The experience of childhood abuse is far reaching. The United States is ranked as one of the leading industrialized nations for childhood abuse with nearly 700,000 children having reported abuse each year. Abuse can occur in many forms including physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and neglect. Those who experience childhood abuse are prone to major depression, anxiety disorders, identity issues, dissociative disorders, low self-esteem, eating disorders, hoarding, and many other mental health concerns.
When a child is abused they are in a powerless situation. This experience of powerlessness transcends the mind and body becoming a damning struggle for the rest of their life if proper help is not sought for trauma recovery. As humans we are, by our very nature, powerful beings. In Genesis we had power and dominion over all the creatures of the earth; that’s an incredible notion that humans are powerful to that capacity. When God created the human He deemed it very good marking it better than all other creations; the power of being made in the most powerful God’s image needs no mention, it’s evident through our strong wills, determination, and natural fight for survival. But this power is not always demonstrated for the glory of God. Sometimes this power is used to hurt other people.
When abuse to a child occurs the adult is the clear source of power dominating a child who has clear lesser power. The abuse renders a child powerless. As an adult this inner powerless-abused-child often remains a threat to the adult’s ability to thrive. They may dabble with sexual promiscuity or struggle to maintain higher positions at work. These adults may find themselves dieting or obsessively cleaning their environment or the opposite which is hoarding. This all goes back to the powerless inner child wrestling with the adult’s natural need and desire to be powerful and in control. Through abnormal or unhealthy behaviors this inner child (inside the adult) fights to be in control of life and environment but does not have the maturity to accomplish this healthily or successfully. Here in lies another result of childhood abuse on the adult self: mental and emotional age regression.
If you’re an adult who experienced childhood abuse I want you to stop for one minute and think about the last time you found yourself fighting for power or control over a situation. How old did you feel in that moment? Notice your body and its response. Are you sitting childlike? Do you feel your physical stature shrink? Most likely you are feeling significantly younger than your chronological age mentally, emotionally and physically. Here is the lifelong war that childhood abuse wages in the minds and bodies of abuse survivors. THE FIGHT FOR POWER AND CONTROL.
As children and teenagers this inner war waged is often masked as the abused person is surrounded by other people with similar mental and emotional capabilities. Many years later the aftermath begins to truly show as the abuse victim feels they are witnessing everyone around them succeed. The abuse victim begins questioning themselves with guilt and shame statements
What is wrong with you?
Can’t you just get your life together?
Snap out of it and get over the depression!
Abuse victims tend to isolate as the adult self feels different from their adult counterparts. Isolation only fuels the mental health fire exacerbating the ill effects of the abuse.
THERE IS HELP & HOPE & HEALING AVAILABLE!
Trauma does not cure itself. Time does not diminish the effects. Your story matters and your struggle is chronic war being waged. THIS IS REAL LIFE. THIS IS A NORMAL RESPONSE TO AN ABNORMAL CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE. I encourage you to find a trauma therapist for yourself. There are proven ways to help your wounded inner child, to overcome mental health struggles, and to thrive in life. FIND YOUR INNER JOY. YOU WERE CREATED FOR JOY!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
My goal as I counsel complex trauma is for the God whom you were created in the image of; the power of the Holy Spirit would transcend, renew, and restore your original creation and intent that evil attempted to steal, kill, and destroy.
ADDITIONAL BLOGS BY ALLISON ON CHILDHOOD ABUSE:
CHILD ABUSE RESOURCES:
Child Abuse and Neglect
Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect