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Grab a rope and hang on!
The Deep, Dark Hole
To be far, far down–at the bottom of a hole–it takes a team effort to get out. I was there– at that bottom. And I found my team. My real lift upwards started when I read Running On Empty by Dr. Jonice Webb. I had been clawing and scrambling for years, and I had accumulated a huge amount of disconnected information. Several therapists and a life coach had brought me a few steps higher, but it hadn’t been nearly enough. I was still beside myself, in the dark, and feeling like my life had simply been an annoyance for anyone I had ever chanced to meet–sort of like the Legend of King Midas in reverse.
The Smoking Gun
Through this process, and only recently, I found the smoking gun that validated my core feeling. It all makes sense–now, why any distant remaining family that remained, had turned tail and scattered after my parents died. My mother had kept them at arm’s length, and I had not felt worthy of taking up their space or their time. Obvious to everyone but me, my mother had firmly implanted the oppressive, self-shaming messages, and no one in my life’s circle was in a position to tell me anything different. She had reigned supreme in her kingdom.
I May Have Been Down, but I Am Not Done!
I know that I am not alone, and I know that my situation was nothing compared with the physical sufferings of others. I always had enough to eat, clean clothes, and I had a university degree (two of them, now). Because I have made it out of my hole, I am feeling driven to do whatever I can to prevent such nonsense from happening to others.
Emotional Neglect, and More
The Emotional Neglect piece was the big one that I had been missing, but there were several other looming obstacles. I have worked through most of them, too. I will continue to share here, adding piece by piece. Please know that there are many wonderful resources and professionals who can take you much further in the meantime. You can begin with some of the key words and go from there. Dr. Webb will soon be offering another online course which will connect you with a caring community.
Welcome to FindingBreathless. If it proves to be your gateway, I am honored to share this time and space with you. If you have resources to recommend, I will do my best to share and credit appropriately.
Dr. Jonice Webb’s Emotional Neglect Questionnaire
Although I have never personally met Dr. Webb, she has been an incredible mentor, a gentle guide, and a window to the wisdom inside me that I had never trusted.
On her website (the link is directly above) she offers 22 questions in her signature non-threatening, no-commitment-required style. That is how I tiptoed in. I started receiving her newsletter which you can “click” to receive. If you have ever felt like you just didn’t see the world like everyone else, if you have felt invisible, if you have ever felt like you had some kind of fatal flaw, you are normal. Normal! You were just given the wrong kinds of messages when you were young, and that has left scars that have never really healed.
Many well-meaning parents were either too busy taking care of their own pressing needs, or they simply received the wrong messages themselves. Dr. Webb identifies 12 different kinds of parents in her book, Running on Empty. If you are relating to any of this, most likely you were the product of one or more of the 12.
I am not a licensed therapist, nor am I credentialed in the field of behavioral psychology. I am just a new retiree from the world of elementary education and a recovering survivor of CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect). I hope, by sharing my story, I will be able to help prevent at least a few children from the OOPS! that can hurt for a lifetime.