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why do kids who have been sexually abused, cut themselves, cry, beat up pets etc?I'm...

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:30 PM via web

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why do kids who have been sexually abused, cut themselves, cry, beat up pets etc?

I'm doing an essay about abuse that needs to be turned in today and the answer I receive from enotes always helps me form it.  Thanks Joelle

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM (Answer #1)

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Children often lack the vocabulary to express their feelings in non-harmful ways, so they resort to acting them out instead. This can take many forms, including inflicting injury on themselves or on others.

Passing on the pain by hurting younger children or pets is common as a stress relief for children who feel powerless over what has happened to him. Untreated victims sometimes grow up to become abusers. Other, less aggressive children turn inward, and inflict injury on themselves instead.

Self-injury is a complex phenomenon, and has been shown to common among sexually abused children. Some psychologists says that it is an effort to feel something, rather than just feeling numb. Others theorize that the injury releases endorphins, brain chemicals which provide a level of relaxation or comfort.

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