Take the Childhood Emotional Neglect Test

Take the ENQ

During twenty years of practicing psychology, I started to see an invisible force from childhood which weighs upon people as adults. It’s a “non-event” which is unnoticeable and unmemorable and yet leaves a profound mark upon the child that endures throughout adulthood. It’s Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN).

CEN is a parent’s failure to respond enough to a child’s emotional needs.

This failure to respond can masquerade as loving parent behavior. It can happen in families which are seemingly healthy and fine. And it can be overshadowed by more obvious child mistreatment or abuse. In any case, it goes unseen and unnoticed while it does its silent damage to people’s lives.

Many people have found answers to problems that have baffled them throughout their lives, by recognizing that CEN is the cause. But because CEN is so difficult to see or remember, it can be very hard to identify whether you are living your adult life in its grip. I’ve devised the Emotional Neglect Questionnaire to help you discover whether you may have grown up this way.

I have found it very useful, but have not yet been able to establish reliability or normative data through research. So please know that, at this point, the ENQ is based upon clinical experience, and has not been scientifically studied yet.

Sign up to  Take The Emotional Neglect Questionnaire


To learn more about CEN; how it happens, why it’s so invisible, and how to heal from it, visit EmotionalNeglect.com, or see Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect.


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Charlotte - February 17, 2019 Reply

After being in therapy for years I have learned that I have major depressive disorder, Borderline Personality, and most recently dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. Before my present therapist I was with an ARNP therapist for over eleven years. While we taught each other a lot, he preferred to focus on the “now” rather than looking at the past to help understand things. I think he understood why I am the way I am but I didn’t.

The therapist I am with now has been seeing me for a little over two years. She is much younger and I thought she would not be able to help me much because of her inexperience. Instead she is helping me. I think it is because she has an education that includes the new things that psychologists have learned. At the moment she does DBT therapy with me but she is going to incorporate some sort of trauma based therapy with me next week. I was assessed recently with ddnos so those things will be addressed.

My actual comment is that I tell my therapist that I do not feel like I have had trauma or abuse because I compare myself with people who have been physically or sexually abused. Reading what you wrote, “It’s a “non-event” which is unnoticeable and unmemorable…” is exactly what I needed to see in order to really feel validated. My therapist tried to validate me but what she said did not help. Your words have.

I’m going to get your book and try to read it. I struggle with my concentration. Maybe she will want to read it as well. She also talks to me about my attachment style being “anxious-avoidant” and that has helped me see a pattern in my relationships. It is nice to understand why I think, feel, and act the way I do. I don’t just feel like I am a defective loser. I still feel like a loser though.

I could go on about the intense attachments I have had in my life, especially with my therapists, but Dr Webb, you probably already guessed that.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about myself, the opportunity to share my experiences, and the opportunity to read what others think.

Ms Futche - November 8, 2018 Reply

Hello, I had an abusive childhood- physically & emotionally. I looked in the table of contents of your book to see if that was listed- seems this is more for those whose folks “took care of them” but ignored them emotionally (for alot of reasons). I assure there was no such care in my childhood home, I ran away at 11 and never looked back. My father drove my mother to a mental hospital when I was very little, and allowed his addictions to kill him at age 59. He was dead to me long before that. He was a self centered sperm donor, not a father. Needless to say, I have spent much of my adult years figuring out who I am, how I feel and just trying to have a good life. Good thing I chose a good man to marry- 37 years now, 3 kids. Difficult YES, perfect NO… but moving alittle fwd – Better now than I was for sure, my faith has been a God send. Dr. Webb, Any book suggestions for someone like me- on a journey and seeking to be BETTER not BITTER!

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