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My therapist thinks emotional neglect is behind a lot of my problems.

Actually I don't really understand the headspace if people on here who recognize that they were emotionally neglected to some extent, but can't really put this knowledge into action/recovery from social anxiety, so to speak. Is it because you believe your "personality" has become too entrenched at this point? Really curious if people have read the "Hollower" link in the OP and have any thoughts on it.
Can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure how I can 'put this to use' wrt my anxiety. My knowledge of EN may allow me to change how I treat myself, but it doesn't alter my predictions about how other people will treat me.
 

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Not sure if other people in this community experience their flight-or-flight system being constant "on". For me its like a constant feeling of "waiting for the other shoe to drop" - like, constantly feeling like I'm on the cusp of some bad ** about to go down, afraid to enjoy myself. And sometimes I have a momentary lapse and have fun, and then later I snap back into my default mind space and think like, "Oh **, I really let myself go there". It's like every waking moment is the calm before a storm that never comes.
I know this feeling all too well, and endured it for many years when I was still living at home. For me, I feel like when I am being seen by others being in a comfortable, relaxed and enjoyful state, it will triggered those to step in and stop it or change it because they feel like I don't deserve or have earned being in this "comfortable and enjoyful state" I am in. Fortunately for me though, I don't really have that feeling in environments outside of home even during then. I only do have this feeling towards certain people.
 

Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I find it more helpful to know how to turn off the fight or flight response rather than finding reasons why it seems to be perpetually turned on. Digging into all the trauma and reasons why only brings it all up again, it's like re-traumatizing yourself. It's our thoughts that trigger the sympathetic nervous system repeatedly...literally nothing but a thought in most cases.

When we think of past trauma the thought alone brings up the pain as if we are experiencing it all over again. It's the same with worry (thought) about the future and the anxiety or fear we experience as a result.

If you can learn to slow down the thoughts, to "step out" of the thoughts and stop identifying yourself with them because you are not your thoughts, and calm the body you can begin to train your mind and body to be in a more consistent state of rest, triggering flight or fight response when there is a danger in your actual reality rather than in your imagination.

I'm not suggesting to stop thinking completely...just create some space between you and your thoughts, you and your emotions...
Do you have advice on how to get out of those thought loops? I spend a lot of time by myself and don't really have anyone to talk to. I'm spending a lot of effort catching myself and trying to change unwanted thoughts. Some periods maybe my hormones are out of whack or something, I feel extra tired and cranky and I notice these thoughts having a really strong 'grip' and I have a hard time pulling myself away.

Been trying to sit down and meditate these days. I used to meditate every day when I didn't work, but obviously that wasn't feasible permanently. Now I kind of get that 'impending trouble' feeling when I'm meditating, I feel like I should be doing something else and I'm 'wasting my time's even though I know I need this. There's just this vague sense of stress.

Can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure how I can 'put this to use' wrt my anxiety. My knowledge of EN may allow me to change how I treat myself, but it doesn't alter my predictions about how other people will treat me.
Yeah I had a total lightbulb moment when I first learned about neglect, it explained a lot of things wrong with me, and that I wasn't just inherently born defective with no cause. I guess in my mind I felt that knowing the cause would help me find the solution, or something like that?

I know this feeling all too well, and endured it for many years when I was still living at home. For me, I feel like when I am being seen by others being in a comfortable, relaxed and enjoyful state, it will triggered those to step in and stop it or change it because they feel like I don't deserve or have earned being in this "comfortable and enjoyful state" I am in. Fortunately for me though, I don't really have that feeling in environments outside of home even during then. I only do have this feeling towards certain people.
I do get that feeling when I'm happy and relaxed in front of others, it would suddenly cross my mind that Im letting loose too much, and people are gonna think negatively of me and I must immediately clam up and resume my poker face. It doesn't help that sometimes I see people saying things like, "So-and-so has a really punchable face", and I worry that if I'm too happy or confident people would think the same of me. Sometimes I think back on times in the past when I've been confident and it feels like a different person, and I cringe.
 

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Yeah I had a total lightbulb moment when I first learned about neglect, it explained a lot of things wrong with me, and that I wasn't just inherently born defective with no cause. I guess in my mind I felt that knowing the cause would help me find the solution, or something like that?
Early childhood neglect has been a recurring topic in my therapy over the last 2+ years and it's just never given me a lightbulb moment. I understand that I probably did experience emotional neglect, but it never really seemed to justify the nature and extent of my problems. It just seemed like one more thing in a pile of things. I had already, by this point, significantly altered the relationship I have with myself, so I don't really feel like I can do much more in that area. I've gotten whatever benefits I can from it and I'm still stuck.

What we call "social anxiety" is just a label for anxiety triggered by various kinds of social contexts/interactions. We don't all get anxious over the same things or for the same reasons. Most of my anxiety is about potential violence or discrimination leading to a reduced quality of life. So for one person it may be that emotional neglect is a significant contributing factor to their anxiety, but it won't necessarily hold true for another. Social anxiety is a complex phenomenon with complex triggers and complex predisposing factors. Other people may not be able to "put their knowledge into action" because they do not have the same problems.

I understand the appeal of finding a silver bullet. I've spent decades trying to dig up "repressed memories," which I'm sure don't exist, because I'm hoping that if I can unearth them and process them I can dramatically improve my mental health. I've read dozens of case studies of miraculous cures of this nature, so I keep hoping I'll be one of the lucky ones.馃槀But I think I just have very complex problems that interact in unfortunate ways that make the possibility of any kind of improvement remote. I've been trying to fix myself for 30+ years now, on a daily basis, and I just haven't been able to make any headway.

Been trying to sit down and meditate these days. I used to meditate every day when I didn't work, but obviously that wasn't feasible permanently. Now I kind of get that 'impending trouble' feeling when I'm meditating, I feel like I should be doing something else and I'm 'wasting my time's even though I know I need this. There's just this vague sense of stress.
I meditated on and off for decades and until very recently this was always a problem for me. Meditating would often increase my stress because I felt I wasn't using my time productively. I would just sit there thinking: "You know what would actually reduce my stress? Being productive." 馃槙I did it because people kept waxing poetic about it but it always felt like a complete waste of time to me. I couldn't even get relaxed, let alone observe any kind of positive impact on my life.

But I've been having more luck with it lately because I have a better understanding of the relationship between stress, hormones/neurotransmitters, and health. I "get" the health benefits in a way that I didn't before, which makes the time I spend meditating feel more productive. So I'm back to meditating every day and I'm finding it easier to get into deeply relaxed states.
 

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I went through a lot of different forms of abuse as a child which I won't get into right now, but I felt very emotionally neglected and didn't feel like I was understood by anyone. Throughout growing up, I sort of isolated myself away from everyone, because it was very hard for me to speak to anyone, and I had horrible trust issues due to the abuse I've endured as a child. I'm so glad I got therapy as I got older, but as I look back, I truly saw how depressed and lonely I was as a child. It's such a normal reaction to anyone who's been through any form of abuse. You just sort of look at the world different like nobody is worth trusting and the world isn't a safe place, but with helpful techniques from a therapist you can cope better with how to handle things better.
 
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alien monk
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when i think about, if I had children, I would wonder things like: what is one thing I taught them? what is one special moment we shared together? what is something positive that we have in common? when did they need me and I was there for them?

if I couldn't think of many of those or if I was struggling to come up with any youd know there was some problem... I think that is neglect.

I cant think of many answers re my parents. often the opposite. when i was suicidally depressed they didnt notice. when a car hit me and the driver came to apologise later, they acted like it was my fault. when my dad took us fishing he sat in the car and my brother taught me to fish. and then most of the time they would "leave them to their own devices" as they said. and my dad would complain to me "I dont know what to do. I'm so bored. I dont know what life is for". even in adulthood i asked my mum to teach me to sew, but she refused. when I had a breakdown, she started goin for walks with me, but after a few weeks would complain "how long do we have to keep doing this?".
 
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aldehyde dehydrogenaser
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^^^ that's terrible. That doesn't sound like parenting at all. Im sorry to hear that happened

My childhood had one majorly neglectful alcoholic parent- my dad. It was a mix between chaos and complete utter neglect. His stance was that it was the mother's job to raise children and the dad only had to provide financially and physically. It was ****ed up in a way because I remember watching the news with him once and in the news segment, a father cried right before his very young daughter was about to have surgery and my dad went, "What is he crying for" as if father's werent supposed to have sentimental feelings about their children. Likewise, I think I've become a cold yet overly sensitive person because of it.

My mom even casually observed that he doesnt even know my hope and dreams which further demonstrate being obtuse and out of touch. But I've resigned myself to think that its just the way he is and nothing can make a person care more than their ability to care. It is frustrating to no end at times. I try not to be cold and uncaring to that end but realize I in turn am rather codependent and avoidant attached at the same time. Just insecure overall because of it.

I've been reading about attachment styles and I don't want to quickly diagnose myself because everyone is a mix of everything but I think I identify with avoidant. That OR, my entire personality can be explained by being an adult child of alcoholic..ACOA. it's not a syndrome but theres a special subset of characteristics displayed by acoa's only. And that explains whatever I am.
 

Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
when i think about, if I had children, I would wonder things like: what is one thing I taught them? what is one special moment we shared together? what is something positive that we have in common? when did they need me and I was there for them?

if I couldn't think of many of those or if I was struggling to come up with any youd know there was some problem... I think that is neglect.

I cant think of many answers re my parents. often the opposite. when i was suicidally depressed they didnt notice. when a car hit me and the driver came to apologise later, they acted like it was my fault. when my dad took us fishing he sat in the car and my brother taught me to fish. and then most of the time they would "leave them to their own devices" as they said. and my dad would complain to me "I dont know what to do. I'm so bored. I dont know what life is for". even in adulthood i asked my mum to teach me to sew, but she refused. when I had a breakdown, she started goin for walks with me, but after a few weeks would complain "how long do we have to keep doing this?".
Interesting point. To me it's not really "one thing" or "one moment", it's more like a general "vibe" that you got from the years or decades of interactions, and you sort of absorb that vibe and it coalesces inside of you into a "personality".

I had counselling a while back and the counsellor noticed I said, "What's the point?" about a lot of things. I imagine for most parents, teaching their kids to do things or just enjoying a hobby with their kids is the point in itself, it's enjoyable because they love their kids. My parents never asked "what's the point", but they made sure I always knew how much they "sacrificed" for me, like, "I'm really tired from work but I'm still picking you up from school. Aren't I a great parent?" Like literally bare minimum stuff. And I think that implicitly fostered the thinking that the "point" of taking care of me was so they could be a good parent (or look like a good parent), and it wasn't really about my needs or wants.
 

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Do you have advice on how to get out of those thought loops? I spend a lot of time by myself and don't really have anyone to talk to. I'm spending a lot of effort catching myself and trying to change unwanted thoughts. Some periods maybe my hormones are out of whack or something, I feel extra tired and cranky and I notice these thoughts having a really strong 'grip' and I have a hard time pulling myself away.

Been trying to sit down and meditate these days. I used to meditate every day when I didn't work, but obviously that wasn't feasible permanently. Now I kind of get that 'impending trouble' feeling when I'm meditating, I feel like I should be doing something else and I'm 'wasting my time's even though I know I need this. There's just this vague sense of stress.
Hey! Sorry it took so long to respond. I was gone for a while and to be honest I don't know how long I'll be back.

I get the isolation and how it can make our minds turn in on ourselves and the negative thoughts. You don't need to meditate all day if that's what you mean? 10-20 minutes the morning over time adds up. I would use an app, having it guided gives my mind something to focus on and makes it less tedious at times.

That feeling of impending trouble is fine. It can aid you in your meditation, don't resist it. Allow it to be without trying to fight it or struggle with it. Almost like relaxing around it. Breath, sit, and watch patiently with acceptance, and curiosity.
 

Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Hey! Sorry it took so long to respond. I was gone for a while and to be honest I don't know how long I'll be back.

I get the isolation and how it can make our minds turn in on ourselves and the negative thoughts. You don't need to meditate all day if that's what you mean? 10-20 minutes the morning over time adds up. I would use an app, having it guided gives my mind something to focus on and makes it less tedious at times.

That feeling of impending trouble is fine. It can aid you in your meditation, don't resist it. Allow it to be without trying to fight it or struggle with it. Almost like relaxing around it. Breath, sit, and watch patiently with acceptance, and curiosity.
Thanks for the reply and no worries. And I wasn't really referring to the length of time of meditation (I think ... I don't remember what I wrote before 馃槄), but these days I find it hard to even sit for like 10-20 mins without feeling on edge or needing some type of distraction. I guess I just have to make myself do it. Idk, it feels like time wasted if I just sit there for like 10 mins while my mind wanders all over the place. I find it very hard to counteract my mind lol
 
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