The Horrid Things People Don’t Talk About

Do you have a past that you aren’t particularly proud of? One that you wouldn’t happily and openly speak about? If you did come from a happy home, you are fortunate and should count your blessings as many people, all over the world, come from volatile backgrounds and it isn’t always easy opening up.

Many individuals who experience this type of trauma (or any trauma as a matter of fact) tend to cope with it in many different ways. The norm, and the most usual coping mechanism of all, is to usually suppress the memory or deny its existence all together. This isn’t healthy at all. But you, as an individual can be of great help just by reading this article and being aware of the various warning signs.

Child abuse includes any form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Other forms of abuse while they may not display physical action, are still harmful. This includes neglect.

Where Does Child Abuse Take Place?

Child abuse is a worldwide issue that can occur in any cultural, ethnic and even income group.

Physical Abuse:

This type of physical abuse is premeditated. It involves purposefully causing physical bodily harm. This includes: breaking of bones, beating, burning, kicking, punching, slapping and throwing of objects. One in every twenty children are physically abused every year.

Verbal Abuse:

Verbal abuse involves causing emotional harm to an individual by belittling, threatening or name calling.

Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse takes place when an individual deliberately exposes a minor to sexual activity against their will. Sadly, the child is unable to consent or understand the situation at hand. In other words, a child is forced or talked into having sex or engaging in sexual activities. This includes inappropriate touching of genitalia, exposing your genitalia to a child, anal intercourse, voyeurism, exhibitionism and pornography.

Neglect: A Form Of Abuse

There are three forms of neglect:

  • Physical Neglect
  • Emotional Neglect
  • Medical Neglect

This is when a parent or caregiver fails to deliver the basic necessities of life to the child. This can be done intentionally. Such abuse includes physical neglect, such as withholding food from the child, clothing and shelter. Emotional neglect comes into play when parents withhold love, comfort and affection from their children. And finally, medical neglect occurs when parents prevent their child from seeking medical attention even though they have the means to do so.

Profile Of An Abuser:

For those of you who haven’t been abused, life is a daily battle just to survive. You’re weak, feel emotionally drained and on top of that, you have to put on this facade and pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t.

Abuse is easy to hide and difficult to spot.

Below are some character traits to help you better understand the nature of an abusive person:

  • They are often very angry and have difficulty controlling their emotions
  • They struggle to take accountability
  • They struggle to apologise
  • They lack empathy and sympathy
  • They call you names
  • They use foul language
  • They use their physical appearance to intimidate you
  • They are forever passing negative and petty comments
  • They say crying is for babies
  • They dictate
  • They don’t allow you to wear certain things (make-up, high heels, Vests)
  • They cause physical harm (make you bruise, bleed, break your bone)
  • They make you feel scared
  • You feel you constantly have to walk on eggshells around them
  • You can’t do anything right in their eyes

Please remember, most children who are abused, are abused by someone that means a lot to them and so children will instinctively want to protect that individual. (Don’t take it personally but it just isn’t a topic that just rolls off the tongue) so just take it easy when trying to probe a child. I suggest engaging in the child’s favourite activity or game to disarm them first.

The Causes:

So what causes an individual to become abusive? To be capable of such horrid actions? We go on to discuss.

Children are not responsible for the harm inflicted upon them, certain individual characteristics have been found to increase their risk of being maltreated. Risk factors are contributing factors but are not direct causes.

Example of Risk Factors (Factors that contribute to abuse)

  • Family disorganisation, dissolution, and violence, including intimate partner violence
  • Lack of Family bonding
  • Parent (s) personal history of domestic abuse
  • Substance abuse in the family (alcohol & Drugs)
  • Poor parent-child relationship
  • Parents being too young
  • Parents not fully understanding their child’s needs
  • Community Violence
  • Parental stress including mental depression
  • Not having a stable parent in a child’s life

What You Can Do:

The best thing you can do is listen. Create a safe environment even if the child is reluctant to open up and discuss the harsh reality but it just adds an additional comfort for them – safety.

If you suspect a child is a victim of abuse, contact a social worker, a close family member, approach the school or seek professional help such as approaching your nearest paediatrician. Physicians are legally obligated to report all possible and suspected abuse cases to the correct authorities. In addition to the above, they can point you in the right direction in finding a Life Coach and or Therapist.

If your child has been abused, you may be the only person who can help him or her as well as the only person who knows. Do not delay reporting your suspicions of abuse. Denying the problem will only worsen the situation; allowing the abuse to continue decreases the child’s chance for full recovery. In any case of child abuse, the safety of the abused youngster is of primary concern. He or she needs to be in a safe environment free from the potential for continuing abuse.

Did You Know?

  • 28.3% of adults have come forward to stay that they were physically abused as a child
  • 20.7% of adults have reported to have been sexually abused as a child
  • 10.6% of adults were emotionally abused as a child
  • 39% of bullying comes from Parents

Physical Abuse:

Know The Symptoms:

Any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under 18 years old is considered child abuse. Child abuse takes many forms, which often occur at the same time.

Children who are being physically abused may experience/act or do the following:

  • Feel guilty and shamed
  • Feel Confused
  • May be afraid to speak out about the abuse (especially is the abuser is a parent)
  • May withdraw from friends
  • Experience behaviour change (aggression, hostility – or – a change in school performance)
  • May be depressed, scared or anxious
  • Frequently absent from school or never wanting to leave school (Safe place)
  • Attempts suicide
  • Attempts Running away
  • Complains of headaches or stomach pain
  • Is always emotional
  • Arrives to school vomiting
  • Is always pale
  • Signs of bruises and scratches
  • May stop eating and develop an eating disorder
  • Doesn’t make eye contact
  • Bite marks
  • Broken Bones
  • Burns
  • Child may become clingy
  • May have sleeping problems
  • Still wets the bed
  • Has nightmares
  • Is Taking drugs

The Long-Term effects of physical Abuse:

  • Not academically strong
  • Criminal risk behaviour
  • Drug and alcohol problems

Sexual Abuse:

Know The Symptoms:

Children who are being sexually abused, may show the following signs:

  • Pregnancy
  • Blood in the child’s underwear
  • Statements from the child that they are being sexually abused
  • Trouble walking or sitting
  • Sexually abusing another child themselves
  • The child may avoid being alone with other people such as teachers, family members and friends
  • Pay attention to the words they use.
  • Having nightmares
  • Become clingy
  • Experience outbursts of anger
  • Becoming unusually secretive

Normal Sexual Behaviour:

Here is some sexual behaviour you can expect to see from your child. Please remember moms and dads that this is a normal and natural process that your child must go through. Any other unwelcome behaviour should be reported and dealt with immediately.

From Infancy 0 to 4 years:

Sexual behaviour, even at this age, is starting to emerge through actions such as:

  • Kissing and hugging
  • Showing interest and curiosity about their body parts
  • Playing games such as “doctor doctor”
  • Touching, rubbing, showing off their genitals and or even masturbation-like activities

Young children 5 to 9 years:

  • Kissing and hugging
  • Showing interest and curiosity about their body parts
  • Sometimes showing private parts off
  • Using swear words
  • Using sex words
  • Playing games such as “doctor doctor”
  • Touching, rubbing, showing off their genitals and or even masturbation-like activities

Pre-adolescents 10 to 12 years:

  • Kissing and hugging
  • Showing interest in other people’s body parts and how changes happen
  • Asking about relationships and how sex happens
  • Searching the internet for sex
  • Watching porn
  • Masturbating in private

Adolescents 13 to 18 years:

  • Kissing, hugging, dating and forming long-lasting relationships
  • Asking questions about the body and how it works
  • Showing interest in their private parts as well as other people’s
  • Looking for naughty pictures online
  • Searching the internet for porn
  • Masturbating in private and sexually experimenting with more or less the same age group (can be 1 year older MAX)
  • Possibly having sex with a girlfriend or boyfriend after dating for a while
  • May be sending each other naked pictures of themselves (other wise known as Phone Sex)

Emotional Abuse:

Know The Symptoms:

Emotional child abuse means injuring a child’s self-esteem or emotional well-being. It includes verbal and emotional assault — such as continually belittling or berating a child — as well as isolating, ignoring or rejecting a child.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Decrease in self confidence
  • Delayed emotional development
  • Withdraws socially
  • Depressed or anxious a lot of the time
  • Desperately seeks affection
  • Has stomaches or headaches without medical case
  • Avoids talking about emotions or family life
  • Decrease in school performance
  • Younger children (Pre-school) May be nasty towards other children or animals
    • May not appear to be close to a particular parent (the one abusing them)
  • Struggle to control emotions
  • Lack social skills
  • Struggles to make friends
  • May become clingy
  • Seek attention
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lacks motivation
  • Lacks confidence
  • Develops an eating disorder
  • Has problem sleeping
  • Has nightmares

The Profile Of An Emotional Abuser:

Emotional abuse is used to control and dominate the other person, and quite often it occurs because the abuser has childhood wounds and insecurities they haven’t dealt with — perhaps as a result of being abused themselves.

An emotional abuser is one who:

  • Has obsessive behaviour
  • Cannot be alone
  • Seeks attention
  • Will fake injuries to get attention
  • Have erratic behaviour
  • They say things to frighten you – more often than not, their bark is worse than their bite
  • They are overly protective
  • They are overly jealous
  • They monitor your time and whereabouts
  • They monitor your telephone calls/whatsapp/emails
  • They control finances
  • They have no respect for boundaries
  • They blackmail you (with children) or children
  • They disregard your ideas and opinions
  • They swear at you or call you names
  • They are forever pointing out your flaws
  • They create never ending conversations to confuse and exhaust you and deter you away from the initial problem at hand
  • They order you around and treat you like a servant
  • They become irrational when things don’t go their way
  • They behave like a spoilt brat
  • They act helpless or play the victim in order to get their way
  • Doesn’t have the ability to laugh at themselves
  • Lacks respect for self and others
  • Causes bodily harm – drug taking, excessive weight-loss or weight gain, cutting self
  • Lacks empathy
  • Views you as a pawn or extension in their lives rather than an individual
  • Uses guilt trips to get what they want
  • Behaves dramatically in public to get what they want
  • Is emotionally unavailable
  • Shakes their finger at you
  • Stomps out of a room during an argument
  • Needs to be the center of attention
  • Does something to spite you
  • Fakes a pregnancy
  • Belittles you in front of others
  • They tell you your feelings are crazy
  • They turn other people against you
  • They share your personal information with others
  • Accuses you of being an abusive partner – when you aren’t.
  • Accuses you of lying or having a bad memory
  • Engages in mind games
  • Blames you for all of their problems
  • Calls you stupid


Abuse, in whatever form it comes in, is simply not okay. Should you suspect that a child, or anyone for a matter of fact, is being abused, speak up and don’t stay silent. In extreme cases, approach your local emergency services for help.

To know how to deal this type of situation should it present itself, you should consider furthering your knowledge and understanding of children. A life coach course can help you with this. It is an alternative to au pair training and has helped many individuals overcome hardship.

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