Children come into this world with a blank slate, are vulnerable, and are in great need of being nurtured and loved from the moment they are born. They establish a trusting bond first with their parents or their primary caregivers. They are greatly dependent on them for their emotional needs. So neglect in this very critical part of a child’s life can have not only short-term but long-term consequences as well.
What should be especially notable is that childhood neglect is not often apparent. When parents or primary caregivers fail to respond adequately to a child’s emotional needs, it’s not often a purposeful choice. Many parents are still able to provide for the child’s other needs, like food, shelter, or toys, but sadly, they can easily overlook one key area of support, which is providing for the child’s emotional needs.
Some parents may be busy with their work, or some have little patience left to oversee multiple children, while others brush off a child who tells their parents they’re sad about a classmate teasing them at school. They may tell the child to toughen up, believing their child is being too sensitive.
Some parents even leave a child crying alone for hours. Even a young child who is not yet able to verbalize his or her needs believes that tantrums should not be rewarded. Over time, the child begins to accept that what they feel they need is not important. They lose their self-esteem and are not only affected emotionally but also mentally. They stop hoping and seeking much-needed support and resort to self-silencing.
What Self-Silencing Means:
Children who grow up in homes where feelings are not sufficiently acknowledged, recognized, or responded to are taught to suppress their own feelings, and this is where self-silencing begins.
Self-silencing is often described as the phenomenon of “loss of voice.” When children feel that they will never be heard or that asking for help will only be met negatively, they learn to stifle not only their own thoughts but also their feelings and desires.
A child brought up in this manner of neglect might develop into a completely capable, outwardly tough adult. Yet he or she will have a strong inner feeling that something is amiss. Feelings of emptiness and feeling inferior and unimportant cause an individual to get conflicted about what they think and feel.
They can find uncertainty in every little area of their lives. Because emotional neglect in childhood is so subtle and unmemorable, it’s possible that he or she was never aware that anything was lacking from his or her upbringing. It can be difficult for parents, caregivers, and even teachers to realize what they’re doing and how a child is being affected by it. While severe cases are easier to observe, less severe ones may be overlooked but eventually take their toll.
There are many ways someone who has learned to self-silence due to childhood neglect can be affected over time. They will eventually learn to talk or decide without regard for themselves but prioritize what others think, as they feel the least they can do is please the people around them.
Self-silencing can lead to bottled-up anxiety, leading to depression, and even apathy. Such feelings prevent someone from developing as an individual. He or she will therefore fight silently, put on a brave face, and conceal that intense, agonizing sense that something is simply wrong from both herself and other people.
The build-up of anxiety can lead to hyperactivity, aggression, and even substance misuse. It can also lead to social withdrawal. Eventually, a person who has experienced childhood neglect can also learn the opposite of being a people pleaser. They can also become uncaring and indifferent, as they have not been shown the same courtesy and wouldn’t know any better.
As their emotional needs weren’t validated growing up, they wouldn’t know how to deal with their emotions as they came. Again, they have learned that what they feel is not important at all. They become emotionally unavailable and run away from intimacy. It becomes difficult to trust others or to rely on anyone else.
Sadly, experiencing childhood neglect and learning to practice self-silence can produce future adults who become parents who also neglect their children emotionally. So it’s very important to seek help and unlearn such behavior.
People of all ages can benefit from effective treatment and understanding of their own experiences of neglect in order to both prevent further issues and overcome the short-term effects of emotional neglect.
The Path to Healing
Accepting that you’re self-silencing
The first step towards healing is realizing what you are doing to yourself. Spend some time evaluating yourself and taking note of the reasons why you’re self-silencing. When you are able to do this, then you’ve won half the battle.
Honor yourself. Imagine talking to yourself as a child. Calm his or her fears and start to shower love on yourself. While you are at it, practice forgiveness. Only when you can forgive the past, that’s when you be able to start healing truly.
Forgiveness is one way to practice self-love. By forgiving, you choose not to let anger and resentment cloud your chance to be truly happy. In healing, you will be able to learn to find your voice again. It will be difficult at first, but you’ll get better at it eventually.
Accept that you can’t please everybody
Your ability to show your true self to the world, even at the risk of rejection, is the only way to go. Don’t take everything personally. Learn to celebrate your true self every day. And while you are at it, spread that love to everyone who crosses your path.
Your voice is valuable. Your voice needs to be heard. Not everybody will listen, but that’s okay. Accept that, at any time, somebody will attempt to shut you down again or neglect you. But that’s a part of life. It will matter to those who are worthy of you.
The road to healing from childhood neglect resulting in self-silencing can be a mountain to climb. The anxiety and bottled emotions from years and years of denying or stifling your voice do not only cause emotional trauma, but mental, spiritual, and even physical trauma as well.
You can always turn to Reiki, which is the most popular form of channeled energy healing and can give you an extra boost of energy, and anxiety relief and loosen up the tension in your body
Intuitive Energy Healing is a particular kind of energy therapy that is an advanced form of Reiki. It is my personal blend of powerful energy healing therapies which focuses specifically on emotional healing, emotional release, and increasing your natural life force energy. Intuitive energy healing is especially effective in treating those who have bottled up emotions for a lengthy period of time, like those who have suffered unprocessed pain from childhood neglect. It will help you let go of repressed emotions and finally heal as you overcome emotional and mental blockages.
Chronic stress from years of self-silencing can also cause physical issues. The build-up of stress and anxiety can cause chronic health issues. The ordeal can cause hormonal imbalance, which is a culprit for fertility issues like irregular periods, painful menstruation, fibroids, endometriosis, polyps, thyroid-related disorders, or even cancers. I’ve recently come across 4 different clients in the last three weeks who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancers. While there are still layers to uncover, they have all shared one common theme, which is that they experienced self-silencing starting at a young age as they were told not to say anything that would be disrespectful to their elders, (even when their elders were in the wrong). One of them who is a mother in her mid-40s of three children only learned recently that she was allowed to express her discontent towards her mother because she had been indoctrinated for so long. She hated that it took cancer for her to realize how much she had bottled up emotions and how it took such a toll on her body. Since then, she started speaking up for herself more often and is enjoying her newfound freedom to express herself more openly.
Intuitive healing helps you experience emotional freedom, gain clarity, and start working on your current relationships, not only with others but also to fill the gap between you and your own thoughts, feelings, and desires.
Reclaim your voice now
As someone who was once unable to express myself and was unaware I was even allowed to, I know how hard it could be. This is why I’ve developed a proven step-by-step guide for expressing yourself more effectively, mindfully, and confidently.
I’ve used this method to help numerous clients, and they’ve experienced increased confidence, self-esteem, and improved boundary-setting. This course I’ve made is something I usually only share in my 1:1 sessions with clients, and it is now tailored to be shared with you.
Learn more about the course “Express Yourself Better: Connect With Yourself, Your Emotions & Find Your Empowered Voice” here.