Abandoned and Unloved

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“My childhood was rough, we were poor and my parents were alcoholics, but nobody was mean. I knew I was loved. We were on welfare, but I never felt abandoned or unloved.” ~~ Carol Burnett

OK, folks. I am going to reveal a bit of autobiographical detail which might bore some of you. There will be no test to follow so you may stop reading here if you have no interest in my sordid past. It is a story filled with betrayal, murder and intrigue, lust, car chases, one atomic explosion and a denouement to rival…, oh, wait. That was the movie I watched last night. Nothing to do with my formative years!

Anyway, the above quote, attributed to Carol Burnett, made me stop and think about my own childhood and what it was like. My parents were very much in love and continued to hold hands up until my mother died in 2001. I don’t think they ever really made room for my sister and me. Less so for me. My parents were both hard working with not much formal education- my mother graduated high school but my father did not. Neither did my sister. I, on the other hand, went to university and even entered a master’s program- though I never completed my written dissertation. There were many other differences too- ones that made them joke that I had been adopted. And made me believe that maybe I was. They had no interest in reading, writing, art, music. I did not look like either of them. I was sensitive, introverted, easy to cry. This has nothing to do with the quote above except to make a point. There are all kinds of abuse. Never having time for your child or showing no interest in the things he or she is interested in can hurt as much as a word or a slap. It will mold that child into the person they become. So be careful.

Be love!

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33 thoughts on “Abandoned and Unloved

  1. LOL Emilio! If only some of us had such great adventures in our childhood years. 😀

    Great shot to portray that abandoned feeling Emilio. Carol was lucky indeed. Not all of us are. Your story made me think of the quote by Mother Teresa : “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”

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    1. Mother Theresa was some lady. And I mean no disrespect. She understood so many things so well. Why can’t people live by quotations? If everyone had that memorized maybe there would be less hurt in the world?

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      1. She sure was Emilio and ain’t that the truth! I totally agree with you. Most people should just stop and think for themselves and realise that everyone has feelings. Some just don’t think I guess. In my childhood it was a case of the parents thinking only of themselves and their hurt and then projecting it on me. It sucked but it made me a stronger person.

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  2. Stringer and I were totally aware of this possibility, Emilio: and it was one of the prime reasons why we had no wish to procreate. We knew that children would have been nothing so much as a distraction from each other. Not proud of it, but at least proud of recognising the fact and admitting to it.
    That’s something so utterly wounding and … negative as to make me wonder how you came through it as a normal human being. Most kids would’ve gone schizo, I think.

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    1. You and Stringer! I have to get that book of yours to really appreciate the love you have for him. I think your decision not to have children was a good one for you and Stringer. And it might have been a good one for my parents, too. Except then I wouldn’t be around. But you over-estimate me. Maybe I didn’t come through it normal at all. Maybe I AM schizo!

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  3. I can relate to your words … although in my case, it was more a case of feeling like I didn’t ‘belong’ rather than unloved. Maybe it’s just that our needs don’t quite fit the dynamic of the family and hence this outsider feeling. Whatever it is, it leaves a residual feeling of loss.
    Your choice of photo adds a poignancy to your post.

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    1. Yes, Joanne, I always felt I didn’t belong. My parents felt it, too. Hence the “joke” that I was adopted. Even that hurt! Again, maybe I brought this on myself. Maybe I was just too sensitive. I still am. But I think I am now able to realize when I am.

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    1. Thank you, Sue. Nowadays I am mostly at peace. Still working on the healing. I sometimes wish I were a writer and could write a cautionary tale about emotional abuse of children. But it would probably be maudlin and only self-serving. There are people who suffer a lot worse than anything I ever have. I don’t think I ever even went to bed hungry!

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      1. Emilio your experience and trauma is no less because others suffer on their own life path. Allowing our emotions to be valid is important in healing. I hope you do some writing if nothing else for your own liberation and catharsis. If one day it feels right to share then you can make that step. Sending positive energy to you across the miles.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this story Emilio. My parents were a tad unusual as well, but that only spurred me on to make sure I never made the same mistakes. I made a few of my own [parents as people are imperfect too], but I believe that both my children know that they were loved and cherished and still are.

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    1. Thanks, Jo, for that comment “Parents as people are imperfect too!” Somehow you forget that your parents are people and should be allowed to make mistakes. Amobi’s quote made me remember another quote by Paulo Coehlo which fits what you said. When you repeat a mistake, it is no longer a mistake but a decision. We should vow that all our mistakes- with our children, with the world at large- be new ones.

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  5. A powerful, beautiful image; and a poignant story. You are right, emotional neglect of a child is so damaging and ripples outward though time and lives. Reflecting on this, and sharing your thoughts can be very healing. I hope you find it so, and take comfort in the compassion of those you share with 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Su. I’ve been very surprised by the response to my little tale of woe! For the most part, I have accepted and moved on- though I often find myself still trying to impress my father in any number of ways. To no avail, it seems.

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      1. You’re welcome. I’m still trying to impress my dad 35 years after I left home. I wasn’t neglected as a kid — on the contrary, I felt burdened by huge expectations on my parents’ part. I was a classic neurotic high achiever, but no matter what I did it was never good enough. Like you, I’ve mainly moved on, but can’t talk to my parents about problems because I’m still afraid they won’t love me if they think my life isn’t perfect. I think Philip Larkin got it exactly right in “Be This the Verse” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178055

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        1. I LOVE PHILIP LARKIN! Don’t think I ever heard of him but I just read that poem and it really says it all. I have tales of my grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides and can’t believe some of the stuff they did! Nowadays they would probably be arrested for endangering a minor! I tell you I am feeling so much better after each comment I read here. Thank you all! And you know something? No matter what you do, what you achieve, it will never be good enough. We just have to get over it. Impress ourselves.

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  6. Your words are touching me. As always, grasping.
    My childhood in minimalized picture: my father did not look at me. when my mother did, it seemed she’s just biten into a citron…
    well…
    as one of my self-chosen-just-in-mind parent said:

    “It takes a huge effort to free yourself from memory”
    – Paolo Coelho

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    1. Paulo Coehlo is one of my favorite authors. And that is a fantastic quote. Thank you for sharing it. It seems as if there are a lot of us who feel in a sense, abused as children. But maybe it wasn’t a conscious abuse? I am still working on issues with my dad as he is still alive. But in the final year before my mother’s death, I was able to see everything in a different light.

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  7. well you had me laughing with this “oh, wait. That was the movie I watched last night…” – I love your humor – and well, I am sorry about your experience – and I like your warning to other with this – because it really could make a difference by getting out certain messages – it really does. In fact, this is a random story – but in 1992, I was driving along a road and I heard a lady share her story on focus on the family – and I know it was a message that helped me be a better parent later on (so did few of their other shows) but this lady was a physician who left her job to raise her kids – and she and her husband were making it work – they had worn out furniture and all that – but they shared how it was the time together that mattered – ❤

    and well, years later when we had our family (and for my husband and I – eel the kids united our love and did not pull from it) and when we had our family – we made the sacrifices to be "present" in their lives ! And I know that the stories I heard from 1992 – as I drove and listened to those episodes – well the advice was adding to the chain link in what helped us have some parenting wisdom, ya know?

    I really like what you share here – for the advice! But also just to drop the curtain and be transparent. And dude – I am so sorry for any of the scars you may have – and while none of us have had "perfect" upbringings – you worded this well…. that "showing no interest in the things he or she is interested in can hurt as much as a word or a slap."

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  8. Hey – I had to come back and let you know that I just encountered an article with a different take on this topic – this person was micro-managed — and well the pressure was insane.

    It was interesting because I think some parents in today’s culture do this =- instead of being disinterested or too busy – some parents are vicariously living through their kids and all that – hmmmmm
    Guess it just takes balance – eh? and working with everyone’s wiring so things are win-win…. ❤

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    1. We have friends who are like that with their children. We have commented between ourselves (my wife and I) that the parents seem to be living vicariously through their children. Right now the children seem to be very well adjusted but who knows what might happen in time?

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"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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