"The ability to regulate emotions and become emotionally attuned with another depends on early experiences and the development of specific regions of the brain."
~ Child Abuse and Neglect:
Effects on Child Development, Brain Development,
Psychopathology, and Interpersonal Relationships
~ Author: Arthur Becker-Weidman, Ph.D
The Many Faces of Abuse
Examination of the effects of childhood abuse, implies that whether or not the parent's abusive behavior comes from a need for control, being jealous of the child, or a history of like-abusive behavior in the perpetrator's life, the result is an unjust destructive, re-shaping of the innocent "self" of the powerless child into the child's now - programmed perception - he has no value (no worth).
The maltreatment has taught the child to believe that he must be to blame for such abuse -- and not the perpetrator -- the child believes that if his father (or mother) is hitting him -- or verbally shredding him -- he must "deserve" it).
If the child is bright and at some point in his growth, attempts to re-claim his value, he may "act-out" in his attempt to prove his self-worth.
When his "acting-out" brings harsh retribution instead of recognition of his right to dignified treatment by those who hold power over him, the resulting sense of greater powerlessness may cause a change of strategy which provides self-empowerment through acts of cunning vengeance against those who attempt to deny his "self-worth."
The unwillingness of either parent to stop the abuse of a child, is not a lesser abusive behavior toward the child. It is an active participation in the physical - emotional - psychological destruction of the powerless child (regardless of the self-justification of the parent who avoids protecting the child from abuse).
It is self-evident, that no child is born a brat. No child is born an asshole. No child is born carrying self-hatred toward himself. Such definitions regarding the "self" of the child can only be caused and reinforced over and over by the abusive primary power-broker(s) in the child's life.
When a child is growing within a non-secure personal environment, never knowing when a physical, verbal, sexual abuse, harmful neglect or collaborative attack will erupt in his life (i.e., family members may "gang up" on the now slandered child) - he is left with no protective resources except himself. His only defense becomes "self-defense."
If his father has been the active abuser, what recourse does he have, but to become sensitive to his own feelings of inadequacy in providing self-protection. Thus, consequentially, he may become a loner, extremely careful in selecting his male friendships.
If his Mother has been the active abuser, what would allow him to define a woman outside the experience she had forced him to live within?
The implications to his childhood with his mother is that there is little in his early experience (with her) that would allow him to see a woman any differently than he saw his mother (the early hurtful experience implies that he would keep a wary eye on the behavior of any woman he was longing to love… vigilantly ready to flee or punish her for an offending act[s]... within his need for careful self-protection within his now-adult activated self-empowerment).
If his mother were too critical, dismissive, hard to please, withheld praise that was due, rarely allowed comforting touch, emotionally absent, or with his siblings ganged-up against him, most often taking the side of his sibling(s), what would allow this child grown into a man, to define a woman within a different perspective of his childhood experience?
If his mother had abandoned him to the abuser, he has little evidence that he will not be abandoned by the women he will long to love.
"Self-protection" is his only security. It is "self-protection" that has allowed him a level of re-claimed "self-worth"
The implications to childhood abuse, is that "trust" within his later relationships is a word he may know the definition of intellectually, but has little ability to experience within a contented security.
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Can A Broken Childhood "Self" Learn To
"Trust" Within" Adult Relationship?