Posted by: Judy | November 20, 2014


This is not a topic I approach with any kind of detachment. It tends to be a door I keep firmly closed. Funny, isn’t it? I’ll talk about sexual abuse and narcissism without a qualm. I’ll touch on neglect, from time to time, but tend to shy from it. I have mentioned it in the book, but it hasn’t been a central focus.

For those who are new here, those chapters listed above are the book I wrote about the tools I wish I’d known about before I started therapy.

Emerging from Broken tackled neglect, this week, or at least Darlene posted the Wiki definition of Neglect. Yes, it punched all kinds of triggers.

I’ve beaten myself up over my inability to do so many things.

About 20 years ago, I attended a meeting offered to my singles group at church. A counselor came in and talked about abuse. He handed out lists describing possible aftereffects of the various forms of abuse.

I didn’t anticipate meeting many of the criteria of a physical abuse survivor. I met about half, maybe a little more. I expected to meet many of the emotional, verbal, mental abuse criteria. I anticipated meeting most of the sexual abuse criteria. He included another for neglect survivors. I was stunned to see myself in black and white. I’d never considered myself neglected before. Of the five types of abuse he’d profiled, I fit the child of neglect better than all the others.

I remember NM talking about traveling to see a relative when I was nine months old. She didn’t take me. I was left in the care of my father. My father doesn’t like babies. He’s never denied that fact. NM said that when she returned home I was not the baby she’d left behind. I’d changed, and that other child never returned.

I have no way of knowing what happened. I have no hope of understanding that nine-month-old’s mind or heart. What did she think? What did she feel? How much was I permanently changed? By NM’s own admission, I did change. Yes, I actually believe her on that one.

How does one heal from scars so deep?

Recently, I mentioned that I was a chatterbox. I’d forgotten one of the names I’d been given. Yes, there was crabby-appleton-rotten-to-the-core, but there was also Silent Sam.

According to all the studies, I should be dead. I should have been an alcoholic. I wasn’t. I should have been a drug addict. I wasn’t. I am overweight, but I should be much worse. I’m not. There are a slew of things I should be, and I’m not.

I believe I’m circling back to the idea that I’ve only been choosing the truth and therefore life for nine years. Maybe I can’t overcome all the results of the past, but I’ll never know how much I’m able to overcome if I give up. I never gave up so much hope that I chose darkness over light. I can remember moments in my life when I spiraled down into dark places, but I never stayed there.

I suppose I want to continue to prove that the studies are wrong. I also want more. I want… I want to be healthy… Is it possible after all this time? I’ll never know if I quit.

Step 1: Stop neglecting myself. Yes, I’ve learned the lessons well. Unlearning them will be difficult. I survived the insanity for over 50 years. I know how to live through difficult thinking I’m the one who’s insane. Learning to live through difficult knowing I’m not the one who was insane should be a piece of cake.


  1. Me2, I find that I don’t talk about neglect. Food and shelter were withheld used as punishment. And I find it curious, having also read the stats, that we are alive. I remember one that said I wouldn’t make it to 24. Neglect from childhood brings up a lot for me, things that are really difficult to face today in my current relationship and friendships – am I then craving unhealthy attention, do I perceive someone’s slight dismissiveness more than it is because it is rooted in the neglect of my parents? That is where I think some of my unhealthy narcissism comes from. I think that your step 1 is very important, learning to nurture and validate ourselves. That we know the truth, how we feel and what we went through is unhealthy. ((Judy))

    • On the flip side, do I accept neglect in my relationships as par for the course? Worse, do I neglect my friends and not even realize what I’m doing? One step at a time. ((TR))

  2. Hmm, I guess I’ve never really thought about being neglected, although there were definite signs of it, especially when I was sick. My parents always bemoaned how I wasnt a cuddly child, but I never felt safe being touched or hugged by my parents. I was described as cold, which honestly is not inaccurate in terms of how I appear to many. I have a lot of detachment issues but they are directly derived from how I was treated. It was self-preservation.

    And I too should be dead. My drinking nearly put me in an early grave. I’ve self-harmed (now there’s something I don’t like to talk about) with cutting and trying to break my arms and legs. All of those things were an effort to not feel what I was really feeling because those feelings would get me in trouble.

    Oh, how I hate the nicknames. My parents love them. I had fatso-fogety-arbuckle because I was a chubby baby (and only as an infant, yet they’d trot out that nickname all the way up until I stopped seeing them). My sister was (is?) Helpless Hannah. And guess what? She feels like she can’t do anything on her own without drama. The golden child didn’t have one, but all our boyfriends sure did in order to diminish them. I’m sure my parents had others for me that I’ve forgotten or they said behind my back because that’s how they roll. One other that doesn’t quite qualify as a nickname, but more as a label is “too independent.” Boy did that drive them crazy. But they did it to themselves because they cannot be trusted.

    It’s terrible that your parents are both in your face and neglectful of you. They don’t see you as a real person, but rather a possession of theirs they can use as they see fit to bolster their egos. Hugs.

    • Parents called me “touch-me-not” and boyfriend called me “ice queen.” The odd part is that I’m actually a really touchy person, but they taught me touching isn’t safe… no, their touches weren’t safe.

      I’m proud of you for making it through the nightmare and for helping me along my own journey. ((Judith))

  3. I believe neglect is the gate way to all other abuses…..they first must neglect your needs. The rest then follows.

    • ((Ruth))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: