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Bonded to the Abuser: Part 3

Blog Post 2

In this 6-part series, Dr. Baker will provide a summary of the topics discussed in the book.


Bonded to the Abuser: Part 3


Not all childhood maltreatment is physical or sexual. Some parent hurt their children’s bodies and some parents hurt their children’s psyches. The third type of childhood maltreatment discussed in Bonded to the abuser: How victims make sense of childhood abuse” is emotional abuse. According to the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children there are six types of psychological maltreatment, four of which are forms of emotional abuse. These are caregiver behaviors that result in a child feeling unloved, of no value, and only of worth in meeting another’s needs. Twelve memoirs written by adult survivors of childhood emotional abuse were summarized and analyzed for this chapter of “Bonded to the abuser.”


At the heart of each story of emotional abuse is a parent whose heart is not in the right place, a parent who – because of depression, mental illness, or addiction is too self-absorbed to be emotionally present and consistently loving to her child. In these stories the emotionally abusive parents varied in their educational background, socio economic status, cultural affiliations, professions, and lifestyles. What they shared, however, was their overwhelming inability to recognize and act on the fact that their children were separate people with their own experiences, perceptions, and subjectivity. In other words, they met the definition of a “traumatizing narcissist.”


As a result of the emotional abuse by a parent, the children absorbed three important lessons about themselves and their place in the world: I am not accepted for who I am, I am not safe, and I am not important. In this way, parental acts that fall within the category of emotional abuse can penetrate the very being of the child and shape their sense of who they, casting a long shadow on their lives.


The New York Foundling’s Dr. Mel Schneiderman and Dr. Amy Baker are the authors of “Bonded to the Abuser: How Victims Make Sense of Childhood Abuse” – available May 16th. To purchase or view the book on Amazon.com please click here: Bonded to the Abuser: How Victims Make Sense of Childhood Abuse


To visit the author’s website: http://www.amyjlbaker.com/


Acknowledgments: Selected by Rowan and Littlefield for a book signing at the 2015 Book Expo of America

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