I have a six-month-old grandson. I look in his eyes and he's so trusting and loving to me. I realize I too must have been like that at some point. But when a child looks at someone older and bigger and is completely helpless and they are let down, I suspect it begins right then.
The child must trust the adults or older ones in their life for safety, love, and all their care early on. But what happens when they no longer, even for a few minutes feel safe? Or what happens when they become fearful of their caretakers? Or when they no longer feel they are loved and valued?
I suspect it's at that instant they begin to lose some of their innocence and the sudden reality of how helpless and vulnerable they are at that moment hits them. That must be a terrible feeling especially to the very young.
I'm not sure exactly when it happened to me. But at some point I realized, probably on some primal inarticulate level, I'm on my own right now. I do remember one evening I was about 14. I was talking to mom while she was doing dishes about how strained I and my father's relationship was. It got quiet for a few seconds and I decided to tell her why I no longer respected him. I can't remember the exact words but she must have known what was coming and immediately changed the subject.
As I stood there looking at her back and realizing she had just shut me down, I got this sinking, heavy feeling in my chest and realized she didn't want to hear what I was about to say. I was on my own.
Thankfully for me, as a Christian, I was never alone and never would be in a spiritual sense and that helped ease the blow that night. For many though, that sudden realization, whenever it happens can be tragic and devastating even if they can't articulate it.
Just my thoughts