Neglect comes in many forms - physical, emotional, mental and all have psychological repercussions. While neglect causes damage and the scars will be carried for life, neglect need not adversely affect you for life.
We have all been neglected in some way, shape or form, to a greater or lesser degree - some severely and others minimal.
Some of the words in the thesaurus that mean the same as neglect include carelessness, disrespect, disregard, inattention, inconsideration, indifference and thoughtlessness.
3 things neglect can impact is your feelings of
I do not matter
I am not valued
I am not respected
Most people are resentful of the neglect they have suffered, and I will say any neglect is not appropriate or fair - most neglect occurs to children who are helpless and have no resources or knowledge that the way they are being treated is so harmful later in life. And the 3 impacts I have noted above will be seen time and time again in your life reminding you of the neglect and adding to the resentment. We will also see this in many health issues - usually recurring symptoms of challenged immune systems - colds, flu, stomach upsets etc, and for the more severe forms often in auto-immune dysfunction, where it would be nice to have someone care for us (as when you were sick as a child was probably the only time you did feel you mattered, were valued and cared for) However now as an adult, when you are laid up, feeling sick, out of sorts and miserable, most likely no-one does care for you and you are still left having to care for the kids, the house and the significant other!
When neglect has been part of your story, your history, until it is addressed and you have truly moved on in acceptance and found resolution, you have beliefs that say, "I am not good enough", of "I am not worth taking care of", or "I must take care of everyone else", or "I am not worth nurturing or nourishing". So, you end up neglecting yourselves. Self-Neglect is as much a crime as the neglect of/by others.
A question that is good to become aware of – not to judge or criticise yourself, just for awareness is - Where in your life have you also been neglectful?
My next and more important question then is, what does it take for you to start to really take care of, acknowledge, care for, respect, regard, give attention to, consider yourself and think of yourself?
There is a consequence for every choice you make and when you keep putting others before you, making choices that include, nurture and nourish everyone else and you are left out in the cold, miserable, unsupported and starving for kindness, care, love, attention and the warmth of "you are loved" the result of those choices most often is sickness. The longer you ignore this and continue to "do for others" neglecting self, the more frequently you will get sick, or your body will create major symptoms that will render you "needing full time care". Scary thought aye!
One observation I make is often the self-neglecters (and guess what, I was one of them!) are those whose professions "demand" that they care for others - it is their passion, they feel fulfilled, because they are caring for others and that seems to fill a gap for them, helps them feel good that they are such caring people - especially when they were not cared for themselves. And the role they have in their work means that others are dependent on them – which adds to the guilt when they are unwell or injured, delays the healing process and adds to the feelings of neglect. What is SO sad is that often they will not care for themselves enough soon enough before some illness or injury takes them out of their profession and they themselves need to be cared for.
What can you do if you are resonating with all this? You have a choice! And the consequences of that choice will either get you more of what you have been getting or it will nourish and nurture you and help you release the hold that your past neglect has on your life.
So you can do nothing. Your choice.
Or you can change your focus and start noticing – yes – it is that simple. You may need to change it many times a day at first, however practice pays off.
Notice who in your life right now you matter to
Notice where in your life right now are you valued
Notice where in your life you are respected
It may be only one or two places/people where you notice these things, however the exciting thing is the more you shift your focus and start noticing, the more you will begin to see.
Remember when someone pointed out an unusual colour car, or make of car, all of a sudden you started noticing just that and you became amazed at how many there really were.
Remember that you cannot change your past or another person or their actions. We can only be responsible for our own actions. You are now the guardian of your life – not your elders – YOU. They had their chance. You have YOUR chance now. Nail it and be the best guardian you can be.
The next important things to do as soon as possible is to schedule some time EACH day just for you. Even to just sit in the sun with a cuppa, for at least half an hour. And, book some type of therapy – massage, pamper session, walk with a friend – something that is for pleasure and relaxing, nurturing and nourishing to the body and soul. It is good to do this at least twice a month.
Pop your big girl panties on – this is your chance – you are not a helpless child, dependent on a mother, father or caregiver to help you feel worthy, loved and special – they had their chance and blew it – it is past. Your body, your mind, your family will thank you for this and you will find that illness and accidents will not need to visit you so frequently, if at all, because you are taking the time to nurture and nourish the feelings of neglect right out of your life and as you continue to practice this there will be no need for them to return to remind you of neglect.