Mindfulness and Child Abuse

Mindfulness is a wonderful coping strategy for everyone! It is an essential life skill for individuals with anxiety, panic, addictions, eating disorders, chronic depression, chronic autoimmune diseases like lupus or chronic fatigue, for care givers, for those living with someone who is abusive, addicted or seriously mentally ill. With mindfulness, which produces a higher level of reality based awareness, we can find the answers we need to guide our lives. The strength is built into your mind/body/spirit system, and mindfulness helps you tap into that strength. Mindfulness meditation and other consciousness raising activities help you and I create our own silver lining, our own emotional balance, our own inner peacefulness.

What does mindfulness have to do with child abuse and the chronic life issues it produces? On the surface, absolutely nothing. However, they are very related. Mindfulness is reality based awareness and conscious now-focused living. Living mindfully indicates your effort to create a relaxed environment for yourself. Mindfulness philosophy values mutual respect and cooperative living as well as honesty, kindness and compassion. Mindful living produces positive change. See “A List of Virtues” published on this page January 26, 2011. It is a list of positive personality traits that help us build a more positive outlook and a more positive way of being, especially when combined with meditation. Each virtue is an definition of love.

Child abuse is not always easy to identify, especially if the abuser has creative and manipulative ways of keeping his or her activities secret. Often, especially when we’ve grow up in chaos ourselves, our abuse meter is damaged or broken because of what we had to accept to survive. We need insight and understanding to help us identify what might be going on right under our noses. Abusers confess their abuse through very questionable behaviors. The organization STOP IT NOW!© has identified the following behaviors as positive indicators that something is very wrong. I added the last two item on the list. The abuser often:

• Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want this affection.

• Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen (for example, talks repeatedly about the child’s developing body).

• Insists on time alone with a child with no interruptions.

• Spends most of his or her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with someone of his or her own age.

• Regularly offers to baby-sit children for free or takes children on overnight outings alone.

• Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason.

• Frequently walks in on children or teens in the bathroom.

*Makes you feel stupid or crazy for asking questions or speaking up when you notice something that concerns you.

*Tries to make themselves indispensable to YOU, so that you’ll miss or overlook their abusive attitudes or behaviors.

Be mindful and aware of the people your children interact with, acquaintances, friends and family. Stay reality based and notice what is happening around you. It is so easy for us to fear “rocking the boat” or “making a mistake.” We are often afraid we’ll “hurt someones feelings” or “make someone angry.” Abuse needs to be reported and dealt with through the proper channels by trained professionals. If you suspect abuse is occurring, tell a teacher, a policeman, a social worker, a therapist, a doctor. All are mandated by law to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities.

Bring peacefulness to your life by living a mindful life. You can start with the recorded meditations on this page!