I remember when I was first introduced to the counter notion that not all children who experenced interpersonal violence had to grow up to be either a victim or abuser. Until that time it was assumed that a child’s fate was sealed if they grew up with violence in their home. It was probably 25 years ago at a play therapy conference; “New studies reveal that it is the ability to connect to another human that determines what path a person takes.” That has rung in my head all these years later. It’s a touchstone that I always come back to when working with the youngest victims of trauma, interpersonal or otherwise.
No matter how awful the presenting behavior you must always look for the connection and find a way for the child to feel heard. A behavior chart has nothing on a good bear hug from a loving parent. Or a friend who notices the sadness in your eyes. It’s these types of experiences that guide us towards being our best selves. The ability to connect and attend to other’s needs is key to developing a healthy ego.
Keir Harding says those who have lived through trauma deserve better, and Ash Charlton says it is a myth that one of the biggest predictors for an adult becoming an abuser is if they have been abused themselves