Ten Consequences of Childhood Neglect

Ten Consequences of Childhood Neglect

Like most empaths, I have been deeply disturbed by the separation of immigrant children from their families at the border. The impact of childhood neglect can be profound.  I know this from Harlow’s research on baby monkeys, the studies of children in orphanages, by the work I’ve done with clients and my own history of neglect.   I have been worried about the lifelong psychological damage this could do to these children, the impact it will have on their ability to feel safe in this world, their ability to trust and form healthy relationships, their growth, their ability to function when they get back to school and depending on how long they are separated, their survival.

Back in the 1950’s Harry Harlow performed experiments on baby monkeys where he took them from their mothers and other infants.   These monkeys could no longer securely attach to other monkeys and their ability to socialize was severely disrupted.  If the isolation lasted beyond 90 days, the effects were irreversible.

childhood neglect at abandoned orphanagesMore recently, Nathan Fox and colleagues studied childhood neglect by comparing young children (ages 6 months to 3 years) in Bucharest who were reared in a Romanian orphanage vs. those when were put in foster homes.    In the Romanian orphanages, babies were left in cribs all day, except when fed, diapered or bathed on a set schedule.  The neglected children in orphanages had a myriad of problems, ranging from cognitive deficits, to difficulty regulating emotions, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, to tics, tantrums, and stealing,

As a healer, I’ve seen these problems with clients who’s parents were emotionally unavailable.  As for my own healing journey, I’ve become increasingly aware that my lifelong struggles which sound a lot like the Romanian orphans (minus the tics and stealing) are likely due to many years of emotional neglect that I had growing up.

Given that I use the wisdom of the subconscious to get straight to the root causes of problems, I thought it would be of interest to share what I’ve learned about the consequences of childhood neglect from my experience as a healer.

Here are 10 major consequences that I have seen of early life neglect:

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