The Lasting Effects Of Neglect. Part 1 How It Begins

When I was born on New Years Day 1958 at 4 am my mother had been in labour for 12 hours and the nursing staff were not particularly attentive, they were more interested in the party that was going on down the ward by all accounts. I was not in good shape and had to be put into an incubator and she was exhausted. I was separated from her because she developed post natal depression as was the procedure in those days she was taken to a mental institution for 3 months. I was looked after by a neighbour and not my Grandmother surprisingly who lived just around the corner. All of this I learned from my mother in my 20's after years of unpleasant experiences living with her and my half witted but quick tempered father. 

My Mother's depression and inability to cope continued for quite a while and she could look after me properly but the support services were quite useless. Her mother was really not interested and from what I remember of her she was a very unpleasant woman who I didn't like at all. I remember being smacked by here and my Grandfather on more than one occasion. According to my daughter who found out from my Aunt because I had cut off contact from most of my family I was so neglected during my first 3 years because of my mothers illness that she had fed my on bananas solely because she had read they were good for you! When I was examined by a Doctor he confirmed that I was extremely malnourished. Something else she mentioned to me which was also significant was that she was convinced that when I was reunited with her she was convinced I was someone else's baby and that hers had died.

My abuse as I remember it wasn't really physical in the sense of barbaric beatings or physical or sexual cruelty. No this was more insidious stuff that you don't think of as abuse until later in life when you realise that you keep making the same mistakes over and over again and end up and a bad place and have that what you think is an inherited disease called depression. Only it can't be because I have a brother who is three and a half years younger than me and doesn't suffer anywhere near  the same way, why?

Everyone who knew her apparently was really shocked when my mother conceived again especially after the issues surrounding me and I suppose what she said to me explained why she demanded a home birth.  After he was born and throughout the next 10 years it began to become obvious that my brothers treatment by my parents was different to how they treated me. They always seemed angry with me and subsequently jealous of him.

My mother was particularly cruel with her comments towards me when no one was around, looking back she seemed to take her moods out on me and her frustrations. I was called names and swear at me, I had to stand there and told not to cry.

Other times when I was in the back garden or yard playing with the neighbours kids in the summers causing no harm I had to go to bed a set time regardless and got smacked if I complained. I then had to lie in bed listening to the other kids plying while I was in bed a 7 pm at 7 years of age because my mother thought routine was more important.

One incident that used to happen was when the dreaded grand parents turned up me and my brother who was still very young had to be in bed shortly after they arrived and apparently (according to my aunt) my Grandparents would do the smacking!

Throughout my first 14 years whenever trouble arose my father would passively support and agree with my mother, if I ever disagreed he would get angry and blame me irrespective of my protests. Looking now I realised that what this did was motivate me to spend most of my waking hours out of the house or at school and I became very street wise and personable.

My mother was a very intelligent woman but physically and emotionally weak, whereas my father was physically strong but being dyslexic and emotionally under developed due to being abused as a child himself. They supported each other and were dependent. However they both incapable as parents and did not confer any emotional support or affection towards myself at all. I was provided with the basics as you would have in a orphanage. It is very strange to say but when I hit 14 I developed a simmering hatred of my parents that has only really just recently translated into an understanding of what a tragedy this was to become.
martinb01 martinb01
51-55, M
11 Responses Dec 8, 2012

Really sorry you want through this. I wonder if you have ever heard or read the book "They fxxx you up. How to survive family life" by Oliver James. Excellent read, should re read it myself again.
I love that quote by Maya Angelou "When we know better we do better." Post natal depression is a horrible thing, I had it myself and the treatment your mum was given just sounds horrendous.
That said, I now have teenage children who are very vocal about my "failings" as a parent haha.
It really was a different age back then. I was smacked?hit, did not like it and have never hit my own children because of that. But it was how my mum was brought up. What she knew.
Are your parents still alive ? You are grown now, might be an idea to let them know how you feel, closure and all that.

Dear Martin:
Everyone has something. Those of us have survived have learned one thing: we simply have to close the door to the past and go down the hall till another, better, door opens.
But, do feel consoled that many of us do understand and applaud you for going down the hall toward the better rooms !

How awful.... It's always so hurtful to hear that people go through such dreadful experiences... Glad you are able to look back on this and have dealt with it in your own way...

I know all what you went through i really do and i am sorry , but in my case it was my father.

Thanks - it's good to hear from others who know what it's like.


I was bought up being told constantly i wasn't good enuff and wasn't wanted because I wasnt the boy my mother wanted. The start of mecbeing emotionally and mentaly abused, which carried on wen I married! Can understand what you went threw, :-) xx

It seems like parents sometimes feel they can dump all of their frustrations on their kids because they are there. It's like they have to bear witness to their frustrations and suffer because they suffered or are frustrated. It's the nature of abuse, with my mother I am convinced that she was emotionally abused by her mother so the cycle was repeated and I know my father was physically abused by his father.

The whole situation is unfair it is only now that we are uncovering the problems and starting to stop the cycles of abuse by talking about it openly.

I hope what ever I have written has helped you to at least feel you are not on your own in this lonely place and it's after effects.


I have written about my mother on my profile! I'm not able to change the effects she has had on my life yet, not sure I eva will! But it has made me a better mother, more determined to give my children the love they deserve, bring them up a lot better then my mother did me! And has made me make sure my children are never treated differently to each other! I often wonder if she eva thinks about how much she has lost by disowning me! :-/ xx

I'm glad you and your children are breaking the cycle.

Good luck for the future and best wishes


Thank you :-) xx

1 More Response

=she sounds a lot like my mother...i call her hitler =p

I called her a lot worse and still do when I am angry ;)

Still it's good to hear that others have similar problems. I do get envious of others who have functional relationships with their parents!

i understand man i feel that envy too that bitterness and then i feel guilty for feeling that way! its so wrong...anyhow what i wanted to say that comforts me sometimes is that what doesnt kill you makes you stronger and cheers to all the crap life threw our way because that crap made us stronger inside out :)

I agree, thanks for your comments. I must get around to writing part 2 one day!

the writings very therepeutic. you should martinboi

OK I will let you know when I do ;)

2 More Responses

so sorry for what you went through

Thanks for your thoughts

So sad to read about your loveless upbringing.
My father was the one who ruled the family and was cold as ice, abused us all verbally, mom, my three siblings and me.
We were poor till he was a self employed painter but we never starved.
My sweet mom nourished us well with noodles and tomatoe sauce, bred soup, semolina porridge and such and she gave us love and understanding.

It's good your mom balanced out the home, gives you a degree of self love and identity. This was something I am beginning to see I missed and things I do now and suffer now are a direct result of this. Being poor isn't a measure of emotional health the rich can suffer just as much.

Thank you for sharing.



That's right. Some poor are happier than the rich, overfed people. What joy is it if you can afford everything? I guess it soon gets boring.

I am looking forward to reading part 2. You have courage to share what you went through. I might guess that it is still haunting you to this day. I understand the feeling and reality of bring an unloved, unwanted child. Know that others have felt inspired by your courage to share. My heartfelt thanks to you!

Thanks I am still thinking about part 2. It's going to be difficult because I will have to own up to my own behaviour and take responsibility for it as well as be accountable. There is also the results of this which is the low self esteem and the symptoms which may well be another item in another group. However thankyou for your kind comments!

I have written about "my story" many times over. I am new to this forum, but will write here, in time. It is more than difficult, as you say. The writing process is so healing, however, that one must be ready to do the work as one always comes out the other end in a transformed place. I found writing to be a gift with far more holistic benefits than simply talking. For me, I found my writing has chipped away at an identity that I had to be ready to let go of. You seem to be on track by honoring the time the process takes.

I agree it is a sort of metamorphosis of the heart and soul albeit by small increments. I find every time I revisit it, I let something else go and I feel a little better for it.

Let me know when you have published your story!


I'm always saddened by just how common this sort of childhood suffering is. As you rightly point out, most people tend to imagine child abuse is about physical and sexual mistreatment but often the feeling of 'being unloved' is one of the hardest any child has to face, and can haunt one long into adulthood. I've known adults who have often only just realised at our age they were not really bad children or to blame for the way they were treated. I'm especially really sorry to hear it has led to long term depression for you.

Thanks for sharing :)

Thanks I appreciate your thoughts!

OH honey..I am so very sorry. And...forgive me for asking..but could it be that you do not belong to one (or other) of your folks really? Or a result of something horrible?? Sometimes then parents show anger towards a child.
I fight demons too as a result of abuse... I am so sorry..

You know I have asked myself that question a number of times because the older I have got and the way I have brought up my daughter and feel about her and the way I have been with children of subsequent partners. I would never in a million years treat them the way my mother treated me. However in answer to your question unfortunately yes there are too many physical features and supporting evidence on the side of me being a product of them both. Thank you for your kind comments I will write Part 2 soon it outlines how the effects of this caused my behaviour to ruin my life without me realising it. Have you posted your story?

Not really..not yet...In my case, it was my Father. I think I have put bits and pieces of things on the posts of others. 54 yrs and still have a hard time getting it all out. But I know you understand. You are correct..I protected my boys. I would do anything to protect them (even now and the 3 are grown men-now my grandchildren). If anyone would have tried to have hurt them...