Alot of people find emotional abuse, and psychological abuse, difficult to digest, or hard to diagnose. This is because, unlike physical abuse, there is no outward manifestation, or symptoms that can be directly traced back to a cause.
Because of this, sadly, so many children go from school to home, from home, to school, keeping within them the burdensome secret, of the double life, and the trauma that they must regularly endure.
This type of abuse is so subtle, and insidious, that it is possible that even the child in question, does not realise that they are being abused, or harmed. They may simply perceive that they have a strict, parent, or parents, and therefore internalise the abuse to be a result of something that they are doing, and that they have done.
The internalisation of this blame is incredibly dangerous, because it can off-set a cycle of the child learning to blame themselves for abuse, (that is usually perpetuated later in life), and also to constantly try to modify their behaviours, and their impulses in order not to receive any further abuse.
‘One study has suggested that victims of childhood physical abuse have a 40% chance of being diagnosed with major depressive disorder at some stage in their life and a 30% chance of being diagnosed with a disruptive behaviour disorder’.
Have you ever graced the presence of somebody who almost shrinks into themselves. Who holds a posture, a position, and a meek voice, that screams of self consciousness, and hyper vigilance. Well, this was me. And this is also the individual who is very careful, about their movements, and about their words, because they have been taught that to put a wrong foot out of place, or to cause yourself to become ‘too noticed’, ‘too enlarged’, offers them the risk of being re-abused.
This individual may go through their entire life feeling as if they have to walk in the shadows, or manipulate their behaviours in order to appear as less of a threat.
In my observation, i have witnessed there to be two separate manifestations of somebody who suffers from emotional/psychological abuse, or some type of abandonment/neglect/rejection, earlier on in childhood.
Despite what new-ageism, and alternative lifestyles preach, every child does need to be grow, and be nurtured under the guidance of a strong, secure, consistent, and stable/balanced house hold. It is very important for children to have access to a blend of both masculine, and feminine energies, as the feminine energy, (typically, but not always the mother), enriches them with love, comfort, and forgiveness, whilst the masculine energy, (typically, but not always the father), instils order, protection, safety, and strength within them.
This does not have to exist as a part of a nuclear family dynamic, with one, mother and one father, if this type of set up is inaccessible, for a variety of reasons. This could be alternated, with the presence of extended family members, or even care givers, standing in to fulfil these roles.
In Africa, there is a congregation of an extended family, wherein aunties, uncles, parents, and grandparents are likely to share one compound, and raise children as a community, within a tight, supported, and watchful network.
This by far, has to be one of my favourite methods of up-bringing. Although this can not be so easily maintained as a part of western living, ideally, it is a beautiful practice, regardless. It also goes to show that the development of each individual is not only reflective of their community, but also reflective of their level of involvement within the individual’s life.
Can we blame ‘bad’ people, for being ‘bad’ people?
There is an association between childhood abuse and the risk of suicidal behaviour. One study found that a history of physical abuse increases the odds of attempting suicide by almost 5 times, while a history of emotional abuse may increase the odds of a suicide attempt by more than 12 times
And if so, must we not condemn their entire community, and the parents whom raised them?
I believe in redemption, to a certain extent. After all, many of the most viscous, unpleasant, and sociopathic people that i have met throughout the course of my life, have all appeared to have suffered some sort of core wounding in childhood. A wound that only seemed to grow overtime, and manifest as their shadow self, blocking them from their own light.
It is the subconscious, and the unconscious that rules their actions, their lack of empathy, that also remains buried below the consciousness. Empathy opens the door way for emotional openness, and vulnerability. It is likely that many of these people have had to intensely suppress, and deny their empathy, in order to cope with their level of trauma, or abuse more effectively.
Let’s say, for instance, there is a young man who is regularly physically, and verbally abused by his father over a recurring period of time. Even if this young man is initially highly sensitive, and possesses an innocent, and a naive approach to life, sooner or later, in order to protect himself, his subconscious mind will ask him to numb himself. Numb himself to the insults that he receives, and numb himself from the expectancy of consistent love, empathy, or remorse from his father.
Thus, he begins to operate in a fashion that is void of emotional expression. This is a survival technique. This would only be further emphasised, if the young man’s father also insisted that the boy expressing any grief over his treatment, may be acting in a way that is out of accordance with what it means to be a man – therefore, what it means to be acceptable.
Similarly, a young woman who is subject to an emotionally distant, cold, or unavailable father, may find herself feeling isolated, and ‘faulty’, from this lack of male approval, and attention, and may therefore grow to become overly dependent, and reliant upon male attention, an attempt by her subconscious mind to make peace with her earlier experiences. As a result of this, she is likely to find herself in a string of failed relationships, laced with co-dependency, and men who sense her desperation, and happily exploit its position.
Symptoms of somebody who has been affected by childhood abuse in adulthood.
- Extremely withdrawn, appearing overly shy, introverted, or distracted, engaging in careless day dream.
- An inability to concentrate for long periods of time, poor memory and directive skills, (this is because parts of the brain literally shrink, failed to develop coherently, and experience severe confusion).
- ADHD – or a similar manifest behavioural affliction that causes one to outwardly seek attention, and recognition – even if this is negative attention.
- Overly aggressive – failing to access rationalisation, or impulse control.
- Difficulty with closeness, intimacy, perhaps pertaining to sexual intimacy, (erotophobia) or a string of promiscuous/unfaithful relations.
- Compulsive lying, multi personality disorder, a desire for one to seem more flamboyant, and achieved than they truly are, (in order to compensate for intense feelings of inferiority).
- Hypersensitivity to criticism (either because of a lack of belief in self already existing, or manifesting from a place of requiring consistent praise, to appease the false ego),
- An inability to allow others enough access into ones internal world, reluctance to open up to others emotionally, desire to separate from emotionally demanding situations, lack of commitment to anything that requires lengthy work.
I highly recommend that anybody who recognises these traits within themselves, or identifies with my article in some way, seek some sort of professional advice, and help as soon as possible. If you are unsure about what methods are available to you, then i would be happy to assist you with that.
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