The purpose of defining abuse is so we all have a common language and so we can fully experience and embrace the depth of the hurt we have suffered. It is not about blaming but lets us understand why we may always feel like someone is blaming us, or out to get us. We have our feelings in a context that makes more sense and gives us options to choose our behaviors and not just always reacting to things. It helps us to understand why we may feel or think the way that we do. We all struggle with understanding and believing in how these behaviors have affected us. From the safety of our lives now we can look back and rethink our experiences. We tend to empower our past experiences — like being a latchkey kid – by saying it toughened us up, that it built our self-confidence or independence. Yet research supports that being left on your own actually causes us to doubt our perceptions, feelings, thoughts and lower self-esteem. Latchkey kids were forced to grow up too quickly and take on too much responsibility, and they were not allowed to be afraid. As you grow up and develop intimate relationships, you may find it is hard to form close relationships. Trust has been broken and there is a fear to depend upon anyone else. A fear of feeling let down and rejected the way you did as kid when no one was around. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
Research on child abuse suggests
that religious beliefs can foster,
encourage, and justify
the abuse of children.
When contempt for sex
this creates a breeding
ground for abuse.
Children of dysfunctional families come to believe they are responsible for their parents’ problems. As a result they develop low self-esteem, believing themselves to be incompetent or undeserving of love because they have failed their troubled parents. In other words, they internalize their parents’ problems as their own. As such, they develop unrealistic expectations about what is and isn’t their responsibility, and about what they can and can’t control in relationships. Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families carry these distorted beliefs into adulthood. They feel over-responsible for everyone around them, including spouses, children, in-laws, and co-workers. They perceive the problems of others as their own – just as they did with their parents’ problems. They are riddled with anxiety, stress, and guilt in their relationships. They ignore their own needs, feelings, and problems, and, thus, become depressed and resentful. Ultimately, they feel like failures – just as in childhood – because their goal of solving everyone’s problems is unobtainable. Codependency becomes an addiction when codependents subconsciously seek out troubled individuals as a way to avoid dealing with their own problems. By compulsively trying to “fix” an alcoholic, a codependent can feel, by comparison, like a healthy person with no problems. Yet, if the alcoholic goes away, the codependent will compulsively seek out another troubled person to “fix” in order to avoid his or her own feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. Like any addiction, codependency stymies personal growth as the codependent uses it to avoid dealing with emotional pain just as the alcoholic uses alcohol to avoid dealing with emotional pain. Codependents are generally nice individuals who are very stressed from carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are perceptive of others but not at all perceptive of themselves. Therapy with codependents involves teaching self-care skills, and most importantly, convincing them they are not selfish, or in danger, for choosing to take care of themselves. http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/codependency.htm
One’s dignity may be assaulted,
vandalized and cruelly mocked,
but it can never be taken away
unless it is surrendered.
Michael J. Fox
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.