In Health Professionals

Sticks and Stones Do Break Bones and Spirits

Sticks and Stones

There’s an old saying that goes “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is of course ridiculous because most people are well aware of the connection between hurtful words and mental anguish. However, few people ever make the connection between physical abuse and mental torment, but the victims of physical violence are often times left with a lot of emotional scars with which they have to cope.

Sticks & Stones may Break my Heart

The old euphemism was originally a nursery rhyme taught to small children to teach them not to let the opinion of others affect them. The saying has even been made into a song by several different artists, including Tracy Lawrence and New Found Glory. The sticks and stones lyrics reiterate the idea that a person’s psyche should be impervious to words, but hundreds of verbally bullied children take their own life annually.

Perpetuating the Cycle

More people are making the connection between verbal torment and psychological anguish, and some people are even taking steps to completely criminalize the act of verbal bullying online. However, there is little attention paid to the relationship between physical abuse and poor mental health. However, many of the children who go on to be school yard bullies are in fact victims of physical abuse within their own homes. The cycle is perpetuated so often because the abusive parent was the victim of physical abuse as a child as well.

Break the Chain

Children who are physically abused are far more likely to do the same to their children. This is one of the mental aspects of physical abuse which people rarely talk about. If a child is found to be the victim of abuse within the home, the decision may be made to move the child to another environment. However, uprooting the child’s life and subjecting them to foster care may compound the mental anguish as opposed to relieving it.

The long term effects of physical abuse almost always carry psychological side effects which last long after any broken bones have healed. Stopping the cycle of abuse is a difficult process, because the child must now overcome the progression of nature. Children will naturally grow up to be like the adults around them, putting abused youths at a distinct advantage.

Third and fourth generation soldiers, police and firemen aren’t so difficult to find, because these people followed the path blazed by their role models. Unfortunately, an abused child is far more likely to walk this path than is someone who grew up in a functioning family unit. Even if the child isn’t the target of the domestic violence he or she is far more likely to become an abuser or an abused spouse.

The Unseen Effects of Domestic Violence

Little girls who grow up seeing their mothers get abused by their father, or even step fathers, are far more likely to marry an abusive man. This is because the young women will naturally look for traits in a man which they saw in the abusive father figure. Since the young woman has known only unparalleled levels of dysfunction, she associates the physical abuse with becoming an adult.

Domestic violence against women is one of the worst forms of bullying there is. Unfortunately, many people don’t think of domestic violence as bullying, but there’s no better example of bullying than a man beating a much smaller, physically weaker woman. This is one of the areas where physical abuse can take the worst toll on the human psyche.

In nature, female mammals are protected by the stronger males. This is the reason why males are so physically imposing, so that they can defend a family. Women naturally seek the protection of their men, and it can be devastating to their mental health when the perceived protector becomes the biggest threat. Many women will leave a relationship at the first sign of abuse. However, women raised in a home where their mothers were abused have had it instilled in them to endure the beatings.

Unfortunately, half of all murdered women are killed by the hands of a former husband or lover. According to the Illinois Cook County Department of Corrections, 40% of women in prison for murder are there for killing abusive former boyfriends or husbands. However, most women never take arms against the men who regularly abuse them, and they never leave the situation either. This is because the abuser has made threats of increased violence in response to any attempts by the woman to leave the relationship. Instead, the woman stays, and greatly increases the chances of her son abusing his wife and the chances that her daughters will be abused as adults.

Broken Bones and a Broken Spirit

Another factor associated with physical, domestic violence is the depression which can set in. Sometimes the depression stems from the woman having her access to loved ones or even her ability to leave the home taken away. The abused female complies with these unreasonable demands in order to avoid further physical violence.

According to, abused women may not think of surrendering their inalienable rights as abuse. Unfortunately, this attitude often ends in tragic consequences for the woman, the abuser and the children involved. While the world is waking up to the long term effects of school yard bullying, they may be ignoring the predominant, underlying cause of then bully’s lashing out.

Signs That a Partner may Become Abusive

  • Controlling Attitude
  • Limits the Amount Access the Woman has to the Vehicle, Money or the Phone
  • Gets Angry for no Apparent Reason
  • Blames the Woman for his Shortcomings
  • Pressures the Woman for sex even When she Doesn’t Want to do it
  • He has Abused Other Women Before

There is a lot of physical pain someone can be caused by a stick and stones, but the emotional effects may be far worse. Children exposed to this type of behavior can be scarred for life, becoming a burden upon society. Breaking these cycles of abuse is obviously easier said that done, but perhaps people will begin to realize the dangers of allowing physical violence in the home to continue. Many times, abusive men are sentenced to time behind bars, but the underlying cause of the abuse is rarely addressed. An abusive man is typically a formerly abused child who has become an exact replica of the poor example which was set for him when he was a youth.

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