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All kinds of child abuse can scar permanently, but emotional child abuse may also be invisible and may never be acknowledged.
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash
Trigger Warning: This deals with emotional child abuse and domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors.
Jharna, 35, started counseling 18 months ago and came to realize how she was parentified since her early childhood days. Jharna says, “I was the confidant, care-giver and intimate partner to my mother from very early days. My mother was unhappy in her own marriage or dissatisfied with her life. She would tell me about her frustrations, negative things about people around us, weep in front of me and constantly complain about her relationship with my father which has a far reaching negative psychological impact throughout my life.” Undoubtedly, it was too much for the young psyche to handle.
Being robbed of her innocent childhood, Jharna grows up to become an adult who has a gap in her psyche. She buried anger, resentment and grief, which burst out at unexpected times, affecting her ability to be close to someone especially her father, avoid responses in relationships and carry an overwhelming sense of anxiety.
Jharna even as a grown-up struggles to be playful, be spontaneous, relax in intimacy, trust her instincts or other people.
Swapnil, 36 says that how scarred he was by the fact that he was never his mother’s favourite child. He understood very early in life that his sister was obviously her favourite. He breaks down many a time because of the emotional wound that he carried forward from his childhood. He was horrified and hurt when his mother said it in the heat of the moment that she never likes boys but girls. Swapnil now understand that he was never his mother’s favourite child because he was a father’s son who was in a marital conflict with his mother.
Luxmi, 32 grew up knowing and accepting that she was the black sheep of her family; her sister was loved, appreciated and cherished in a way that she was not. Luxmi is soft- spoken, quiet and sober whereas her sister is out-spoken, expressive and loud. Luxmi still sruggles to accept the differences in how she and her sister, just a year older, were treated by her father.
Luxmi’s parents provided both the sisters good education and finances to build their career but when it comes to emotional bonding and connection, Luxmi always feels a gap and emotional emptiness.
Luxmi says that she internalized that she wasn’t good enough. Her mental well being has been badly affected. It has made her to push herself to the limit on every occasion. The impact of such ill-treatment has affected Luxmi throughout her life. Now she learned to rise above her pain and built a close-knit beautiful family of herself, her husband and their son so that no comparisons can affect her family.
Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse is invisible and therefore, more toxic and insidious. In all these cases, the child’s home life irrespective of gender is punctuated to a greater extent. Exposure to situations like these erases the joy of what should be a carefree time in a child’s life.
Parents do love their children and may do their best but still be unable to offer what we need as children sufficiently.
It is not about what was said but what was not said to these children – the praise, the affirmations, and the positive feedback.
It is not what was done but what was not done to these children – the absence of quality time, intellectual stimulation, meaningful conversations, family fun and games.
So, all these children who are now adults perhaps or hopefully learned the only safe thing to do is to rise above their pain and lead a beautiful life and build a much healthier next generation.
Some names have been changed.
I am an educator, Soft-Skill Trainer & a mother. read more...
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Trigger Warning: This has graphic descriptions of violence and may be triggering to survivors and victims of violence.
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