Child Abuse and Its Results in Today's SocietyWednesday, July 10, 2013
|Mental Health Awareness Ribbon|
These interviews validated my own estimation about the degree of, and ignorance about, child abuse in today's society. As I’ve mentioned in my previous articles, I see children being abused, and adults who show evidence of having been abused (i.e., grown-wounded children, or broken adults), everywhere and all the time. Since I’ve worked on myself a lot and I have experience working with people, I’m more understanding and empathetic towards children and their needs than most people. Now, my definition of abuse might be a little bit different than most people’s. I define it is as follows: When a child’s true self suffers harm – be it physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional – the child is being abused. If one applies this definition logically and consistently, one can see child abuse – or its results – everywhere. But even if we go with a more conventional understanding (physical force, sexual abuse, extreme neglect, abandonment, etc.), child abuse and its consequences are all around us.
The children in these interviews were (and probably most of them still are) abused in various different and common ways. These are my thoughts on what was reported...
– Yelling was very common, almost universal. Almost all children reported that their parents yell (or have yelled) at them when the children do something their parents don’t like. Even when the child is hurt, sometimes he or she receives scolding instead of empathy.
– Neglect was pretty much universal. All of these children didn’t get enough attention and care, and often were just plainly neglected or even abandoned.
– Beatings, or being forcefully manhandled in other ways, was common. A lot of children reported beatings, sometimes using learned euphemisms or minimization tactics.
– Cognitive dissonance was common. "My mother or father has beaten me," and later: "No, nobody much older than me has ever physically hurt me."
– Confusion in the children about why they are being punished was common. A lot of children didn't know why, in specific situations, they were punished.
– Stockholm syndrome was very common, almost universal. "I deserved the punishment. My parents [and/or other authority figures] were right. I was bad. They punished me for my own good."
– Amnesia or fear of talking about painful experiences was common. "I don’t remember." Or, "I don’t want to talk about this."
– Laughing at pain was somewhat common. Some children, while talking about their or other people’s painful experiences, were laughing. Personally, I see this very often. It's either an emotional disconnect, a lack of empathy, or a defense mechanism that potentially protects from an unemphatetic interviewer.
– Inability to think rationally and express oneself properly was pretty much universal.
– Poor character development was pretty much universal.
– Stunted emotional growth and lack of awareness was universal. Almost all children were severely broken, traumatized and dissociated from their emotions, needs, talents, and experiences.
– False understanding of a healthy parent-child relationship was universal. For example, "My relationship with my mother or father is good when she or he buys me stuff, or when I obey." Also, it was universally implied that children have to be obedient and can’t question parents’ authority. Obedience to parents’ will is rewarded, while disobeying parents is punished. (The carrot-and-stick approach is ineffective and harmful in various ways.)
– False understanding of morality was universal. Obedience to authority (to parents, teachers, elders, etc.) is labeled as "good behavior." Disobedience is "bad behavior." Often children openly labeled themselves as "good" or "bad" based on that.
– Extremely stressful school life was pretty much universal. One of the biggest stress-producing factors for children is school. A lot of very painful experiences and punishments – bullying, incompetent and abusive teachers, tiredness from lack of rest and homework, huge pressure from parents and teachers to do well (i.e., to be perfect), etc. – were reported almost universally. School is very traumatic and cripples a child’s natural development in myriad different ways.
– It was amongst these children to have huge amounts of unprocessed trauma. This applies to children and – by a logical extension – to their parents as well.
A very large number of people have suffered severe or significant trauma in their childhood. Working on this project helped me understand this even better. It also helped me to work on myself, because I've remembered and analyzed specific events from my own life. Children who were interviewed were as most people I've met or known: very traumatized, emotionally crippled, dissociated, scared, lonely, and confused... Traumatized children grow up and have their own children, and they traumatize them to the degree that they haven't processed their own ancient traumas. The cycle continues...
(Bear in mind that this is self-reporting. And the problem with self-reporting is that the information is often skewed, because abuse, especially child abuse, is often underreported or minimized.)
Since general understanding of the significance and degree of child abuse and its results in today’s society is pretty low, I'd like to raise more awareness for mental health and child abuse. I plan on talking more about this in general, and also about specific situations I have witnessed, experienced, or know of; I plan to analyze and give my arguments about why abuse is harmful to the child, and what potential effects it can have in the future.
Have an aware-full day,
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