Category Archives: Emotional Abuse Articles

Emotional Abuse and the Law. Part 2.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE IS JUST AS DAMAGING TO THE INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGICALLY AS ANY OTHER TYPE OF ABUSE.

Emotional abuse, which can happen selectively (ie a particular offspring is targeted, as opposed to all the offspring) can lead to extreme anxiety, self-harming behaviours, profound loneliness, acute depression and. without therapeutic intervention, personality disorders in later life, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). In extreme cases, it can lead to suicide. It can include :

VERBAL ASSAULT : eg the issuing of threats

EMOTIONAL NEGLECT : eg showing no love or affection. In some cases, the parent might provide well for the offspring financially, but entirely neglect his/her emotional needs. It can, of course, include, too, being almost entirely ignored and treated with off-hand contempt.

THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF INVALIDATION : one of the most damaging forms of abuse is for the abusers to INVALIDATE the victim’s views and emotions in relation to his/her abuse. This is because IT MAKES THE VICTIM LOOK LIKE S/HE IS IN THE WRONG.

FORMS INVALIDATION MAY TAKE :

1) DENIAL – it may be that those who caused the childhood trauma simply deny it

2) TELLING THE VICTIM S/HE IS ‘OVER-ANALYZING’

3) TELLING THE VICTIM S/HE IS EXAGGERATING

4) TELLING THE VICTIM HIS/HER VIEW THAT S//HE WAS CAUSED/CONTINUES TO BE CAUSED SUFFERING IS WRONG, or, as it was once put to me by a family member, that we must stop ‘BLEATING ON ABOUT IT’.

THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TRAUMA OFTEN TRY EXTREMELY HARD TO INVALIDATE THE VICTIM’S VIEWS SO THEY DO NOT NEED TO FACE THEIR OWN GUILT OR ALTER THEIR BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS THE VICTIM.

WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF HAVING ONE’S VIEWS THAT ONE HAS BEEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY SCARRED INVALIDATED?

Put simply, the invalidation can lead the victim TO BELIEVE S/HE HE MUST BE A BAD PERSON LEADING TO :

– guilt

– shame

 – self-hatred

– self-harming

– suicide

– drug/alcohol misuse

– rock bottom self-esteem

– rock bottom confidence

(the above list is not an exclusive one.)

HOW DOES THE LAW APPLY TO ALL THIS?

In the UK, it is likely emotional abusers may be prosecuted under domestic violence laws, if, for example, the abuse involves THREATENING BEHAVIOUR ; however, like many areas of law, this is a confused and hazy area. For this reason, I would like to add the disclaimer that legal advice should be sought before taking any action, and, also, it is recommended in the strongest terms that someone who could be dangerous is NOT  directly confronted on the issues.

I hope you have found this post useful.

Best wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc ; PGDE(FAHE).

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Emotional Abuse and The Law

Emotional abuse is essentially where the perpetrator uses FEAR, HUMILIATION, or VERBAL ASSAULT to, for example, undermine the victim’s self-esteem, confidence and trust in their own judgment.

Many believe if they are not being physically harmed, then what is happening does not count as abuse : THIS COULD NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH – in fact, protracted psychological abuse can damage the way , for example, the AMYGDALA (a brain region that’s function relates to emotional control)  develops, which can then HAVE DEVASTATING EFFECTS ON THE REST OF THE VICTIM’S LIFE.

SOME RESEARCH INTO THIS AREA SUGGESTS PEOPLE WITH DAMAGE TO THIS AREA LIVE, ON AVERAGE. NINETEEN YEARS LESS THAN THE AVERAGE PERSON – reasons include ruining health with drink / drug addiction and suicide.

Emotional abuse can be compared to BRAIN WASHING  ; I have already said that it undermines the individual’s belief in his own judgments – it can, too, make them question THEIR OWN SENSE OF REALITY AND THEIR OWN SANITY.

THIS LEADS TO THEM RELYING, AND BECOMING DEPENDENT UPON, THE VERY PEOPLE WHO ARE ABUSING THEM.

PROOF.

Emotional abuse can be very difficult to prove. One reason for this is  because it can be subtly inflicted over years (a kind of drip, drip effect) and leaves no physical marks.

However, I will look more at legal aspects in PART 2.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSC; PGDE(FAHE).

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Childhood Trauma: Damage Done by Breakdown of Maternal Bond.

‘I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you
Have done to this.’

-Lady Macbeth (on hearing that her husband
plans to proceed no further with the murder
of King Duncan).

Whilst the child has many relationships (eg with siblings, teachers, friends etc) the relationship between the child and the mother is of paramount importance. How our mother relates to us in our early years has a profound impact on our subsequent development and future lives, not least in terms of how we perceive ourselves and how we relate to others.

For most children, the relationship with the mother is stable, supportive and loving (although, of course, there will inevitably be the normal ups and downs, especially, frequently, during adolesence) but for a minority of children the relationship becomes deeply problematic – the mother may persistently criticize, display frequent, intense anger and hostility, put her own needs perpetually before the child’s, be emotionally abusive or emotionally unavailable, or even reject and abandon the child.

In many instances in which the maternal bond with the child has not properly developed, the mother may manipulate the child by exploiting his/her need for love and care; in other words, if the child fails to develop strategies, at great cost to him/herself, to maintain a tolerable relationship, the mother will reject the child. Indeed, the child may have this threat constantly hanging over him/her (my own mother employed this strategy, until, finally, I was forced to move out and live with my father and step-mother when I was thirteen). The child is put into a position whereby s/he must always meet the mother’s highly exacting needs or face fear of abandoment.

This problematic relationship with the mother shapes the child’s view of him/herself – s/he may have to be constantly ‘on guard’ with the mother, monitoring (either consciously or unconsciously) her minutest reactions in order to try to predict whether she is about to ‘turn’ on him/her. As the child gets older, this can lead to him/her becoming generally mistrustful of others (constantly on the look out for signs of imminent rejection and betrayal, sometimes, due to the hyper-vigilence learned in childhood as a survival mechanism, perceiving threats which do not, in reality, exist) which frequently leads to extreme difficulties in maintaining relationships (especially intimate relationships) with others.

BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS ON THE CHILD.

If the child is exposed to prolonged stress by a problematic relationship with the mother, this can have a PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT on him/her which LOWERS HIS/HER ABILITY TO COPE WITH STRESS IN LATER LIFE. The constant anxiety felt by the child INTERFERES WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEUROLOGICAL (BRAIN) CIRCUITS REQUIRED FOR EMOTIONAL REGULATION. Without the normal ability to regulate emotions and ‘self-soothe’ (as it is often put in the relevant literature), the child may go on to develop PROBLEMS WITH CONTROLLING ANGER, and, without the appropriate therapy, such problems can severely blight his/her life and interaction with others.

THE ROLE OF GENES

Studies suggest that not all children are affected equally adversely by problematic interaction with the mother. A main reason for this would seem to be that some children have GENES WHICH MAKE THEM RESILIENT to difficult emotional environments, whilst others lack these PROTECTIVE GENES.

EFFECTS OF PROBLEMATIC MOTHER-CHILD INTERACTION ON THE CHILD’S DEVELOPING BRAIN.

A good bond between mother and baby starts to have effects on the baby’s brain development immediately. When shown love and care, the baby’s brain becomes flooded with ENDOGENOUS OPIATES (pleasure inducing brain chemicals).Indeed, the brain’s development is highly dependent on how the mother responds to the baby’s feelings and needs; the relationship between mother and baby will have a day-to-day BIOLOGICAL IMPACT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUNG BRAIN. When problems arise, NEURAL NETWORK DEVELOPMENT IS DISRUPTED; If this disruption is protracted and severe, the affected individual, as an adult, may become HIGHLY EMOTIONALLY DYSREGULATED, frequently feeling overwhelmed by ANXIETY, FEAR and ANGER. Problems, too, as a result of EARLY NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGE, will very frequently extend to significant difficulties in relation to IMPULSE CONTROL.

It has already been shown that emotional abuse in early life can lead to just as much harm as physical abuse; prolonged stress, in early life, for whatever reason, does NOT ‘toughen the individual up’; on the contrary, the biochemical effect of the severe, protracted stress makes the individual affected MUCH MORE VULNERABLE in terms of his/her ability to deal with stress in later life.

I hope you have found this post of interest. You are, of course, welcome to follow this blog (new posts are added at least twice per week), leave a comment, or share the post on FACEBOOK or TWITTER.

Best Wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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How Adult Children Can Manage Their Relationship With Parents Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 2.

 

How Adult Children Can Manage Their Relationship With Parents Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 2.

For Part 1, click here.

How Adult Children Can Manage Their Relationship With Parents Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 2.

IMPROVE RELATIONSHIP WITH MOTHER HYPNOSIS MP3 – CLICK HERE

If we have been brought up as children with a parent who has BPD, it is often necessary to seek therapy to help resolve the trauma that we have suffered and to help us come to terms with our loss – in effect, our ‘stolen childhood’.

How Adult Children Can Manage Their Relationship With Parents Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 2.

Above : the unpredictable mood swings of the BPD sufferer

In therapy, it may often be necessary to work through the resentment we might well feel (particularly as this feeling of resentment can be deeply painful for us to carry around) and consider how our lives have been adversely affected.

Also, we may want to work with our therapist to consider what positive or useful things we may have learned from our difficult childhood, perhaps through strategies we adopted to deal with this problematic period of our lives, or from other, more positive, role models (eg teachers, friends, counselors etc).

Reviewing things in such a way can bring to the surface very painful feelings, and, if we do not have a therapist to speak to, talking things over with a sensitive and compassionate friend can be valuable.

Releasing emotions connected with our past through ‘talking them out’ can help us to move forward in our lives. Until we do this, our emotional development can remain arrested (‘stuck’), as I am quite convinced happened in my own case for more years than I care to recollect.

One way in which we can express our, perhaps, long pent-up feelings towards the parent with BPD is to write them a letter describing how their behaviour made our lives so stressful and painful. (It is usually better not to actually send the letter as this runs the risk of making matters worse still; however, some therapists may have different views.)

HOW, AS AN ADULT CHILD, WE CAN NOW PROTECT OURSELVES FROM OUR PARENT WITH BPD?

Individuals with BPD find it very hard to understand that others have personal boundaries, thus it is necessary to put more effort into establishing such boundaries with a parent with BPD than might otherwise be the case.

In some cases, it may be necessary to cut off completely from the parent with BPD, as the relationship is mutually destructive and it appears that this is beyond remedy. That, very sadly, was the decision I had to take with my own mother.

However, such drastic action may not be required; it might, instead, be necessary to make it clear we are unable to cope with constantly supporting the parent with BPD with their endless emotional problems as we have our own to deal with; that we need time alone/personal space/privacy; or that we are not prepared to discuss certain topics which always give rise to unpleasantness, hurt and pain.

These are just examples; there may be several other areas in which we need to make clear our boundaries. A parent with BPD will often put their own emotional needs ahead of ours; we need to be clear in our own minds that we have a right to have our own needs respected.

Indeed, we have a duty to ourselves to meet our own needs, especially as so much emotional damage was done to us as children. We need to ASSERTIVELY make this clear.

Of course, our parent with BPD is very likely to respond by trying to make us feel guilty and bad about ourselves for expressing our own needs, so we need to be prepared in advance for this reaction and not to give in to emotional blackmail. We need to maintain our strength and confidence – a good view to take is that we have a duty to protect the hurt child who still resides within us.

As I have said, it is extremely advisable to have support when thinking about making such changes as I have written about, ideally professional. If, however, this is not possible, there are many support groups for people affected by BPD, both online and offline.

RESOURCES :

MP3s:

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE MP3 – CLICK HERE

 

EBOOKS :

How Adult Children Can Manage Their Relationship With Parents Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 2.

 

Above eBooks now available on Amazon for immediate download. CLICK HERE

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2013 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

How Adult Children can Manage Their Relationship with Parents who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 1.

How Adult Children can Manage Their Relationship with Parents who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 1.

Some of us experienced childhood trauma due to a parent being unstable. As has been described in previous posts, BPD causes great instability in individuals, which can have a very serious impact on that individual’s child/ren, so some of us who experienced childhood trauma may have grown up with a parent with BPD. This could have contributed to ourselves developing similar problems, or, even, to us developing BPD ourselves. However, whatever the state of our mental health, as adults now ourselves, we need to know the best way to manage our relationship with BPD parent/s in the present, and, also, understand what effect our parent/s condition may have had on our own lives. This is of particular interest to me as I was brought up by a highly volatile and extremely unstable mother.

POSSIBLE EFFECTS ON THE CHILD OF A PARENT WITH BPD:

Parents with BPD can lack the necessary resources to bring their children up – in the worst case scenario, this may lead to neglect and/or abuse.

Children of BPD parents have frequently grown up in a highly unstable emotional atmosphere, have witnessed highly distressing behaviour in their parent/s, and, often, have been on the receiving end of extreme hostility, expressed verbally and/or physically. Further, they may have been exploited by their parent/s burdening them with their own emotional problems. My own mother, for example, used me, essentially, as her own private counsellor from when I was about 10 or 11- years- old, and would, on top of this, very often be terrifyingly verbally aggressive and hostile.

With experiences such as these, as adults, we can feel that our childhoods were stolen from us and we may go on to enter a kind of mourning for the childhood we never had.

Being brought up with a parent with BPD leads to a much higher probability of us developing the following problems:

alcoholism – illicit drug use
– depression
anxiety – suicidal feelings/ suicide attempts/ suicide
– behavioural problems eg impulse control
– personality/emotional disorders

Indeed, this is not altogether surprising when it is reflected upon that, as children, we may have been exposed to many long, painful, distressing years of intense conflict and arguments, threats (eg of violence, or, as in my own case, of abandoment),and unpredictable, unstable and highly volatile emotions.

Whilst we may feel deep resentment for the way in which we were treated, not infrequently necessitating professional support to deal with it, it is necessary, also, to keep in mind that our parent/s with BPD have developed it due to their own personal histories,including psychological, biological and social factors. However, this is cold comfort when we are children struggling to understand ourselves and living in a permanent state of acute distress.

POSSIBLE IMPACT OF A PARENT’S BPD ON THE CHILD:

1) The parent’s impulsivity: this could include alcohol, drugs, gambling etc causing enormous anxiety in the child and possibly in him/her developing similar problems in later life (due to the psychological concept known as ‘modelling’).

2) The parent’s dependency on child: for example, the parent may become emotionally dependent upon the child, using him/her as their personal counsellor, which can lead to the child feeling overwhelmed with concern, responsibility and anxiety, leading later to anger and resentment.

3) The parent’s volatility, instability and unpredictability: this, again, often leads to the child developing extreme anxiety and deep concerns about being abandoned – causing long-term, deeply ingrained insecurity (the parent may threaten to send the child away to live with relatives or to live in the care system).

4) The parent’s threats of suicide: again, this can lead to the child experiencing acute anxiety, possibly leading, later down the line, to the individual developing his/her own self-harming or suicidal behaviour.

5) The parent’s ambiguity towards the child: technically, this is known as ‘SPLITTING’- being consumed with passionate hatred towards the child one day, but then giving him/her extravagant praise the next – these polarized attitudes towards the child vascillating in a deeply confusing fashion. This will often lead the child to have an extremely unstable identity and self-concept – sometimes feeling they are better than others, but, at other times, feeling worthless, inferior and consumed with self-hatred. Thus, the child can grow up not quite ‘knowing who he/she is’.

This is not an exhaustive list, but, as I am trying to keep these posts to a manageable length and avoid swamping the reader with information, the picture the examples give, I think, is sufficient as an introduction.

In PART 2- I will look at suggested ways to manage our problematic relationships with our BPD parents.

If you would like to view an infographic on the relationship between having a mother with BPD and risk of suicidal behavior, please click here.

How Adult Children can Manage Their Relationship with Parents who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 1.How Adult Children can Manage Their Relationship with Parents who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 1.How Adult Children can Manage Their Relationship with Parents who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Part 1.

The above eBooks are now available for immediate download on Amazon. $4.99. CLICK HERE.

Best wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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Copyright 2013 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery