As it’s mental health awareness week, I thought I’d talk a little bit about NEGLECT.
Neglect is one of the most underrated forms of abuse. It IS abuse. If you have been at the hands of neglectful parents, you will know, this can cause unmeasurable amounts of trauma and pain.
Here are a few examples:
Perhaps your parents worked constantly and didn’t have any time for you? This causes abandonment and rejection trauma.
Perhaps your parents drank everyday. This leads to feelings of fear, loneliness, abandonment. Not knowing what version of your parent is going to be available that day is a terrifying experience. Again, abandonment, rejection, confusion, fear, anxiety.
How do you cope as a child, perhaps you withdraw and learn to be still/silent, unable to use your voice or perhaps you lash out, become angry, start rebelling. All common and normal responses to trauma.
Perhaps your parents preferred hanging out with their drinking buddies, again abandonment, rejection, loss of identity, nowhere to feel safe.
Perhaps your parents left you alone throughout the night and you were scared?
Perhaps you didn’t have decent clothing, you weren’t bathed or taught how to bathe which then draws attention at school leading to bullying.
All that self talk you had at home is becoming reinforced at school - “I’m bad, I’m awful, no one likes me, why does everyone hate me, what is wrong with me.”
Perhaps you felt huge amounts of pain but you just didn’t understand why, everytime you tried to talk to your parents you were met with “oh don’t be so silly, there’s no such thing as depression, you just have to get on with it, grow up, I survived shit and I’m ok.”
Perhaps you tried to use your voice but then you were punished, blamed, gaslit, ostracised, maybe even given a smack to shut you up?
There are many more signs of neglect and these are just a few but they all have a similar theme - abandonment and rejection. They all severely traumatise and negatively impact a child.
The child grows up believing that’s normal, lives with incredibly low self esteem, self worth and zero self love. Physically unable to love another person because they hate themselves so deeply.
So when I think about mental health awareness this week, I think about the forgotten, the hidden, the abuse that can’t be seen via bruising under the arms or on the tops of the legs. The abuse that is rarely talked about, the abuse that isn’t as well understood.
Whilst every victim of abuse deserves attention, love, compassion and healing; this week I sit with all the victims of neglectful abuse, all the victims that have been raised by narcissistic parents and all the helpless children that will keep going unnoticed in this world!