Long Term Effects of Abuse
Herb was a very loving little boy, who always tried to make everyone around him happy. He would climb up in your lap at the age of two or three, and whisper in your ear “I’m your boy, but don’t tell nobody”. Growing up, Herb was an accomplished athlete, and performed reasonably well academically. As Herb reached adulthood, he always took great strides to make the people around him feel happy and special. It was not unusual to find him helping his father on the farm or working on his sister’s car. The only payment he wanted was to see their smile and know he had helped. In adulthood, his little girl became the light of his life and no one suspected that there was a problem. Until the morning, his wife walked into the bedroom, and found him. Everyone was devastated to discover he had committed suicide. How could this have been avoided? We need learn to recognize not only the signs, and symptoms of depression, and bipolar disorders (which can be enhanced by abuse), but to learn preventive measures to help people like Herb, who have experienced or witnessed abuse as a child.
Over the course of Herb’s life, there was a series of events that lead to this dreaded day. He had witnessed his father physically abusing his mother, and his sister. When he was five, both the child protection agency and the authorities for domestic violence felt that the effect on him was minimal. The child protection agency felt that only his sister was harmed, and needed counseling. Officials from the agency stated that because she was his half-sister the situation was different, and Herb was in no danger from his father’s actions
The protection agency provided ongoing counseling for his sister. Mrs. SSSS, the caseworker stated that if Herb’s mother were to go back to his father, they would remove his sister from the home. While the domestic violence professionals concentrated their efforts on the mother, aiding his mother in finding a place to live, and helping her get back on her feet.
After about a year and a half of substantial cost, Herb’s mother was forced to surrender custody of him to his father. She had run out of money and could no longer afford the costly custody battle. His mother was assured by all of the officials several times that Herb was not in any danger from the abuse. They repeatedly told her that the only people in danger were her, and the two older children. This did not prove to be true. When he was with his father, Herb began to experience emotional and physical abuse. His father repeatedly told him that his mother would rather be with someone else than to live with Herb. His father would threaten to “whoop him” if he did not tell his mother that he did not want to see her. Herb often sneaked in a phone call to his mother to apologize for telling her that he did not want to see her, usually crying. When Herb made a mistake, or did not do something, just the way his Dad wanted him to, his father would belittle him...