The Hidden Cause of Your Unhappiness: Emotional Neglect and How to Break Free with Running On Empty
Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect Book Pdf
Do you sometimes feel like you're just going through the motions in life? Do you often act like you're fine when you secretly feel lonely and disconnected? Perhaps you have a good life and yet somehow it's not enough to make you happy. Or perhaps you drink too much, eat too much, or risk too much in an attempt to feel something good.
Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect Book Pdf
If so, you are not aloneand you may be suffering from emotional neglect. Emotional neglect is an invisible force from your childhood which you can't see, but may be affecting you profoundly to this day. It is about what didn't happen in your childhood, what wasn't said, and what cannot be remembered.
In this article, we will review a book that can help you understand and heal from emotional neglect. The book is called Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb, a practicing psychologist for more than twenty years who has successfully treated numerous patients who come to her believing that something is missing inside them.
We will cover what the book is about, who is the author, what are the main benefits of reading it, how to identify if you have experienced emotional neglect, how to heal from it, and some frequently asked questions about the book and emotional neglect.
What is Running On Empty about and who is the author?
Running On Empty is the first self-help book about emotional neglect. It was published in 2012 by Morgan James Publishing and has received positive reviews from readers and experts alike. It has also been translated into several languages, including Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Korean.
The author of the book is Jonice Webb, a licensed psychologist who specializes in treating people with childhood emotional neglect. She has a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been practicing psychology for over two decades. She also runs a popular website (drjonicewebb.com) where she offers online courses, blogs, podcasts, and other resources on emotional neglect.
The book is based on Webb's extensive research and clinical experience with emotional neglect. She defines emotional neglect as "a parent's failure to respond enough to a child's emotional needs". She explains that emotional neglect can happen in any family, regardless of income, education, or culture. It can also happen unintentionally or unknowingly by parents who are busy, stressed, depressed, or distracted.
Webb argues that emotional neglect can have lasting consequences on a person's well-being, happiness, and relationships. She says that emotionally neglected children grow up feeling empty, alone, disconnected, unimportant, flawed, and inadequate. They also have difficulty identifying, expressing, managing, and sharing their emotions. They may suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, addictions, or other problems.
The book aims to help readers recognize their emotional neglect and heal from it. It offers clear strategies for how to become more aware of your emotions, accept yourself as you are, have compassion for yourself and others, and connect with people who can support you. It also includes a special chapter for mental health professionals who want to help their clients with emotional neglect.
What are the main benefits of reading Running On Empty?
Reading Running On Empty can help you in many ways, such as:
Understanding your childhood and how it shaped you as an adult
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of emotional neglect in yourself and others
Learning how to cope with the effects of emotional neglect on your mental and physical health
Developing emotional skills that can improve your self-confidence, communication, and relationships
Finding hope and healing from your emotional pain and emptiness
Discovering your true self and your potential for happiness and fulfillment
The book is written in a simple, engaging, and compassionate style. It is full of real-life examples, stories, exercises, and quizzes that make it easy to follow and apply. It is also suitable for anyone who wants to learn more about emotional neglect, whether they have experienced it or not.
How to identify if you have experienced emotional neglect?
One of the challenges of emotional neglect is that it is hard to notice and remember. Unlike physical or verbal abuse, emotional neglect leaves no visible scars or marks. It is also often subtle, chronic, and pervasive. You may not realize that you have been emotionally neglected until you read about it or hear someone else's story.
To help you identify if you have experienced emotional neglect, Webb provides two tools in her book: the 12 types of parents who emotionally neglect their children and the 10 issues that emotionally neglected adults struggle with.
The 12 types of parents who emotionally neglect their children
Webb categorizes the parents who emotionally neglect their children into 12 types, based on their personality traits, behaviors, and motivations. She emphasizes that these types are not meant to blame or judge the parents, but to help the readers understand their childhood experiences and how they affected them. She also acknowledges that some parents may fall into more than one type or none at all.
The 12 types of parents are:
The Narcissistic Parent: This parent is self-centered, arrogant, and entitled. They see their child as an extension of themselves and expect them to meet their needs and desires. They have little interest in their child's feelings, thoughts, or preferences.
The Authoritarian Parent: This parent is strict, rigid, and controlling. They impose their rules and standards on their child and demand obedience and respect. They have little tolerance for their child's individuality, creativity, or emotions.
The Permissive Parent: This parent is lenient, indulgent, and inconsistent. They let their child do whatever they want and avoid setting boundaries or limits. They have little involvement in their child's life, education, or development.
The Bereaved Parent: This parent is grieving, depressed, or traumatized. They have lost someone or something important to them and are unable to cope with their emotions. They have little energy or attention for their child's needs, feelings, or problems.
The Addicted Parent: This parent is dependent on alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other substances or behaviors. They are preoccupied with their addiction and its consequences. They have little awareness or control over their child's exposure to their addiction or its effects.
The Depressed Parent: This parent is sad, hopeless, or apathetic. They suffer from a mental illness that affects their mood, thoughts, and behavior. They have little motivation or interest in their child's activities, achievements, or emotions.
The Workaholic Parent: This parent is busy, stressed, or ambitious. They devote most of their time and energy to their work or career. They have little availability or presence for their child's daily life, events, or feelings.
The Achievement-Oriented Parent: This parent is competitive, demanding, or perfectionist. They value success, performance, and results above all else. They have little appreciation or acceptance for their child's personality, interests, or emotions.
The Sociopathic Parent: This parent is manipulative, deceitful, or abusive. They lack empathy, conscience, or remorse. They have little regard or respect for their child's rights, safety, or feelings.
The Childlike Parent: This parent is immature, irresponsible, or needy. They act like a child themselves and expect their child to take care of them. They have little understanding or responsibility for their child's development, education, or emotions.
The 10 issues that emotionally neglected adults struggle with
Webb also lists 10 common issues that emotionally neglected adults face in their lives. These issues are not exclusive to emotional neglect, but they are often caused or worsened by it. They are:
Feeling empty: This is a sense of hollowness or numbness inside that makes you feel disconnected from yourself and others.
Feeling flawed: This is a belief that there is something wrong with you that makes you unworthy of love, respect, or happiness.
Feeling guilty or ashamed: This is a tendency to blame yourself for things that are not your fault or to feel bad about your needs, feelings, or desires.
Feeling unfulfilled: This is a lack of satisfaction or meaning in your life, despite having a good job, family, or friends.
Feeling like an outsider: This is a feeling of not belonging or fitting in anywhere, even among people who care about you.
Feeling like you don't know yourself: This is a difficulty in identifying your strengths, weaknesses, preferences, goals, or values.
Feeling like you have to be strong: This is a pressure to hide your vulnerability or emotions and to appear confident and capable at all times.
Feeling like you have to be perfect: This is a drive to meet unrealistic standards of excellence and to avoid making mistakes or disappointing others.
Feeling like you have to please others: This is a tendency to put other people's needs and opinions above your own and to avoid conflict or criticism.
Feeling angry or irritable: This is a result of suppressing or ignoring your emotions for too long and letting them build up inside until they explode.
If you recognize yourself in any of these issues, you may benefit from reading Running On Empty and learning how to overcome them.
The CEN questionnaire
In addition to the 12 types of parents and the 10 issues of adults, Webb also provides a questionnaire that can help you assess your level of emotional neglect. The questionnaire consists of 22 statements that describe how you feel about yourself, your emotions, and your relationships. You are asked to rate how true each statement is for you on a scale from 1 (never) to 5 (always).
Some examples of the statements are:
I am easily overwhelmed by my emotions.
I feel uncomfortable when someone wants to be emotionally close to me.
I often feel lonely even when I am with other people.
I sometimes wonder what the point of my life is.
I rarely do things just for fun.
The higher your score on the questionnaire, the more likely you are to have experienced emotional neglect as a child. However, Webb cautions that the questionnaire is not a diagnostic tool and that it should not be used as a substitute for professional help. She advises that if you score high on the questionnaire or if you have any concerns about your emotional well-being, you should consult a qualified therapist who can help you with your specific situation.
How to heal from emotional neglect?
The good news is that emotional neglect is not a life sentence. You can heal from it and learn how to fill the emptiness inside you with positive emotions and connections. Webb offers four steps of recovery that can guide you on your healing journey. They are:
The first step is to become aware of your emotional neglect and how it has affected you. This involves recognizing the signs and symptoms of emotional neglect in yourself and others, understanding the causes and consequences of emotional neglect, and acknowledging your feelings about it. Awareness can help you break the cycle of emotional neglect and start making changes in your life.
The second step is to accept yourself as you are, with all your emotions, needs, and flaws. This involves letting go of shame, guilt, or blame that may have been holding you back from expressing yourself. Acceptance can help you embrace your true self and value your worth as a human being.
The third step is to have compassion for yourself and others who have experienced emotional neglect. This involves forgiving yourself and your parents for what happened or didn't happen in your childhood, understanding that everyone has their own struggles and limitations, and offering kindness and support to yourself and others. Compassion can help you heal your emotional wounds and build trust and empathy in your relationships.
The fourth step is to connect with your emotions and with other people who can support you. This involves learning how to identify, express, manage, and share your emotions in healthy ways, finding people who can listen to you and understand you, and reaching out for help when you need it. Connection can help you fill the emptiness inside you with positive emotions and experiences.
The importance of emotional skills and how to learn them
One of the key aspects of healing from emotional neglect is developing emotional skills. Emotional skills are the abilities that allow you to recognize, understand, and regulate your emotions. They are essential for your mental health, happiness, and success in life.
Some of the emotional skills that Webb teaches in her book are:
How to name your emotions: This is the ability to label your emotions accurately and specifically. For example, instead of saying "I feel bad", you can say "I feel sad, angry, or frustrated". Naming your emotions can help you understand them better and communicate them more clearly.
How to use your emotions: This is the ability to use your emotions as a source of information and motivation. For example, instead of ignoring or suppressing your emotions, you can use them to guide your decisions, actions, or goals. Using your emotions can help you achieve what you want and avoid what you don't want.
How to soothe yourself: This is the ability to calm yourself down when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or upset. For example, instead of resorting to unhealthy coping strategies like drinking, eating, or gambling, you can use healthy coping strategies like breathing, meditating, or exercising. Soothing yourself can help you reduce your negative emotions and increase your positive emotions.
How to comfort yourself: This is the ability to comfort yourself when you are feeling sad, lonely, or hurt. For example, instead of isolating yourself or criticizing yourself, you can use positive self-talk, affirmations, or gratitude. Comforting yourself can help you cope with your emotional pain and boost your self-esteem.
How to validate yourself: This is the ability to validate yourself when you are feeling insecure, doubtful, or ashamed. For example, instead of dismissing or minimizing your feelings, thoughts, or achievements, you can acknowledge them and appreciate them. Validating yourself can help you accept yourself and value your worth as a human being.
Webb suggests that learning emotional skills is like learning any other skill: it takes practice, patience, and persistence. She recommends that you practice these skills every day by paying attention to your emotions, expressing them appropriately, managing them effectively, and sharing them with others. She also advises that you seek feedback from others who can help you improve your emotional skills.
The role of therapy and self-help resources in healing
Another important aspect of healing from emotional neglect is seeking professional help or self-help resources that can support you on your journey. Therapy can be especially helpful if you have experienced severe or chronic emotional neglect that has caused significant distress or impairment in your life. A therapist can help you explore your childhood experiences, understand how they have affected you, process your emotions, challenge your negative beliefs, change your behaviors, and achieve your goals.
In conclusion, Running On Empty is a book that can help you understand and heal from emotional neglect. Emotional neglect is a common but often overlooked problem that can have serious consequences on your mental and physical health, happiness, and success in life. By reading this book, you can learn how to identify if you have experienced emotional neglect, how to recover from it, and how to develop emotional skills that can improve your self-confidence, communication, and relationships.
If you are interested in reading this book, you can find it online or in your local bookstore. You can also download a free PDF version of the book from the author's website (drjonicewebb.com). However, before you decide to read this book, you may want to consider some of the pros and cons of doing so.
A table comparing the pros and cons of reading Running On Empty
Pros Cons --- --- It can help you understand your childhood and how it shaped you as an adult. It may trigger painful or unpleasant memories or emotions that you have repressed or avoided. It can help you recognize the signs and symptoms of emotional neglect in yourself and others. It may make you feel angry, resentful, or guilty toward your parents or yourself for what happened or didn't happen in your childhood. It can help you cope with the effects of emotional neglect on your mental and physical health. It may not address all the factors or issues that contribute to your well-being, such as genetics, environment, or trauma. It can help you develop emotional skills that can improve your self-confidence, communication, and relationships. It may not provide enough guidance or support for learning and practicing these skills, especially if you have severe or chronic emotional neglect. It can help you find hope and healing from your emotional pain and emptiness. It may not be enough to heal from emotional neglect by itself, and you may need additional professional help or self-help resources. Five unique FAQs about Running On Empty and emotional neglect
Q: How common is emotional neglect? A: Emotional neglect is more common than you might think. According to Webb, about 10% of people have experienced severe emotional neglect as children, while about 40% have experienced moderate emotional neglect.
Q: How can I tell if someone else has experienced emotional neglect? A: You can't always tell if someone else has experienced emotional neglect by their appearance or behavior. However, some possible signs are: they are withdrawn, aloof, or distant; they have difficulty expressing or managing their emotions; they have low self-esteem or self-worth; they are overly dependent or independent; they are unhappy or dissatisfied with their life; they have problems with intimacy or trust; they are prone to anxiety, depression, addictions, or other mental health issues.
Q: How can I help someone who has experienced emotional neglect? A: You can help someone who has experienced emotional neglect by being supportive, empathetic, and respectful. You can listen to them without judging or criticizing them; you can validate their feelings and experiences; you can encourage them to seek help if they need it; you can offer them positive feedback and affirmation; you can be patient and understanding with them; you can show them that you care about them and appreciate them.
Q: How long does it take to heal from emotional neglect? A: There is no defi