Children absorb the world around them. Therefore it's possible to do harm through a negative environment without doing anything to hurt the child directly. Pathology in the child's environment can be transferred to the child. Whether it is specific fears, mentally unstable parents, psychological illness or depression among caretakers, or other environmental pathology, being surrounded and immersed in negative environments is enough to create problems. Children will soak up their surroundings. If there are toxic emotional climates in the environment, these will seep into the kids.
Messages of Destruction
We often say in our other literature that child abuse isn't about actions, it's about the messages a child receives as a result of those actions. After all, it is ideas, not actions, that a child will carry with them into the future. Therefore it is ideas, not actions, that are the only way injury can be carried into the future. This concept holds true no matter what the trauma. Regardless of what particular predicament you're dealing with, remember to think about the messages. Consider not only what occurred, but pay close attention to the various ideas a child may take away from it. Mere ideas hold both the power to heal and the power to harm. Here is a sampling of some of the negative ideas that result form their respective situations:
Pain subsides, and children can experience equally acute pain in a variety of other ways; falling down and scraping a knee, for instance. What makes physical abuse so much more destructive than these other pains? It's all in the ideas...