Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…

In the previous article, we discussed the long-term effects of physical and verbal abuse on Humpty Dumpty.  Today we will talk about emotional neglect and the far-reaching impact it can have, even into adulthood. How our parents respond to us when we are hurt has a lifelong impact.

Let’s look at how Humpty was treated when he fell off the wall. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.  His mother wasn’t paying attention at all…. This was not a safe place for children to play, and the wall was quite high with warning signs all around.  Down he fell. He was broken, bruised, and it felt like his insides might spill out.  He wasn’t sure if he could stand up.  He hurt so badly he couldn’t call for help.  He just laid there screaming inside for his mother to come.  Instead, he heard:  SILENCE.

Then in the distance, he could barely hear her favorite Youtube subscription’s theme song. Some people walked by. He could barely hear them talking. She said, “How are you doing? Nice day, isn’t the weather great?!” They told her about an egg falling off the wall. She said, “Hmmm, probably not my kid. Although, I don’t know where he is at the moment…  He usually can handle things well.  He rarely struggles.”

Later she sees her son broken and bruised returning to her, she stared, and then without emotion stated, “You’re getting kind of hard around the edges, kind of boiled.  Have you been in the heat for a while?” And she didn’t notice the cracked parts of his shell or the broken, downhearted look on his face, or that he’d been through a great fall, much less that he needed her comfort. The disconnection with her, more so than the fall, was traumatizing for him.

When Humpty grows into an adult, some of his conversations have an undertone. You may hear:

I wonder about my own value and worth. My parents neglected my needs; therefore I’m supposed to neglect them too.  Emotional pain is not worth paying attention to. I’m not in touch with any of my emotions.  I have trouble recognizing if I have any needs.

Isolation?  not a problem.  I don’t need anyone. Besides, I don’t want you to come too close.

I don’t expect others to be there for me. I never had any support.  I’ve done a lot of things by myself.  I have picked myself up by bootstraps more times than I can count.  I’ve always done it alone.  Actually, I’m independent! Our world values independence. Look at what I did! I’ve accomplished a lot by myself!

Some eggs like Humpty think “My parents accused me of being too sensitive or too emotional, or too selfish.  So I stopped trying to get their love and approval. The loneliness was actually easier to deal with.”  Others think “I’ve outgrown those types of emotions.  I’m not sensitive anymore.”

It’s common for people to believe they are too emotional. It’s also common to try to shut down our emotions because they’ve been ignored or invalidated.   However, God created us with emotions.  They can be information or signals that something is wrong.  For example, our emotions signal us when relationships are changing, whether growing closer or more distant.

God wired us for connection and intimacy.  Needing others and needing caring relationships is not a weakness.  We have a built-in longing for connection.

It’s harder to put a finger on neglectful types of abuse because it’s not an action that a parent takes; but rather a lack of action.  God knows the deepest part us of.  He knows how we were wounded and broken. He understands the ways we’re tried to cope with our pain and our attempts to shut down our emotions.  God knows whether our emotions were made fun of, or if there was a lack of action on our parent’s part and our feelings were ignored and neglected.  HE KNOWS, and there is healing.

Isaiah 42:3  He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant.

Check out other blog posts in this series:

Part 1: The Long Term Impact of Abusive Parents: Humpty was pushed!

Part 3: The Long Term Impact of Nurturing Parents: It wasn’t just the king’s men who ran…