Did you know in countries around the world up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse (The 57th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights 2001)? This works out to about 1 in 3 children affected by sexual abuse.
Fortunately, I never suffered sexual abuse as a boy. I, however, experienced as a result of emotional abuse some of the same feelings and beliefs which plague sexually abused children. Living with an alcoholic father for 18 years I picked up his deep anger and sadness and for most of my life believed it belonged to me. Like some sexually abused children I felt shy, socially awkward, and believed I stood on the lowest rung of the self-esteem ladder.
Effects of Emotional and Sexual Abuse on Your Inner Child
My father neglected me physically and emotionally. He lived in beer parlors much of his life or inside a rye whiskey bottle, most often filled to the brim of the bottle with booze. When my father came home I had no emotional contact with him except for the violence and verbal battles over his drinking between him and my mother. I took on the shame of his drinking and despised having the same last name as him.
With the violation of a child’s body from sexual abuse they feel helpless and with repeated abuses hopelessness may also set in. I felt hopeless and powerless like a victim for much of my life. I also felt isolated and different from other people.
In summation, emotional and sexual abuse have some similar behavioral and emotional affects.You can also see emotional abuse affects children in a damaging way, yet as I will explain sexual abuse has an even deeper traumatic effect.
A violation of a child’s body through sexual penetration shatters their sense of personal boundaries, safety, and the essence of their being. As a result, parts of these children’s soul splinters with each act of aggression. They may dissociate from their bodies i.e. leave their bodies during each act of abuse. Also they may numb themselves to feeling anything.
Multiple acts of sexual abuse, sometimes over periods of years, reinforce the child’s belief of powerlessness, unworthiness, and lovability. This establishes the basis for low self-esteem which continues on into their adult life.
Sexual abuse creates false beliefs. If the child believes the parent loves them and they love the parent, when that same parent abuses them they may believe something to be wrong with them. How can a parent who loves you hurt you? The child may feel different and want to hide the fact of the abuse from others.
With such negative beliefs about their unworthiness these children seek out people who confirm their views about their low self-esteem. Sometimes when these children receive positive compliments they reject it and feel even more worthless. In addition, they may reject the help of therapists when the therapist focuses on the positive.
In summary, when children lack safety, love, and receive constant criticism and abuse by parents they develop low self-esteem. These children as adults have the trauma of the abuse plus low esteem to heal before they can take back their power and love themselves.
In the next article, I will discuss ways of healing your inner child from emotional and sexual abuse. Check the article Self-Esteem: Healing Your Inner Child from Emotional & Sexual Abuse https://www.emotionalhealthtips.com/energy-healing-emotional-abuse
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret from Drama, Trauma, and Pain His book provides ways for improving emotional health, easing pain and stress, healing physical and emotional abuse, and spiritual awakening. See book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Health-Secret-Freedom-Trauma-ebook/dp/B004CLYO00
Michael as a previous Residential and Self-Esteem Coach and Mentor has over 15 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. See eBook Self Esteem- A Teen’s Guide for Girls This book is valuable for women also. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009L4JLMO
Michael offers Bowen Therapy in person in Sedona, Arizona for easing physical and emotional pain. See http://emotionalhealthtips.com/bowen-therapy
Michael also conducts personalized hiking tours in Sedona for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs. https://www.sedonamysticaltours.com/company/michael-david-lawrience/