Overcoming Childhood Emotional Neglect: Healing from Emotional Neglect in Adulthood

CEN refers to the lack of emotional support and validation we experienced during our formative years. It can leave us feeling disconnected from our emotions, struggling with self-worth, and navigating challenging relationships. In this article, we will discuss the signs of CEN, steps to recover from it, and the importance of self-care and setting healthy boundaries.

Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect

  • People pleasing: Do you find yourself constantly trying to please others.
  • Concern about others' opinions: Are you easily upset by what others think of you.
  • Difficulty identifying emotions: Do you struggle to know how you feel until it becomes overwhelming.

These signs may indicate that you have experienced CEN and are in need of healing.

Recovering from Childhood Emotional Neglect

Recovering from CEN requires self-awareness and self-care. Here are some steps to help you on your journey:

  1. Start noticing and tracking your feelings: Begin by printing out feelings charts and tracking your emotions daily. This can help you become more familiar with your emotional landscape.
  2. Describe your feelings: Practice describing your emotions without using the exact feeling words. This exercise can help you expand your emotional vocabulary and deepen your understanding of your inner world.
  3. Acknowledge your needs: Recognize that your needs are valid and important. Consider how you would respond if someone else had the same needs. This shift in perspective can help you overcome the belief that your needs are too much.
  4. Engage in self-care: Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating regularly, and finding healthy outlets for expressing your emotions.
  5. Identify nurturing activities: Make a list of activities that make you feel nurtured and cared for. Engage in these activities regularly to promote healing and self-compassion.
  6. Accept help and support: Allow trusted individuals into your life and share your experiences with them. Building a support system can provide the validation and understanding you may have missed during childhood.
  7. Set healthy boundaries: Learn to say no to things that do not align with your needs and self-care. Prioritize your well-being and surround yourself with people who respect your boundaries.

By following these steps, you can begin to heal from childhood emotional neglect and cultivate a healthier mindset and relationships.


Childhood emotional neglect can have lasting effects on our emotional well-being. However, with self-awareness, self-care, and support, it is possible to overcome the challenges associated with CEN. By acknowledging our emotions, identifying our needs, and setting healthy boundaries, we can create a foundation for healing and personal growth. Remember, you deserve love, validation, and emotional support. Take the first step towards healing today.

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