In answer to the question, “What are the short term and long term effects of child abuse and what can the concerned do about it?” I have very much to say.
Let me tell you a short story of a little girl growing up being emotionally abused by her mother and sexually abused by her father. When she was 4 lots of things changed. Her father returned from 3 years in the Army. He left when she was 9 months old and returned when she was turning 4. He returned with a big stuffed panda and stuffed French poodle for her. Then he began to be inappropriate with her little self. And finally, around the very same time, her mother started screaming at her and calling her names and scaring the wits out of her on a frequent unpredictable basis.
How do I know about this little girl? I know because she was me. The short-term effects included becoming very docile and losing touch with my creative side. I did pretty well in school because I didn’t have my mother there and she didn’t really care if I did well or not but I began to lose my creativity in writing and art.
I also became very unsure of myself in social situations. I was afraid of a lot of physical activities. I married someone who I didn’t even like because I was afraid no one would want me; my self-esteem was in the basement. I developed an eating disorder. I had jobs way below my apparent capacity. Eventually, I created major disease because the biochemical environment from my freaky emotions caused major distress in my body. Bottom line, my early abuse has led to lifelong issues.
I was a child in a time when people didn’t tell and certainly didn’t tell on each other. I often wondered if anyone knew what was going on only to recently reconnect with a childhood friend who told me “her parents were worried about me”. I thank them for caring but no one did anything about it.
Today there are agencies that can be contacted – even contacted anonymously so that there is more protection for kids. If you suspect or know that abuse is happening to any children you know, be brave for them because they cannot be and report it. Happily, you will have been wrong and everything is ok for them. But if there truly is something very wrong, there is a good chance the kids will get help.
If you are wondering what to do about any abuse you received as a child or even as an adult, I strongly recommend you get help from a therapist, support group or life coach knowledgeable in those areas. You can improve your life dramatically with the right help. And you are worth it!
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