Bonded to the Abuser: How Victims Make Sense of Childhood Abuse

Bonded to the Abuser: How Victims Make Sense of Childhood Abuse

by Amy J.L. Baker author of Surviving Parental Alienation: A Journey of Hope and Healing and Bonded to the Abuse, Mel Schneiderman


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Tens of thousands of children are removed from home each year due to some form of child maltreatment, usually physical neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse, although sometimes for emotional abuse as well. An additional significant number of children are victims of child maltreatment but remain in their home. Extensive research reveals the far reaching and long lasting negative impact of maltreatment on child victims, including on their physical, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. One particularly troubling and complicated aspect is how the child victim forms (and maintains) a “traumatic bond” with his abuser, even becoming protective and defensive of that person despite the pain and suffering they have caused.

This book will provide the reader with the essential experience of understanding how children make meaning of being maltreated by a parent, and how these traumatic bonds form and last. Through an examination of published memoirs of abuse, the authors analyze and reveal the commonalities in the stories to uncover the ways in which adult victims of childhood abuse understand and digest the traumatic experiences of their childhoods. This understanding can inform interventions and treatments designed for this vulnerable population and can help family and friends of victims understand more fully the maltreatment experience “from the inside out.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442236905
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 05/16/2015
Pages: 186
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Amy J.L. Baker, PhD, is a nationally recognized leader and expert in the field of parental alienation and loyalty conflicts. She is the author of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind (2007) and Working with Alienated Children and Families: A Clinical Guidebook (2012). Baker has published numerous academic articles on the topic of parental alienation and writes a blog for Psychology Today on the topic. She also has an active coaching practice for targeted parents and serves as an expert witness in custody disputes around the country. She is the author of the forthcoming Surviving Parental Alienation.

Mel Schneiderman is senior vice president, mental health services at the New York Foundling and is cofounder and senior advisor and chair of the research advisory committee at the Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection. Dr. Schneiderman founded the first child sexual abuse treatment program located within a child welfare agency in 1986. Dr. Schneiderman has been a leader in the field of child welfare for the past thirty years. He was one of the founders and first chair of the Committee of Mental Health and Healthcare Professionals in New York City. Dr. Schneiderman introduced the first agency-wide universal mental health screening program for children entering foster care in New York City. He is currently the President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, New York. He has served on several boards and presented at over fifty conferences and workshops, he is the recipient of numerous grants and has published several articles in peer reviewed journals.

Table of Contents


1: Stories of Physical Abuse

2: Making Meaning of Physical Abuse

3: Stories of Sexual Abuse

4: Making Meaning of Sexual Abuse

5: Stories of Emotional Abuse

6: Making Meaning of Emotional Abuse

7: Stories of Emotional Neglect

8: Making Meaning of Emotional Neglect

9: Stories of Physical Neglect

10: Making Meaning of Physical Neglect

11: Moving Forward


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