Psychological Effects of Child Abuse
The psychological effects of child abuse can be defined as the interrelation between the victim’s abuse-driven behaviors and the thought processes that compel them.
Behaviors vary depending on the type of abuse.
A physically abused child would be more prone to violent outbursts than one who was neglected, but violence is far from mutually exclusive to the physically abused. Alternately, a physically abused child might find the nature of his abuse so deplorable that he avoids violence to the point of timidity. A child who has been sexually abused will likely have more trouble with intimate relationships than will the physically abused child, although the possibility is far from non-existent.
Other effects of child abuse include speech problems, eating disorders, substance abuse, inability to adapt to new or different circumstances, bad dreams, bed wetting and sexual dysfunction. I could fill the page with unpleasant and undesirable behaviors but we must realize that those behaviors are merely outward manifestations of deep-seated emotional problems. And it is in the recesses of the victim’s psyche that the reasons for the behaviors, and their eventual elimination, will be found.
All forms of abuse contain an element of emotional abuse; the end result of all that emotional bloodshed is lowered self esteem.
Another common effect of child abuse is guilt. Perhaps more than low self esteem, this feeling of having done something very wrong defined the psychological makeup of Rudy Krause. These two mindsets (guilt and low self esteem) become the lens through which the victim sees his world, defines his reality and acts accordingly. In other words, low self esteem, often accompanied by guilt, are the generators of the thoughts that compel abuse-driven behaviors. It follows then that reversing the harmful psychological effects requires alleviating/eliminating guilt and elevating the victim’s self image.
We will look at methods for accomplishing both of these tasks in Part II of “Psychological Effects of Child Abuse.”
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