Emotional Abuse

One of these days, I intend to write some about my childhood and relationship with my father, how I believe my struggles with depression are rooted there, and how I think I have become a very good father at least partly because I have such a flawed model behind me to veer as far away from as I possibly can.

For now, I just read a column that hit very close to home. It’s by Andrew Vachss, a mystery novelist and lawyer who is also a relentless advocate for abused children.

I’m a lawyer with an unusual specialty. My clients are all children—damaged, hurting children who have been sexually assaulted, physically abused, starved, ignored, abandoned and every other lousy thing one human can do to another. People who know what I do always ask: “What is the worst case you ever handled?” When you’re in a business where a baby who dies early may be the luckiest child in the family, there’s no easy answer. But I have thought about it—I think about it every day. My answer is that, of all the many forms of child abuse, emotional abuse may be the cruelest and longest-lasting of all…

The whole thing is here.