Sat. Jul 13th, 2024



Relationships are like physical magnets. That is why you find that most people who enter into a relationship are alike. This also applies to children who have been abused during their childhood. They somehow attract other adults who have had similar experience.

However, very few of these relationships tend to be stable. People who have had a traumatic childhood need more mature partners. They don’t need partners who are emotionally and mentally scarred. Unfortunately, as the Law of Attraction states, they continue to attract partners who are like them.

Kinds of child abuse
However, before examining relationships between adults who have had a traumatic childhood it is important to understand the different kinds of child abuse. Psychologists recognize four clear acts of abuse. These are:

1. Physical abuse: This happens when children are repeatedly beaten by hands, fists, sticks etc for small misdemeanors. Physical abuse may leave permanent scars, both physical and emotional.
2. Sexual acts: This happens when children are forced to touch private parts or are made to commit unnatural acts. Most children end up getting confused, and feeling dirty and unhealthy.
3. Emotional abuse: In this case the child is deprived love, affection or acceptance within the family. Instead the child may is constantly shouted at, criticized, ridiculed and verbally abused.
4. Neglect: This happens when a child is deprived of proper food, warmth, shelter, clothing etc. The child then hungers for material and emotional comforts and may grow up to have an unhealthy affinity for physical needs.

The unfortunate thing is that most acts of child abuse are either committed by parents, elder brothers, sisters, stepfathers, stepmothers, babysitters or by people who form the immediate family. In very rare cases a child will suffer at the hands of an outsider.

The result is that the child does not grow up into a healthy individual. Deep within this individual is a child who feels threatened and abused all the time. The individual is like a split personality, normal on the surface but irrational inside.

The behavior of these individuals also tends to be unpredictable. They will behave normally most of the time. But there will be times when they may turn violent, abusive, and aggressive. They are unable to relate with any individual for long periods of time. Even when they enter into a relationship they enter hesitantly. They are always worried of getting into one more unhappy relationship.

If possible, they would like to find someone who can give them solace; erase their painful memories, and make them live normally. But where can they find such partners? Their subconscious mind keeps telling them to be on guard; and not to enter into another bruising relationship. That is why most of their relationships are brief and unnatural.

Children of divorced families
We should also not forget children whose parents break up during their growing years. These children may not suffer from any direct abuse but emotionally they are shattered. The effect is especially noticeable among those children who have seen their parents inflict physical and emotional wounds upon each other. Such children tend to slip into depression, become unnaturally quiet and withdrawn or turn into bullies.

They too, when they become adults, get attracted to men and women who come from divorced families. Many of them would not like their partners to go through the same private hell as their parents did. But the insecurity of the past does not leave them untouched. Many of them end up going through similar motions, sooner than later.

Can counseling help
The experience is especially nightmarish for those individuals who happen to have suffered similar abuse during childhood. They may be initially attracted to each other when they first share their experiences. They may get a feeling that they have finally found someone who can relate to them. But this euphoria is short-lived. It is not long before they start getting into each other’s way, and start blaming each other for their troubles. The anger and hurt may even be passed onto unsuspecting children. It is like a vicious cycle, a story of pain without end.

What is needed is mature counseling, and the willingness to change. The counseling is especially helpful in those cases where both the partners seek it together. They then find one more reason to hold onto each other. Otherwise, victims of child abuse, who did not get proper counseling when they were children, continue to live like the proverbial bull in the china shop hurting themselves and everyone around them.



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