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Trust, Mistrust, The Theft Of Innocence

rp_300px-Baby.jpgSorry to be so serious, so somber; but as I have been teaching child psychology this semester, I got to thinking about how abuse abuses a child’s sense of trust.  The first psychosocial stage in infancy, according to Erickson, is when an infant (future child) forms his or her sense of trust (or mistrust) in the world.  “Will I or won’t I get my needs met?”  “Am I safe?”  “Will anyone or anything harm me?”

Neglect! Sexual molestation!  Creating fear and anxiety in an innocent!  How horrible and disgusting.  I read an article posted on Face Book about a judge saying that a three year old was not harmed by sexual molestation.  Disrupting a child’s sense of security and safety.  Perhaps destroying and/or perverting the child’s physical and emotional responses to sexual stimuli permanently.

Little children are good at “reading” people and they can rely on their instincts to protect them and to help them meet not only their physical needs, but also their needs for love and affection and security.  When a child “read” another person as “unsafe” and is forced to accept them anyway, it messes up their whole “radar” system which is supposed to protect them from such people.  Such selfish, perverse, obscene interactions can destroy a child’s sense of trust for good

The younger the child the less able are they able to defend themselves from this type of abuse.  If older, they may sense that the abuse is wrong but may feel so shamed that they can’t tell for fear of being seen as “bad”.  Also a parent or caregiver can be an enabler and continue to let the abuser have unsupervised contact with a child whose sense of trust they are  destroying.


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