While not wanting to downplay the physical aspects of child abuse, it is important to note that the emotional effects of abuse can last longer and reach farther in many cases. A child’s view of their own worth can be severely diminished even through adulthood. The ability to build long-lasting, meaningful relationships can be gravely hampered. The capacity to be a productive student or employee may be sharply compromised. Why does abuse seem to bring about these symptoms? How does a time period of abuse as a child manage to reach so deeply into every aspect of an individual’s life?
Damaged Emotions – Both the physical and emotional aspects of an abuse ordeal stifle the normal flow of emotions. A child is told to be quiet as pain is inflicted, and this smothers the natural reaction to pain. A child becomes emotionally confused when someone they love commits acts against them that bring shame. The conflicting emotions again curb the ability to demonstrate emotions in a normal way. In time, the desire and ability to express emotions can become completely bottled up. In many cases, these suppressed emotions will start exhibiting themselves in unnatural and troublesome ways.
Damaged Trust – At the core of any healthy relationship is trust. This is true with your spouse, your children, your boss, your friends, and your pastor. When the foundation of trust is destroyed in a child, the reverberations of this will be felt for the rest of his life. When the person closest to you is untrustworthy, it is extremely difficult to know who IS trustworthy. When the person that a child is with the most cannot be counted on to look out for his best interests, he will quickly be conditioned to believe that there is no one out there who will look out for his best interests. Soon a child will automatically and instinctively believe that there is no one he can trust. This keeps him at a distance from everyone in his web of relationships. His development and advancement is limited because he will hold himself back, even from those who would help him forward.