A Case of Apathy


Even extreme grief may ultimately vent
itself in violence–but more generally takes the form of apathy.

                                                                         ~Joseph Conrad

Being neglected doesn’t seem as destructive to a child as physical abuse. There are no visible scars to hide from prying eyes. But neglect is just as hazardous to the nutriment of a child. At least it was in my case.

My mother was gone, night after night. Sometimes, the loneliness was more than I could bear. I had my brothers. Their warmth and ardor couldn’t possibly have been a replacement for that emotional and psychological attachment that is needed for a child to bond with her parent. There aren’t even photos of my mother holding me. There are photos of us separately, but not together, bonding we should have been. With this thought, I am sad for Baby Me.

There is something you must always remember:  You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ~Winnie the Pooh

There were nights that I cried because of the lack of human contact; I choose to discount my brothers’ licking of his hand and wiping it on forehead, one of his tormenting annoyances, as real human contact. I yearned for the arms of my mother to encircle me, to stoke my hair as I fell asleep, to sing me a lullaby. As I grew, I’ve found these yearnings to be more and more infrequent. My prayers were full of, “Please send my mommy home…” Those prayers were rarely answered. It is safe to assume that these prayers have been altered into a different benediction: one that is beseeching for love and compassion for my mother, an unexpected twist of fate.

When she was home, my mother did not seek physical contact with her children. I often tried hugging her, but she didn’t hug back. I attempted to climb onto her lap, but she would cross her legs and push me away. I don’t ever remember her kissing me or my brothers. At night when she was home (without a man) we’d go into her bedroom to talk to her. We weren’t allowed to sit on her bed. If we did, she would make us move, and she would sweep the sheet with her hand, disinfecting the area where our small bodies rested.

Even today my mother has difficulty with human contact. I often times thought that there must be something wrong with me that would compel my mother to push me away. I must have been a dirty little girl, even after I’d taken a bath and felt squeaky clean, if my mother felt obliged to sweep away my germs from her satin sheets. I must have been unworthy of a mother’s care, the way I cared for my baby dolls, if my mother did not want to keep me close to her. I must have been displeasing in her eyes, even though I excelled in school, kept my room immaculately clean, and never complained about her actions or the abuse I endured.

But in retrospect, I would venture to guess that it was my mother who felt dirty, who felt uncleaned, who felt unsanitary. It was my mother who did not feel she was worthy of the affection of her children. Having harbored these feelings of pain and confusion for over forty years, I am apathetic. What a tremendous sense of self-loathing she must have had to not relish in the adulation of her own beloved kith. My heart no longer begs for her affection, but cries for her anguish, as I am certain that it will never leave her as long as she is here on this earth.


Categories: Child Abuse, self-help

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Wow I never thought of it as the father feeling like the dirty one. He was a very abused person too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Attila Ovari

Loving Life and Inspiring Others


Just another WordPress.com site

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

Katrina Perkins

A force of Nature, with intense acting skills.

Darling, You've Been Poisoned

musings of a tattered heart

who is bert

a dialogue on mind, consciousness and existence


Inactivity is impossible in the workshop of Nature.The only thing that endures in time is change.

The Qbox

One Question...several answers.

Therapy is Dandy!

Licensed Professional Counselor

Fun for bloggers & other animated animals

"Humor is laughing at what you haven't got when you ought to have it." ~ Langston Hughes

Life Alight

Unfolding life's mysteries with poetry, photography & ramblings

Hodan Ibrahim

Journey of a Muslim Entrepreneur

The Happsters

Spread Positive Vibes. Give Love. Be Happy.

Settled In Heaven Blog

A text & video blog striving to honor Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through Bible lessons, devotionals, Sunday School studies and small group studies.

Soul Healing Art

by Kimberly Harding

%d bloggers like this: