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Adapting To Life After Child Abuse: Dave Pelzer

1196 words - 5 pages

It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games that left him nearly dead. Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing and no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive. To this day Dave Pelzer still suffers from lingering pychological effects. The willful infliction of pain and suffering upon children is known as child abuse and is treated by society as a serious crime. Children are so extremely vulnerable and defenseless, it is thought, that no excuse is possible for mistreating them. Even so, abuse is believed to be widespread. Despite strict laws against it, it sometimes goes unreported and unpunished. Perpetrators of child abuse are most often the child’s own parents. A study done in 2005 showed 79.4 percent of perpetrators were parents, and 6.8 percent were other relatives. Almost 1 out of every 100 children in the United States are abused as a child and an average of 5 children die everyday from child abuse (USDHHS). Some cases may be more extreme then others, but child abuse still has a dramatic effect on a person’s life as it continues to effect the victim through their adoloscence and into their adult hood. Not only does child abuse affect a person’s relationship life, but structuring them on who they become in life by altering specific triggers in their brain. What effects does child abuse have on a child’s life from their adolescence and into their adulthood?
When children are still young, their world often revolves around their parents. Parents are the primary foundation of safety, security, love, understanding, and nurturance and support. Child abuse violates the trust that is at the heart of the child’s relationship with the world. When this primary relationship is one of betrayal, a negative representation is formed with in the child. This negative representation, that the child adopts, can fundamentally affect an individual’s capability to establish and sustain significant attachments throughout life. Multiple studies examined the combined effects of both childhood physical and sexual abuse, because many children are subjected to both kinds of abuse. Participants who also reported abuse reported higher levels of psychological distress and an increased difficulty in forming secure attachments than those who reported no abuse (Larsen, Carly). Research suggested that individuals who experienced combined forms of abuse in childhood were more likely to self-blame and distance themselves when a stressor occurred and had higher incidences of self. In intimate relationships, distancing and self-isolation can hinder the development of romantic attachment, which contributes to poor...

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