Discussing The Effects Of Psychological Abuse In Children

By Carli Absalom

For this essay, I will be using self experiences and research on other people's stories online to find out the short term and long term effects of psychological abuse. Psychological abuse is also know as emotional and mental abuse, it means when someone is treating a person badly with words or certain behaviour that can lead psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are many places this can happen, including home and work place, between adults only or adults to children and others. The type I am going to concentrate mostly on is: Emotional Abuse Between Adults And Children In The Home.

'Emotional abuse can be the most difficult to identify because there are usually no outward signs of the abuse. Emotional abuse happens when yelling and anger go too far or when parents constantly criticize, threaten, or dismiss kids or teens until their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are damaged. Emotional abuse can hurt and cause damage just as physical abuse does.'

(http :/ /kids health . Org / teen / your_mind / families /family_abuse .html)

The quotation above is a definition of Emotional Abuse. Emotional Abuse comes in many forms and happens between many types of people, still in the adult-child category. For example there can be abuse between mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, fathers and sons, stepmothers and stepdaughters- and the list goes on. This is mostly known as Child Abuse, which is exactly what I'm going to look at, emotional abuse to children through adult family members.

This type of abuse has its effects and some of them can be very serious. The most known effects are high-risk health behaviours and shortened lifespan and the effects mentioned at the end of the first paragraph.

Statistically, those who are abused during childhood are more likely to develop depression during adulthood than others. They can also end up with other mental behaviour problems and social problems.

An example from a site called 'Experience Project'. It's a true story submitted by one of the members, and they suffer from emotional problems as a consequence of emotional abuse from their childhood. It was a young girl, who was abused by her mother. The whole extract does include physical abuse, as emotional and physical both happen a lot of the time, but I will only concentrate on the emotional abuse.

Many households have arguments between adults, when parents argue then it upsets children, and in a desired situation, they would try and keep the children out of the arguments and not take the anger out on them. However, this is not the case for this girl.

'She held nightly screaming matches with my father, threw pans and dishes at him, etc. Because he didn't change, she took it out on me.'

The mother took it out on her daughter, which is the start of this emotional abuse, including the following,

'Nothing I ever did was right. If I put a glass of water on a table and she'd accidentally knock it down, it would be my fault.'

Getting picked on for every little fault, it something I suffer from also, and know how it feels. It is frustrating, to try your best and think about everything you do to work out the best way to tackle a situation, but to be told that you were wrong afterwards. Fair enough, the preferred situation would be to move on and do it the correct way next time. You do just that, however, that was wrong too, even though you're doing what the parent/stepparent said to do. Truly frustrating. If a child constantly suffers from this, then they must be going through a lot of stress.

It can also be a difficult time when there is a new addition to the family, however happy too. Despite that, it was not for this little girl.

'When my sister was born, she lavished attention and love on her. If she did anything wrong, I would be punished.'

I too know how that feels, being the oldest chid in the house, I have experienced this four times, but not to such extent as this. It is also frustrating when a menacing little child does something bad and you are blamed for it. For this mother to punish the oldest child for something the youngest did, is wrong. It was the same as the glass on the table incident, making her feel that everything was her fault, the poor girl must have felt unwanted.

Not much outcome was explained from these incidents, not much is know about how she is coping now that she is an adult, all we know is that,

'I did badly in school, I got into fights, my grades were always abysmal.'

As a result of this abuse, the girl always got bad grades in school, and into fights. She possibly failed her exams and got hurt in those fights. This is proof that abuse similar to what she was suffering, does cause a change in behaviour. Because of the bad grades, this girl could be struggling with a simple job and just about paying her bills, maybe even being threatened to have her property repossessed. Realistically, if she could upload this story onto the web, she probably had a computer to do so. But in the worse case scenario, she would be a failure, due to her mothers abusive nature.

(http: / www. experience project. com/ stories/ Was-Emotionally-Abused-As-A-Child/1486739)

The next story is about another girl, who when she was young, didn't know her father but one day he came and find her and got legal custody of her. All seems well, until she notices, he has a new wife.

'…worse still Dad had remarried! What followed were four of the most HELLISH years of my life. My Father's Wife at the time went to work on me right away saying terrible things about my Mother.'

This woman, a step parent, caused this girl pure grief. She refers to her childhood as 'Hellish' because of the grief she went through. To have horrible things said about family members can feel worse than having something bad said about yourself for some. Her father's wife had no right to say such horrible things about her mother also, it was probably just to spite the child, I'd believe that because of the quote below;

'I was also physically abused, mentally, emotionally as well by the Wicked Step mom, her niece, nephews, and the Step mom's own Mother!'

So, this was no accident, the whole family ganged up on this little girl. I find this malicious and disgusting. At least for me, the suffering my step dad causes me, is discouraged by his family. This outrageous behaviour from all of these family members was completely unacceptable, and led to many consequences for the girl;

'I stole things, got into fights and I'm a female so I LOST all the fights that I ever got into but I didn't seem to care I was angry all the time and I developed a problem with anger.'

Yet again, the abuse led to a change in behaviour, she got into fights, lost them which meant she could be left with scars from the wounds caused in the fights. She formed a serious anger problems because of the emotional abuse from many people. It came with even worse consequences and many of them;

'Because of all this, I'm now on anti depressants…'

This is what I thought would happen, and it's no surprise that it has. To be given these prescription drugs, she must have chronic depression, a terrible result of the abuse as a child but that is not all;

'I have been in & out of the psych ward a few times…'

She may have ended up with other serious psychological effects and metal disorders, to land her in that Psychiatric Hospital. She also 'attempted suicide…', she tried to take her own life. This shows that the trauma that she went through, caused her to try to end her life.

These stories just two of hundreds and possibly thousands of stories online show that emotional abuse at a young age can lead to having a very bad mental health problem later in life. Mental health can be just as serious as a physical illness, so its like the parents and step parents are condemning these children with an illness like cancer! Maybe not as bad as that though, but the extreme cases where a victim ends up on anti depressants and ending up in a mental hospital, it's easy now to see the similarities. They're being given medication and in special care to cure them of the illness, just like if they got an illness.

The problem is, some parents don't realise what they are doing. They may think that one or two spiteful comments every now and then will teach their child to be good but intend to teach them right and that it won't do damage. But they are wrong, it's common for a parent to lose it one or twice, it's only human to do so, but when it ends up being deliberate and its constant, that's when it needs to stop. I think there should be more informative adverts on TV, in magazines and in other media to educate and inform parents on just what is going too far and what's not.

If this isn't done, then many children may end up with the many mental disabilities and illnesses as adults and maybe at younger ages too because what happens as a child widely effects who you turn out to be, and your mental health, as an adult.