Our expert says:
Long-term effects of childhood abuse or neglect vary greatly. Those who wish to ignore the fact that such awful things happen, assume there are never any real effects. And unfortunately some unbalanced self-appointed advocates and "experts" exaggerate the effects.
Children are remarkably resilient. Some survivoe appalling abuse and grow into gine people without noticeable damage ; some are significantly affected by milder though of course still unpleasant experiences.
Those who write books of appear on the ever-gullible Carte Blanche type of sensationsl pop psychology shows, who suggest damage is inevitable, and, even more misleading, who suggest there are specific and predictable patterns of effects - who give checklists of symptoms they suggest point unerringly towards particular types of abuse, are lying or ignorant - that sort of predictability does not happen.
IF there are signs ( of any type ) suggesting possible damage ( not inevitable but surely possible ) there needs to be a proper objective assessment by a competent shrink. And undoubtedly normal counselling / psychotherapy IS useful in reducing or freeing one from the symptoms. I recommend AGAINST going to a therapist with a special interest in child abuse or its later effects, because far too many of that group ar fanatics riding their own agenda, and they tend to find what they expect, whether or not it was there to start with, and to use their patients / clients for their own larger aims, rather than concentrate on what the individual actually needs. Also, therapy MUST be based on modern, scientifically validated methods such as Cognitive-behaviour Therapy (CBT) and ABSOLUTELY NEVER on outdated and useless psychoanalytic models. " HYpnotherapy" is to be avoided, too, as it has far too great a potential for making things worse, and for creating false memories of events when the real ones are troubling enough
So, to your basic questions -the long-terms effects may vary from nothing noticeable to the seriously troubling ; and in almost every case the person has at least as much chance of living a happy, loving and fulfilling life as anyone, some needing therapy to help them complete that task.
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