The Childhood Wound of Neglect And WW Linkup

God Heals WoundsI’ve been a bit surprised by the amount of interest in this series on the wounds of our past, but definitely not shocked. I think this is an area that many couples struggle with and can relate to—realizing it brings with it much messiness and misery in marriage.

The first step I want to take in this series is to share one of my triggers that I connect to hurtful situations I had with my (now deceased) parents in childhood, and I’ll share at least one more next week.

But before I go on, please know that not all triggers can be traced to childhood OR to our parents. Sometimes we experience wounding circumstances like abuse, trauma or deprivation in adulthood or at the hands of other significant persons in our childhoods as well.

Also, realize that …

[Tweet “Identifying wounds/triggers is not about placing blame on my parents or yours. “]

[Tweet “Identifying wounds/triggers is about acknowledging damage done so you and I can heal.”]

Remember you can’t heal an emotional wound that isn’t acknowledged any more than you can heal a gangrenous physical wound that you deny is infected.

In fact, if you ignore that gangrenous physical wound you run the risk of losing a limb or dying from it! Gulp! Identifying, cleansing and treating that physical wound should become your number one priority!

It’s no different for our emotional wounds. You may not have lost a limb, but perhaps seriously damaged a relationship or allowed the love in your marriage to die because of your unaddressed wounds.

One of my triggers …
This trigger is related more so to my mother, but also involves my father. There were many occasions in my young childhood years when I felt neglected and overlooked primarily by my parents.

I came along much later in their lives and they were often busy with other more obvious or pressing concerns—including ministry since my father was a workaholic pastor. My mother was also ill much of my young childhood years and could not care for me as much as was sometimes needed. These are not excuses for my parents, but add valuable and necessary insight for me as an adult.

A twisted perception developed …

All of this added to a perception that I, alone, created in my naïve and childlike mind …

I could not understand why my parents did not listen to or care for me like they did for others in their lives. I was a child without the capacity to reason logically or see the entire perspective like an adult would, so faulty reasoning developed and was carried, sadly and often unconsciously, into my adulthood.

So whenever someone in my life today, like my husband, does not listen attentively to me or care “about” (not necessarily care for) my needs, I feel like that wound is struck all over again.

If you’ve ever had a physical wound, you know that for quite a while afterwards it’s more tender and raw than normal. It’s the same way with emotional wounds, except that the rawness can continue on for decades or even lifetimes.

That means that whenever my spouse triggers my wound, my reaction is much stronger than he expects and that can often trigger his childhood wounds as well. We then get into that proverbial “Crazy Cycle” that must also be acknowledged in order to stop the downward spiral.

One final thought on wounds …
The best way to find healing is not only to acknowledge and cleanse the wound, but to bring your wound to the Great Physician and Healer, Christ. I’ll be sharing more about how to specifically bring your wounds to Christ later in this series. So I hope you’ll keep coming back!

Can you identify one trigger from your past that continues to crop up in your present?

 

How do you feel about identifying your wounds? Do you fear that you’re only blaming your parents?

[Tweet “Christian bloggers, I’d love to have you join us for Wedded Wednesday Linkup!”]


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Wifey Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

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  • Beth,

    Thank you for this post! We all carry wounds of some kind or another.

    I know that I carried wounds, more so from an unhealthy relationship than from childhood, into my marriage. My husband and I have had to work through several tough issues as a result. It’s such a hard thing because people around you, who aren’t the cause of the wound (especially your spouse), end up suffering too.

    The most important thing we can do, though, other than recognizing the wound, is realizing that Christ can redeem anything! I can’t wait to read more on this series and to read what you have to say about finding healing in Christ!

    Bree

    • Hey Bree, I just wanted to let you know that I tried to leave a comment on your blog and it wouldn’t let me. I tried refreshing and even closing it out and going back, but still wouldn’t work. (And yes, I ticked the “I’m not a robot” box too). I did appreciate your thoughts! It was something my small group was talking about just last night! Thanks for commenting here and I hope you keep coming back around, my friend!

      • Hi Beth! Thank you so much for letting me know! I’m still new to blogging so I definitely appreciate knowing when something isn’t working right! I’ll have my web developer (aka my hubby 🙂 ) take a look at it as soon as he gets home. Also, thank you for trying to leave a comment, I’m sorry you had issues. Hopefully there won’t be any problems next time you visit!
        Bree

  • Mary Flaherty

    I always love your insights, Beth. This week is no different. And I’m so glad that you addressed the issue that identifying triggers or wounds is not the same as placing blame on our parents. I spent years in “recovery” learning those wounds and triggers, and feeling sorry for myself–blaming mostly my father. For some reason, I protected my mother and still do sometimes. I think I felt that because my father cheated on my mother and left us all for “the other woman,” that my mother was a victim. Anyway, years later, I realize that there were many triggers, many wounds…many other factors that contributed to those triggers…like a mean piano teacher and a neighborhood bully (something that I wrote about in the book on overcoming negativity I put aside to write my novel).There comes a time when we have to stop blaming our parents for everything and take responsibility for our own healing and recovery. Great insights.

  • Susan Burfoot Mead

    Yes ma’am. bring your stuff into His light for healing. Isn’t God good?!

  • pioneerpat1

    I know that I have bunch of triggers. I have really tried to overcome them by healing and forgiving those who caused them when I was young. I have tried to learn their story and have found out that I wasn’t to blame for their issues but I was just collateral damage. That has helped me a lot.

    One trigger from past is my so-called brother. He was a natural child of the family I was adopted into. We have really never had a relationship as he is almost 19 years older than me. For my first 18 years or so, he was just a rumor to me. Then, we tried to form a relationship and failed. In 2007, I tried again and since he never married or had kids, he decided to be the “good uncle” to my kids. In 2011, we had a blowout because simply I got tired of his negative, destructive ways. Well, he has maintained a relationship with my ex and my kids. He pretty much bad mouths me to them about the way I grew up. Basically saying that I am one messed-up human (I have cleaned up what he really has said) and that I am a bad father because I only had bad male role models around me. He does this every chance he gets with them.

    This last Christmas I decided to take responsibility on my healing with this manner. I have always called him on his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas and tried to wish him. He would always be mean to me. Well, I called on Christmas and put it on speaker phone so my kids could hear his response. I said “Merry Christmas and how are you?” He mumbled some words that Roy Rodgers wouldn’t say and then said “I don’t want to talk to you.” Once, that my kids (they are college-age adults) heard his behavior, they saw that I have tried many times with him and I started to heal and lose that trigger because I how had proof of his behavior. It was a rumor as was told me, there now was proof. My son said “You took him to his doctor appointments, visited him in the hospital and let him stay at your house when he had cancer, but can’t even try to be somewhat nice when you try to wish him Merry Christmas.” I had finally lost that trigger of depression in my life.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Right. Between. The. Eyes.

    I’ve lately learned that my childhood made me a really terrible husband (and friend) because I learned early not to depend on anyone, not to trust anyone, and to expect that I’d face the worst things in life alone.

    Partial healing is possible, I suppose…but I know that I set limits on help. “I need your help for THIS, but beyond that, I’m good to go.”

    And the thing is, a spouse NEEDS to help, and to help beyond the boundaries that we set, because the acceptance of help is also the acceptance of intimacy.

    The things we learn too late!

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/02/whats-in-name-story-of-viet-nam.html

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  • Hey Beth! Happy Wednesday!

    Thanks for hosting this wonderful linkup! I can’t wait to get into this post on neglect. I’m really enjoying this series.

    Have a blessed week my friend.

    Tiffiney
    WelcomeHomeMinistry.com

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  • Hmmnnn…
    For me, I used to think my mum didn’t love me hence the reason she always yelled at me when did wrong or didn’t do right.
    Now, I get a little triggered when my husband raises his voice, even just a little bit…
    We truly must tell ourselves the truth in order for healing to take place.
    This is definitely going to trigger some healing Beth.
    Thanks

  • TJ

    Looking forward to more on this topic.

  • Mary

    The trigger you describe today is one that I have felt as an adult. It started with my ex-husband and it is a feeling that I am not cared about or loved. I am a words of affirmation girl through and through and I need to hear from those important people in my life that I matter, that I’m loved, that they want to invest in me by checking in on me. When I don’t hear from family members or even friends, I begin to doubt that they care and it messes with my mind. It is a work in progress with God and right now and it is hard to accept that I am loved by Him when all I want to know is I am loved by my family. This has hit home and will be an area that will be marked “work in progress” in my life. You have given me a lot to think about today.

  • One way that I know I’ve been “triggered” is an over-reaction. Wow. It always takes me by surprise, but I try to stay aware and intentional, to talk to myself about what I’m feeling so that I don’t splash all over anyone. This is a great series!

    • I agree Michelle,
      Over-reactions are ways I know I’ve been triggered too. So is getting snappy or short. I don’t do this often, but when it happens, it’s usually because I’m not taking care of myself, and allow the stress to build. Of course, this leads to an increase in getting triggered. Thanks Beth for this excellent series and for the reminder that I need to continue to build awareness of my triggers and deal with them. Wishing you a blessed week!

  • I can identify more than one trigger! I am so thankful for the healing power of Jesus. And, yes, we need to acknowledge the wound in order to invite Jesus to come and heal.

  • Beth,
    Seriously, there is never a post of yours that I don’t glean SOMEthing from, but today’s was “spot on”! Dealing with lots of past hurts since my dad’s death in December. It is aMAzing to me how long things can affect us. Not that I’m using it as an excuse, but for far too long I went a little TOO far with that, and neglected to even acknowledge a connection.
    Thank you so much for the care and work and prayer you obviously put into your posts – your insight and friendship have been such a blessing to me!!

  • Beth, I like how you encouraged us to be honest about our wounds. Denying their existence only keeps us enslaved to them. When we are aware of them we understand our over reactions and can renew our minds with truth. Thanks for calling us to honesty that will set us free!

  • Pam Ecrement

    So very well written, Beth! You stated well that triggers are not about blame. I experienced emotional neglect from my parents due to the demands of a handicapped brother a few years younger than myself. All my mother’s energy went into him during my growing up years as she dealt with the challenges and also looked to me to help her with him. I often felt invisible except to help sort out how to learn my brother manage his temper when my mother couldn’t or to help him learn how to do something she did not have the patience for. Often, as I am sure you know, the results of emotional neglect for whatever the reason can leave symptoms similar to abuse. It not only affected my marriage for quite awhile, but it also caused me to struggle with believing the Lord was interested in me as well. Healing took a bit, but the Lord was faithful to help me get there. I only wish I had realized all that I later learned earlier. I would have stopped demanding so much from my husband and also believed the Lord’s love for me so much sooner!!

  • Hi Beth, so sorry to hear about the neglect on behalf of your parents. I truly hope that you were able to find peace with them before they passed. Maybe that’s in a later post in the series? We parents make so many mistakes. I know I’ve made my fair share. Thank God for his grace. Looking forward to more of this series. Thanks for sharing!

    Tififney

  • Profound, Beth. You are a gentle, wise guide in our paths toward healing and wholeness.

    I find that my wounds mostly come from peers outside the family along the way. Gratefully, my soul was protected by Christ … and by the steady faithfulness of my parents.

    Amazing how all our stories are so different … yet so very similar.

  • Hi Beth! Oh, yes, I’ve got a couple of major triggers! As I’ve matured and had much healing through Christ, I’ve learned to recognize the triggers and remind myself that I am reacting to a trigger. It’s a journey for sure … but so thankful of the work Jesus has done in me! Thank you for another fantastic post!
    Hugs,
    Lori

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