You’re a Victim of Emotional Abuse. How Do You Fortify Your Reputation With Your Children?
I lay the foundations for good mental health down in the emotional development that occurs in infancy and later childhood and appear to depend on the quality and frequency of response to an infant or child from a parent or primary caregiver.
The parental response to the infant's emotions or expressive behaviors usually results in the formation of an attachment bond between the two.
This bond develops in the early months and years of life and is closely linked to the behavioral response of the parent and the ongoing cycle of parent-child interaction.
In infants, in particular, survival depends to some extent on having access to such an attachment figure, usually a parent and most commonly the mother.
Such attachment experiences have a profound influence on the development of other interpersonal relationships that form in later childhood or adult life and have implications for how adults subsequently relate to their own children.
Where a child experiences a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with her or his mother or other caregivers, that child would thrive.
If there is an unresponsive parent, or one who responds inappropriately to a child's needs, would increase the likelihood of the child becoming anxious and insecure in its attachment.
If You’re a Victim of Emotional Abuse. How Do You Fortify Your Reputation With Your Children?
Hiding the bruises with long-sleeved shirts and avoiding questions from nosy family members becomes second nature. You've gotten good at this by now.
But it's not just the physical abuse that takes its toll; it's the mental and emotional abuse, too. The constant put-downs, the name-calling, the manipulation—it all adds up.
And while you might not have any visible scars, make no mistake: you are a victim of abuse.
Your spouse or partner has subtly degraded and sullied your reputation. Indeed, for the sake of the children, you have been covering for the abuser.
Not wanting to appear vindictive or defensive, you continuously, silently, and purposely absorbed the abuse.
Carefully refrain from casting the abuser in a poor light, from the children’s perspective, you have suffered no abuse.
Ironically, the abuser’s reputation in the eyes of the children is stellar. Even though people might suspect what's going on behind closed doors, they'll never really know--because you're good at hiding it.
You've had to be. Because if only it was that easy for a victim of emotional abuse to just walk away. If only.
Leaving a relationship is never easy, but when children are involved, it can be especially difficult. You want to make sure that you are doing what is best for them, but you don't want to cause them any unnecessary pain.
In an emotionally abusive relationship, you may have inadvertently helped to paint a picture of the abuser as a wonderful person. When you eventually leave, the children may have difficulty understanding why.
It is important to plan your departure carefully so that the transition is as smooth as possible for everyone involved. With a little planning and forethought, you can help your children to understand and cope with the changes in their lives.
Telling children about difficult circumstances is always a challenging task for any parent. Whether we are talking about bad news, abuse, or other unfortunate events, breaking the news to our children is never a simple task.
And while many parents opt to be direct and honest in these situations, it can sometimes be important to "bend the truth" a little in order to protect our children and avoid adding further anxiety and stress to an already tense situation.
Whether we are speaking with young kids or older teens, it is essential that we choose our words carefully when telling them about hard realities. This means that we need to strike a careful balance between being completely open and honest with them and maintaining some level of privacy and discretion.
After all, we don't want to overwhelm our kids with unnecessary details if they don't need to know those details. However, we cannot simply sugar-coat everything or lie to them outright. That will only leave them confused and suspicious in the long run.
In short, telling children bad news is a challenging but ultimately rewarding process that takes careful consideration and thoughtfulness on the part of parents. And by using wisdom and empathy in these situations, parents can help their kids navigate.
When it comes to emotional abuse in relationships, it is crucial to seek the advice of a professional who has experience dealing with such issues.
This is especially true when there are children involved, as they can be affected by these emotional struggles and need support and guidance from someone outside of their family.
One effective way to approach this issue with your children is to try to talk with them at the same time. Though they may interpret your words differently, it is important that they hear the same information and see the same body language and facial expressions.
This allows them to better understand what you are trying to convey and also gives them a chance to ask questions or voice any concerns that they might have.
Ultimately, meeting with your children in this way is not only about imparting information, but helping them feel supported in their emotions. By listening carefully to what they have to say and providing them with guidance, you can help them navigate this difficult situation as effectively as possible.
Expect and accept that your children may be confused and resentful. Previously, you tolerated the abuse. After you leave, you make a tradeoff–tolerating the abuse for tolerating your children’s confusion and resentment towards you.
The abuse took place in the marriage that I stayed in. I thought at the time I was you, sacrificing my own well-being for theirs. I had to learn and understand my children were the same.
As a victim of emotional abuse, you understand the power of emotions and must provide emotional support to your children and to yourself. You can achieve this by validating the children’s feelings and by having realistic expectations of them. The expression “time heals all wounds” is true only when we use the time to actively promote healing.
Facing adversity is never fun, but with inner strength and help from others, you can find your way through it. As Winston Churchill said: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”