A young woman is learning 5 tips to heal from childhood emotional neglect.

5 Tips for How to Heal From Childhood Emotional Neglect

Healing from childhood emotional neglect is a complex and deeply personal journey, but these tips are one place to start.


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Childhood emotional neglect refers to the failure of caregivers to respond adequately to a child’s emotional needs. Unlike physical neglect and abuse, emotional neglect is often characterized by what doesn’t happen — an absence of emotional support, validation, and responsiveness. This neglect can occur in various forms, such as a lack of affection, invalidation of emotions, or ignoring the child’s emotional cues. It can have profound and lasting effects on a child’s emotional development, shaping their self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being into adulthood. If you’re struggling with the mental health effects of childhood emotional neglect, keep reading for tips on how to heal.

5 tips for how to heal from childhood emotional neglect

Healing from childhood emotional neglect is a complex and deeply personal journey. Here are some tips for how to heal from childhood emotional neglect

1. Acknowledge your experience

Recognize and accept that emotional neglect occurred during your childhood. Understand that your feelings and experiences are valid and deserving of attention. Challenge any self-blame or denial associated with the neglect.

2. Seek professional support

Explore therapeutic modalities such as talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Practice grounding techniques to stay present and regulate your emotions during difficult moments. Address any underlying beliefs or patterns stemming from childhood neglect through therapy or self-help resources.

3. Reconnect with your emotions

Practice mindfulness and self-reflection to identify and name your emotions. Allow yourself to feel and express a wide range of emotions without judgment. Seek out activities that promote emotional expression, such as journaling, art, or music. This process can also be pursued in therapy.

4. Cultivate self-compassion and acceptance

Treat yourself with kindness and understanding as you navigate the healing process. Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with affirming and supportive language. Embrace self-care practices that nourish your mind, body, and soul.

5. Build supportive relationships

Surround yourself with empathetic and understanding individuals who validate your experiences. Seek out therapy or support groups specifically geared towards healing from childhood emotional neglect. Establish boundaries in relationships and prioritize those that are healthy and supportive.

Signs of childhood emotional neglect

Signs of childhood emotional neglect include:

  • Difficulty identifying emotions
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble forming close relationships
  • Avoidance of emotional intimacy
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Feelings of loneliness or isolation
  • Perfectionism
  • Trust issues
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Feeling unseen or unheard

Emotional neglect vs emotional abuse

Emotional neglect is the absence of emotional support and responsiveness from caregivers, leading to feelings of emptiness and difficulties forming relationships. Emotional abuse involves deliberate acts of emotional harm or manipulation by caregivers, resulting in psychological trauma and issues like low self-esteem and anxiety. In essence, emotional neglect is about absence, while emotional abuse involves deliberate harm. 

However, both emotional neglect and emotional abuse are forms of emotional trauma. Emotional trauma refers to any experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope and leaves lasting psychological scars. Both neglect and abuse can profoundly impact a person’s emotional well-being, leading to issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and difficulties forming healthy relationships. Whether it’s the absence of emotional support in neglect or the intentional infliction of emotional harm in abuse, both can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s mental and emotional health, constituting forms of emotional trauma.

How Charlie Health can help 

If you or a loved one are struggling with the mental health effects of childhood emotional neglect, Charlie Health is here to help. Charlie Health’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for dealing with serious mental health conditions, including childhood trauma. Our expert clinicians incorporate trauma-informed therapies into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic online therapy, managing childhood trauma is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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