Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What the hell is normal anyway?

The internet is full of information about the effects of abuse on children, and everyone has their own opinion about it. I was looking for a link to use, but I was dissatisfied with the explanations and the methods of help offered. So I’ll just say what I want to say, with no link to back me up.

Abuse of children and stunted emotional growth

Abused children (mental/physical/emotional) are hurt. They respond differently to their abuse. But their hurt stunts their growth. The hurt shocks them into a state of mind they may not reenter until a much later time. Meanwhile, they are living a life that is not their own. That is a fabrication. A defense against the hurt. Its only after years of mistakes that they either get worse, or seek help. Often they’ll find that although their body has developed, and even though different aspects of their personality has evolved, there is a hurt and vulnerable child crying quietly in a corner. It takes time to coax the child out and make it feel safe.

Abused children are confused

Their role models of the world are doing things that are giving them conflicting messages. Children know so much more than we think, and so much less. Parts of their brain understands certain information, while their emotional growth may not be able to process the data into correct folders. They’re confused. They have basic needs that need to be met, and when they reach out to be comforted, more often than not, they are given a mouthful of sawdust. What are they being taught? Their basic needs are not being met. There is obvious dysfunction.

Abused children are lonely

They feel that nobody understands their situation. The world they met out side of their house does not correlate to the events that occur inside, where its ‘real’. They don’t have any one to talk to inside the house. And they ‘betray’ their family if they talk outside of the house. There really isn’t anywhere to go, except inside the self. And the self they meet is ill equipped to help.

As emerging adults, abused children have an underprivileged place in our society

People who can not small talk, who talk too much, who avoid confrontation, who fight at the slightest incident, who have unusual or no emotional response to ‘normal’ events, who can not maintain a job, who can not pay their bills, who abuse drugs, who are ‘too perfect’ citizens… what’s going on? And then there are the charmers, who smile and please and come home and abuse their own children. But no one can believe it. Abused children fill in the cracks in our society.

Where to go?

What does an abused child do when they grow up? They search for the things they didn’t have when they were a child, or they repeat the same mistakes their parents/abusers made. Either way, they are vulnerable and have low self esteem that keeps them in negative surroundings in their relationships or/and their work.
Is there a way out?

Well, not until the abused child is ready to stop it, and has the tools to stop it. So, its more information, its less stereotyping, its more sensitive intervention from observant people (teachers, doctors, neighbours, friends), its more positive stories about survivors and its about people who have first hand experience with abuse to make the decisions (not a brick hearted minister who ‘just doesn’t get it’) about help programs and budgets.

We have to talk more. Keep open the doors of our experience. Nothing is shameful. Nothing is wrong. Everything is ok.





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