There’s a really cute picture of me when I am five. Recently, someone looked at it and said that my smile looked fake and my eyes looked sad. I have looked at that picture many times since then and it has brought back a lot of memories. I was abused in a lot of ways, but emotional abuse is always at the core. I wish I could have helped restore that girl’s trust, but it was broken so many times.
Evident Warning Signs of an Emotionally Abused Child What to Look for when You Feel a Child is Being Abused, Emotionally
by Viktorya Hale
The silent abuse… There are no physical bruises or scars. The pain is hidden deep into the heart and soul, where no one can see. Emotional abuse can only be felt. When we have love for people, especially children, we automatically want to help heal any pain. I am blessed with one thing, for sure. That is the ability to see pain through the eyes of the hurting.
I wanted to share some signs that you could look for if you suspect that a child is being emotionally abused. Just so you know, I am a counselor in training. I am working towards a Bachelors in Psychology, but I am no counselor as of yet. What I share are my own experiences and observations.
The first thing that an emotionally abused child has lost is trust. What happens is as a baby, a child learns to trust their care takers. They have no choice, because they are born to be nurtured therefore they need to have trust. Over a period of time when a child is being torn down emotionally, they begin losing trust. When this happens, they bottle up and become distant. You may find that an emotionally abused child is distant and not very trusting of you. They won’t easily talk to you or they will put up a guard in efforts to “protect” them self. Until that trust is built back up (by you) they will never trust you, even if you have done nothing to abuse that trust. They had it once and lost it… it is up to us to find it again.
An emotionally abused child is bitter and cold. If they aren’t sad, they are snippy. An emotionally abused child may have constant mood swings from sadness to anger. They won’t show emotion for others who may be sad or hurting. For example, if another child gets hurt, they won’t show emotion or care towards them. It’s as if they have completely shut down their emotions to those around them.
Emotional abuse is the core for all abuse. There are many things that are involved in emotional abuse. Some examples are inconsistent tendencies, cruel behaviors towards others, being ignored or rejected. A lot of times these may come across as insignificant behaviors, but these are signs of an emotionally abusive situation.
A child needs constant nurturing in order for them to strive. It is an essential part of their development. They need it to build confidence and esteem. If they are ignored or rejected, they are being deprived of a necessity and therefore being abused. This is all too prevalent in today’s society.
There is a sad reality in how an emotionally abused child is cared for in today’s world. The simple fact is that they are not. Unfortunately, a child who isn’t physically abused cannot find help through intervention, like CPS. Often times the children are left in this living environment and they grow up, suffering from emotional neglect and abuse.
We can be a light for them by gaining their trust, listening to them and making them feel like they are worthy. It make take time, but sometimes we are their only hope. Look for the sad and lonely or stand-offish child. Most likely they are being emotionally abused or neglected. Sometimes it just takes a hug or smile to make their day.
I see it right in my own neighborhood that there are children who are constantly neglected by their parents. They are brought down to feel low, they are cursed at and always rejected. The cycle continues and parents don’t realize that they need to be the one to break that cycle. We cannot take our own hurts and pain and pass them down to our children.
Emotional abuse hurts deep within, causes pain, bitterness, strife and is detrimental to our children who should be loved and nurtured on a day to day basis. Let’s do our part and love a child who may be hurting today.