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Childhood Abuse as a Cause of Personality Disorder Essay


Antisocial Personality Disorder

Diagnostic criteria for this type of disorders reflect the symptoms related to the inclination to antisocial behavior.

Failure to conform social norms with respect to lawful behaviors can be caused by experiencing child abuse as being exposed to sexual/physical abuse in the childhood results in law ability to adjust to environment, including social norms and laws.

Deceitfulness can be related experiencing child abuse, as the person can lie to avoid constant maltreatment. Being forced to use lies for protection from violence during the childhood leads to the formation of the corresponding habit.

Impulsivity can be related to child abuse as such experience inevitably leads to psychological trauma, which causes inclination to act without planning ahead. Kumari et al. found a negative relationship between childhood physical and sexual abuse, and volume in the inferior frontal region of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in inhibition and behavioral control (233). Deficits in this region may cause the inability to plan and regulate one’s behavior.

Irritability and aggressiveness might have resulted from being exposed to maltreatment during the childhood as such experience creates a false insight that aggressiveness and physical violence is an effective and acceptable method of influencing other people.

Reckless disregard for the safety of others can be related to exposure to maltreatment as a child as such experience disrupts the natural sense of the importance of safety. Beach et al. claim that sex abuse and other forms of child maltreatment create the potential for high levels of stress and deprive the child of a sense of security in the home environment (86). Such situation causes an adult person to put a little attention to the safety of other people.

Consistent irresponsibility might have resulted from being maltreated as a child as such experience causes low levels of self-esteem and motivation to fulfill duties. People who have been exposed to child abuse are more likely to be unwilling to take attempts to fulfill obligations because of the fear of failure.

Lack of remorse is related to being exposed to child abuse as such experience cause psychological trauma, which results in reducing the person’s ability to analyze his/her behavior and understand the guilty for certain actions.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Diagnostic criteria for this type of disorders reflect the inability to control emotions and instability of behaviors.

Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment might have resulted from a history of being abandoned as a child. The children who have experienced traumatic events demonstrate persistent avoidance of the stimuli associated with the traumatic event (Beals and Scott 32). Therefore, abandonment in the childhood naturally creates a ground for developing a strong fear of being abandoned in the adulthood.

Alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation can be caused by the exposure to neglecting in the childhood as such experience causes a severe psychological trauma, which causes the inclination to express judgments based on emotions.

Identity disturbance can be related to the experience of being abandoned or severely neglected as a child as little attention paid to the person by dearest people in the childhood influences the self-perception and creates a false idea of absence of self-significance.

Impulsivity in self-damaging areas can be related to being neglected in the childhood as children exposed to such treatment often see examples of self-damaging behaviors demonstrated by adults and follow these examples in the adulthood. The analysis of significant number of studies revealed the direct relation between non-sexual maltreatment of children and drug use and risky sexual behavior later in life (“Maltreated Neglected Children Are More Likely Be Troubled Adults” 13).

The inclination to suicidal behavior is directly related to neglect of children. A meta-analysis of 124 observational studies demonstrated a strong relation between emotional abuse and neglect of children and poor mental health later, including suicidal inclinations (“Maltreated Neglected Children Are More Likely Be Troubled Adults” 13).

Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood is related to being severely neglected as a child as experiencing the lack of attention in the childhood causes inclination to attract attention through demonstrating intense emotions.

Chronic feelings of emptiness can be related to being abandoned as a child as facing extreme situations naturally cause our body and psyche to give a freezing response. As being abandoned is a very stressful situation for a child, it provokes protective reflex, which numbs the emotions and feelings.

Intense anger or difficulty controlling it can be a consequence of being neglected as a child, as the child who experience lack of attention is more likely to try to attract the adults’ attention by aggressive behavior and physical violence.

Paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms are closely related to being abandoned as a child as this experience makes the person consider the world an unsafe place and be suspicious and unable to trust people.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Diagnostic criteria for this type of disorders reflect the inclination to avoid interaction with people because of certain fears.

Avoiding occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact might have resulted from a history of being ridiculed as a child as the person who have been criticized and rejected by the closest relatives is disposed to anticipating the same treatment from other people.

Lack of motivation to interact with people without being attractive to them can have origins in being ridiculed as a child. Hageman et al. conducted a study showing the direct relation of childhood teasing and certain symptoms of avoidant personality disorder, particularly anxiety (109).

Showing restraint within intimate relationships can also be regarded as a natural consequence of being humiliated and ridiculed as a child. The person, who has been criticized and humbled by dearest people, is more likely to be afraid of demonstrating feelings.

Experience of childhood teasing and humiliation can cause the person to be preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations, as the person who has not received enough evidence of being accepted by parents is inclined to search for acceptance in the society.

Being inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy can be caused by the childhood experience of humiliation as negative opinions about person’s personality expressed by the adults often causes low self-esteem. Being constantly criticized and humbled by adults in the childhood, the person is disposed to have a false idea of her/his significance.

The person can view the self as socially inept and personally unappealing because of the experienced humiliation and teasing. Roberts, Bishop, and Rooney claim that negative self-perception develops during the childhood years as the person interacts with the environment (244). Therefore, humiliation received from the closest environment inevitably leads to negative self-perception.

Being reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities can be based on lack of signals of praise and approbation demonstrated by adults to the person in the childhood. Great amount of criticism and teasing received by a child leads to the formation of fear to act in any sphere of life because of the conviction in disability to do something in the right way.

Being abused, abandoned or humiliated as a child causes the high level of disposition to social, borderline, and avoidant personality disorders.

Works Cited

Beach, Steven, Gene Brody, Alexandre Todorov, Tracy Gunter, and Robert Philibert. “Methylation at 5HTT Mediates the Impact of Child Sex Abuse on Women’s Antisocial Behavior: An Examination of the Iowa Adoptee Sample.” Psychosomatic Medicine 73.1 (2011): 83-87. Print.

Beals, Kelsey, and David Scott. “Neglect, Physical and Sexual Abuse: A Look at Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents.” Michigan Journal of Counseling: Research, Theory, and Practice 39.1 (2012): 31-38. Print.

Hageman, Tamara, Andrew Francis, Ashlee Field, and Steven Carr. “Links Between Childhood Experiences and Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptomatology.” International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy 15.1 (2+015): 101-116. Print.

Kumari, Veena, Gisli Gudjonsson, Shreya Raghuvanshi, Ian Barkataki, Pamela Taylor, Alexander Sumich, Kumar Das, Elizabeth Kuipers, Dominic Ffytche, and Malay Das. “Reduced Thalamic Volume in Men with Antisocial Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia and a History of Serious Violence and Childhood Abuse.” European Psychiatry 28.4 (2013): 225-234. Print.

“Maltreated Neglected Children Are More Likely Be Troubled Adults.” British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.) 345 (2012): e8216. Print.

Roberts, Clare, Brian Bishop, and Rosanna Rooney. “Depression and Bipolar Disorder in Childhood.” Handbook of Childhood Behavioral Issues: Evidence-Based Approaches to Prevention and Treatment. Ed. Thomas Gullotta and Gary Blau. New York: Routledge, 2007. 239-273. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 9). Childhood Abuse as a Cause of Personality Disorder. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-abuse-as-a-cause-of-personality-disorder/

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"Childhood Abuse as a Cause of Personality Disorder." IvyPanda, 9 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-abuse-as-a-cause-of-personality-disorder/.

1. IvyPanda. "Childhood Abuse as a Cause of Personality Disorder." July 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-abuse-as-a-cause-of-personality-disorder/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Childhood Abuse as a Cause of Personality Disorder." July 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-abuse-as-a-cause-of-personality-disorder/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Childhood Abuse as a Cause of Personality Disorder'. 9 July.

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