Saturday, October 16, 2010

Definitions of Abuse

I want to be clear about what we're talking about here by defining the different types of abuses I'll be talking about here through these definitions I have found to be helpful. 

  1. Emotional Abuse - This particular definition comes from the book Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel.  She's not a Christian writer, but her words have really made a lot of sense to me in this particular book.  Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior occurring on a continuous basis over time.  It is a pattern of behavior that attacks a child's emotional development and sense of self worth and can include verbal abuse, placing excessive or unreasonable demands on a child that are beyond his or her capabilities, being overly controlling, emotionally smothering a child, and/or rejection or emotionally abandoning a child. (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 17)
  2. Emotional smothering - includes being overprotective or unwilling to allow the child to create a separate life from her parents. (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 17)
  3. Verbal abuse - includes constant criticism, ridiculing, blaming, belittling, insulting, rejecting and inappropriate teasing. (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 17)
  4. Physical neglect - failure on the part of a parent or caregiver to provide for basic physical needs including food, water, shelter, attention to hygiene, medical needs or adequate supervision  (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 18)
  5. Emotional neglect - failure to provide the nuturing and positive support necessary for a child's emotional and psychological growth and development (love, support, guidance, inattention to the child) (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel, p. 18)
  6. Physical child abuse - physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can be the result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child physically.  (
  7. Sexual abuse - includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.  (

We're talking abuse here.  Not day to day or once in a while parental mistakes.  These are things that are very damaging to a child's soul/body/mind.  In no way do I want to be giving a parent who is trying their best a place to be slandered, but the child who either exists or has existed in you a place to become free.

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