I was listening to a young girl today talk about having to sleep with her light on. She has trouble sleeping even with the light on, but feels in utter terror when she has to sleep in the dark.
I heard her talk about the abuse she went through as a small child from her father. I heard her say that he used to threaten her that if she left the house that he would strangle her in her sleep. Once or twice he came into her room and put his hands around her throat and made her feel like she would die.
She also described being held under the water one time and nearly drowned.
She was 7 years old.
This girl now is 14 years old and has severe mental illness that was caused by this abuse. I heard anger in her mixed with fear. She gets very angry when any of her friends are threatened. I heard her describing what she said to someone who had sent an email threat to her friend.
It was disturbing to me that her reaction was to violently threaten them back. Her threats were more severe and more specific than the threats that were sent to her friend by the bullies. She was now being a worse bully back to them, than they were to begin with.
Her perception of how to protect herself and her friends is to threaten violence and explode her anger onto other people. I was very concerned for her, as I was listening. The reason I was so concerned is that she is now setting herself up for harm.
Not only could be be in danger from the people she is threatening, but she did these things on the internet and she could easily be reported for threatening people. The emails are easy to forward to anyone and once things are in the internet world, they cannot be taken back or erased.
This is such a sad situation, because the fact that her judgement is so poor, is due to her childhood abuse. The fact that her way of feeling safe is to retaliate and threaten back, is also caused by the abuse.
She feels unsafe all the time and threatened all the time. She can’t sleep well. She feels that she has to be a bigger bully than anyone who shows a threat to her or her friends. This is even to the point where she is endangering her future.
If this behavior continues, she will likely end up in juvenile hall or some place like that. I fear for her that she will end up doing something that will cause her to be arrested or at the very least that will cause her to be alienated.
The internet sites have rules and regulations. It is easy to report people for violations, such as sending threats and they will be banned from the site. Since her social existence is mainly on the internet, something like this could basically destroy her.
Many times with young people, fear comes out as anger. Her feelings of being unsafe and threatened are very severe. She has zero tolerance for anything that feels like a threat to her, including anyone being mean to her friends.
She does not know any coping skills for her anger. She does not understand how to think about proper channels to go through in order to deal with bad situations.
She reacts rather than acts, to any situation that makes her feel unsafe in any way. Reacting is bad because there is no time for any thought behind your actions. Acting comes out of thought and some logical process of the brain. Her brain has been broken for activating any logical processes, during times of anxiety.
This is a situation where the abused child is now becoming a person that will cause themselves to have further trauma, in their effort to avoid such trauma. The cycle of abuse, anger and trauma continue.
It is very sad and so tremendously unfortunate that this child was so severely mentally wounded. This is most likely a permanent brain wounding. It is psychological damage.
Child abuse is a terrifying and terrible thing. I wish that these people would not be allowed to have children. I know there is no way to identify who is going to be abusive or even to identify who is abusing their children. The children are afraid to reach out for help and they do not know what would happen to them if they did.
I can only pray for this poor girl and hope that her future is not going to be as dark as it seems like it will be.