PREVIOUS: Abuse of Children (#3)

SITE: “When Parents are too Toxic to Tolerate

• “What is Child Abuse & Neglect ?




DEF: A pattern of assaults &/or coercions in the family (physical, emotional, sexual), as well as economic duress – that an adult use against their intimate partner – to gain power & control in the relationship.
• It includes parents battering the child, exposing children to the adults harming each other or another sibling, as well as cruelty & inhumane acts against animals, in & out side the home.

It’s present in all socio-economic classes, cultures, & communities of faith. 2 out of 3 children who grow up with physical & other kinds of violence will either become a batterer or consistently mate with one

Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
DEF: Causing the suffering of another, indifference to the pain caused, even feeling pleasure in inflicting it. Can be direct (cruel comments, physical torture….) or indirect (any form of withholding). MORE….)
1st degree : intentionally cause a child under the age of eighteen “cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.”
2nd ° : only requires someone causes physical or mental pain by “criminal negligence” instead of any specific intent to cause harm
3rd ° : when a person is fighting or doing some other violent behavior – in the presence of a child

• Results are similar to ‘coldness’, but more severe. Children need to feel safe & loved to explore the world around them, to form healthy relationships. Treated cruelly by caretakers prevents their world from making sense – so the child’s social, emotional, & mental development are hindered & prolonged
a. Leaving children alone to fend for themselves. Both are NEGLECT (Part 1)
b. DEF:  “Separate or cut child off from normal social experiences (friends & family), resulting in extreme aloneness”.
This form of control is usually includes other forms of emotional & physical abuse:
🤍 done seductively (“I need you, you’re my special little boy / girl”)
🤍 or brutally (“Everyone knows how bad you are. No one else wants you”)

• insist Child C. study, practice, do chores…. excessively or to exhaustion
• lock in closet, in their room, in basement…(especially for long periods)
• OR lock C. out of the house, especially when quite young
• keep C. away from one parent or other family, if parents are separated
• prevent C. from having friends & participating in activities outside the home, while praising / rewarding C. for withdrawing from social contact
• make C. look & act differently from peers (weird or inappropriate clothes, not groomed….

• serves to keep the child attached to the caretaker – used as a companion, spouse substitute, punching bag &/or slave
• equally important, it keeps the child from telling others about their abuse
• limits child’s knowledge of the world & any healthy options it may have – depending on severity & duration
• prevents the child from forming its own identity
• keeps it dependent on the caretaker to the point of being afraid to interact socially, sometimes for the rest of its life.
Emotionally, the child is left confused, terrified, lonely, depressed & hopeless.
DEF: continually terrify a child/teen by threats & other intimidation, including any form of exposure to violence in the home, threatening to walk out forever…. locking child in closet, in their room, in basement…(for long periods),  OR lock child out of the house, especially when quite young…..

The end result is that the child experiences profound fear and is left to her/his own psychological imaginings. In strict-religion families (fundamentalist….), children can be terrorized by parents putting “the fear of God” in them, or threaten with the devil’s wrath, if they dont behave.

ALSO:  make extreme verbal threats to / or actually :
• abandon them (send them away or leave them behind)
• harm or destroy a favorite object or pet
• ‘promise’ to give a beating – later (but then forget)
• kick teen permanently out, disown them
• reveal intensely embarrassing traits to peers or other adults

INFO:  A 1995 phone survey, re. types of emotional abuse, showed that in the previous year 90% of families had used one or more forms of psychological aggression – toward a child by age 2. (Straus, Vol. 15)

NEXT: Victimizing ourselves (# 1)

ACoAs: Loneliness in Childhood (Part 1)

neglected children


how harmful neglect can be!

PREVIOUS: Childhood Loneliness (Part 1)

SITESigns & Symptoms of Chronic Loneliness


1. “NORMAL” Stressors
LONELINESS (L) is an inevitable result of any form of PMES loss.
The following are some things all kids can experience – the key to how well they survive is whether or not they’re helped thru these difficulties with accurate information & appropriate emotional support. If not, these events can leave long-lasting scars.

Consider the Loneliness of….
Abuses:  bullied by a sibling, at school, on the playground, in the neighborhood, mistreatment by school or religious leaders
Deaths: of a parent or other important family member, a beloved petblack boy crying

Limitations : learning disabilities (ADD, Dyslexia…), being poorer than others, not having social skills
Losses: divorce, BFF leaving, falling out with a friend, loss of favorite family member, teacher or neighbor…

Major changes : birth of one or more siblings, one or more moves
Positives: looking ‘different’, being smarter than most others, having a special skill, having more things than others…

2. CATEGORIES of Loneliness (L)
• Chronic, or trait: more ingrained, part of a person’s lifestyle & therefore not easily relieved (whether alone or with others, being afraid & mistrustful of others, full of S-H….).  It doesn’t matter what actually goes on in their environment, the experience of L. is always there

External / social isolation: experienced when people lack a wider social network, not feeling part of a community, not having friends or allies they can rely on in times of distress

Internal / emotional isolation: insufficient or inappropriate attachment, originally to parents & other caregivers. Even securely attached children, when away from caretakers, express separation-distress such as crying, searching for the parent, having a tantrum or being withdrawn.
As adults, it’s the distress of being separated for too long from romantic or other deep connections

Transient, or state: temporary, caused by something in one’s environment which can be relieved relatively easily & quickly (replacing a pet, temporary illness, a short trip…)

lonely gil in rain3. Loneliness from Family DYSFUNCTIONS
Research over the past 15 years concluded that an ongoing pattern of abandonment (Ab.) loneliness poses a serious threat to a person’s mental health & social functioning.
– In adults it’s been linked with depression, alcoholism, obesity, & suicide
– In children it’s associated with being victimized at home & by peers, leading to severe shyness or aggression.  (MORE…)

GENERAL causes in childhood:
• Feeling unloved & unworthy of love, even if they said they loved us
• No one could be trusted, not reliable, consistent, honest, direct
• The sense of not belonging anywhere & that nowhere was safe
• Little or no comfort from anyone, & ultimately – feeling unwanted!

🔹 Unhealed ACoAs are fear-based, caused by the loneliness of daily childhood abandonment, which is at the root of neediness. We’re still starving for the nurturing we didn’t get – still longing & desperate for it, whether we admit it to ourselves or not.  We’ve been slowly dying inside from the lack of warmth, concern, touch, protection… ever since we were very tiny.

🔻These 2 posts (a. – d.) are the many ways our alcoholic, narcissistic family & other groups abandoned us (Ab.) in Physical, Mental, Emotional & Spiritual (PMES) ways.

Consider the Ab. loneliness of….
…. (T) not having anyone to teach, guide, set an example – about how to do things
…. (E) always being alone with your emotions, especially the painful ones
…. (A) not having anyone to do things with, play with, enjoy the good things in life

b. FOR our PARENT(s)
Consider the Ab. loneliness of….disintegration
…. watching them self-destruct, & couldn’t stop them, no matter how hard you tried, but you kept trying anyway, & always feeling like a failure
Consider the Ab. loneliness of….
….. having to play ‘god’, be responsible for the adults for their day-to-day physical needs, & sometimes for their very life – or ‘just’ their emotional survival.  You needed them to stay alive, to stop hurting themselves, so they could be the parents you needed – but it never worked!

NEXT: Loneliness in Childhood – #2

Variation of ACoA Laundry List

breading blog 

Even so, it’s a relief to know

SITE: Adult Survivors of Child Abuse: Removing the Splinter

BOOK: Laundry List  Tony A & Dan F

NOTE: See Acronym page for abbrev.

• All the PMES forms of Abandonment by parents cause children to hide the parts of themselves that are considered NOT OK by the family, in order to not get rejected: “DON’T make mistakes, don’t have needs, don’t contradict, or successful, or show your emotions …”
Exp: We were told that what we felt was not true or legitimate: “You don’t have anything to cry about, so stop being such a baby”,  “Stop crying or I’ll really give you something to cry about”  “That really didn’t hurt” ,  “You have no right to be angry” ….S-H

Self-Hate – As a result of being mistreated as kids, the most visible issue for
ACoAs now is our intense S-H: “I’m no good, no one will ever love me, I can’t do anything, my need don’t count…..”, the defense mechanism all children develop to protect themselves from experiencing the original pain suffered throughout childhood (abandonment), and from acknowledging to themselves how hurtful their parents were.
S-H says: ‘Everything bad that happened to me  – past or present – was / is my fault.’ SO – any time I’m in pain I did something wrong, & I’m bad

• This belief gives the WIC a false sense of power – “If I caused it, I can fix it!” However, the reality is that we did not create the damage that was done to us – that is the responsibility of the adults who raised us. We were the victim of their wounds – then. NOW, we’re responsible for healing ourselves so that we can become our True Self!

Because of childhood Abuse, Neglect & Abandonment, in the present –  WE:perfectionism
• are perfectionistic, driven, rarely satisfied – especially with ourselves
• are intimidated by or feel enraged at controlling people
• expect others to hurt, judge or take advantage of you
• experience temporary dissociation (splitting), disconnecting from self
• feel chronically empty or numb inside, easily bored, restless
• feel like we’re always under scrutiny – even when alone
• find it hard to relax, laugh or be spontaneous
• keep ourselves isolated from shame & so ‘no one can hurt or leave’ us
• frantically try to avoid real or imagined abandonment – by clinging, people-pleasing, being invisible….
• lose ourselves in relationships by automatically & continually putting others’ needs before our own
• over-value & then under-value people we get too close to

• a confused or distorted self-image: “Who am I really?” , “What do I really look like?” (feel ugly, fat, too thin too short….)
• chronic obsessive thoughts, going ‘round & ‘round without solutions
• compulsive self-damaging behaviors in 2 or more areas of life, such as an eating disorder, addictions, fights, under-achieving….

• harsh “inner critics” that torture us, especially after any disappointment or loss
• impulsivity – can’t control our choices & reactionsinner critic
• inappropriate & intense anger; difficulty controlling temper
• mood swings not caused by bipolar disease

• paranoid thinking – as a regular way of experiencing others
• recurring suicidal thoughts or actions
• trouble asserting ourselves or feeling proud of our accomplishments
• trouble finding a spiritual belief, or one that feels right

ACoAs are very intelligent and determined. With the right kind of help we can heal from these wounds and prosper.  Al-Anon, therapy, a spiritual practice, reading, & staying connected with other ACoAs in Recovery make all the difference. Don’t forget: ‘Progress, not Perfection’

ACoA WEBSITE (80+ pages): www.acoarecovery.com

NEXT: Original LL