This is something we’ve talked about before –
“Imagine being a child, and having the intense feelings that all children have. Yet your parents don’t seem to notice. Imagine that your parents seldom ask you what’s bothering you, or why you seem sad, or upset, or angry. Imagine being told, “You’re too sensitive,” when your feelings are hurt. Imagine knowing that your emotions are more than your parents can handle. What would you do?
You would receive the powerful CEN message, “Your feelings don’t matter,” as all CEN children do.
To relieve your parents and yourself, you would push the most deeply personal, biological expression of who you are, your emotions, away. You would build an internal “wall” to keep them away, to protect your family and yourself from them. You would experience your own feelings as harmful, not helpful. They may even become your secret shame.
And so you go forward, into adolescence and adulthood, and out into the world on your own, deprived of the richest, most valuable source of connection, guidance, motivation, and meaning that exists.
The stage is set.”
Yes, this article is written particularly about growing up with childhood emotional neglect, but it applies to all forms of child abuse. I can’t help but assume that children suffering physical and sexual abuse are also being sent the message that their feelings don’t matter, what matters are the needs of the adults abusing them. That leads many of us to disconnect from our emotions, and that absolutely shows up later in life as many of the mental health issues she talks about later.
It may not always be the reason, but it’s clearly something that needs to be addressed.