Beginning to tap into the growing area of Child Abuse: Emotional Abuse will be first of the list of (hidden) moments which more of our children are being exposed to. Although it it is a part of the much wider ecosystem that is concerning aging & recent surviving-victims of child sexual abuse (in their younger years), the lifelong results are only beginning to be realised. Following are links to some articles, discussing things from supporting children and young people, defining ECA, why kids need to escape family violence & to cutting off contact:
While some of these readings may cause tensions, it’s best to stop reading – get your mind onto something relaxing – coming back to the remaining (when you can). We’ll try to work on providing Spoken-text versions of our Article’s, as concentration + PTSD + CSA may be connected.
Australia’s National Redress Scheme | RSS Redress Support Services continues to offer Counselling, amongst its services. While some Surviving-Victims may have received other amounts from NRS, including Redress + Apologies – Counselling is a worthwhile external service for CSA victims, their family-friends & other community members. I’m finally bringing a Support Worker into these NRS Sessions, which is dealing with many (hidden) secrets! RSS offer face-to-face, online and telephone support.
Still wondering why our emotions was chosen as the 1st topic? Our emotions reveal so much of our true nature, which power and control try to manipulate. If nothing can be seen as wrong, nothing can be proven – right? Through focus on parts of our emotions, there is still a huge focus on ‘unpacking the box of mysteries’. As such, this post can be our beginning of each of our related matters. These emotional abuse posts go on further …
When the hidden-denied reasons behind your childhood of multifaceted #childsexualabuse becomes known more clearly, what’s holding you back from responding alike “the reason I’ve grown so f-ed up, is due to your f-ing parent-church-school-club you took me through”?! #nrs💣
Dysregulation, or emotional dysregulation, is an inability to control or regulate one’s emotional responses, which can lead to significant mood swings, significant changes in mood, or emotional lability. It can involve many emotions, including sadness, anger, irritability, and frustration.
While dysregulation is typically thought of as a childhood problem that usually resolves itself as a child learns proper emotional regulation skills and strategies, dysregulation may continue into adulthood.
For these individuals, emotional dysregulation can lead to a lifetime of struggles, including problems with interpersonal relationships, school performance, and the inability to function effectively in a job or at work.
Press Play for Advice On Regulating Your Emotions
Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to deal with your emotions in any circumstance that may come your way. Click below to listen now.
Why is it that some people have no trouble remaining calm, cool, and collected while others fall apart at the first instance of something going wrong in their life?
The answer is that there are likely multiple causes; however, there is one that has been consistently shown in the research literature. That cause is early psychological trauma resulting from abuse or neglect on the part of the caregiver.1 This results in something known as a reactive attachment disorder.
In addition, a parent who has emotional dysregulation will also struggle to teach their child how to regulate emotions. Since children are not naturally born with emotional regulation coping skills, having a parent who cannot model effective coping puts a child at risk for emotional dysregulation themselves.
Is Dysregulation a Mental Disorder?
While dysregulation isn’t necessarily a mental disorder (or a sign of one), we know that emotional dysregulation in childhood can be a risk factor for later mental disorders. Some disorders are also more likely to involve emotional dysregulation.
Below is a list of the disorders most commonly associated with emotional dysregulation:2
When emotional dysregulation appears as part of a diagnosed mental disorder, it typically involves a heightened sensitivity to emotional stimuli and a lessened ability to return to a normal emotional state within a reasonable amount of time.
What Are Signs of Dysregulation?
In general, emotional dysregulation involves having emotions that are overly intense in comparison to the situation that triggered them. This can mean not being able to calm down, avoiding difficult emotions, or focusing your attention on the negative. Most people with emotional dysregulation also behave in an impulsive manner when their emotions (fear, sadness, or anger) are out of control.
Below are some examples of what it looks like when someone is experiencing emotional dysregulation.
Your romantic partner cancels plans and you decide they must not love you and you end up crying all night and binging on junk food.
The bank teller says they can’t help you with a particular transaction and you’ll need to come back the next day. You have an angry outburst, yell at the teller, and throw a pen across the counter at them.
You attend a company dinner and everyone seems to be talking and having fun while you feel like an outsider. After the event, you go home and overeat to numb your emotional pain. This is also an example of poor coping mechanisms and emotional eating.
Emotional dysregulation can also mean that you have trouble recognizing the emotions that you are experiencing when you become upset. It might mean that you feel confused by your emotions, guilty about your emotions, or are overwhelmed by your emotions to the point that you can’t make decisions or manage your behavior.
Note that the behaviors of emotional dysregulation may show up differently in children, involving temper tantrums, outbursts, crying, refusing to make eye contact or speak, etc.
Impact of Emotional Dysregulation
Being unable to manage your emotions and their effects on your behavior can have a range of negative effects on your adult life. For instance:
You might have trouble sleeping.
You might struggle to let experiences go or hold grudges longer than you should.
You might get into minor arguments that you blow out of proportion to the point that you end up ruining relationships.
You might experience negative effects on your social, work, or school functioning.
You might develop a mental disorder later in life because of a poor ability to regulate your emotions (e.g., depression)
Problems complying with requests from teachers or parents
Problems making and keeping friends
Reduced ability to focus on tasks
How Do You Fix Dysregulation?
The two main options for treating emotion dysregulation are medication and therapy, depending on the individual situation. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Medication may be used to treat emotion dysregulation when it is part of a larger mental disorder. For example, ADHD will be treated with stimulants, depression will be treated with antidepressants, and other issues might be treated with antipsychotics.
In terms of therapy for emotional dysregulation, the main treatment method has been what is known as dialectical behavior therapy(DBT).3 This form of therapy was originally developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s to treat individuals experiencing BPD.4
In general, this type of therapy involves improving mindfulness, validating your emotions, and engaging in healthy habits. It also teaches the skills needed to regulate your emotions. Through DBT, you learn to focus on the present moment, how to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how to deal with stressful situations.
DBT argues that there are three “states of mind:”4
Reasonable mind refers to being logical and rational.
Emotional mind refers to your moods and sensations.
Wise mind refers to the combination of your reasonable mind and your emotional mind.
DBT is about showing you that you can see situations as shades of grey rather than all black and white (in other words, combining your emotional mind and logic mind).
If you’ve just experienced a stressful situation or crisis and want to try a little DBT at home, pull out a journal and answer these questions.
What was the event that caused you distress?
What did you think about in the situation? (Write down three main thoughts.)
How did these thoughts make you feel? (Write down any physical symptoms, things you did like crying, or feelings like being upset.)
What was the consequence of the thoughts you had?
The goal of DBT is to balance your emotions with logic to obtain more positive outcomes from the situations that you find stressful. The goal is also to teach you to become more aware of the connections between your thoughts, feelings, and actions. In this way, it’s expected that you will be able to better manage your emotions in your daily life.
If you are a parent of a child who struggles with emotion dysregulation, you might be wondering what you can do to support your child. It is true that children learn emotion regulation skills from their parents. You have the ability to teach your child how to manage emotions rather than become overwhelmed by them. Here are some ways you can support them:
Your child also needs to know that they can reach out to you for help and comfort when needed. Having a supportive and reliable parent figure in their life will help to protect them against problems with emotional dysregulation.
Recognize your own limitations. Do you have a mental disorder or have you struggled with your own emotion regulation skills? If so, you and your child might benefit from you receiving treatment or therapy to build up your own resilience. When you are better able to manage your own distress, then you will be able to offer the most support to your child.
Lead by example. In addition, the best way to teach your child how to manage their emotions is not to demand that they behave in a certain way or punish them for acting out. Rather, the best option is to model the desired behavior yourself that you want them to adopt.
Adjust accordingly. It can be helpful to start to recognize triggers for your child’s behavior and have a back-up plan of effective ways to deal with acting out. For example, if your child always has a tantrum when you take them to buy shoes, try picking out a pair in their size and bringing them home for them to try on.
Maintain consistent routines. Children who struggle with emotion dysregulation benefit from predictability and consistency.5 Your child needs to know that you will be there for them when they need you and that they can rely on you to be the calming presence. When your own emotions are out of control, then it is much more likely that your child will be unable to manage their own emotions.
Seek accommodations or additional support. If your child is in school, it is also important that you talk to their teacher about their problems with emotion regulation. Talk about the strategies that you use at home and how your child might need extra help in the classroom or reminders on how to calm down. If your child has a diagnosed disorder, they may be on a special education plan that allows accommodations or gives them extra help. Be sure to take advantage of that.
Reward positive behavior. If you see your child acting in ways that are positive for emotion management, comment on those positive behaviors. Find ways to reward emotion management successes so that they will become more frequent.
Whether it’s you, your child, or someone you know who struggles with emotion dysregulation, it is important to know that this is something that can improve over time. In fact, 88% of those diagnosed with BPD are not predicted to meet criteria 10 years down the road.6 This goes to show that emotion regulation strategies can be learned and are very helpful for improving your situation and living the best life possible.
Regardless of your current circumstances, you can make changes that will result in improved social, school, and work functioning. You can learn to manage the stressful situations that cause you pain and work through past hurts or mistreatment that led you to where you are today.
By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of “Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder” and “7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety.” She has a Master’s degree in psychology.
This chapter discusses major categories of child abuse: physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional or mental abuse, and sexual abuse and includes signs, symptoms, and behavioral indicators of abuse. The chapter also discusses child sexual exploitation and trafficking and how human trafficking organizations are set up, how they retain control of the victim, and indicators of trafficking for law enforcement and child protective services workers. Investigation techniques for law enforcement are included. Child fatalities, sudden infant death syndrome, and homicide are also discussed in this chapter.
Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. The WHO reports that over 40 million children, below the age of 15, are subjected to child abuse each year. Domestic violence in the home increases that risk threefold.
Child Abuse Investigation Field Guide is intended to be a resource for anyone working with cases involving abuse, neglect or sexual assault of children. It is designed to be a quick reference and focuses on the best practices to use during a child abuse investigation. The guide explains the Minimal Facts Interview, the Forensic Interview, and the entire process from report to court. It is understood that every state has different statutes regarding these topics; however the objectives of recognizing, reporting, and investigating cases of this nature are the same. Just as every crime scene is different, every case involving a child is different. Best practices and standard procedures exist to help ensure cases are discovered, reported and investigated properly, to ensure good documentation is obtained to achieve prosecution and conviction. This field guide will be a useful tool for law enforcement, child protective services, social service caseworkers, child advocates, and other personnel and agencies working for the welfare of children.
Includes protocols and best practices for child abuse investigations
Explains the Multidisciplinary Team approach and why it is useful
Describes the Minimal Facts Interview and the Forensic Interview
Walks the reader from the initial report, through the investigation process, to pre-trial preparation and provides tips on court testimony
Portable and affordable, the guide is tabbed for easy access of specific information while in the field and can ensure that team members are “on the same page” throughout the investigation
Child abuse, Child neglect, Child sexual exploitation, Emotional abuse, Human smuggling, Human trafficking, Physical abuse, Sexual abuse