Verbal Abuse includes screaming, name-calling, teasing, ridiculing, sarcasm and witnessing someone else receive verbal or any type of abuse. Social abuse includes isolating the child, not allowing friends to come over or not allowing the child to visit others. Indirect social abuse occurs when the child chooses to not have friends come over because the child may be embarrassed about home, a parent’s behavior, or it might not be a safe environment to bring other children into and the parents have indirectly communicated this to the children. Mother or father might be passed out on the couch, depressed, angry, or some other handicap that makes it uncomfortable to have outsiders to the family home. Neglect and Abandonment – Are the child’s dependency needs met? Remember the child cannot survive without a caretaker… food, clothing, shelter, medical/dental care, physical nurturing, emotional nurturing, sexual guidance and appropriate information… how to succeed in the world we live in; financial guidance and information, education and occupation guidance, career and life goals. The impact of neglect and abandonment is often harder for people to comprehend. They often express relief at being left alone, felt it toughened them up and they became better people. In some ways it’s true but they didn’t get to feel taken care of or protected and don’t expect to find it in other relationships. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
I …understand how a parent might hit a child -
it’s because you can look into their eyes
and see a reflection of yourself
that you wish you hadn’t.
It’s a natural law that our behavior is intrinsically linked to what we believe. Whatever we believe, we act out. Scapegoats see themselves as bad and therefore they act in ways that prove that it’s true. In this way they provide all the evidence needed to verify that, indeed they are the family problem. The family scapegoat feels hurt and unloved inside, even while on the outside, they act out in painfully reactive and defensive ways. They feel blamed, rejected and mistreated and retaliate by hurling insults and assaulting those they perceive as their accusers. The more blamed a scapegoat feels the worse they act. The worse they act, the more alarmed the rest of the family becomes. The family goes from concern to anger to outright fear for (and of) this “problem child”. Family members believe that if the scapegoat would just stop being such a problem everything would be fine. Family members are unaware that on a deep level they actually perpetuate the scapegoats troublesome behavior. They are unconscious of the part of them that needs something outside themselves to blame and so don’t notice how their responses end up reinforcing the problem behavior. The cycle of those who blame and the one who is blamed continues, on and on, the family will continue to need a scapegoat until individuals within the system begin to take responsibility for their part in creating the dysfunction. http://www.lynneforrest.com/clearing-story/dealing-with-strife-hardship-coping-with-life/2008/11/scapegoats-are-necessary-in-dysfunctional-family-systems/
Don’t blame people
for disappointing you,
for expecting too much from them.
Family scapegoats are not born bad; no matter how tempting it is to think so. Scapegoats are created, plain and simple, through guilt & shame. A child, often the second-born, is designated to be the problem child in a struggling family. This is not a conscious assignment but one that occurs naturally in a system in need of someone to hold responsible for the dysfunction that abounds there. The more dysfunctional the family, the more problematic the scapegoat will need to be. Basic needs go unmet. A common rule in dysfunctional families is the belief that it’s selfish to take care of one’s self. Therefore no one has permission to take care of themselves. Instead everyone is waiting for someone else to meet their needs and feeling resentful when that doesn’t happen. The finger of blame is pointed squarely at the designated scapegoat who becomes the one held responsible for the unhappiness and unmet needs of the other family members. Scapegoats most often arrive in the family after the “good stuff”(validation, acceptance & nurturing) has already been given over to an older sibling. So instead of positive reinforcement, this child gets primarily negative attention from parents and other family members. The child who is scapegoated absorbs the family’s pain as if it were their own. They take on the pain of the family and, like the rest of the family, come to see themselves as “the bad seed” — the family problem”. Because the scapegoat buys the story that the problems in the family are their fault, they act out the part they’ve been assigned. http://www.lynneforrest.com/clearing-story/dealing-with-strife-hardship-coping-with-life/2008/11/scapegoats-are-necessary-in-dysfunctional-family-systems/
When we blame,
we give away our power.
Codependent children usually lack an emotionally safe environment where they can express their own emotions, needs, thoughts, and desires. They have learned that it is dangerous and painful to be honest about their thoughts and feelings. Parents cannot handle the truth and only get more upset, defensive, or abusive. So they started focusing on pleasing their dysfunctional parent or being sure they didn’t upset him or her. But in the process, the children lost touch with their own needs, desires, thoughts, and feelings. And since they had lost touch with their own needs, they ended up choosing a marriage partner out of their caretaking or dependent role instead of from a perspective of mutual love and emotional maturity. Consequently, they ended up in relationships fraught with unmet childhood needs. Another way of understanding the causes of codependency is from the point of view of the child’s progress in growing from the absolute dependency of infancy to a healthy, mature adult interdependency. Anything that interferes with this process predisposes a growing child to become codependent. For example, if a baby’s emotional needs are not nourished sufficiently, the baby may become overly dependent and go through life trying to please others in order to gain the love that wasn’t received as a child. If a parent is overprotective, a child may never learn to stand on his or her own feet emotionally and intellectually. If parents are perfectionistic, the growing child learns to try to please others instead of recognizing her or his own needs and feelings. And if the parents rely excessively on guilt and shame motivation, the child learns to feel selfish for trying to have personal needs met. Any of these patterns can leave a growing child with a lack of confidence or a healthy sense of personal identity , worth, and self-esteem. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
The fastest way to be a bad parent
is to never let your child be a kid.
Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner’s love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother’s love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant. Bell Hooks
We must be willing
to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
There are little eyes upon you, and they’re watching night and day;
There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say;
There are little hands all eager to do everything you do,
And a little boy that’s dreaming of the day he’ll be like you.
Oh, it sometimes makes me shudder when I hear my boy repeat
Some careless phrase I’ve uttered in the language of the street;
And it sets my heart to grieving when some little fault I see
And I know beyond all doubting that he picked it up from me.
There’s a wide-eyed little fellow who believes you’re always right,
And his ears are always open and he watches day and night;
You are setting an example every day in all you do
For the little boy who’s waiting to grow up to be like you.
Taken from “His Example” by Edgar A. Guest
Each day of our lives we make deposits
in the memory banks of our children.
Charles R. Swindoll
When I began to seriously address my dysfunctions the professional diagnosis I received included PTSD. Having thought post traumatic stress disorder came from witnessing the horror of war or something similarly awful and horrible, I had no previous idea it could apply to me. In my young years there was physical abuse mostly encountered through inappropriate punishment and covert sexual abuse from witnessing what I was far to young to see and hear. Certainly those things manifested negatively within, but my PTSD comes from different sources. While accented by a few specific events, my post traumatic stress disorder comes primarily from consistent and outright childhood neglect, constant fear of abandonment and a general lack of worth. I am not alone. Substantiated PTSD with origins in childhood have been shown statistically to come from psychological abuse (7%), sexual abuse (10%), physical abuse (18%) and from neglect (65%). There is no dishonor of any sort in being F’ed up and working to get getter. Shame only exists in being F’ed up and staying in that straight-jacket of dysfunction.
If you don’t like something change it;
if you can’t change it,
change the way you think about it.
Codependence is an emotional & behavioural defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child. Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos & healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.) the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood & do not get our needs met; our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs. Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Codependence is a defence system that causes us to wound ourselves.
(from http://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/joy2meu/learning-to-love-our-self/ )
The meaning of good and bad,
of better and worse,
is simply helping or hurting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I was seven years old my Father left my Mother, younger Brother and me for life with another woman who was pregnant with his child. Clear is the memory of sitting on the bed by my Mom who had one arm around me and one around my Brother. Through tears she said our Dad was not coming back. She ended by looking me straight in the eyes saying “You’re the man of the house now. You’re gonna have to take care of your little brother.” I took what she said seriously and from that day forward I did whatever I could to look after of my little brother and beyond what should be expected of a kid. Whether it was giving him the larger piece of a candy bar we were splitting or cooking meals while my mother worked, I did all I could to care for him. Today I know the instruction my Mother gave me began ‘enmeshment’ and caused me to be far more serious about life than a seven-year old boy ever should. There lies the deepest root of my codependency. Whenever children are continually expected to act like adults they are being robbed of their childhood.
The day the child realizes
that all adults are imperfect,
he becomes an adolescent;
the day he forgives them,
he becomes an adult;
the day he forgives himself,
he becomes wise.
OK. One or both your parents hurt you. Learning they did the best they knew how to do is where healing begins. No matter how bad their behavior or how much they abused you remember they learned it somewhere. Most likely they went through similar or worse mistreatment by their parents; and their parent’s parents before them. When one whose inner child was damaged begins to see the adult(s) responsible as abused children themselves, healing is beginning.
It is never too late to have a happy childhood.