The Legacy of Childhood Abuse

No child deserves to be born to a cruel, self absorbed, and dangerous parent. Sadly, there are some families who fit this description. Children born to drug addicted, violent, or seriously mentally ill parents are at risk during childhood of chronic hunger, physical injury, disease and neglect, emotional cruelty, and early death. Their lives are like a living hell. There is no way to survive this childhood intact.

Our social safety net of child abuse laws that make it possible to remove a child from danger try to keep a balance between safety and family rights. Our courts attempt to find the justice for families who can’t manage this themselves, but there are no guarantees of getting it right. It’s no wonder that many of these children run way to live on the streets, end up in the prison system, or become adults who leave their family and don’t look back.

Getting to adulthood with this dangerous life context means that safety for this person may be a rare, occasional feeling. The world has not been kind to them, and people are not dependable, even those who may step into later life to help. Their core sense of self may have never had a chance to develop solid, helpful boundaries and the internal world may be chronically anxious, sad and angry. Next time you find it easy to judge the life of another person whose life seems completely different than yours, remember you may be right. Nothing that you take for granted may be part of their lives, from the very beginning days of a loving family, a warm home, enough to eat and a quality school.

If only “pro life” meant that we could give every child born in the world the chance to develop into loved human being who can love in return. What a kinder, less frightening world this would be.