Top positive review
Describes CEN perfectly, but lacks adequate cognitive discussion
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2017
This book does an excellent job of describing the adversities, emotions, and common experiences of those who have experienced "childhood emotional neglect" (CEN) or "emotional deprivation."
By reading this book you will see what it's like to be someone who has experienced CEN. There is a lot of descriptions of people who have experienced this in their life whom the author has worked with to help them feel better. If you want to understand why you feel so bad about yourself or life, this book will describe the situations you encounter perfectly. If you have a really hard time explaining why you have low self-esteem, depression, feel like a failure, even if you had a good childhood, this will explain your circumstances perfectly.
Understand that CEN doesn't mean you were emotionally abused, or verbally berated as a child. It also doesn't mean your need for food, clothing, a warm home, 2 parents loving parents were not met. What CEN is about is people who didn't get the proper emotional guidance and understanding when they were children, therefore they grew up not quite understanding how to deal with their emotions and the adversities in life.
The author then explains what I would call a behavioral approach to changing your emotional difficulties. I would recommend buying the ebook and then the audiobook as an add-on. The paper or ebook will have a better description of the charts needed to track your behavior and eventually change it.
Finally I'd like to give a critique of how the book and perhaps the method itself leaves out a thorough discussion of what is known in Cognitive Behavior Therapy as "cognitive distortions" or simply negative thinking.
I myself, suffer from the symptoms of CEN such as low self-esteem, feelings of emptiness, self directed anger and self-blame, poor self-discipline, difficulty understanding and identifying my own emotions, and even suicidal thoughts. So this book really helped me to articulate many of the feelings and internal experiences that I was having in my adult life, despite being raised in a good family.
When I say the book lacks discussion of cognitive distortions, what I mean is that humans all have the ability to think (sometimes neurotically) about our own thinking. I believe many people with CEN may have experienced similar lack of emotional guidance experiences in their life, but that they also lack cognitive guidance and therefore obsess about why they feel bad, with such thoughts as, "I must not be normal because simple situations make me feel so inadequate. If other people have to deal with these feelings and they are ok, then I must be a totally rotten failure. I must be broken in some way and maybe nothing can fix me." We often tremendously blame ourselves for feelings that are actually quite normal given the circumstances. We think of the world as unfair, we put ourselves down as worthless, or think of others as worthless for not helping us or understanding us. We often can't stand the feelings so much that we desperately consider suicide as the only way out.
For anyone who reads this book, it will definitely help you identify and articulate some of the feelings and experiences you've had since childhood. But what I think has been very helpful for me in addition to this book, are some of the books by Albert Ellis using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. What should be addressed in Dr. Webb's book is how to catch ourselves in distorted thinking patters where we demand that life treat us fair. You don't need more "tough love" from friends or therapists, not that Dr. Webb uses that kind of approach. But what I think all people, but particularly those who can identify with being CEN, should know is that the only thing we can control is our own attitudes and internal philosophy about life. It's important to address this part of your thinking if you have CEN.
In conclusion, I really do like this book, and recommend it as it will give you a better understanding of what symptoms you may have previously been unable to explain. Just remember to follow up with addressing your thoughts about those symptoms.
Also get the paper or kindle book to go with the audiobook.