I’ve written before about some of the types of abuse I experienced as a child, and the hardest for me to write about is neglect. There are 4 main types of neglect. Physical, Emotional, Educational and Medical. I was unlucky enough to receive my fair share of all 4. The evidence behind why neglect happens can be a complex combination of a lack of education, a cycle of abuse, financial pressure, drug or alcohol addition, criminality and a whole list of other joyous things. Neglect became a part of my life,but it wasn’t always that way. We had a fairly good life before the catalyst of events that sent everything spiralling out of control, my mother at the helm. An average life. Parents, school, home, dog, pretty standard.
A marital breakdown (the 2nd for my mother) meant that the family home was no longer our home. We moved a few miles away to something more affordable and it was a few months before I realised my mother wasn’t really coming home anymore. I would see her from time to time and she would act normally, saying she was working and dodging any questions about why she wasn’t home. In the mean time I went about my day as normal, school, home, friends. I would’ve been around 9 or 10 at this point. Luckily there was still a loving parent at home doing day to day care as well as 2 jobs. I had no idea that this would be the last time I felt loved and cared for until I reached adulthood.
One day my mother collected us to go and live wherever she had been living all these months. Her marriage to my loving step father of 8yrs was over and she was building a new life. In the car on the way over she caught my eye in the rear view mirror & explained that she’d been seeing someone else for some time now, and that we’d all be living together. For a while there I thought she’d just vanished and left us. But that couldn’t be true could it? No, I was definitely imagining it. She’d come (I now know under duress) and brought us to share her life again.
Well, I thought, can’t be that bad……. Fuck. Little did I know.
The neglect came on slowly at first. Small things. Clean clothes, meals, that sort of thing. A general lack of interest in parenting. All of which were solved fairly easily by just looking after ourselves. Tinned meatballs and rice were a favourite of my 10yr old self. And toast. Lots of toast. Now I realise that these small things were the first signs of what was to come. After what seemed like endless months of being dragged around to sleep on the floors of various family member’s homes and other caregivers, we finally settled in a flat. Most of my time was spent on the now 2hr commute each way to school. Finally, a new home. But it wasn’t OUR home. It was HER home that she shared with her now boyfriend and her new life. And everything about it confirmed that. She became more and more distant, stayed out for days at a time, sometimes up to a week. Often, her boyfriend was with her, but other times, he was at home. It was just the opportunity he was clearly waiting for to indulge his perversions. He had easy access and nothing in the way, least of all, my mother.