Two Different Versions of Abusive Adopted Childhood
The dramatic contrast in the Adoptee's memory of their stressful childhood maltreatment is quite different than the adoptive mother's selective memory.
The adoptive mother's recall of the adopted child's childhood is filled with what great efforts she made to accomplish the endeavor. The only bad memories that she remembers is the bad adolescent adopted-child that she had to tolerate and live through. Although she doesn't remember the drinking, the partying, or the constant marital fighting in front of the children. The inappropriate family outings to restaurants and bars,
the gambling trips to the race tracks, where the kids sat alone in motel rooms fighting with each other during trips to Las Vegas. The mother doesn't recall all of the fighting about money all the way home from these adult themed gambling weekends.
The psychological denial chronic marital fighting, jealousy, physical violence, favoritism, isolation and scapegoating are dismissed under the social radar of the perfect home and family.
It seems as though adopted childhood is separated from the reality of the general family dysfunction which is not remembered either and is denied. The mother's fantasy recollection of the adopted childhood is a consistent story of both adoptive parent's total dedication efforts to the adopted child's best interests, that is consistent with adoption agency marketing. This fantasy would have been a great place to grow up and would have produced emotionally stable, self-esteemed and confident, productive adults. However this was not the outcome of the children of the family.
Cognitive Dissonance to deny one's past, self behaviors to preserve one's ego. "CD" is one of the possible reasons for the denial of facts of one person, and the children that experienced those same events all have a similar factual account of events.
Regardless of who admits or denies the truths that occurred, the damage from Childhood Emotional Abuse remains in the child-now adult.
Childhood Emotional Abuse:
What Is Emotional Abuse?
- Isolating. The parent or caregiver consistently prevents the child from having normal social interactions with peers, family members and adults. This also may include confining the child or limiting the child’s freedom of movement.
- Exploiting or corrupting. In this kind of abuse, a child is taught, encouraged or forced to develop inappropriate or illegal behaviors. It may involve self-destructive or antisocial acts of the parent or caregiver, such as teaching a child how to steal or forcing a child into prostitution.
- Verbally assaulting. This involves constantly belittling, shaming, ridiculing or verbally threatening the child.
- Terrorizing. Here, the parent or caregiver threatens or bullies the child and creates a climate of fear for the child. Terrorizing can include placing the child or the child’s loved one (such as a sibling, pet or toy) in a dangerous or chaotic situation, or placing rigid or unrealistic expectations on the child with threats of harm if they are not met.
- Neglecting the child. This abuse may include educational neglect, where a parent or caregiver fails or refuses to provide the child with necessary educational services; mental health neglect, where the parent or caregiver denies or ignores a child’s need for treatment for psychological problems; or medical neglect, where a parent or caregiver denies or ignores a child’s need for treatment for medical problems.While the definition of emotional abuse is often complex and imprecise, professionals agree that, for most parents, occasional negative attitudes or actions are not considered emotional abuse. Even the best of parents have occasions when they have momentarily “lost control” and said hurtful things to their children, failed to give them the attention they wanted or unintentionally scared them.What is truly harmful, according to James Garbarino, a national expert on emotional abuse, is the persistent, chronic pattern that “erodes and corrodes a child” (1994). Many experts concur that emotional abuse is typically not an isolated incident.
What Are the Effects of Emotional Abuse?Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned, “Emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body”(1990). Children who are constantly ignored, shamed, terrorized or humiliated suffer at least as much, if not more, than if they are physically assaulted. Danya Glaser (2002) finds that emotional abuse can be “more strongly predictive of subsequent impairments in the children’s development than the severity of physical abuse.”An infant who is severely deprived of basic emotional nurturance, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Babies with less severe emotional deprivation can grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop and who have low self-esteem.Although the visible signs of emotional abuse in children can be difficult to detect, the hidden scars of this type of abuse manifest in numerous behavioral ways, including insecurity, poor self-esteem,destructive behavior, angry acts (such as fire setting and animal cruelty), withdrawal, poor development of basic skills, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, difficulty forming relationships and unstable job histories.Emotionally abused children often grow up thinking that they are deficient in some way. A continuing tragedy of emotional abuse is that, when these children become parents, they may continue the cycle with their own children.