By Anoushka Beazley, Certified Transactional Analyst

Childhood emotional neglect shows itself in a myriad of different ways. If a caregiver or parent is unable to validate a child’s emotional needs they miss tuning into the essence of who the child is, their uniqueness. Continuous misattunements can traumatise a child in the same way as an isolated traumatic experience but often it is only as an Adult do we notice how the effects of CEN can encroach on our daily lives. Below are just a few of the signs: 

  • Fear of rejection
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Lack of self-compassion  
  • Not feeling good enough
  • Feeling over sensitive
  • Needing constant reassurance
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Feeling over emotional or over sensitive
  • Scared of conflict
  • Difficulty in making and maintaining relationships
  • Problems with intimacy
  • Fear of being seen
  • Lack of boundaries

Origins of Childhood Emotional Neglect

There is no manual with which to raise children and neither do you need any special qualifications. The truth is that adults are rarely emotionally ready to embark on what is an extremely important and unpredictable job, and yet that is what we do. 

When we think of inheritance we tend to think of money and property however what exists within the family in previous generations can be passed down in the form of emotional inheritance. 

These can include mental health problems, diagnosed or undiagnosed.

Physical illness in the parent.

Cultural Expectation.

An ill sibling.  




The list of symptoms which identify Childhood Emotional Neglect might also be identified by the client as symptoms associated with their parents. Families often repeat patterns of behaviour through the generations. 

Healing from Childhood Emotional Neglect

We tend to find therapy when the absence of what was needed in our childhood begins to affect our mental health. The work between myself and a client is based in attachment and it is by exploring our relationship with attachment that we can begin to understand ourselves better. This is not about blame – you are not responsible for your wounds but your healing is your responsibility. What this requires is acknowledging the parts of our past which are so significant they are connected to us in our present in potentially unhelpful ways. In a nurturing space, working in the here and now, the client is able to learn about their own emotions and work towards living their life in a meaningful and contented way. Working with a therapist in an emotionally responsive environment allows the client to discover new ways of being in the world, with themselves and with others. 

Anoushka Beazley is a psychotherapist working with individuals affected by childhood related trauma and emotional neglect.