In the scenario, of when an adult is abusing a child, the child, for obvious reasons, is told to remain silent. The adult will need to protect his or her self and so in order to find any guarantee of this silence, and future compliance, a guilt complex will be created within the mind of the child. In a sense the adult is ensuring that the child doesn’t step beyond a certain point. The child is being taught to protect the adult. There is a boundary of sorts being established here.
“If you tell mommy I will go to jail and you’ll be taken into care.”
It’s clear that the child is being told to respect a boundary of privacy and the adult is shattering any personal boundaries needed by the child. When our boundaries aren’t established, and respected in childhood, the consequences are far reaching. Self-worth and self-respect will be damaged.
If we learn that the adults around us can encroach on our personal boundaries, and we should be made to feel guilty as a result, our development becomes stunted. Later in life we may find ourselves in situations where we feel powerless to assert out needs, only to be overly considerate, to those of others. The boundaries of others are respected and ours become either secondary or non-existent.
Every instance where this is felt our lack of self-worth is compounded. Self-esteem is tied in with this as it’s built on the back of self-worth.
Once again it’s an awareness of cause and effect that is important. When we understand the cause of our distress and confusion, we’re better able to direct our energies toward those who fail, to respect our boundaries. As adults we may find ourselves in a fight to gain the respect we deserve. Awareness of the true problem is a very good start.