A definition of abuse would read something like this: “To separate the child from others or to cut the child off from normal social experiences which results in extreme aloneness”
Isolating is not only a form of abuse, it is also a method by which an abuser ‘grooms’ his or her victim or ensures that the victim is separated from help and from potential witnesses.
Isolating is: keeping a child away from family and friends.
» leaving child in room unattended for long periods
» keeping child/victim away from family
» not allowing person to have friends
» not permitting person interaction with others
» keeping child away from other parent if separated
» rewarding person for withdrawing from social contact (and discouraging/punishing contact)
» ensuring adult/child looks and acts differently than peers
» isolating child/person in closet
» insisting on excessive studying and/or chores
» preventing youth/child/adult participating in activities outside the home
» punishing youth/others for engaging in age appropriate social experiences
FACT: Isolating emotional abuse has had the lowest rate of substantiation of any of the types of emotional abuse (Kairys, 20022).
Isolating as Abuse
Isolating a child prevents them from checking out what social ‘norms’ are and is yet another way for the abuser to maintain power over the victim. If a child – or adult – is suffering abuse, the abuser needs for their actions to be secret. Isolating is a way of maintaining this secrecy.
Remember: knowledge is power. So keeping your victim away from knowledge will keep them powerless.
Isolating as a form of Grooming
An abuser chooses a victim who is isolated and therefore less able – and likely – to report his or her actions. Often a person will have few friends and family and the abuser encourages this and increases the amount of isolation.