What is Child Abuse and How Does it Affect Us Long Term?

Child Abuse occurs all the time, but it is hidden behind closed doors and not spoken about unless a young child dies. It is the most hidden of mental illness. Half the criminal population in jails today or alcoholics and drug addicts on the streets today are products of child abuse. Some forms of child abuse are physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and, as Mackenzie Phillips has written about in her book, Incest.

As a child growing up with a disability, everyday of my childhood I was hit for some reason by my father. At 12 years of age I remember being sent to school crying and upset–just because I had to be there when the doors opened. A friend asked me who hit me–she wanted to beat them up for hurting me. My answer was — my father. Back then it was looked at as a harsh form of discipline, today when this occurs a social worker is sent to the home to find out what is going on and DFAC’s gets involved with the family. Because there are not enough case workers often children fall through the cracks and eventually end up seriously injured or dead. If they survive they become abusers themselves or they turn to drug and alcohol to cope.

I was a child growing up in the ’50’s and ’60’s. The ’50’s was a very conservative era so children with disabilities were hidden away and child abuse was never talked about. Then in the ’60’s you had the Vietnam war. Many of the boys who fought in this war came back drug addicts. They were also the original dealers of drugs. This was when the young started becoming more liberal in their thinking and more active in politics. It was the Kennedy era. Clinton, Bush, and Obama are products of this era. Taking drugs was accepted so no one thought anything of it. It was commonly used by entertainers and hippies of this era. Many of them were runaways from home because of abuse and turned to drugs while on the streets.

Only after the Manson followers killings did law enforcement get involved and the attitudes about drug abuse started to change. In the Mental Health field training for counseling and therapy in hospitals is for drug and alcohol abuse. Today, we know more about why people turn to drugs and alcohol so we talk more about child abuse. But Incest is still the taboo subject. I have a friend that’s a social worker in the school system. Even she says many of the problem students in the schools today are Incest victims.

Only when victims of child abuse open up and talk about their experience can they get beyond the psychological damage and form good relationships both personally and professionally. I talk about communication and its importance in your profession. I often say these skills are learned in the home around the dinner table. When there is emotional and verbal abuse a child who is normally introverted will build fears around speaking out and opening up–eventually to turn to drugs and alcohol because that helps take away inhibitions. Eventually this becomes a crutch that they depend on to open up and express their feeling. That is why in therapy there are many layers to get through before you get to the real truth of their problems.

Depending on your natural behavior patterns you deal with child abuse differently. There have been movies made about multiple personalities–which is often a result of early childhood traumas such as sexual abuse or Incest. Until society understands there is an epidemic around child abuse and the Mental Health field publishes more articles around this subject it will continue to be a taboo subject and we will never be able to control the homelessness of mental health patients who forget to get treatment or take their medication.

People with disabilities will continue to be abused by the system until they begin to demand their rights in employment. In a way, victims of child abuse who seek help for drug and alcohol abuse, can be considered disabled and seek assistance for employment easier than people who were born with disabilities.

For years many of these topics were hidden away and not spoken about. Recently you’ve seen celebrities publish books and openly admit to incest and sexual abuse in the news. What has happened as a result are that many people went through these experiences themselves are now talking about this issue and this has brought this to the forefront. When you face up to and deal with issues that you have hidden away behind closed doors that you can get to the real problems face them and get beyond them to live a full product life knowing you will no longer have to turn to the drugs and alcohol and can have a full productive life in both your personal and professional lives knowing you will not have to worry about falling off the wagon or returning to the addictive behaviors of drug and alcohol abuse.

Our brain controls our thinking but happiness comes from within us. If we learn to dislike ourselves then we sabotage our success; if we love and respect ourselves then we believe we can succeed then we will try every avenue possible to succeed without giving up until we reach our goals. You have to decide for yourself whether you will seek the help to overcome your demons or whether you will give up and stay where you are.

For me, Success is My Only Option! For you, What are your Option?