Learning and Unlearning the Skills of Self-Neglect


sad face shadow
In the work I do with sexual addicts I often use the term “self-neglect”. It seems those of us in recovery are experts at neglecting our needs and emotions. When we look back at our childhoods, we see that we learned this pattern of relating to ourselves from how others treated us.

I have read that 97% of sexual addicts experienced emotional neglect in their childhoods. What is emotional neglect, you may ask? Dr Jonice Webb shares in the video below that when a child lacks “parental emotional attunement” she “receives a subtle, even if unintended, but very powerful message from her parents” of “‘your feelings don’t matter. Your emotional needs don’t matter.’ And on a whole different level what the child really hears is ‘You don’t matter’.” Dr Webb shares that children raised in this kind of environment will tend to blame themselves because they have no other explanation for this experience.

Growing in our understanding of these early experiences is an important part of recovery.  Learning how to attune to our own feelings, name them, care for them, and express them with others who care will be part of recovering from childhood emotional neglect. In recovery, we learn how to care for ourselves when we are suffering, rather than neglecting ourselves or abusing ourselves by acting out our addiction. May all us on the pathway to healing learn how to nurture and care for ourselves regardless of how others have treated us throughout our lives. We both need and deserve this tender care.

-Written by Forest Benedict, MA, SATP-C, LMFT, Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley If you benefited from this article, please “follow” us on this blog and on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and SHARE this article and blog with others. Thank you!

 

Advertisements

About fbenedict

Forest Benedict is the author of Life After Lust: Stories & Strategies for Sex & Pornography Addiction Recovery. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Sexual Addiction Treatment Provider (SATP). Forest loves the work he does as the Clinical Director of LifeSTAR of the Central Valley and the Program Manager/Teacher in the SATP program at Mid-America Nazarene University. He writes numerous articles on the LifeSTAR of the Central Valley blog (https://lifestarcentralvalley.wordpress.com/) and also on his personal blog (http://forestbenedict.com/). He created the Life After Lust VLOG on Youtube, sharing insights about recovery from sexual addiction. Forest also writes and speaks publicly about protecting children from pornography.
This entry was posted in Addiction, Attachment, Partner of Sexual Addict, Recovery, Self-care, Self-Compassion, Sexual Addiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Learning and Unlearning the Skills of Self-Neglect

  1. Pingback: The 4 Secrets of a Successful Summer Vacation (In Recovery) | LifeSTAR Central Valley Blog

  2. Pingback: The 4 Secrets of a Successful Summer Vacation (In Recovery) – Write Forest Write

  3. Pingback: Forest Benedict on Self- Neglect – Center for New Directions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s