How to Overcome Childhood Abuse


Authored by Douglas Mefford in Self Improvement
Published on 09-13-2009

Child abuse comes in many forms. There is physical abuse that is harm or pain inflicted through physical means of striking, burning, or beating. Withholding basic needs such as food or eliminatory functions are also considered physical abuse. Mental and emotional abuse of children includes such heinous activities as yelling at, name calling, threatening, humiliating or otherwise causing the child to believe they are unworthy. Child neglect is also a part of emotional abuse. Child sexual abuse involves any activity that uses or forces a child into sexual activity or environment where they are too young to make informed decisions for themselves.

All these activities can be very injurious for a child and leave them with an underdeveloped sense of their own self worth. The abused child is less likely to perform at a socially productive level both physically and mentally. The lack of developed self-worth creates great insecurities and lack of self-esteem, which can cripple a child’s chances of becoming a well-adjusted member of society. It reinforces a cycle of abuse that can carry into adulthood to make the victims of child abuse more likely to also abuse their own children. The methods of overcoming the trauma of child abuse can be long and tedious before the victim can regain their self-worth and ability to function as a healthy adult.

There are several ways to help overcome the ill effects of childhood abuse. In the United States as well as a great part of the Western world the preferred method is through psychiatric counseling. Both personal as well as group psychiatric therapy can be used to help the victim of childhood abuse, recognize and come to terms with the effects of that abuse.

Since these effects can manifest in many different ways, psychologists and mental health councilors work to separate and work on the various aspects of their clients’ troubles. Drugs are often prescribed as a means to control the signs of depression that are so common with childhood abuse victims. So too do the medical professionals in the West treat such diverse manifestations as obesity, anxiety and drug abuse. While these techniques can give a person a new perspective on their problems and offers ways to overcome them, it can also leave the person dependent on the therapy as well as a lifetime’s dependence on the drugs used to modify their abuse related behavior.

Eastern culture is more inclined to treat the negative influences of childhood abuse in a more personal and reflective way. The Buddhist philosophy entails using meditation techniques as a way to discover and observe one’s behavior and the reasons for that behavior. Meditation and spiritual counseling offers a person ways by which they can develop positive mindsets. It is a path of personal responsibility to learn to banish longstanding behavior problems and grow into the type of personality traits one desires for their life.

There are both good and bad points to either method. In the West, the victim is in danger of developing adult dependence on the treatment. In the East, results for overcoming the effects of childhood abuse are dependent on the strength of will of the patient to be able to recognize the underlying cause of their problems. One thing that has been shown to be essential in any treatment of mental health problems due to childhood abuse is the patient’s own desire to improve their lot in life.


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