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The harm of neglectful parents

Community Member

I know it's horrible to say but I feel some people just should not be parents. This includes known child abusers, domestic violence perpetrators and narcissists.

My story is that my father is a narcissist.

Not only did I have to try and cope with the disadvantage of having mental illness, I got absolutely no support from my father. He was always too busy looking out for himself and doing whatever made him happy. I can only describe narcissists as like black holes that spew out toxic fumes at their ends. They don't ever give, they just constantly take. They never think of anyone but themselves. They see their kids as tools to get attention and appreciation out of, not as human beings that need to grow and that have their own interests, feelings and needs.

I have severe self confidence issues because my father has never given me one look of approval or love, just looks of disgust. I became depressed at 11 trying to cope in a foreign country with no friends because my father decided that he wanted to live there (never once thinking of how his kids would cope). I expressed to him how unhappy I was and he physically kicked me and told me to shut up. I didn't bother bringing it up again. Just spiraled into depression. Then I went to boarding school and was bullied and got officially diagnosed with depression. At that point I had severe anxiety and insomnia. My father heard the diagnosis and then turned around caught a plane and just left me there. I got no help.

My mother was more naive than nasty. She just didn't want to rock the boat and defaulted to whatever my father wanted. She didn't look out for us kids. She always put him first before the health of her kids.

The amount of damage that can be done by neglectful parents is massive. No self confidence, no sense of self worth, long term depression and anxiety. And then when you bring it up as an adult they all have the same answer 'I don't remember that' when it caused so much psychological harm to their kids. Even now my father shows more love and approval towards the family dog than he ever did to me.

I have no idea how to come to terms with the harm that was done especially because they choose to deny it.

4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Kahlilli, the harm that your father has created has only worsened in how you feel, I'm really sorry for you.

Any ill-treatment or humiliation given out to you will certainly lower your confidence, self-esteem, ability to communicate with others and create a mental illness that has changed from when you were young to growing up.

I've been sitting on your thread thinking for a long time because it's something I have never experienced myself, I feel the pain that you have had to struggle with, as I've heard stories of elderly friends who have had a very difficult life from their father also being a narcissist.

Please never feel as though this is your fault at all and it certainly doesn't mean that any relationship you have in the future will be anything like this, there are heaps of people who want to be loved.

You will need help to learn that you can speak your own mind and not be criticised, that can be done by talking to a counsellor and so pleased you have written in to us.

Hope to hear back from you.


Hi Kahlalli,

i am so sorry to hear that you had neglectful parents in your childhood upbringing. I came from a similar family background like yours - my father is a workaholic (working 24/7) and he never spent time with us, no school follow up, not to say went out with us shopping etc. He never praised us non did he show us any affection as a parent. My mother is also lazy and selfish. She only cares for herself. We were always left behind

The childhood neglect has certainly caused a lot of damages to my self-esteem as well as self confidence. Now I am in my 40s, my parents still dislike me. I never had one family photo taken on my life, there isn’t any connection despite the title parents-child.

I am also battling some mental illness, depression. It’s not easy - never cure!

Please try not to be too hard to yourself ! Do you see any psychologist to address these issues? They might help !

i guess what i learn from them is not repeat that to our own kids because you cannot change the past 🙂

Please take care yourself


Community Member

Hi Kahlilli,

I agree, some people should just not be parents, and I'm so sorry to hear that you were "raised" by people that fall in that category.

I also have a lot of trouble reconciling my childhood and the relationship with my parents. I went to my fathers 60th party recently and heard so many people give speeches about how generous he is, how wise he is, how he would give the shirt off his back... and yet I sat there thinking "that's not the man I know". Then I went home and cried. On reflection, it occurred to me that most of the people there have only known my father a year or two, he hasn't grown tired of them yet.

I don't have any advice, just wanted to say that I understand and I'm sorry.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Kahlilli

I have to agree with you, some people should definitely not be parents. As they say, it's a shame how we need a license to drive a car but not to raise a child.

I feel true heartfelt sorrow for you, with you not having received the guidance and guardianship every child requires and deserves. Guidance and guardianship must be yours to find now, through your own empowering resources. It is never too late to learn the skills behind these traits. To honor yourself and guard against the ignorance of others is a skill yet also a challenge, especially when self-esteem is low. To seek guidance when it comes to unlearning the lies we have come to believe about our self is a quest undertaken by the brave. To find the truth and value, in regard to who we are, can be a long journey indeed but a journey worth taking.

As a mum, I remind my kids of how grateful I am that they have come to be 2 of my greatest teachers in life. Children have much to teach those who are willing and eager to learn. The parents who willingly disregard their child's true value remain ignorant and unfortunate and sometimes simply unteachable.

Kahlilli, I will ask that you remember one thing and that is - love is to be found in evolution. If you are seeking personal evolution (beyond that which keeps you down) then self-love is present, whether it is recognised or not. Seek the psychological counsel you would benefit from, that which works in undoing the damage created by your parents and those at school. Seek that which helps you make sense of things. Self love will become more evident over time when you gradually come to see what an incredibly beautiful gift you are and have always been to this world.

Take care of yourself Kahlilli and remember the truth - you are a seeker of greater knowing, a teacher of many things and (whether they know it or not) a gift to those whose paths you cross.