How Emotional Abuse Leads to Guilt and Shame

The reason given for emotional abuse varies: you are bad, stupid, ugly, or unwanted, or you are the wrong sex, the wrong age, or the wrong whatever. No matter what reason is provided, you are to blame for what is happening to you. You are guilty of causing the abuse. The guilt you are feeling is not true guilt. True guilt is brought on by a realistic understanding of your behavior and its consequences to yourself and others. False guilt is an oppressive burden that is not based on reality but on the warped views, ideas, and attitudes of others. … Continue reading

Children Who Are at Risk of Being Abused

This week I watched a horrifying story on Dr. Phil about a mother who remarried and whose three girls endured years of sexual abuse by their stepfather. It was just absolutely gut-wrenching to hear what these girls endured. While I felt for the mom, a part of me couldn’t grasp how 8 years of this could go by and she had absolutely no clue. In fact, at one point Dr. Phil asked her if looking back now, could she see signs and she still says no. I certainly don’t want to point any fingers at her but what I am … Continue reading

In need of foster/adopt success stories

I’m a big fan of the TV show Criminal Minds. This show, in case you have never seen it, follows the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. They profile criminals, determine the type of person they must be looking for, the personality of the criminal and the most likely progression of their crimes, all based on the actions of the criminal and the clues left behind. Tom and I were watching Criminal Minds last night, and it was an episode about a young couple who go on a killing rampage. Not a surprising story line for a show like that, … Continue reading

Textual Harassment and Teen Dating Violence

Yet again last week Dr. Phil had a show that addresses teen issues. This time it was “End the Silence on Domestic Violence: Teen Dating.” It was during this show that I heard a new phrase, “textual harassment.” I looked it up online and found it to be included in the Urban Dictionary. It simply means to harass someone through text messages. It’s amazing how technology forces us to come up with new terminology. We are definitely living in different times than when I was a teenager. Violence in teen dating is apparently not an uncommon occurrence. It used to … Continue reading

Anger and Sexual Abuse (4)

In Anger and Sexual Abuse (3), we looked at how 35-year-old Jenna had been sexually abused by her stepfather as a child and was now taking out her rage at this injustice on the world at large. She had just lost her job as a lawyer and had come for counseling. Jenna had never told her mother of the abuse as she was too frightened to do so as a child and now as an adult, she didn’t see the point in raking up old wounds. Yet Jenna was in enormous pain. She couldn’t maintain long-term relationships due to her … Continue reading

Children Who Can’t Trust

When an infant has a need (such as the need for nourishment) which is not met, there is a big emotional response. That’s because the stakes are so great. If the child isn’t nourished, he will die. So he makes his needs known rather dramatically, crying and thrashing about. If this emotional response eventually brings him the sustenance he needs, he begins learning to trust. He discovers that when he is vulnerable, someone in his life will respond lovingly. As the child grows and develops, trust continues to build as the cycle repeats over and over again. For example, the … Continue reading

A Sane Christmas with your Insane Family

Well, perhaps your family isn’t clinically insane, but there are lots of families where dysfunction is as much a part of the family as the heirloom furniture. In our last article, we looked at how the younger sister of a two-daughter family decided her life was too short to go on being abused by her older sister. So Miriam made the decision to formally end her relationship with Rachel, and her Christmases and indeed her life, has been the better for it. Not all of us want or need to be as radical as Miriam in cutting out her sibling … Continue reading

Find Out the Background of Coaches, Leaders, and Instructors

I have written before about how important it is for our children to make connections with other adults–coaches, scout leaders, art class instructors, teachers, etc. BUT, I also have to admit that a day does not go by that I don’t read about some misuse of these positions by an adult who has abused a child or children. As parents, we might just automatically think that a person has been through a thorough screening and background check in order to step into such a powerful and influential position and not want to be the nervous cynic–but some diligence might be … Continue reading

Bill To Make Spanking A Crime Dropped

Here’s an update on a blog I did about California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber’s proposed bill banning spanking. On Thursday, the effort was dropped after Lieber conceded that the bill had little chance of passing. If the bill had passed, California would have become the first state to make spanking of a child under the age of 3 a crime. Lieber ran into opposition from lawmakers, many of who felt a law banning a parent’s right to spank their own child would not only be intrusive but unenforceable. Lieber said that allowing parents to continue to spank their kids was a … Continue reading

Sexual Abuse of Boys: Mebe IS NOT Having a Whale of a Time.

This is the second article on Mebe – an adult male sexually abused as a child. To read Mebe’s background story, click here. When Mebe chose his fictious name for this series of articles, he originally decided upon Moby. He reasoned that he looked like Moby Dick – large and whale like. Although he laughed at his own comparison, there was a degree of shame and embarrassment attached. After our brief discussion about his name, he pulled a packet of sweets out of his bag and began eating them. Mebe identified that sweets bought him comfort. Nobody liked him, he … Continue reading