In this 6-part series, Dr. Baker will provide a summary of the topics discussed in the book.
Bonded to the Abuser: Part 5
The federal government defines neglect as a failure to act in such a way as to present an imminent risk of serious harm to a child. As can be imagined, there are many types of neglect. One type, physical neglect, was the focus of the six memoirs read for Bonded to the abuser: How victims make sense of childhood abuse. Physical neglect itself has several subtypes: abandonment (leaving the child unattended), expulsion (refusing to exercise custody of the child), shuttling (repeatedly leaving the child in the care of others), nutritional neglect (failing to provide proper nourishment such that the child is undernourished and/or chronically hungry), clothing neglect (failing to provide the child with appropriate clothing), and other (inadequate hygiene, reckless disregard for the health and safety of the child).
It is clear from reading these six memoirs written by adult survivors of childhood physical neglect, that as neglected children they suffered tremendous physical hardship. They were hungry, dirty, and left to fend for themselves for the better part of their childhood. They did not have even their most basic needs for food, clothes, and shelter met.
Nonetheless, it is also clear from these memoirs that these children loved their parents very much and had an attachment bond that could not be extinguished. One way that children made sense of their experiences was to interpret their parent’s neglect of them as being caused by the parent’s own pain and suffering. Thus, these children did not believe that their parents intended to hurt them, which prevented them from becoming angry at the very person who brought them so much of their own pain and suffering. What these children wanted more than anything was for their parents to put aside their own needs to see that their children were in need of not just food and shelter but also love and attention.
The New York Foundling’s Dr. Mel Schneiderman and Dr. Amy Baker are the authors of “Bonded to the Abuser: How Victims Make Sense of Childhood Abuse” – available May 16th. To purchase or view the book on Amazon.com please click here: Bonded to the Abuser: How Victims Make Sense of Childhood Abuse
To visit the author’s website: http://www.amyjlbaker.com/
Acknowledgments: Selected by Rowan and Littlefield for a book signing at the 2015 Book Expo of America