, and be, stronger.


At age 24, Kasey has never had a boyfriend. Deep down, she’s always wanted a relationship, but on the surface, she has worked hard to hide that wish. She has told many friends and family members that she has more important things to do than to date. When the subject came up with her friends, she turned beet red and changed the subject. 


Jackson visits his parents with his partner and children dutifully every major holiday. Each time they visit, Jackson experiences the absence of emotional connection in his relationship with his parents. Jackson’s family is great about discussing sports, news, and weather, but no one talks about anything genuinely important or real. Jackson is vaguely aware that he is hurt by his parents’ lack of interest in his personal life, struggles, or feelings, but he also learned from the way he was raised that to admit that his parents’ emotional void is hurtful, even to himself, would make him weak and needy. So he works hard to never let himself feel it, and he never expresses a word about it to his spouse or anyone else.

What It Means to Let Yourself Have Emotional Needs

  • First, it means accepting that your own feelings are real and worth attending to. 
  • Second, it means realizing that emotional needs are normal and healthy, and expressing them is a sign of strength.
  • Third, it means that you are willing to take some risk, let down your walls, and let yourself be seen as human and vulnerable.

It’s okay to want things like understanding, comfort, and support. It’s okay to need things like love, attention, warmth, and connection. 

It’s powerful to allow your true feelings to be seen, heard, and felt by others. It’s what makes others able to know you, and what makes you able to feel empathy for others.

Most importantly, acknowledging your emotional needs, and expressing them, is the single best, if not only, way to actually get them met.

To watch brief videos explaining many important affects of CEN on your life, watch my Free CEN Breakthrough Series.

To learn more about Childhood Emotional Neglect, see my first book Running on Empty. 

To learn much more about how to recognize, accept, and express your emotional needs to others see the book, Running On Empty No More: Transform Your Relationships.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Lorraine - April 18, 2024 Reply

Dear Jonice
I really need some help. At a very young age I learnt to deny all emotions, needs and wants and have gone through life doing any thing that would please other people. I am 63. I now know that I am a sufferer of CEN but I do not feel that I am missing something or am ‘running on empty,’ it’s that I am fighting my need to commit suicide everyday because I feel it is something I should do because I have physical needs as my MS has deteriorated. I have been seeing a CEN therapist for seven months and am worried because I am still not able to feel anything. Do you suggest I change my therapist?

Stephen - August 19, 2023 Reply

Thanks Jonice, your book has been an eye opener. I am 50 years old and it’s only now clicking into place why I am the way I am. Unfortunately my awareness has lead to a more selfish approach to caring for myself. My mam has dementia and my dad has taken my change as a insult to him and he has distanced himself from me. Not sure what to do now as more lonely than ever

    SUE - December 17, 2023 Reply

    It is never selfish to look after yourself or put your needs first. Unfortunately I was conditioned in childhood that other’s needs came first and mine were either non existent or didn’t even matter. For me there was a huge backlash when I started to put me first. In fact some family members have stopped speaking to me altogether because they see me now as selfish. Seek some support for you from other sources. I tried to have the conversation with my family but they just didn’t want any change and I eventually had to accept that. I had to find new friends, new hobbies for me but it has been so worth it. Good luck.

      Jonice - December 19, 2023 Reply

      Dear Sue, that is a tough process when you realize that some people have been in your life because you are selfless. I’m so glad you’ve moved forward and reaped the benefits, you are an inspiration to other people with CEN. Thanks for sharing!

Jo - January 30, 2023 Reply

Is there any way to make yourself just not care that your emotional needs aren’t being fulfilled? It’s probably not a healthy thing, but I will never have mine met, so I’d just like it if I didn’t have to bother with them and could do something else with my life. I don’t want to be fixed; I want to be perpetually numb.

Kira - January 10, 2023 Reply

Thank you for writing these blogs. It really makes me feel that I am not alone.
I have wondered what ways to bring up these topics to heal the relationships with your close ones. I have brought the topic up with my mother, but I find her in a defensive position where she blamed me for not being able to raise my voice when I was young. I felt once again emotionally neglected and defeated. I’d love to hear from you.

    Jonice - January 10, 2023 Reply

    Dear Kira, some parents are not able to understand CEN or even emotions or feelings in general. I wrote a lot about how to talk to your parents and what to do if they can’t understand CEN in my second book Running On Empty No More. You can find it in libraries and read it free or get it from any online store. Whatever happens with your mom, I hope you will always put yourself first.

Dhrutee - December 30, 2022 Reply

My husband, we’ve been married for 3 yrs, is a case of CEN. adding to the woes, in India, ‘parents are always right’. I started seeing the red flags in him and his sister’s behaviors almost immediately. but it is only now that I can identify the pattern in it all.
He has never even acknowledged his emotions and always remains emotionally cut off, has low self worth, has no needs and wants for himself, he was uncomfortable with physical intimacy as well and eventually it ended all together.
conditioned by extremely authoritative and controlling parents, he has been trained to believe that this is how relationships and family is supposed to be. completely cut off from each other. he cannot even fathom that his parents neglected him emotionally. he calls his upbringing “love care and concern”.
we’re heading for a divorce now. there is no ray of hope

how do you help such people when they are hell bent that there is nothing wrong and hence no help needed.

    Kerry - September 11, 2023 Reply

    WOW. I have a very similar situation but for different reasons. My husband of 25 years REFUSES to see anything is wrong with him emotionally. But his parents are totally emotionally repressed and, therefore never taught him to acknowledge his own emotions. I have been working on this FOR YEARS, to show him, but have been made to think I AM the problem (I was raised by parents w a little CEN so I invalidate my needs at times, and I am a very emotionally aware person, nonetheless. I’m an artist, so it goes w the territory). My marriage is ending over this and it is a massive family tragedy, obviously. I needed these books twenty years ago!! I saw this and could not name it and my husband would not listen to me. I am going to try one more time….but we are basically going through a divorce now. Devastating. Sorry for your plight too. It is similar and I feel your pain. If they would just open up to the truth!

Jules - December 7, 2022 Reply

Thank you very much, a very deep article. I have the most loving husband, I am successful professionally and socially, objectively everything is right in my life, for which I am very grateful. And yet I am utterly miserable and I cannot imagine burdening my husband with the depth of it. I acknowledge and respect my feelings but they do pass, while if I express them to my husband or God forbid, ask him for help, an aspect of my sad state becomes a fact that will not go away. Many times, looking back, I said to myself, see, feelings pass and aren’t you glad now that you haven’t said anything. It’s hard though. And I do feel a wall growing between me and my husband and I don’t dare to be vulnerable with him.

Shelley - October 2, 2022 Reply

Thanks Jonice for your help in discovering what is wrong with me. It is frustrating however as I am trying to find a counselor that I can work with and there aren’t any in my area that are educated in CEN.
I am 57 years old and I have had four children, divorced after 19 years and became a single mom with no support from Dad. I have 11 beautiful grandchildren and yet I feel empty, unsupported, unloved, misunderstood and more. CEN has led to many relationship problems in my past and in my present and now that I realize it and have been made knowledgeable about it, I want to start working on healing and getting better. Because it has shaped my life thus far and often sucks the energy right out of my life. I was number 10 of 12 children, surrounded by siblings but not by my Mom and Dad who were authoritative and didn’t give me the time of day unless it was negative attention which I began to draw on as a way to survive the birth family. There is a lot more. But, hope to find a counselor soon. If you can help in that search, I would really appreciate it.
Thanks so much!

Amy - October 1, 2022 Reply

Will there be an e audiobook version of Running On Empty No More? I hope so.

    Jonice - October 2, 2022 Reply

    Hi Amy, there is an audiobook! I was the reader for it. You can buy it on Amazon and virtually anywhere the paperback is sold.

Sheila - September 30, 2022 Reply

At my house when I grew up, all expressed needs were met as complaints. When Star Trek first came on, as a 10 year old I fell in love with Mr. Spock and his unemotional logic. I became like Mr. Spock. No emotions-just logic was easier than feeling my unmet needs. Now at 65, I have no idea what real emotions are. I can’t cry, laughing is fake and forced.

    Jonice - October 2, 2022 Reply

    Dear Sheila, I encourage you to seek a CEN-trained therapist from the list linked under the HELP tab of this website. It’s important to get in touch with your feelings.

Gabi - May 23, 2021 Reply

Emotions can be scary. Having them or ‘too many’ (subjectively) and also noticing/ hearing/getting it from others. What the heck to do with them. I know better now than when I was groweing up.

Dana - March 17, 2021 Reply

When I was in university, I looked around and saw many of my peers feeling the need for emotional attachments in the form of relationships or close friendships. At that point, I prided myself in my capability of being an EMOTIONALLY INDEPENDENT woman.
Now, I realise that I was only supressing what I didn’t know I needed.

    Jonice - March 21, 2021 Reply

    It’s good that you’re seeing this now, Dana. You can now change your view of yourself and start cultivating the human warmth and connection that we are all “wired” to have.

Lauren - February 22, 2021 Reply

I am confused because I’ve dealt with many of the feelings that CEN leaves as imprints on adults who experienced it: unworthiness, feeling deeply flawed, alone, frustrated by my parents, and more. However, when I read Running on Empty, there were certain things about the parents that seemed similar to mine, but mine were not extreme in their emotional neglect as far as I can tell and did not really fit in one category. My mother was abused by her own mother, who was very cold and cruel, and as a result is very flat emotionally and does not show much warmth or affection. She does try though, and she will often text me how much she loves me. But there were many times in my childhood where I felt that she loved me but was frustrated by me for some inexplicable reason. She would give an exasperated sigh while I was around and I would ask what was wrong and she would say “nothing”, but it was clear she was annoyed. No anger or negative feelings were talked about by either parent, except very occasionally. But they would ask if I was okay when I was feeling sad– but I never felt comfortable telling them if I wasn’t okay– I’d just say “I’m fine”. Is this emotional neglect? My parents are great people and have always been supportive of my schooling, sports, music, and other activities. Yet I feel that I identify with this on so many levels. It’s very confusing. Thank you.

    Olivia - March 31, 2021 Reply

    Yes, that’s emotional neglect Lauren. My parents were also loving and did their best, but they couldn’t support my emotional life which is needed to be a well-rounded, emotionally intelligent person. Pretending like negativity and anger don’t exist doesn’t teach you how to recognize and process those things in your life. And being raised to repress and distrust your emotions is neglectful (although that term does seem to suggest intentional malice).

ERR - February 20, 2021 Reply

My own mother told me that her emotions were flat. I see how that is connected to the derision I got whenever I expressed any emotion. I see how that is connected to the resentment the siblings felt towards me, as they perceived that I, as the youngest child, might be getting something more than they were getting. I doubt they confined their perception of “more” to merely physical things.
It really is so valuable reading these articles as they explain finally, what I’ve wasted 60+ years trying to figure out.

Chola - January 24, 2021 Reply

Wow! thank you so much for this new knowledge! I’m 23 year old Zambian female and I can only dream of ever sitting in a room with a therapist. However, your articles have been helping me perform small steps that are making me realize the effect of CEN on me. I am still struggling with so much. Still learning to love myself and intern be able to give and show love. I get discouraged because I feel I will never really have a proper relationship, especially with my parents because even though they ask me to open up, I don’t really know how and what it means to them. They raised me to just be a big sister who did things right for her siblings. And now grown up and soon to leave their home, it feels a little too late to work on a relationship because leaving also means freedom from them.

Maria - January 6, 2021 Reply

Thank you very much dr. Jonice Webb for this excellent article related to express more own feelings, emotions and needs and less listening, supporting needs of relatives.

Dorothy - January 4, 2021 Reply

I could not even express feeling growing up. Today I am too needy. Expect too much from others that leads to disappointment.

    Jonice - January 5, 2021 Reply

    Dear Dorothy, I encourage you to focus on expressing your feelings to yourself and really listening. Then work on expressing yourself to others in a way that they can respond in a positive way. Much of expressing feelings is about how you say it.

Lisa - January 4, 2021 Reply

I definitely suffered from CEN as a child (raised by 2 narcissists) and have spent years trying to regain my sense that my feelings are actually important and worth feeling. In a sense, it helps that I’ve been on that journey as I can more easily see the same struggles in others and give them “space”. I have a younger friend who says her parents raised her to be a “little adult” from the start (red flag statement to me) and she literally goes into physical shutdown when we manage to have an emotional discussion and her body language changes to that of a small child. I can only bring her back to the present by making her look me in the eye and then saying whatever my heart tells me she needs to hear. We all need to know that the more times we put ourselves out there and someone else listens and respects those intense feelings, the easier this all gets. My friend amazes me with her newfound bravery to share with me as I know how painful it is for her.

    Jonice - January 5, 2021 Reply

    Dear Lisa, you are a very good friend to your younger friend. I’m glad you are dealing with your own CEN and that it’s allowing you to see it in other people too. Take care of yourself!

Kara - January 4, 2021 Reply

Yikes, this one really hits home. I have spent years priding myself on being self sufficient and not needing support from anyone, except for my husband. (I’ve always felt I relied on him too much, but in reality I haven’t.) It’s only been in the last few years I have learned to be more open with my friends. I’m still working on it but I’ve learned people really do care about you and you don’t have to hide how you feel with people. Your articles are so helpful to show us how to recognize these behaviors are not good for us and we don’t have to feel alone and suppress all our feelings. Thank you,

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Kara, it makes me so happy to read about your efforts to heal and how they are paying off. Keep it up!

Jack - January 4, 2021 Reply

Great article. I identify with Jackson. CEN resonates deeply with me as well. I just completed your Fuel Up program and got some great building blocks for recovery. It will take time. I am currently seeing a therapist and I share CEN info from the blogs. My feelings are very walled off. She asked me a scary question: What do I want? I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t answer the question. I don’t think about what I want. I worked hard and provided for my wife and family. Now retired, a tremendous dissociation set in. I felt like a spectator in my place instead of a participant. We are working on finding answers to the question of what I want. Thank you Dr. Webb for your insightful work.

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Jack, I’m so glad you used the Fuel Up For Life program so well and are finding it helpful. I love that your therapist asked you that question. Keep up the great work you’re doing!

Joanna - January 4, 2021 Reply

Dear Jonice,

Thank you for your insightful article! What you say really resonates with me. My emotional needs were rarely acknowledged during childhood and this left me with a sense of feeling this was a weakness and so I suppressed my feelings and emotions! I have always felt different from others and as though I was lacking something very important as life has felt meaningless and very difficult at times. I am working on trying to get more comfortable expressing myself and my needs as I really want to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships and know this is key to doing that. Thank you!

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Joanna, I am so glad to hear that you are working on expressing your needs. You’re on-track!

Mel - January 4, 2021 Reply

This article explains so clearly why I have always ‘muted’ my feelings so those close to me. Why would anyone be interested anyway in how I feel, my parents weren’t when I was a child and nor was my ex husband. It has come so natural for me to deal with everything I feel myself yet I feel crippled with depression. Having started a new relationship with a loving, caring man, I am struggling to accept his love, I just don’t feel worthy of it.

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Mel, your parents were likely CEN. Just because they weren’t able to be interested in your feelings does not mean no one can! Since you have a new caring partner, I urge you to start the work on healing your CEN. It is the path to a happier, more fulfilling, and connected life.

Joel - January 4, 2021 Reply

Even knowing about its existence, it’s so hard for me to get out of that mindset. Even when I’m seeing a therapist for help, it’s hard to get past the thoughts that I shouldn’t be feeling anything bad so I shouldn’t be talking to them – that mindset completely shut down my first attempt at therapy and it took me 10 years to have another shot at it.

It’s been really slow going the 2nd time around. I’ve found it hard to get around the thoughts when talking with my therapist to really talk about much. I also had a few sessions with a therapist on the CEN list and seemed to have the opposite problem – they were so ready to guess what might be happening and would guess my thoughts/feelings way more forthrightly than I was comfortable with, to the point where I wondered if they had misconstrued things about me and the type of person I see myself as.

I was proud of myself for not being emotional, until I started having anxiety and depression problems I couldn’t recognise or describe. I don’t know how to be ok with myself having emotions now, and can’t help but see it as a downgrade compared to who I used to be.

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Joel, recovery from CEN can indeed make you feel things that you’ve been walling off for decades. It sounds like your therapist is helping you break down your walls. It can make you supremely uncomfortable until you get used to it. Just keep on going and it will start to feel like your new normal.

Jen - January 4, 2021 Reply

Great article. Miserable situation. It is like being dead but alive. You’re so shut off from anything that gives connection and value to your “connections” in life.
Living with CEN is probably like being raised to be a sociopath, feel nothing, experience nothing, don’t connect with others.
When CEN is compounded by an abusive childhood, it can feel hopeless. EVERYTHING is an uphill battle. Just moving through the world feels nightmarish and CEN is like having your legs kicked out from under you. You’re told, either openly or subtly, you don’t matter. You, your feelings, wants, and needs are unimportant. It is very hard to un-convince yourself of this mindset, but not impossible. Try to see yourself as a friend you want the best for in life. Value this person against all the negative, dismissive, hurtful lies you were “raised” with.
“Raised with.” When it comes to CEN, we weren’t raised, we were thwarted. Step by step, year by year, we grew up in homes when we were not allowed to BE. Very possibly, our “caregivers” were abused as well. If you can SEE it, you can NAME it and give it back, not bring it forward. You have to find hope where hope was not allowed. Day by day, moment by moment, whatever it takes. You have to be the accepting, kind loving parent you never had. What have you got to lose? More of Your life.

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Jen, you write with the passion of a person who has experienced CEN firsthand and knows what it means to be emotionally thwarted and diminished on a personal level. Thank you for sharing your inspirational words.

    Stephen - May 25, 2021 Reply

    Well said. When I took psych in college I started to think I had a myriad of neurosis; disassociated personality, depression, anxiety, in fact I didn’t know what it was like to feel ‘normal’ or what neurotipical people might describe as a resting emotional state of a little happier than ambivalent? i was always anxious and depressed but always said I was fine. I have learned how to fake emotions for the sake of not appearing as a sociopath. I definitely had a reputation or stigma around me throughout school; weird, aloof, cold, not nice or mean, a mute, overachiever, perfectionist, and someone who i had classes with for seven years even told me people described me behind my
    back as having NO PERSONALITY… I would sit and meditate in my room on how to never feel or express anything. My parents only displayed anger and would fight and scream all the time so mostly I received messages of manipulation, gas lighting, tit for tat interactions, payback, revenge, betrayal, and deceit. So it was actually very dangerous and scary sharing anything emotional with my parents. I beleive i would have killed myself if I hadn’t been so good at protecting myself from them. I always thought I could ‘turn my emotions back on’ like I turned them off as a kid but I’m finding it very hard, it’s like the machinery is rusted from dissuse and I’m way far behind. I’m rebuilding a steam engine while everyone else is flying around in Teslas… as a kid I couldn’t relate to my peers because I had to grow up fast, now I can’t relate because I missed out on a lot of formative experiences and basically a childhood, and in some ways I feel less mature than others my age. It’s like I’m regressing. I know I have needs somewhere inside but mostly I just think I need to be alone.

    SofaDaze - October 23, 2022 Reply

    Jen, I’ve just read your comment and the word THWARTED screamed out at me. I’m so glad you posted what you posted. I feel like something in my heart area tried to grow but was prevented, because it needed a response to its reaching out, not a great big BLANK which is what came back from my mum. It was definitely thwarted, this growing tender place – the heart of my feelings. I see it as a woody tree stump low to the ground where it tried to rise up but was held down by an impossibly strong force. Like it tried to grow up under concrete. The rest of me (now adult) grew up around this stump where my feelings should be, but most of the time they aren’t, and I experience an ‘absence’. Or a protective rage when it feels like my emotions are being dismissed by someone. Thanks for your fabulous words, reading them and your descriptive naming feels like you have gone some way towards righting the wrong that was done to me.

Philip - January 4, 2021 Reply

I like the Jackson example.
My mum only liked babies so I would be cared for till I was 2 years old when my brother was born by a different father.then my sister was born 2 years after my brother by a different father. then my next sister was born 2 years after my sister and went on and on. Bit like out with the old in with the new.we was all just a toy to my mum.don’t know who my father was.there was never any hugs or praise when we was growing up.the only time my mum was pleased is when the social worker said I was a deviant she was well pleased with that.we was put on supervision order but the courts for abuse and sexual abuse that we suffered.it just got worse as we got older.me and my brother used to go to the Chinese takeaway for mum we would just lift the lid of the takeaway and take few grains of rice out to eat.
Now I’m 50 and don’t need hugs don’t need sympathy have no friends.none of us have spoken in 20 years.we have nothing in common and that suits me fine.I put a wall up which no one could get in. Any way emotional neglect is very damaging and very hard to break out of it if that’s all you know

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Philip, I’m so sorry you experienced such abject neglect. And yes, CEN is hard to break out of. But you can break out of it, for sure. I encourage you to read the Running On Empty books if you haven’t already. Beginning to pay attention to your own feelings is the start of healing. It will change everything for you.

Richard - January 3, 2021 Reply

There needs to be I think more of a link up in academic psychology and therapy between childhood emotional neglect issues and children who are sent away to boarding school – especially at an overly young age. My father is a wonderful and deeply honourable man but he was sent away to boarding school at about eight years old and the place was so unhealthy he was caned for not somersaulting in a straight line in the physical education class. I know he loves his family deeply and is warm with other people but not once have I heard him say a sentence which begins “I feel”. I was sent away to boarding school too and was so badly bullied and abused I had to go home and several boys were expelled or suspended. I now have a simple philosophy which is if I feel a certain way and no-one is around I say out loud “At the moment I feel angry/low/deeply depressed/happy. I think if you can admit emotions to yourself it is a start. I desperately want to build emotional bridges with my father but I think this needs to be taken a bit at a time – especially as he is now old and physically and psychologically vulnerable. I certainly do not want to dump the blame on him for what happened at school. I just want to share feelings with him and with my mother as well. Sometimes the gap is so wide it is hard to know quite where to start.

    Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

    Dear Richard, thanks for sharing your thoughtful comments. I have indeed noticed a connection between boarding school experiences and CEN. I encourage you to try to reach your parents as long as you feel able to cope with any disappointment or hurt that might come of it. But, the reality is, not all parents can respond; and you can continue on to heal yourself, even without the emotional connections with your parents.

      Richard - January 4, 2021 Reply

      Thank you Jonice for your deeply sensible reply. Sometimes one needs to remember the lines from that Michael Jackson song “I am starting with the man/woman in the mirror” and I will endevor to concentrate primarily on my own healing. Very often the only person you can change is yourself and this takes time and patience and a lot of love.

Gas - January 3, 2021 Reply

Nice article. I particularly liked the case of Kasey. There is a thing like sexual neglect where parents hesitate or avoid any talk about romance and sex. Children then bury love and sex-related emotions deep in themselves and maybe abstain from sexual relationships. You might want to write an article about CEN and dating issues in adult life. Happy New Year.

    Kelly - January 4, 2021 Reply

    I noticed this exact issue in my life. My parents never talked about these topics and I didn’t enter into a romantic relationship until I was 37. Found out very late that my issues stem from CEN. An article on CEN and dating issues would be very interesting and I believe there is also a connection between addiction/pornography in this area, especially in men.

      Jonice - January 4, 2021 Reply

      Dear Kelly, agreed. I will write an article on CEN and dating issues. I have written about pornography addiction and CEN in the past. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

        Richard - January 4, 2021 Reply

        I am really glad that you are going to write an article on this subject Jonice. For many people regardless of CEN plucking up the courage to ask someone out for a date, even if it is just a cup of coffee is a big deal. Many people with CEN feel very rejected by their parents and also feel unlovable because they did not get that emotional warmth and validation at a vital time. Therefore when they feel “tempted” to ask someone out part of them – in a bid to protect them slams the brakes on to stop themselves being rejected and left alone again. It is like an overprotective parent in the mind and it can be there in other relationships too. My therapist asked me once why I always decided when our session was over and it was time to leave rather than her. I think she knew the answer! It was because if she had told me the time was up and I had to leave I would have interpreted that as rejection. I think the way round this for me at any rate is to admit that if someone you like doesn’t want a certain relationship with you that can be tough and maybe a bit painful. However it does not have to be an absolutely appauling catastrophe as it is for a three year old when their mother is not with them and they are left with unfeeling adults. One can survive it – indeed grow stronger from it – and although some people are very lovely by human standards nobody is completely right in every way for a person anyway.

          Joanna - January 5, 2021 Reply

          Hi Richard, yes I agree! I’ve avoided romantic relationships completely – not because I don’t want one but because I’ve felt unlovable/not worthy of being loved and for a fear of rejection! Thanks to Jonice I recognise where these feelings stem from and I’m doing my best to change things even though it’s very hard. Good luck to you!

        Claire - January 31, 2021 Reply

        Can you give a link to what you have written on CEN and pornography. I have a young friend whose father was absent and whose mother died in an accident when she was quite young. She was raised by other family members who took her in. As an adult she shows all the signs of CEN and struggles with this addiction. Thank you.

          Jonice - January 31, 2021 Reply

          I haven’t written specifically about pornography but about CEN and sex addiction. Look up Forest Benedict’s YouTube channel. We did an interview together and he also has a book that would be very helpful to your friend.

GWOR - January 3, 2021 Reply

Sun Jan 3 2021
Your message today vibrates to a long past of being a caregiver and now nearing 75 and for 50 of those years being told as an only child “ they are your problem not ours “ and “the” they were right as it is draining enough and putting family first there was no time to meet my own emotional needs .
And fortunately in later years building a large producing territory I finally had the resources to ensure everyone was buried honourably although at some unfinished moments at the graveside I must admit “ biting my own tongue” to balance realities of caring and obligations taken past even the extremes of infinity no one ever wins a war with self until one ends it inside first and the self reaches outward as in goes the good air and out goes the bad .

Looking back when a person is spent and is “hardwired” to survival then there is always another at some point in time who senses the weaknesses of a injured person and creates their own opportunities bringing others onboard to execute both the real in costly production lost and to unfold as who they really are bringing harm and betrayal to the final dismissal and execution.

An example says it all as an employee who we lent our cottage out of caring started saying “ oh he has psychological problems” on his return to the compounding plant and it stuck going forward.

So we sold the cottage as our children still young sensed something the cottage seemed tainted and if you will haunted . Yes the walls have ears and they do in their vibrations as even both neighbours on either side felt something had changed after that visit so I gave one my boat and his children my growing Tonka collection of construction toys to continue playing on the beach by the river .
The continuous echoing of “ oh he has psychological problems “ persisted and after leaving that toxic environment the owners mysteriously sold the company and two new off shoots companies grew from the employees. Go figure! Winning formulas of success for born losers.

When one’s life is about survival no matter the inputs one has to earn a living first to pay the bills then and provide care and one’s emotional needs are a luxury until the bills are paid that’s it !

Many of us moved away from bad crippling remembrances and constant reminders because even friends can be cruel without the intention as crap happens and even someone slamming a door because the wind caught it can bring Niagara Falls of torrent cascades drowning one’s good moment into memories like a flashbacks to a dead end of no returns .
Going back to the source where it started is a nonstarter and going somewhere else is new to new opportunities not being reminded by a school friend “ I remember “ .

Stick it laddie I did not come back for “ reruns” no matter where they come from .

I have reached the point seeing the ongoing psychological affects and effects of COVID19 no one knows when our days are called and sometimes one must just throw one’s old book of life away and start writing a new one for the self and always ensure the door opens outwards to the light leaving the darkness behind .

For the world will never be the same but those of us who have conquered or work at it seamlessly the pasts are gone and instead of getting drowned by the effects one is better to examine the causes and deal with it or them and let the effects rot in the garbage to be eventually in better shape to preserve the self and see others in need through worthwhile charities to give back even if it is just writing a cheque to know another may both eat and have their utilities and obligations met to be within warmth.

And it is these times we ourselves start to get in touch with our selves and realize our own emotional needs now better than later or not at
all .Then when?

Thank-you Jonice as one person reads your articles one way and another, another ,my hope is if someone reads this comment never to give up hope for the self and let the light in and ensure the door always opens outwards for new opportunities in health & wellness even if it pouring cats and dogs it sure beats keeping it inside those negative feelings and bad outcomes eating our lunch we miss and pursuing owning one’s right to a life and the possibilities of a living and life as one both within & without .

Pip - January 3, 2021 Reply

Wow, perfect timing. I have been very depressed, going through a divorce, having to uproot my home, and I have no idea what to do, where to go. I’m scared of the future.
I’ve been so horribly depressed yet unable to let anyone know.
I pretend I’m coping. I’m acting strong for my daughter. But when alone in my room I cry and cry and I feel so hopeless and alone. A friend has picked up that I’m very low, and she forced a phone call on me yesterday. I was reluctant to share my grief, sadness and feelings of overwhelm because I didn’t want anyone to know! It feels weak. I’m ashamed of being so useless.
But she insisted. So I ended up telling her everything and she was very supportive. She called again today to check up on me.
I still feel awkward and pathetic that I can’t cope. But I admit it is nice that someone cares. I don’t feel any better, but at least I don’t feel so alone.
I have no idea what she thinks of me. But I do know that if I had a friend who was struggling, I would always want to help them, and I wouldn’t mind what they said at all. I would do my best to help. It’s hard to imagine them thinking that about me, but perhaps they do.

    Jonice - January 3, 2021 Reply

    Dear Pip, that is what good friends do for each other. Allowing yourself to feel supported will strengthen you.

Steve - January 3, 2021 Reply

Dr. Jonice Webb
Thank you for sharing your knowledge on CEN! I look forward to your weekly blogs and appreciate the time you take to share your with your audience. You have been an inspiration to me in directing myself to work on something I learned was missing. This journey has given me the opportunity to understand more about emotions and feelings that I had trouble coping with throughout my life. I am looking forward to this years blogs and I would like to wish you and your family a new year filled with hope in curing the pandemic , love, and fulfillment.

    Jonice - January 3, 2021 Reply

    Thanks for your kind wishes, Steve. I’m so glad to be helpful to you. Happy New Year back!

David H - January 3, 2021 Reply

I am definitely like Kasey and Jackson.
But how do you express your needs to get them met. I suppose I still lack any meaningful connections that result in getting those needs met. I have maybe one connections where I feel somewhat comfortable, but because this relationship is a professional one (client/physical trainer) I hesitate to form a deeper connection.

    Jonice - January 3, 2021 Reply

    Dear David, it will probably help to start in a different way, with making more connections with more people so that there will be more possibilities to take emotional risks.

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