Emotional Child Abuse Defined

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SCAR

Raising awareness of emotional child abuse, its effects on adult survivors & the power of words on children

EMOTIONAL CHILD ABUSE DEFINED

“Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidating, or under the guise of ‘guidance,’ ‘teaching,’ or ‘advice,’ the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones.” (University of Illinois, Counseling Center)

However, when people discuss child abuse, they often refer to the physical abuse and sexual abuse of children, both absolutely horrific types of abuse. All forms of child abuse are terrible… but the one that underpins them all—the abuse that often gets ignored—is emotional child abuse.

Emotional abuse is at the core of all major forms of abuse and neglect, is more damaging in its impact than acts of physical and sexual abuse alone, and requires special attention to disentangle it from physical and sexual acts of maltreatment.” (The Emotionally Abused and Neglected Child: Identification, Assessment and Intervention: A Practice Handbook)

Whereas physically abused and sexually abused children have the physical proof as witnesses to their abuse, the emotionally abused child often does not.

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL CHILD ABUSE?

“Emotional abuse is the systematic diminishment of another. It may be intentional or subconscious (or both), but it is always a course of conduct, not a single event. It is designed to reduce a child’s self-concept to where the victim considers himself unworthy—unworthy of respect, unworthy of friendship, unworthy of the natural birthright of children: love and protection.” (child advocate, lawyer, and author Andrew Vachss, You Carry the Cure in Your Own Heart essay)

Another definition by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is:

“Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.” (Department of Health et al, 1999, p.5-6)

The words persistent and systematic are crucial to the definition of child abuse. Emotional child abuse isn’t a parent telling his child once, “Why did you spill the juice? Don’t do that again!”

Emotional abuse is systematic. It’s a consistent destructive force in a child’s life. For example, an emotionally abusive parent will tell a child,“Why did you spill the juice? You are so clumsy…” and then, at some point in time (close enough to be linked to the first event), “You spilled something again? Can’t you ever do something right?” and then later, again at another point close enough in memory that the child ties it together, “You are always spilling things because you’re not careful. You don’t pay attention. You’re always messing things up.” And so on…

In time, the emotionally abused child adopts the phrase into his or her memory as something that defines them: “I am always messing up. I don’t pay attention. I am not careful.” He takes the words as a description of who he is… and the phrases will come back to him often.

All the destructive words, whether encased in subtle phrasing or baldly hurtful, will become part of the child’s “self talk.” The words will become truths to the child.

To find out more about the different types of emotional child abuse, visit this page.


Just waking up to the fact you had an emotionally abusive childhood?  This 92-page PDF can help you during this difficult time. For just $7.99, you receive What Really Happened: Finding Out You Had an Emotionally Abusive Childhood (and Tips for Healing).


veronica-jarski_authorVeronica Jarski is founder and managing editor of The Invisible Scar, a passion project dedicated to raising awareness of emotional child abuse and its effects on adult survivors. She has extensive editorial experience and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Her work has been featured on myriad publications, such as Kapost, MarketingProfs, and Ragan.


Retrieved: https://cybersupportgroup.org/2019/02/12/emotional-child-abuse-defined/

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The Mental Health Disorder Caused By Incest And Child Abuse

It’s the disorder that robs people of their ability to feel whole.

When it comes to the disorder that can splinter people into discrete and fractious personalities, it’s important to note that this complex disorder is not uncommon.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is often misdiagnosed. For the sufferer, the experience can be deeply confusing, with a distorted sense of self and long periods of time lost to dissociation.

Caused by childhood abuse, incest and neglect, the disorder often develops as a coping mechanism. It allows young kids to compartmentalize abuse so they can survive when caregivers or family members make them feel unsafe.

DID is described as a complex form of post-traumatic stress and dissociation, which causes a discontinuity in one’s self of self.

Professor Warwick Middleton is a leader in research and treatment on the disorder and has been working in the field for decades. Speaking to News.com.au, he recalls first writing a paper on the condition in 1991.

DID can be categorized as a developmental disorder, where a person’s personality fails to integrate as they develop.

It’s defined as an “identity disruption” and you may know it as “multiple personality disorder.” In some cultures, it may be identified as spiritual or demonic possession.

How do you identify dissociative identity disorder?

They have symptoms that you might have seen depicted in movies like “Sybil” or TV shows like “The United States of Tara.”

Sufferers of the disorder have a complex system of dissociation, which Middleton describes as “splitting off at different times into different identity states.”

“The individual might experience this as internal or external voices, which may argue and which may be associated with particular behaviors. Alternative handwritings. A whole spectrum of things,” he said.

What Middleton describes is a form of dissociation where the sufferer splits off into what appears to be a completely different “personalities.” Sufferers usually have at least two distinct personalities at some point in their life, some may have many more.

Middleton says that the majority of sufferers also fulfill criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and somatization, while many of them have eating disorders and social phobias.

“Typically they present in their thirties, having bounced around the system for quite a while,” he said. “Because they hear voices … they’re given antipsychotics. From our research, about 20 percent of them are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”

“If you look a bit closer they don’t have bipolar. That was just someone identifying them switching between different personality states.”

Losing large periods of your life

People who suffer from DID often have trouble remembering things.

In the autobiographical memory of their life, there are gaps where they have no recollection of what happened or what they did — and not in a regularly reported way, like when you drive home and arrive at your door with little recall of your journey.

It’s about losing big parts of your life to your other “personalities” who take over, commandeering your consciousness. While it might sound like the stuff of movies, the disorder is very real.

From Middleton’s research, he suggests it occurs in about 1.1 percent of the adult population. He describes this as being a “relatively common” condition.

What are people with DID like?

“(People with DID) range in a spectrum — (there) are people who sort of live on the fringes of existence who are chronically mentally ill, bouncing around services to people who are very high achieving, who may work in mental health services themselves.”

Sufferers often report weeks or months of their life passing by them where they have no memory and feel no agency over what transpired in that period.”

In the early nineties, the disorder was not often diagnosed and hardly at all identified by mental health professionals. These days it is much more commonly diagnosed.

Treatment for the disorder

Middleton says his interest in the disorder developed because there was “very little clinical awareness” and it wasn’t a diagnosis routinely made.

The other problem was that the issue of family assault and “incest” wasn’t properly acknowledged within Australia, where he is based, at the time.

“We now know that incest is, unfortunately, very common,” Middleton said.

“Basically in every country in the world where systematic research is done into childhood trauma and the presence of dissociative disorders we get very similar patterns.”

He said with standard treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy, the outcomes are very poor for sufferers of this disorder.

Treatment options with good outcomes include phase-orientated treatment.

Middleton was the first person, along with his colleague Dr. Jeremy Butts to publish research linking childhood trauma with the presence of DID. This paper was published over 20 years ago in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

He’s been a long-term director of the Society for Trauma and Dissociation.

Their findings showed that across the world, almost all sufferers of DID had, during childhood, suffered from some form of abuse, be it physical, sexual or neglect.

For more information on CPTSD and other issues visit our YouTube Channel

If you need support or would like to connect with like-minded people join our Private and Closed online Facebook Group for Child Abuse Survivors and those with CPTSD. Click here to join

The Memoir You Will Bear Witness is available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback

Retrieved https://youwillbearwitness.com/2019/04/09/the-mental-health-disorder-caused-by-incest-and-child-abuse-2/

Returning to Toxic Relationships-part-1

Almost all of us have, at some time or other, run into an old flame and felt the desire to reconnect.  What draws us is a mix of nostalgia and the desire to correct past mistakes, to “get it right” this time.

The problem is that many of the former relationships to which we find ourselves drawn as abuse survivors were, to put it mildly, toxic.

Why do we save the love letters of a man who repeatedly cheated on us?  Why are we tempted to call the boyfriend who stole our charge cards and emptied our bank account?  Why do we find ourselves checking Facebook for the ex who put us in the emergency room?

The answer is not that time heals all wounds.  It is not that we are seeking closure, that we enjoy pain…or that we are simply too dim to know better.

One reason is familiarity.  There is something powerfully familiar about these toxic relationships.  They evoke buried memories from our past, memories we once associated with love.

Such memories are not generally in the forefront of our consciousness.  But a woman whose father was sharp and impatient with her as a child is likely to choose a partner with the same shortcomings.  A man whose mother was elusive and unresponsive is likely to find women with those qualities attractive.

The more closely an adult relationship mirrors the abuse we experienced in childhood, the more emotional power that relationship will hold for us.  And the more appealing that partner will seem.  It is as if we are wrestling with an irresistible force.

That force is not, however, love.

This series will continue next week.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

Retreieved: https://avoicereclaimed.com/2019/02/24/returning-to-toxic-relationships-part-1/

Red Flags – (running together with Child Sexual Abuse)

Red Flags

http://avoicereclaimed.com/2019/01/13/red-flags/
— Read on avoicereclaimed.com/2019/01/13/red-flags/

It can be difficult, at the outset of a relationship, to predict whether a prospective partner will become abusive.  However, there are certain danger signals which, in combination, should not be ignored.  These involve embarrassment/criticism, control/manipulation, isolation, blame, threats, and violence.

Here is a list of “red flags” [1][2]:

Embarrassment/Criticism

• A partner who regularly disparages your friends, family, ideas, and goals.

• A partner who deliberately embarrasses and insults you.  Such a partner may humiliate you in public, or criticize you viciously in private.  He or she may attack your looks or your parenting skills, as a means of undermining your confidence.

Control/Manipulation

• A partner who prevents you from making decisions. This interference may, at first, be as simple as telling you what you can and cannot wear to work.

• A partner who is extremely jealous and possessive.  Such a partner continually tracks where you go, whom you meet, and what you do.  He or she may expect to you check in, throughout the day, and spend every moment of your free time with him/her.

• A partner with a hair-trigger temper. You walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

• A partner who takes your money or refuses to provide you necessary income for expenses.

• A partner who plays “mind games” to make you feel guilty.  Such a partner may, for instance, threaten to commit suicide if you leave him or her.

• A partner who pressures you to have sex, or to engage in a type of sexual activity with which you are not comfortable.

• A partner who prevents you from using birth control.

• A partner who pressures you to use drugs or alcohol.

Isolation

• A partner who discourages or prevents you from seeing friends and family.  Such a partner may begin by fielding the phone calls intended for you, then distort or fail to relay the messages left for you.

• A partner who prevents you from going to work or school.

Blame

• A partner who refuses to take responsibility for his/her own actions and failures.

• A partner who blames you for his/her drug or alcohol abuse (and even his/her boss’ behavior).

• A partner who pretends the abuse is not taking place or blames you for it.

Threats

• A partner who glares at you in a threatening manner, or acts in a way that frightens you.  Such a partner may, for instance, brandish a gun or knife in your presence.  He or she may drive at a dangerously high speed with you in the vehicle, despite your pleas to stop.

• A partner who threatens to hurt or kill your pets.

• A partner who threatens to hurt or kill your children, or take custody of them away from you.

• A partner who threatens to hurt or kill you.

Violence

• A partner who destroys your property.  This may take the form of slashing your clothes or harming a pet.

• A partner who shoves, slaps, chokes, punches, or hits you or your children with an object.

• A partner who attempts to prevent you from pressing criminal charges for abuse.

The tragic fact is that domestic abuse ends in death, in all too many cases.  Forewarned is forearmed.

[1]  National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Know the Red Flags of Abuse”,  https://www.thehotline.org/2012/09/11/red-flags-of-abuse/.

[2]  New Hope for Women, “Red Flags for Domestic Abuse”, http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/red-flags-for-domestic-abuse.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

GLOBAL Articles …

After reading through the recent WP Articles of Supply and Demand – What about the Truth?, Abuse – Turning a Blind Eye no MoreOfficial: Priest accused of going AWOL & How to Let Go of the Need to Control Others it is noted that the patterns of Child Sexual Abuse is by no means cases of ‘isolated incidents’, ‘sole Predators’ or ‘one-off errors’. In what some have long suspected as an endemic problem, this will also require a common solution. Beyond the Religious basis of Catholicism (where many of these ordeals were hidden; 7% of all Catholic priests in Australia; age at the time of the abuse was 11.5 for boys and 10.5 for girls) , a multi-facetted approach will be needed. Australia’s 5 yr Royal Commission 2013-2017 uncovered many of these ingrained occasions, yet so much more is needed for effective change. It is known that many families of CSA Victims continue to follow their Church beliefs, ahead of acknowledging the wrongful impacts on their targeted child.
Perhaps the ingrained element of Control over our vulnerable stems from Caesar’s control over Rome, Anakin’s/Darth Vader’s control over Resistance (Star Wars), or simply the control dynamics found in many a child’s playground. The 4th Article gives us an outlook of personal stresses with micromanaging our children & spouse. Control of ourselves is a major stage in Dr Perry’s Article, involving personal strengthening stages. There may always be others trying to control us, yet through effective parenting-family-networks light will always be possible.