Neglect (Wound Series, Childhood Trauma)


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Neglect (Wound Series, Childhood Trauma)

This article is in the series about Childhood Trauma and Wounds. My last post was about abuse which causes me issues with balancing alone time and social interactions, doubt my worth and my ability to succeed as some examples. Let’s talk about Neglect.

I’m going to talk in this post about Neglect. Neglect is the last of the three main types of childhood trauma. The definition of Neglect is when the group around the child doesn’t provide for the basic amount and quality of time, interaction, tenderness or other basic emotional or physical needs.

Like always, we need to remember that we are looking at this from a child’s perspective and not from the eyes of an adult so Neglect doesn’t need to be intentional physical or emotional neglect to be highly impacting.

I wasn’t Neglected

My parents didn’t neglect me. I could find things they could have done better but I got all the food, tenderness, time and communication I needed.

This trauma type is not based on my experience but the one of other people I know that suffer from its consequences.


Tenderness, both physical and emotional, teaches a child to balance his emotions and use safe places to recover from difficult events.

These safe places are the arms of her or his parents, the soothing voice during a talk, the caressing of the hair delivered with love.

Tenderness teaches the beautiful emotions of togetherness. It also teaches us that life is not black or white. Something goes wrong but there is a safe place that still feels good so at the end everything will be ok. This nurtures our ability to believe and hope for a better future.


Time is the other main category of neglect I see around me. Not giving the time to a kid to discuss. Also not giving time to get help during  homework or the pleasure of playing with his parents.

Our society is exacerbating this type of neglect because of the level of busyness imposed on families.

What this time teaches is that we are not alone and that extended hands are there to grasp.


From what I see around me the main consequences of neglect are difficulty:

  • balancing the good and the bad feelings into an acceptable mix.
  • understanding that we are worthwhile and that others can enjoy helping us.
  • processing subtle emotions and feelings.
  • accepting that we can accept help from others and don’t need to solve everything alone.

I would say that what helps most with correcting these consequences is to open up to someone we trust. Open up enough and let them do the magic and mindfully see how it feels and how we react. Watching our emotions and how the waves come and go despite the circumstances.

Happy healing!

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Spent years in the business world, now looking a bit more at myself and why I'm here and where I want to go. This blog shares my experience.

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  1. Jen

    Thank you for writing this, I wish all parents to be would read it – I’ve realised recently that all forms of abuse in childhood take years of therapy and effort to heal from but I wonder if people ever truly heal.

    1. healingly

      I think yes we heal because it’s not an act of changing something screwed in us that is needed – which is hard – but an act of removing the scar tissue from the healthy self. We are already healed but it’s hidden under our limiting beliefs that we learned as children. Thanks for the compliment.

  2. Yev Marusenko PhD (@YevOTG)

    Neglecting a child could also be a reflection of the adult and that the adult needs to be extra mindful of their owns lives, what is causing them to neglect someone else. That could reveal a deeper down issue beyond the actual effects of neglect on children.

    1. healingly

      I believe, like Peter Gerlach does, that grown up wounded children produce wounded children if they are not very mindful. That’s why it’s important to spread this message and break the circle. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Tamara Gerber

    I’m surprised not to read anything about screen time in here because I feel in all the time kids (AND parents) play with the iPad, computer, etc. they’re not getting any of those elements you’re mentioning.
    My son and my most precious time is before going to sleep. We snuggle on the sofa, and we talk. Of course it’s also his opportunity to play for more time, but that’s OK 😉

    1. healingly

      I think that the screen is indeed a problem but it’s more a symptom than a cause. We use screens to evade reality and our responsibilities. Thanks for reading my article.

  4. stacystreuli

    Thanks for the post! I have a good friend who is an art therapist working with children who are dealing with trauma. Childhood is such an important time in our emotional development that a lot of adults don’t know how to connect with their own emotions much less nurture the emotions of others. Thanks for exploring this.

  5. Johanna

    A great post to open up a lot of ideas. I love your description of ‘tenderness’ here. It’s such a beautiful word that we don’t use enough when discussing parenting.

    1. healingly

      They are almost always unintentional. If you look at my very first blog post you find a link to the website of Peter Gerlach called breaking the circle. The whole point he makes is that childhood trauma is transgenerational because grown up wounded children create new wounded children due to their own wounds.

  6. bethany1980

    Hi thanks for sharing. I am a retired counselor and have a masters degree in counseling psychology, I even worked on my doctorate for awhile but never finished. You have some good insights on neglect. I would suggest following this up with some research on developmental stages and how neglect can stunt these, it might give you more insight into the consequences as well as what the consequences can be depending on what age the individual was when the neglect occurred. Same thing with trauma. Erikson, Freud, and Haslow are all great places to start. They all have developmental stages that they have designed with very clearly laid out and studied stages of development that can give insight into what the child is developing at different stages. For example if neglect occurs when the child is an infant, you can see in Erikson’s research that infants are working on the stage of trust versus mistrust. So neglect during this stage may lead to a lake of trust later in life.

    1. healingly

      Since quite some time I would say. When our intelligence took over on our emotions we started developing the elements that led to hurting ourselves more and more and perpetuating that pain. We will find the way out but it will require us to use our intelligence as a tool and not as the main driver of our lives.

    1. Walter

      Oh. Thanks for the compliment. The goal is to help others understand that there is nothing that can’t be undone and that happiness is possible.


I'm always curious about your views, please comment!