There are many types of Child Abuse
Emotional Abuse can be hard to spot and is easy to miss the signs.
- humiliating or constantly criticising a child-
When my Mom was in a Domestic Violent Relationship with my ex step father he would constantly tell me I was chubby, too clingy.
- threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names
- making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child
- blaming and scapegoating
My ex -step father would shout at me for wanting to be close to my mom. He would drag me into my bedroom -my mom would stick up for me and she would get the brunt of my tantrums, clinginess, my eating issues.
- making a child perform degrading acts
- not recognising a child’s own individuality or trying to control their lives
- pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations
My ex step father’s idea of teaching me how to swim was to grab hold go me, jump into the swimming pool and stay under the water until I thought I would pas out. He would do this as a joke in front of his friends and laugh at me for being so scared. I was 5 years old
- exposing a child to upsetting events or situations, like domestic abuse or drug taking
My ex step father used to beat my mom up regularly because she dared to challenge him for cheating on her constantly ,for getting a 15 year old pregnant. He was always high and there were always parties going on with strange men and women around. I used to try and defend my mom until I became too afraid. I used to barricade myself in my bedroom. I would wait until he came home from work and hide under the bed.
- failing to promote a child’s social development
- not allowing them to have friends
- persistently ignoring them
I felt like my life was irrelevant. I wasn’t worth anything. I remember having an argument with my mom. She was struggling with her Mental health and the abuse. She came home from work when I was 5/6 years old. I was dressed up in her wedding dress and having fun. She screamed at me to get out her room .She was crying, I didn’t want to be away from her. She locked me out of the room because I started to have a tantrum. I went to the kitchen and got a knife out of the drawer and went to her bedroom door and yelled I was going to stab myself if she didn’t open the door. No reply. I heard her crying. I felt alone and that I couldn’t help her.
- being absent
When I felt helpless and angry. I would act out. I would binge on food, wet the bed conrantly and go and sleep with the dogs in the kitchen. I recall one day feeling so worthless and useless that I couldn’t make my mom better or please my ex step father that I packed a suitcase falloff toys and clothes. I needed to get away. I walked down the driveway (to my child self -it looked like I was walking a long way from home), When I reached the end of the driveway I looked left, right, I looked across the road and I thought to myself: What do I do now? I prayed that a car with two nice people would stop and pick me up and take me away from where I was. That didn’t happen. I had to accept my defeat and I walked back up the drive way angry. No body knew I had disappeared and I didn’t get the attention I wanted.
- manipulating a child
Manipulation can be so subtle. I recall a time when my mom had found out about another affair that my ex stepfather had. He turned up from work with a puppy for me. I was over the moon.
- never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating a child on successes
- never showing any emotions in interactions with a child, also known as emotional neglect.
SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE IN OLDER CHILDREN
- use language you wouldn’t expect them to know for their age
- act in a way or know about things you wouldn’t expect them to know for their age
- struggle to control their emotions
- have extreme outbursts
- seem isolated from their parents
- lack social skills
- have few or no friends.
EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE
- wanting attention or becoming clingy
I never wanted to leave my moms side. I refused to go to school. I would have tantrums and do anything to be heard.
- not caring how they act or what happens to them
I became a child who started walking home from school on my own from 5/6 years old. I remember a group of older boys pushing me about and touching my breasts and vagina.
- trying to make people dislike them
I didn’t feel very likeable or good about myself so I pushed people away from me. I didn’t feel Could trust people and even today I will show people the worst parts of me to protect myself.
- developing risky behaviour, like stealing, bullying or running away.
The first time I stole anything was a 5 rand note from my mom so I could buy myself and people in my class sweets at the tuck shop. My ex step father refused to allow me to eat sweets because I was too ‘chubby’. I ran away from home many times as a teenager to get away from my mom when I was a teenager and my Nan and my Dad who refused to acknowledge me. I didn’t want my family to dictate to me. I didn’t want them to tell me they knew what was best for me. I wanted to escape and drugs and being around strange men seemed like the right answer.
EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS
- feeling, expressing and controlling emotions
- lacking confidence or causing anger problems
- finding it difficult to make and maintain healthy relationships later in life
- higher levels of depression and health problems as adults compared to those who experienced other types of child abuse.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
- mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts
I went on to develop serious mental health issues. I developed social anxiety from a young age. My first suicide attempt was at 12 years old
- eating disorders
I became obsessed with my weight. I couldn’t deal with my weight issues and I started taking diet tablets at the age of 15 years old. I abused cocaine and mandrax and ecstasy -any drug to stop me from thinking about food. I used to demand my mother take me to doctors to prescribe diet pills for me even though I was thin. I had huge problems and I eventually developed Chromic anorexia. I was sectioned twice in the U.K. In 2007 I develop Bradycardia. My BMI was 14. My weight was 39 kilograms. I wanted to die.
I don’t know why I felt the need to cut my legs in my Nan’s kitchen when I was 12/13. I didn’t know how else to express myself. When I lost my virginity to a guy who had left his ex and promised to date me and be with me. The next night his ex, myself and him herein his car and he chose his ex over me. I flipped. I couldn’t deal with the pain, the headache and I cut myself with a bottle neck and became uncontrollable.
- language development
- problems forming healthy relationships.
If you want to help some one who is being abused in all its forms or to help some one who is self harming.
Life is tough at the moment for many of us including myself. I have become very unwell and I’ve been knocking on doors for help from the Community Mental health team who have been unhelpful. Tried to throw myself off a bridge on the 23 September. I have and Eating Disorder and because I have put on weight I stabbed my breast and my thighs.
I have decided that while I’m still living I am going to try and help myself so this what I have done today. I also have a voice and I won’t be ignored.
The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues.
You can download the WRAP app for free -IT explains what how WRAP can help you. You can make your own WRAP plain and email it to yourself.
What it is and https://mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrapapp/
Follow WRAP on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/WRAPYourWellnessYourWay/
An interesting article to read ‘In the worlds ‘Happiest’ countries- the Happiness gap and how it has an effect on your Mental health.
The Nordic countries are meant to be the happiest countries in the world however according to new studies and analysis 12.3 % of the population are still struggling and the article goes in to detail of the the reasons why.
I’ve also started doing the Happify app again. https://www.happify.com/home/
Art helps you recognise your strengths, gives you activies to do help you achieve your goals and it explains the science behind the activities. It has a community forum for support. It gives you daily activities you can do and there are instant games you can play -Guided meditation, Negative Knockout, Acts of kindness. You can keep a track of where you are at and it it activates your Dopamine levels -that are responsible for the reward/pleasure part of your brain & this helps to keep us motivated .
You can find out more about Dopamine at Psychology today https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/basics/dopamine
I’ve also started engaging with the unmasked campaign – it is a leading Suicide prevention charity started in 2019
Unmasked Mental Health provides support to like-minded change seekers in a genuine and personal way. Helping them to feel secure and live life confidently.
Find out more on their website https://unmaskedmentalhealth.co.uk/about-us/
Okay, so if you have been creating your WRAP from week one. YAY! what a journey it has been, hasn’t it? And for those who haven’t you can always CLICK ON THIS LINK and see how you too can start your very own Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).
Here is a clip describing a bit of week 10 When things are breaking down
Week 10 -down. WOW! two weeks and my three-month’ gift’ is coming to an end. I will save my personal thoughts and other group members thoughts on WRAP in week 12. I just want to point out that I did not think I would get much out of this but I can promise you I have learned so much about myself, how I tick, what helps me, what doesn’t help me and loads of empowering self-help techniques. WRAP is free. It was given to me as a ‘gift’ and I give it to you as a ‘gift’. No extras. No-fuss!
This weeks session focused on when you have ignored or not seen the trigger or Early warning signs and you can feel yourself slipping into meltdown, the plan to get that job is not going as it should, there have been delays in moving to where you are moving too. Your relationship is at breaking point, you can find no relief for your chronic pain if you have MS or Cancer even, but there is still a chance that you can pull yourself back and re-own your yourself.
Here is my breakdown list of signs and symptoms I feel when I start to feel like everything has turned to jelly. The stability is just that little bit further out of reach. My list is very focused on Eating disorders because this is where my mind is at but I am fighting to regain my control. It is my responsibility to stay well. I can do this with WRAP.
WHEN THINGS ARE BREAKING DOWN
- weigh myself obsessively
- take more photographs of myself to compare them to what I think I see in the mirror
- My perception of my body is split and fractured. I am unable to focus on my body as a whole entity
- Panic attacks
- Don’t want to or I am feel unable to communicate
- Seriously thinking or actively starting to cut down on fluids and food intake
- I refuse to try on clothes that I didn’t wear when I was at a body weight I deemed acceptable
- I will push myself to go 24 hours 7 until I collapse
- I don’t want to g out
- I want to or stop taking my medication to get my Bipolar highs
- withhold love and affection -I don’t feel worthy of the two.
- Lose my sense of humour
- all seems doom and gloom
- feel that everyone hates me or has a problem with me
- Using degrading language on myself eg. I’m fat, I’m stupid. -all un helpful thoughts and mantras
- I feel I am an empty vessel -no personality a loss of identity
- I’m selfish and refuse or can’t look at the world around me and what is happening outside of my illness
- I think about escaping- or over dosing on my prescription medication or act on it
- Short tempered
- Angry at myself
- It becomes harder to look after myself. It becomes harder to look after my daughter
- Sleep for days at a time or not sleep for days at a time
- buy exercise energy enhanced pills on line
- over exercise for over three hours with no breaks
- Indecisive- small choices are hard to make
- feel disconnected to reality. I can reinforce this buy not wearing my glasses or contact lenses.
- Spend less time with my daughter. I don’t want her to pick up on my emotions and for her to see me in a ‘weak’ role
That is my list. It is a tough list to do but if you are thorough and honest with yourself then we can take all these symptoms and experiences and start an Action Plan. All is not lost but it feels pretty close to lost.
You need to start brainstorming what you can or will try to do to get you back on an even keel.
Create an Action plan
call my C.P.N. or my psychiatrist
Speak to someone I can trust- use my circle of protection. I have a select group of people I have entrusted into my personal space to help me when I I feel like things are breaking down
I can look at my maintenance tools from week two and three and try see if I can reign things in a bit
look at the different uniqueness I have learned eg. the art of moment therapy, mindfulness, take my thoughts to caught, wise mind
( you can always add more to your list as and when something you think will help you stay away from completely breaking down.
That’s it for this week.
Be kind to yourself .Give yourself an affirmation to say for the week, do something for you.