Impact of child abuse

child abuse

The USA Surgeon General states under the category of mental health:

… severe and repeated trauma during youth may have enduring effects upon both neurobiological and psychological development altering stress responsivity and altering adult behaviour patterns … these individuals experience a greatly increased risk of mood, anxiety and personality disorders throughout adult life.

When humans are young, their world revolves around their parents or primary care-givers. Parents or care-givers are the primary source of safety, security, love, understanding, nurturance and support. Child abuse violates the trust at the core of a child’s relationship with the world (Walker, 1994). When the primary relationship is one of betrayal, a negative schema or set of beliefs develops. This negative core schema often affects an individual’s capacity to establish and sustain significant attachments throughout life. Survivors often experience conflictual relationships and chaotic lifestyles, frequently report difficulties forming adult intimate attachments and display behaviours that threaten and disrupt close relationships (Henderson, 2006).

Many survivors’ lives are characterized by frequent crises e.g. job disappointments, relocations, failed relationships, financial setbacks. Many are the result of unresolved childhood abuse issues. The reasons are complex, but for many survivors ongoing internal chaos prevents the establishment of regularity, predictability and consistency. Many survivors function in ‘crisis mode’, responding with stopgap measures which don’t resolve the underlying issues. This can be exhausting and dispiriting and  contribute to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness (The Morris Center, 1995). Continue reading “Impact of child abuse”