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Archive for November 30th, 2007

Child in field (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Emotional abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. An abuser might tell a child that he is worthless or say other things that cause the child to feel badly about himself. An abuser might threaten to harm someone that the child loves or, worse, actually harm, or even kill, someone the child loves, such as a beloved pet. Even though the abuser is not laying a hand on the child, he is inflicting significant emotional abuse.

One of the most disturbing stories I have heard about emotional abuse involved a man who would abuse the sibling as “punishment” for perceived misbehaviors by the child. One time, as the abuser was “punishing” the child, his beating went too far, and the child watched his brother be literally beaten to death. As an adult, the abuse survivor had to work through years of therapy to heal from the damage inflicted by this incident. Even though his abuser did not lay a hand on him, watching his brother die for his own supposed misbehavior was severely traumatizing to the child.

Emotional abuse is also a part of any other form of abuse. Even after physical wounds heal, the emotional damage from being beaten persists. Sexual abuse inflicts emotional damage as well. Whenever a child is abused, he experiences many powerful emotions that are not safe to express. Those emotions continue to plague the child long after the abuse ends until the adult abuse survivor focuses on healing from his past.

If you were “only emotionally abused,” you suffered much more than any child should ever suffer. It was not okay for another person to damage your soul through words or by torturing you in ways that left no marks on your body. You deserve to heal just as much as any other abuse survivor.

Related Topic:

Emotional Child Abuse: The Wounded Spirit

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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