The Plague of Loneliness

Her crazed eyes dart across the room in an urgent frenzy, and each quick breath she takes becomes shallower and more jagged by the second. She barely hears the insistent pounding on her bedroom door anymore, and the piecing, threatening screams of her mother and father become a distant warble as she focuses on the more prominent ringing in her ears, one that comes purely from her own overwhelming desire for revenge and her uncontainable yearning to hurt them as much as they’d hurt her. She stoops down, readily clutching the familiar metal handle and placing her quivering finger on the cold trigger. She allows all her thoughts, all her emotions, and all her decisions to be based on one simple question: why was it so impossible for them to love her and show her that they cared? This is a question that almost all teenagers have dealt with, and though it is not always aimed towards parents, loneliness and neglect is a serious issue that nearly every teenager has faced. Though it may start off as a single thought, it can spiral downwards deeper and deeper until eventually, he or she is forced to accept life-changing consequences.

Teens who struggle with loneliness and neglect impact their society in a variety of ways, and the decisions that they make, either good or bad, almost always affect their family, friends, and community. When teens are hungry for attention and acceptance, they can turn to one of two options. The first is to simply accept their situation, resort to feeling lonely, and not speak up while the second is to take action by fervently seeking attention anywhere they can find it, regardless what the cost may be. Katie of New Canaan, Connecticut is very familiar with such a relentless hunt. When she was thirteen years old, she was molested by a forty-one year old man who had befriended her in one of the world’s most popular gathering places for perverts and creepers: an online chatroom for teens. Why? Michelle Malkin, a reporter, quotes Katie explaining to her mother: “ ‘He was someone to talk to, Mom, and he actually listened. You haven’t been around a lot with all your business trips, and the fact that you live at work doesn’t help. Home is a place where I always feel alone. I spend hours online, but you usually aren’t home to even know what I’m doing’ ” (par. 9). Because many teens who feel neglected in their own homes are so desperate for attention, they are easily won over by just about anyone, making today’s teenage society dangerously vulnerable. In an unsafe world teeming with thousands of criminals and predators, the odds of a susceptible teenager being tricked into being abused, molested, or even killed is undeniably high. As Malkin asserts, “No software program, no filtering tool, and no amount of law-enforcement resources can protect children from a predator’s best friend: parental neglect” (par. 11). If teenagers were satisfied with the amount of attention they received at home, society in general could be a safer place with a significant decrease in crimes and offenses. Teen neglect and loneliness can also strongly impact society because after all, today’s teenagers are the adult leaders of the future. Therefore, it is crucial that they are raised with the right amount of love and attention or else they can grow into adults who are emotionally immature or even abusive. As Hein states, “Emotionally intelligent people from emotionally abuse and neglectful homes can become some of the most hurtful, manipulative, greedy, controlling, arrogant members of society. Chances are good that an emotionally intelligent teen from an emotionally dysfunctional family will develop some seriously unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as an adult” (par. 9).Teens who do not know what it’s like to be accepted and loved can easily grow into sardonic, hardhearted parents who would neglect their children just as they had been neglected. If this were to continue generation after generation, society as a whole would greatly suffer.

In conclusion, the issue of loneliness and neglect has grown to become one of the most well-hidden but indisputably powerful aspects of today’s unique teenage society. As the previous paragraphs show, loneliness and neglect are far more than simple emotions that come and go; instead, when combined, they can become the foundation for a lifetime of destructive emotions, regrettable decisions, and tragic consequences. Loneliness and neglect are merciless, determinably destroying personalities, relationships, and families and leaving no one in society completely unaffected. If all people without exception had the capability of showing that they truly loved the people in their lives and valued them as treasured individuals, loneliness and neglect would not have a place in this world. Though it is much easier to say than to do, it is essential that people swallow their pride and let go of their selfishness to reach out to the people that they know are alone and hurting. All human beings have the inexcusable, moral obligation of caring for others and never making anyone feel unwanted or meaningless, and simple, kind words and a genuine, selfless concern is enough to turn someone’s once-hopeless life around. Each and every person is an irreplaceable part of this world, and when someone is too overcome in loneliness and neglect to realize it, it is up to others to step into his life and be the illuminating light that is willing to guide him.





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