Why do abused children often feel guilty when they didn’t do anything wrong?
Children have a hard time admitting abuse because they feel like their families will be angry with them or won’t believe them. When children do finally admit to being abused, they often feel scared and embarrassed, and may experience many different feelings. Whether children are abused sexually, physically, or emotionally, they often deal with feelings of guilt and shame. When a child is a victim of sexual abuse—he or she will often feel guilty for the rest of his or her life.
Sadly, sexually abused children have a difficult time shaking the feelings of guilt. The reason? They often feel like they did something to bring the abuse upon themselves or they feel some degree of responsibility for the abuse. They may also feel guilty for what happened to the abuser. For example, if the abuser was a teacher who got thrown in jail, they might feel guilty for ruining the teacher’s career or be worried what other students will think of them.
Also, children who have been abused feel shame. In fact, the feeling of shame can torment a child and affect the rest of his or her life. The shame can affect the way they communicate and handle relationships throughout his or her life—causing serious life-long effects.
Because children who have been abused have a hard time shaking the feelings of shame and guilt, it is critical that child abuse victims seek therapy immediately and get professional help. To learn how you can help an abused child, order a free copy of our book, When the Unthinkable Happens: Your Guide to Florida Child Abuse Claims.