The article below is about social anxiety, but I have always believed that this lack of intrinsic worth is something that also makes kids vulnerable to being groomed and abused. Think about how well these paragraphs describe a typical survivor as a child:
“In our culture, the measure of success and acceptability is often based on projecting the correct image. However, allowing external influences to define you fosters perfectionism and self-neglect — and undermines self-esteem. You will have difficulty discovering and honoring your personal direction and hold back from pursuing that which is most important to you.
Feeling anxious about how others perceive you can cause you to be overly concerned with “fitting in” and being liked. In order to feel adequate and accepted you depend on validation from outside. However, if you are the one who determines your self-worth according to inner criteria, you are less likely to allow the views and expectations of others define your value. “
A child who is constantly battling for acceptance, and being valued by others, is a child who can be groomed, and a child who is used to hiding things about themselves.. A child who’s family has instilled a sense of their own value and worth, is much less vulnerable. That’s not a guarantee that they are protected from being abused, no one can ever guarantee that, but it does make them a lesser target.