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Tag Archives: Effects Of Emotional Abuse

Psychological Maltreatment Most Harmful Form Of Abuse, Evidence From Major Study Suggests

A major study (Spinazzola et al.) on the effects of child maltreatment provides strong evidence that psychological maltreatment of children is the most harmful form of abuse.

The study analyzed a sample of 5616 young people who had histories of childhood trauma in the form of :

– psychological maltreatment (i.e. emotional abuse / emotional neglect)

– sexual abuse

– physical abuse

Each young person who participated in the study was then assessed on whether or not he / she had experienced particular behavioral problems, symptoms and disorders (12 in all) , a list of which I present below :

– substance abuse

– alcohol abuse

– other forms of self-harm

– skipping school or daycare

– behavior problems in the home

criminal activity

attachment problems

– academic problems

– running away

suicidality

– behavior problems at school

– sexualized behaviors

RESULTS OF THE STUDY :

The researchers found that those young people who had a history of psychological maltreatment were more damaged  by their adverse experiences (as measured by to what extent they were affected by the above listed behavioral problems, symptoms and disorders) than were those who had suffered physical or sexual abuse.

More specifically, of the above 12 listed behavioral problems, symptoms and disorders, those who had suffered psychological maltreatment were equally likely, or more likely, than those who had suffered physical abuse to have been affected by :

– substance abuse

– alcohol abuse

– other forms of self-harm

– skipping school or daycare

– behavior problems in the home

criminal activity

attachment problems

– academic problems

– running away

suicidality

– behavior problems at school

Furthermore, of the above 12 listed behavioral problems, symptoms and disorders, those who had suffered psychological maltreatment were equally likely, or more likely, than those who had suffered sexual abuse to have been affected by :

 – substance abuse

– alcohol abuse

– other forms of self-harm

– skipping school or daycare

– behavior problems in the home

criminal activity

attachment problems

– academic problems

– running away

suicidality

– behavior problems at school

IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY :

In response to the above findings, the authors of the study emphasized the need for it to become a matter of public policy to develop and implement childhood trauma interventions in ways that recognize just what a devastating effect psychological maltreatment in one’s childhood can have upon a person’s quality of life.

They also draw attention to the need for the child welfare system to improve their ability to detect cases of child psychological maltreatment (which frequently occurs ‘under the radar’) so that effective interventions may be implemented.

eBook :

Above eBook now available on Amazon for immediate download. Click here.

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

Active And Passive Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse of children (sometimes referred to as psychological abuse) by their parents / primary caregivers can be divided into two types :

  1. PASSIVE EMOTIONAL ABUSE
  2. ACTIVE EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Let’s look at each of these in turn :

PASSIVE EMOTIONAL ABUSE DEFINITION :

Passive emotional abuse tends to be less obvious and more subtle than active emotional abuse and may therefore operate ‘below the radar‘ and be difficult to precisely identify ; however, its insidious nature can have a devastating effect upon the child’s emotional development. Specific types of passive emotional abuse, as proposed by Barlow, et al., (2010), are shown below :

DEVELOPMENTALLY INAPPROPRIATE INTERACTION WITH THE CHILD :

This can involve expecting the child to do things that s.he is not emotionally equipped to carry out. It can also involve the parent talking about, or doing things, in the presence of the child which s/he (i.e. the child) is not emotionally mature enough to deal with.

EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY :

This refers to the parent / primary carer being very emotionally detached, distant and cold towards the child, displaying no love or affection (see my article : Effects Of The Emotionally Distant Parent On Their Child’).

NEGATIVE ATTITUDES :

This includes the parent not offering the child praise or encouragement and conveying the attitude that they have a low opinion of the child or that the child is ‘bad’ leading the child to internalize such negative views(in relation to this, you may wish to read my article : ‘How The Child’s View Of Their Own ‘Badness’ Is Perpetuated‘).

NOT TREATING THE CHILD AS AN INDIVIDUAL :

This can happen when a parent parentifies their child, treats the child, in emotional terms, as a ‘surrogate partner’ (see article on emotional incest‘) or exploits their child as as emotional caretaker’. It involves the parent exploiting the child to fulfil his/her own emotional needs while ignoring the child’s emotional needs.

ACTIVE EMOTIONAL ABUSE DEFINITION :

According to Barlow et al., 2010 and Cawson et al., 2000, active emotional abuse may involve :

  • isolating : the parent may isolate the child physically, socially or emotionally to increase his/her (i.e. the parent’s) level of control over him/her  (i.e. the child) – in relation to this, you may wish to read my article : CONTROLLING PARENTS : THEIR EFFECT ON THEIR CHILDREN.This reduces the child’s ability to compare his/her situation to that of others and to get help. The parent may increase the child’s level of disorientation by also using the technique of ‘gaslighting.’
  • corrupting / exploiting : this involves the parent encouraging the child to behave in antisocial and self-destructive ways thereby reducing his/her ability to socially integrate in an acceptable way

ALL OTHER ARTICLES ON EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND NEGLECT :

RETURN HOME TO ABOUT CHILDHOOD TRAUMA RECOVERY

eBook :

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

Emotional Cruelty – A New Law To Help Reduce It

 

emotional abuse and the law

The UK government is considering up-dating law whereby more individuals could be charged and convicted of EMOTIONAL CRUELTY against children. Types of behaviour that may constitute emotional cruelty include belittling, isolating, rejecting, humiliating, ignoring and corrupting (eg into criminal and/or anti-social behaviour).

Furthermore, any adult behaviour which impaired the child’s intellectual, emotional or behavioural development could also be included.

A problem, however, will be deciding when exactly an adult behaviour such as those referred to above is significant and damaging enough to be defined as a criminal act – inevitably, a degree of subjectivity would invariably be involved, unless a case is obviously clear-cut.

Research suggests that emotional abuse is at least as damaging as other forms of abuse; however, the picture can become blurred as, often, emotional abuse will occur alongside other types of abuse.

 

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EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL CRUELTY :

Possible effects of emotional cruelty on the child include :

– effects on mental development

– effects on emotional development

– effects on behaviour

Let’s look at each of these in turn :

1) Mental development

– language development may be impaired

– there may be a link between emotional abuse and the development of ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACIVITY DISORDER (ADHD). However, further research is required in order to address this question further

2) Emotional development

The child may :

– develop clinical depression

– become extremely angry/aggressive (this may be directed at the parents/primary care-givers and/or displaced onto others who are not the primary cause of the anger)

– have suicidal thoughts

– have great difficulty controlling his/her emotions or develop an inability to feel and express a large range of emotions

– increasingly lack confidence (eg due to being constantly belittled and made to feel worthless by parents/primary carer)

– find it difficult in adulthood to form and maintain relationships (eg due to not having received affection and love him/herself during childhood)

– have a lower satisfaction with life in general in adulthood

– lack social skills and have few friends

3) Behaviour:

The child may :

– not care very much about how s/he acts or what happens to him/her (psychologists refer to this as : NEGATIVE IMPULSE CONTROL). Consequently, this may lead to risk-taking behaviours such as running away, stealing or bullying others

– develop an eating disorder

– self-harm

– develop obsessions/compulsions

– develop severe anxiety

– become very ‘clingy’ due to insecurity of home life

– drink excessively/use narcotics

– act in ways that are either consciously or sub-consciously designed to make other people dislike him/her – psychologists refer to this as SELF-ISOLATING BEHAVIOUR.

 

RESOURCES :

HELP WITH EMOTIONAL ABUSE (HEALTHYPLACE.COM)

 

EBOOKS :

 

content_4964975_DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAILchildhood_trauma_and_borderline_personality_disorder_ebook

 

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

 

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

 

 

 

 

Combined Effects of Divorce and Emotional Abuse on The Child.

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Sometimes, when parents divorce, the child finds s/he is left to be brought up by a dysfunctional parent, perhaps because the single-parent is under enormous stress and/or suffers from mental illness. Indeed, this was the situation I found myself in from the age of eight, so I know how serious the effects on the child may be. Specifically, in this article, I wish to look at the potential adverse effects on the child of being brought up in a single-parent family in which the single-parent is emotionally/verbally abusive towards him/her. In my own case, my mother would refer to me as ‘scabby’ (due to the wounds I incurred through self-harming) and ‘poof’ (I was ultra-sensitive), amongst much else.

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About 80%of those who go on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) have been the victims of child abuse – the most common form of child abuse that BPD sufferers experienced during their childhoods is EMOTIONAL AND VERBAL ABUSE. Such abuse can absolutely devastate the individual’s self-esteem.

Three common forms of emotional and verbal abuse are :

1) Unavailability

2) Domination

3) Degradation

Let’s look at each of these in turn :

1) Unavailability – this refers to when the parent is much more concerned with their own lives than with the emotional welfare of the child. Such parents show their child little encouraging interest or positive attention, and very little warmth and affection, even in times of need.

2) Domination – this occurs when a parent controls the child with menacing behaviour, threats and general intimidation.

3) Degradation – this is when the parent constantly undermines the child, including over-focusing upon, and over-emphasizing, misbehaviour. Very often, this results in the child becoming convinced that s/he is a ‘bad’ person (see also my article on this by clicking here).

Often, too, the abuse is directed at the child more indirectly and subtly (though, often, it’s not all that subtle!) through body language and facial expressions (eg by looking contemptuous – being treated with contempt is especially devastating – of the child or full of hatred towards him/her). Such treatment can be extremely damaging (especially, of course, if it is frequent and repetitive), and the potential psychological damage it can do should in no way be underestimated.

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The picture below shows some of the psychological conditions the child may eventually develop as a result of emotional/verbal abuse.

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THE COMPOUNDING EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON THE EMOTIONALLY/VERBALLY ABUSED CHILD :

What if the child who is suffering such verbal and emotional abuse lives in a one parent family, due to divorce, so that there is no other parent around to protect him/her? Clearly, in such a situation, it is overwhelmingly probable that the psychological damage done to the child will be all the more profound.

Many studies have been conducted upon the effects of divorce on children ; these include :

– deep distress

– extreme separation anxiety

– depression

– anxiety

– anger / anti-social behaviour

– intense fears of further abandonment

– greatly increased neediness

– age regression (click here to read my article on this)

If, on top of the effects of divorce, not only does the child not receive support and affection, but is actually verbally and emotionally abused by the remaining parent, the result can be massive psychological trauma.

RESOURCES :

Overcome Divorce Bitterness | Self Hypnosis Downloads

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)