You can be considered neglected or abandoned if you don’t know where your parents are, if they have left you alone, or if they have failed to maintain contact with you. Neglect and abandonment also include being left alone in circumstances where you suffer serious harm, or lack adequate food, housing, clothes, medical care, education, or supervision.
Another common childhood experience is being emotionally abandoned by a parent. When parents are critical, dismissive, invasive, or preoccupied to the point that it communicates to a child, “You don’t matter” or, “Your feelings aren’t important,“ this makes a child feel unloved, unaccepted, and misunderstood.
Abandonment can include a parent walking away from the family. It can also include divorce or even suicide. The common factor is an outright decision by the parent to not be a part of their child’s life any longer.
Netasha expressed her sadness over her father leaving her mother while her mother was still pregnant with her. “They went through all the court stuff and he told the judge I was his mistake and that he wanted nothing to do with [me]. So it’s not that I hate him or anything, I’m just disappointed in his decision. It would have just been easier growing up with him around. I’m about to graduate from high school and go to college and he isn’t even here to watch me get my diploma. It’s heartbreaking.”
For a child who has been abandoned by a parent, it’s easy to try to fill that void with unhealthy relationships. Kristy was abandoned by her father. She talks about her pattern of getting into relationships with destructive guys: “I am lured to these guys because I have almost no relationship with my father, and I want to replace that missing love with a boyfriend. Having the poor relationship with my father makes me feel like I did something wrong or need to prove I’m worthy of love from a man. Therefore, I’m attracted to a jerk who will test my limits and make me endure mentally and emotionally scarring situations to prove I am worthy.”
It’s easy for anybody, regardless of their age, to think the disappearance of their parent is somehow their fault. This is not the truth. As a young person, you cannot carry the blame for a grown adult’s abusive decision. Many times they are operating out of their own place of hurt and pain.
It’s normal to feel angry when you have been betrayed, abandoned, or hurt in some way. If that anger is not dealt with, you will soon become bitter and blame others for the pain.
Neglect and abandonment are huge issues, and can potentially lead to addictions. If you realize you are living in a neglect/abandonment abusive situation, it’s important that you tell someone. Find someone you can trust to talk about what’s going on at home. It will help you get perspective on your situation and help you decide what actions you need to take to protect yourself.
You can connect with a free and confidential mentor through the “Connect with a Mentor” button below. You can use your real name or a fake one. It’s totally up to you.
If you live in the US, you can also call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
Original article found at https://www.thehopeline.com/dealing-with-neglect
This article was written by: Dawson McAllisterPhoto Credit: rhedni-rukmana