Rebellion can be quiet gestures that have a double meaning.
Too often, the message the child is trying to communicate gets lost. Harsh judgement and words are heaped upon them. What looks like naughtiness is a cry for help.
The drawings given to the abuser with a smile.
The hidden toys and belongings – from small trinkets to school uniforms.
Refusing praise – repeatedly getting in trouble for the same thing you asked them not to do.
Clenched fists and jaw.
Sudden acting out – clinging to you, talking constantly or not at all.
The above aren’t necessarily signs of abuse. Rather a message is being sent “I’m scared” or “I’m confused” and this is the best way I know to protect myself.
Creating a safe space to make mistakes is just as important as anything else in learning to grow up.