If the physical action or spoken words are consistently/constantly directed in a hurtful, negative manner and are damaging to the receiver that is abuse.
However, be careful.
I am often asked , especially by adolescents, if a parent being overly critical is considered “abuse.” If a parent repeatedly calls you something unfounded, such as, “You’re a waste of space on this Earth and no one will ever love you.” Yes, I believe that’s verbally abusive. Those kind of words lower self esteem and self worth. However, if a parent says: “You are wasting your time, and much of your life, with your friends who always get into trouble and also, they don’t seem to care very much if you get into trouble with them,” then that’s responsible parenting and setting boundaries. In fact, that’s what parents should do. There are always back walls and guidelines for parents/guardians or they are not “parenting” but rather just existing in a safe and comfortable environment. Parenting is the toughest of all jobs.
Also, if you are physically hit by someone who “loves” you… it “might be” abuse. If it happens more than once … it is abuse. If you are hit often, for no apparent reason, by the same person… it is without a doubt physical abuse and it needs to be reported. Adolescent or adult, constant words of negativity or continual physical punishment to your body by another person is… NEVER ok. Do not mistake this for love. Sue
I ask that you visit my Web Site: www.suebrownauthor.com and watch with open heart and mind the MySpace video, “Alyssa Lies.” I have included it in the center of the page (October 30th). Merely click on the center arrow. This is a true story of the ”drama” that unfolds in America’s classrooms each and every day. I was part of the classroom situation for many years and knew intuitively with which of my students it might unfold; I was a kindred spirit. However, there were many times I couldn’t see it at all… and it never failed to surprise me when the abuse revealed itself in a student’s writings or actions. I don’t know why I was surprised because I too was one of the “children” that hid the abuse at home so well while growing up.
I chose to leave teaching, a few years ago and write and speak up about Child Abuse. It is a silent epidemic. A proficient teacher in our country, teaches not only his/her subject matter…but also teaches about LIFE. And LIFE in these times is hard. Child Abuse can be eradicated . There is no “cure” out there in the wings waiting to be discovered like a potential cure for Cancer. But, there is the huge job of accepting this condition as part of the American fabric and acting upon it.
Be part of the solution and recognize it is everywhere in America. This is not an avoidance issue because it might be awkward or uncomfortable to acknowledge.
If you are aware of anyone abusing a child or if you are being abused yourself…speak up, today. Sue