The Emotionally-Neglected Child

emotional neglect

I’ve been reaching deep down into my past to uncover some unpleasant realities that have had a harmful effect on many of my relationships throughout my life.

First, let me say…I was, for the most part, a happy child and was certainly well-loved by my family. So, it’s difficult for me to admit that I was emotionally-neglected, even in a not-so-overt way by my loved ones. However, it’s something that has just surfaced in my individual counseling sessions so I’ve been diving into these long-buried feelings.

I recently finished Dr. Jonice Webb’s book “Running on Empty,” which covers Childhood Emotional Neglect, or CEN. The entire time I was flying through it reading the different scenarios or “vignettes” as the author calls them, I thought to myself, “This is so me!” This is a large, complicated topic and I will admit that I am not a trained psychotherapist so don’t take any of this as advice. These are just my reflections on a very small aspect of this issue and it’s an integral part of the work that Brett and I also are doing in couples counseling.

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The 10-Year Itch

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We’re starting couples counseling next week. Wow, wait. I didn’t think I could say that out loud. I’m so afraid of the discrimination and stigma from others at the mere mention of it. Like they’re thinking we’re already headed straight to divorce and this is a last-ditch effort to save a marriage.

It’s not.

We’ve been going back and forth on the idea of it for a while now. We know things have changed between us. That’s inevitable in any relationship. However, the entire bedrock of our marriage was put through a massive trauma when we lost Emmett. Needless to say, we have a lot of things to work on and we want to be proactive to cope with them together before we get to a point-of-no-return.

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We Need to Talk About It

This post originally was published on June 8, 2018, on my Facebook page after the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Click here to follow Missing Emmett on FB.

This week has hurt. A little bit more than most.

It’s ok to talk about it, and that’s why I do. I struggle with depression and anxiety. I have for most of my life. I had my first panic attack in high school. Scared because I didn’t know that all of those emotions flooding my head were entirely normal. I wasn’t going crazy. It took me years to realize that.

I. AM. NOT. CRAZY. I. AM. HUMAN.

We all are.

We have feelings. We have hearts. We make connections with people that make indelible marks on our souls.

Most recently, I’m struggling with my past. To be specific…2001. It’s complicated grief. Sparked by Emmett’s loss but remembering the loss of my mom. At a time when I was just beginning to find myself. I was in pain and my heart was full of this emptiness, straining to find something to mask it. Until someone came along and made me feel alive.

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Still Standing Magazine: 10 Bible Quotes to Provide Hope and Strength After Loss

My most recent article for Still Standing Magazine is up. I was really hesitant to write this one because I’m not one to discuss my faith or God much. I didn’t really have much a relationship with God until the loss and it’s something I’ve struggled with. But, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of reading the Bible daily since so many questions can’t ever be answered in life. Having faith, in a way, provides those answers to some of the questions or at least offers some comfort and solace to those who are grieving.

Read the full post

A Letter About Life and Loss to the Old Me

On the advice of my support group leader AND my therapist, I’ve been tasked to write a letter to the “old” me. I’ve been struggling A LOT lately with my emotions. I’m easily angered and frustrated these days. I had a meltdown the other day when I couldn’t figure out how to get the allergen protector back on the mattress after I washed it. It was ugly.

My therapist thinks this will help me process all of the emotions that I’ve been feeling lately and that I won’t be as hard on myself as I tend to be. I’ve been super procrastinating on this assignment because I know it’s going to cause the waterworks. I’ve decided to write the letter to the “me” on my wedding day, back on Feb. 15, 2008. Here goes…

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Dear Christina,

Today is going to be one of the happiest days of your lives. You’re going to be surrounded by people who love and care for you. People who will do anything for you and just want you to be happy.

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“The Child in Time’s” Benedict Cumberbatch Talks About Grief

Benedict Cumberbatch is my favorite actor out there right now. He’s starring in the BBC/PBS adaptation of Ian McEwan’s book “The Child in Time”, about a couple who loses their young daughter and the subsequent aftermath on their relationship. While it isn’t about pregnancy or infant loss, the film’s main themes, including grief and relationships after loss, transcend any loss of a child.

Take a look:

P.S. Just fore-warning everyone now, get me a box of Kleenex and leave me alone during this one.

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time - ben