I grew up in severe poverty by Canadian standards. My parents neglected me and only my very basic needs were (sometimes) met. I grew up with the neighborhood kids, without any positive role models. Many of the adults in the neighborhood battled with addictions and were involved in criminal activities. Most were unemployed and on government assistance programs. Domestic violence and sexual assaults were rampant. My parents didn’t drink, smoke or use drugs. They were not physically abusive, so in comparison to other families, I thought we were living an ideal life. Abuse to me meant physical violence. I had been severely emotionally abused and neglected by my parents, but I didn’t see that as abuse. The people around me were in much worse situations. It is all relative. I didn’t recognize the other forms of abuse, I wasn’t aware at all.


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