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Emancipate Your Mind: 095: Childhood Emotional Neglect and the Difficulty Identifying Your Wants and Needs

“I still feel like I’m not allowed to want anything. The voice in my head says I’m selfish, ridiculous, or dramatic whenever I try to access my needs.”

“I feel like I’m at war with myself.”

“Sometimes I think it was easier to convince myself I didn’t have any wants or needs because then I wasn’t disappointed when they weren’t met.”

If last week’s episode on identifying your wants and needs left you feeling like some of these other listeners, you are far from alone. Many people deconstructing ideology from high demand religious and family systems struggle with this because of something called “childhood emotional neglect”.

When you grow up in a system where your emotional needs were invalidated, ignored, or just weren’t adequately addressed you learn to ignore your own emotions and the needs and desires your emotions communicate to you. You may even pick up the idea that your needs aren’t met because you aren’t worthy of having them met.

In this episode, we discuss what Childhood Emotional Neglect is and how it affects our ability to know our wants and needs and feel comfortable meeting them for ourselves or sharing them with others.



Brandt, Andrea, Ph.D., LMFT. 9 Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect and 3 Ways to Heal. January, 2020. Psychology Today.

Morton, Kati, LMFT. 9 Signs of Childhood Emotional Neglect. August, 2022. YouTube.


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