The cycle of abuse reflects a means of passing abuse from one generation to the next. Experiencing violence leads to the involvement in crime later on in life. The type of abuse also predisposes to different types of violence. Those who were sexually abused in childhood tended to also get involved in sexual abuse. Maltreatment is often associated with offending.
Abuse does not necessarily lead to criminal behavior. There are other factors that lead to criminal behavior such as poverty, bad school performance as well as drugs and alcohol abuse. Quite often though those who experience various types of abuses in their childhood also engage in the maladaptive type of behavior in the future.
The cycle of abuse is also associated with emotional problems and emotional dysregulation. Those who find themselves engaged in the cycle of abuse have a different perception of the world around them. They have different beliefs with regards to what is safe that may lead to psychopathology. Children who experience violence also have a high degree of distress that they are unable to manage. The environment in which they live fails to provide adequate support for dealing with the harm they experience. They also experience fear of the consequences and tend to withdraw.
There are also various factors that contribute to the cycle of violence. When there is victimization experienced in childhood, it may also lead to further victimization later on. Those who fall victim to abuse and violence seek various types of escape to deal with the trauma. One of such escapes is drugs and alcohol.
Maltreatment in childhood leads to various developmental changes in the child’s brain. Negative experiences are associated with high levels of stress making certain parts of the brain responsible for empathy and emotions less active. Also, those who experienced abuse have certain parts of the brain smaller than those who have no such experience.
There may also be other brain dysfunctions associated with abuse such as dysfunctional memory or emotions. One profound effect of child abuse is its ability to learn. Other effects involve the ability to adapt and deal with stressful situations.
Overall, such children will become less stable. Other traits of abused children involve problems with developing relationships, avoidance and withdrawals. They acquire low self-esteem and become depressed. They then engage more often in risk taking and substance abuse that also become part of the cycle of abuse.
Experiences of fear, range, self-blame as well as guilt would lead to the negative view of themselves. They consider themselves as less worthy being more prone to cognitive impairments.
One of the most common mechanisms involved in the cycle of violence has been aggression experienced early in life. Even toddlers who were abused can be more aggressive towards their peers. Such individuals also become more aggressive later in life and engage in violence. They develop various ways to cope and escape from their traumas that may pertain to self-medicating. The most common consequence of child maltreatment is alcohol. Alcohol dependency also quite often then leads to engaging in other types of crime.