Love is Progressive Part 6: A Parent's Love Shouldn't Hurt
Imagine a world in which children were universally respected and given conditions of safety, protection, acceptance, understanding and empathy from their caretakers. And imagine that every child experiences a sense of unconditional love, but with guidance, modeling and feedback on who this special child is, and what the child has done properly or not-so-properly. Imagine how much better our world would be if this were the case. Imagine how the children of the world would no longer grow up with such feelings of self-doubt, depression and anxiety, or have difficulty forming and maintaining emotionally healthy relationships. In fact, childhood abuse and lack of a nurturing environment while growing up, not only results in sad, anxious people prone to self-destructive behavior, but results in violence toward others in many cases. Being victimized by childhood abuse and an environment lacking in love are very common among the worst of psychopaths, serial killers (http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/188).
“I actually think I may be possessed with demons, I was dropped on my head as a kid.” Serial killer Dennis Rader (http://listverse.com/2012/09/04/top-10-serial-killer-quotes/).
Indeed, much if not most psychological disturbance results from childhood abuse. Here are a few selected statistics from The Anna Institute (http://www.theannainstitute.org/wchac-ststs.pdf):
"·Adults abused during childhood are:
- more than twice as likely to have at least one lifetime psychiatric diagnosis
- almost three times as likely to have an affective disorder
- almost three times as likely to have an anxiety disorder
- almost 2 ½ times as likely to have phobias
- over ten times as likely to have a panic disorder
- almost four times as likely to have an antisocial personality disorder
·97% of mentally ill homeless women have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse. 87%
experienced this abuse both as children and as adults.
·For adults and adolescents with childhood abuse histories, the risk of suicide is increased
4 to 12-fold.
·Nearly 90% of alcoholic women were sexually abused as children or suffered severe violence at the hands of
·Up to two-thirds of both men and women in substance abuse treatment report childhood abuse or neglect.
·HMO Adult members who had experienced multiple childhood exposures to abuse and violence had a 4 to
12-fold increase risk of alcoholism and drug abuse, and a 2 to 4-fold increase in smoking."
In addition, childhood abuse is correlated with greater risks of requiring special education, becoming juvenile delinquents, sexually transmitted infections and suppressed immune system function. In adults who had been abused as children, heightened risks include suicide, cancer, lung disease, liver disease, smoking, obesity, alcoholism, and drug addictions (http://www.sfcapc.org/press_room/information_about_child_abuse_and_prevention?gclid=CNP2kM2s47sCFQmDfgod92UAkQ).
Any questions? Did I leave anything out? Probably, but you get the idea.
There are 4 types of child abuse: Emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect. The most fundamental of these 4 is emotional abuse. In fact, when there is child abuse, there is always emotional abuse. A person cannot be physically abused without being abused emotionally; neither can a person be sexually abused without being emotionally abused. Even neglect results in emotional abuse. In fact, there is a growing abundance of literature demonstrating the negative emotional effects of neglect. Emotional abuse can also occur in the absence of any other form of abuse. The effects of these kinds of abuse on people's emotions are of course, just as real in adults as they are in children. However, children's personalities are being molded most actively, and early experiences may have the most lasting impact upon them.
What we are concerned with in this series is a change in culture, making us better people; it's about the kind of people we are, the kind of people we become, and the kind of people we raise. Thus, it all starts with children and we must consider childhood influences on our thoughts and emotions.
"I didn't know what made people want to be friends. I didn't know what made people attractive to one another. I didn't know what underlay social interactions." Ted Bundy (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-superhuman-mind/201212/the-making-serial-killer).
If we are to form a loving, unselfish society, we must start by raising children to be this way; emotional and other forms of child abuse are the most antithetical possible experiences to such a state. We know that child abuse rates, as well as type of child abuse, varies considerably from culture to culture. We also know from research that approximately 70% of adults who were abused as children, never abuse children themselves, and further, we know that psychology has been making strides in understanding child abuse and its consequences, and ways to prevent the cycle fo abuse from continuing. Thus, we have much hope that such damaging abuses can be drastically reduced in the future, thankfully. The future of humanity may depend upon this!
"Let us take our children seriously! Everything else follows from this...only the best is good enough for a child." (1941)