British-born Mortimer Toynbee was abandoned by his parents so early in childhood that he cannot remember them. He was placed in an orphanage where the other children, who regarded him as a freak due to his ugliness, his unusual physique, and his leaping ability, continually tormented him. Toynbee was so traumatized by his loneliness and the continual abuse he received that it affected his learning abilities. The teachers and administrators in the orphanage therefore regarded Toynbee as mentally retarded, even though, in actuality, he was of normal intelligence. So desperate did Toynbee become for affection that he developed a pathetically subservient personality, and would unquestioningly obey anyone he thought sincerely cared about him.