Broken Childhoods
By Maryam Hussain

January 7, 2009
Every individual is born with the right of a sound, loving and affectionate childhood. Unfortunately not everyone is so lucky as to get their basic right. Many fight for their parentís attention, while others try to get away from their parents brutal behavior. Child abuse exists in every society. A large number of children go through a bad childhood due to the behaviors of the people around them. The emotional, physical and mental torture caused to them at such an early age affects their personalities as they grow older.

There is a common myth amongst us that violence shapes children into better human beings. It would be no exaggeration if I say that children are punished mercilessly for the smallest mistakes. Women of the house beat them with sticks, pull their hair, kick them and slap them. Once their fathers come home, hell breaks loose once again. There is no end to these kinds of inhumane practices. Violence and beatings do not benefit the children. At some time in life they reach a point when the parents and their strictness no more matters, and that is the time when it is too late for the parents to make changes. They loose their children.

Apart form the physical torture caused to them, such children go through a lot of emotional torture as well. They start thinking that their parents hate them. They end up blaming themselves for the misery and think they are at fault while their parents are right in their reaction. The continuous stress and memories of the dreadful past circulate their minds at all time. Their concentration is lost; they are not able to concentrate on other activities that require their full attentions, like their academics, sports or any other extra curricular activity.

The worst possible feeling for abused children is probably of hopelessness and helplessness. If there is no hope from the parentsí side to transform, it only worsens the situation. Changes are always expected from children because they are younger. They learn to live without having anyone to confide in. Telling the parents is not an option any longer because all that means is a good session of beating all over again. Once again they have to go through the mental turmoil for several days. Many cry themselves to sleep while others turn towards self mutilation or criminal activities.

It would be ridiculous not to expect a reaction on the childís part. Many females engage themselves in self harm. When they donít have any other outlet for their sadness and vulnerability, self harm serves as helpful. It gives them a way out of the tension. It distracts them from the real matter to other matters. They may be surrounded by extremely disturbing thoughts all the time. Self mutilation may also lead to suicide attempts in extreme cases.

A large number of youth turn to drugs for the tranquility they find no where else. Bad company always influences others, and once in it, it becomes hard to escape. They find it easier to drug themselves out of the worldly worries, all they need at that instant is to find peace, which they feel is only possible through drugs. Unfortunately drugs are available very easily and cheaply, so no one faces any trouble obtaining it. What they fail to realize is that help is possible, provided that they search for it the right places.

Victims of an unhappy childhood start becoming negative about themselves and the things associated to them. A lot of them suffer from inferiority complexes. Pessimistic thoughts take over optimism. Leading a life of hopelessness is definitely very uncomfortable. Everyone is living on hope of a better future, but when the surroundings seem dark and vague, no room is left for optimism.

In addition to this they may develop depression and anxiety. It is probably one of the hardest diseases. Worst of all one doesnít think correctly in a state of depression. They feel life is over for them and nothing is going to make it better. It is hard to live peacefully with chronic distress. These unwanted feelings of uselessness are hard to cope with. Even though professional help is available not everyone chooses to open up. Not only does it start controlling you, it also takes over all your interests. Things that previously excited you might not even move you as much as an inch in state of anxiety. You may lack interest in your loved ones and a feeling of emptiness and hollow space take over you soul and body.

Dissociative identity disorder is yet another disease that may be the result of an abusive childhood. Not only is DID a very frightful condition to be in, it is also a very over-taking and overly controlling disaster. This involves a person having more than one identity. The imaginary identities take over the patientís action and reactions. The real person is unable to discover herself under the immense pressure from the other identities present all the time.

It is ironic how everyone asks why the society does not change, why we are still inflicted with medieval behavior. The answer to this is very simple; we are not changing as a society. You and I make the society, if I change myself today, if I do my duty as a responsible Muslim and human being, the society will change. The problem actually lies within ourselves, we do not change, and we always expect others to take the first step. If everyone starts doing their part of the job, we will hopefully see a better society in the making.


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