Sad, tearful & alone With broken bones I'm all alone No one to help me off the floor
With scratches and bruises craved in my skin, With all the blood crumpled on the ground, I try to get myself up, While playing in my head Everything I did to deserve this
Every day I wake up, With my body and heart on fire, Being reminded constantly that I am meaningless, Repeating constantly, “I ´ ll never be worthy of their love”
The bruises, the scars, the scratches, Everything heals… But the damaged spot you left in my heart… Can in no way be repaired…
Do I even know what is love with no violence?
Video showing a part of a interview with Dr. Margarida Mendes, a clinical psychologist and coach master in family and community systematic clinical psychology, on the effects of child physical abuse
Effects of child physical abuse
1. Physical scars. Children can have direct physical effects such as bruising, cuts, broken bones, health problems, under-nourishment or even death.
2.They do not trust people easily. The one/ones that they trusted to protect them, did the exact opposite by hurting them physically and mentally. After experiencing this extreme betrayal, it is difficult for them to trust others right away, as they fear to go through the same pain again.
3.They do not feel good about themselves or see themselves as worthy. They do not feel good about themselves, because throughout physical abuse, they are constantly being physically hurt and this makes them question what is wrong with them. Having to question this constantly, makes them lack self-confidence. In most cases, to add on to the physical abuse, there is as well verbal abuse, and as we could see in the "effects of emotional abuse" page, the self-esteem effects are draining. As Guida Mendes mentioned throughout the interview "the physical scars can heal but the emotional scars from the events do not".
4.They are more likely to feel self-harm or have suicidal thoughts. Throughout the abuse they are being consumed by feelings off hopelessness, hate, despair, misery, and rage, from the violence they constantly endure from their supposed trusted ones. If you think about it, it is very hard to be dealing with them all together even with professional help after the abuse.
5.Many physically abused children become aggressive themselves or have other behavioral problems. They start "acting out", and acting aggressive towards people. This usually happens because it is what they see and experience at home most of the time, and for them aggression has become not something to be shameful of. By "acting out" it can as well help them cope with the emotions of rage that they have been containing in themselves during the abuse.
6. Some children become defenseless, becoming numb and withdrawn when it comes to protecting themselves from danger as well from abuse. For example, they will most likely not seem to care anymore if they are hit, as they have lost the normal fight or flight reactions built-in to protect us as people from danger. They are not so scared of what is about to come, as it is something they have experienced, and most likely gotten used to in throughout their childhood.
7.Some abused children become anxious and fearful rather than numb and withdrawn. This can happen specifically when the abuse has no predictable pattern. A child who never knows when a caregiver will become physically violent, and never knows how far the caregiver will go, has no control. That child naturally may become more anxious, to everything happening in their life (expecting danger).
8.Some children develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is because a lot of the times the physical abuse lead to such intense fear and stress within the victims, making them constantly relive the drastic and painful violence they have endured through flashbacks and nightmares.
9.They may stop trying to make friends or succeed at school or plan. The truth is these kids are being completely mentally and physically drained, and having a school as a priority for them is extremely hard. Think for yourself, if you were in these kids ´ shoes would you be able to concentrate on everything you are doing now for school? Would you be able to focus on maintaining those friendships, continuing to have fun with them with everything happening at home?
10.They are most likely to get into toxic relationships especially if they do not have any coherent professional help.The victim by themselves is completely vulnerable, as growing up they have seen violence as a common factor in their lives. This means there are chances of them enduring the physical violence again, as it is much easier to manipulate them into thinking they deserve it. Additionally, since they as well have low-self esteem, they believe that they somehow deserve this treatment. If they do get professional help it is much easier to discuss these issues, teaching the victim what clearly is ok and not ok during any kind of relationships they are or will be in.
The information on the effects of child physical abuse is based on the "Child Welfare Information Gateway" and the "Dana Foundation" websites.
What can you do to help child physical abuse vistims?
The first step to be able to make a difference is being able to identify the abuse. Secondly, to be able to stop it, you need to get the necessary help for the child, to be able to diminish the possible effects. Here are some of the signs that someone might be experiencing emotional abuse according to NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), that you can identify:
Any spontaneous bruising, scarring, burns, fracturing