Self Neglect Comes From Childhood Neglect

Mary Welch Official
3 min readMar 31, 2024
The following is a transcript of my podcast Love Notes From a Soul Coach. Learn more and listen at !

I’ve noticed there are secret, unconscious questions running underneath all the other questions. They ask: Am I ok? Will you take care of me?

How many arguments between people are actually about this?

Do you approve of me?

Do you want me?

Can you handle me?

My anger?

My grief?

Will you take care of me? The way I WANT to be taken care of?

But how many of us even know the specific way we want to be taken care of?

The fogginess around all of this is often connected to emotional neglect and those of us who grew up with it understand this. But like anything else, we can only understand it to the extent our conscious mind is aware of it.

You don’t know what you don’t know, as the saying goes. But we do know when something is wrong, when something is off — or missing.

A child who grew up neglected often thinks they have to do things by themselves. Because that’s how it’s always been. And it feels too complicated or dangerous to trust other people. Trusting other people, relying on other people, brings us right to the razor’s edge of our comfort zone. Of what we believe we can handle.

Trusting and relying on other people forces us to confront the part of ourselves that is in mourning over what we needed and didn’t receive and this can be extremely painful. But it is also essential to our healing process.

There is no way to transition from being a person who staunchly, hurtfully believes they can do everything for themselves, by themselves, to being a person who gives themselves permission to ask for help without this inner confrontation and reconciliation. Many of us are trying to just avoid it altogether. Which is a high cost way of coping. And a deeply unsatisfying one too.

These secret, core questions — am I ok? will you take care of me? — create a real challenge for us. Because how can we feel ok if we’re living in an ongoing state of avoidance toward our own grief and our own needs?

And how can we teach another person how to take care of us if we don’t even know what that means?



Mary Welch Official

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