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Question
Posted by: Pen Gorringe | 2010/01/26

an abusive father

What are the long term effects on children of an abusive father who drinks too much? What effects does it have on their relationships and their ability to live a happy and fulfiliing life when they grow up?
If it does cause problems, what can be done to correct them in terms of therapy?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

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be based on modern, scientifically validated methods such as Cognitive-behaviour Therapy (CBT) and ABSOLUTELY NEVER on outdated and useless psychoanalytic models.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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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Dee | 2010/01/26

I was abused and made it later in life there were things that I lacked in later in life and did not realise them, I always thought I was a bad person as I was told and that ever bad thing done to me I deserved and subconsiously I knew that I was in the right but I had to have affirmation from other people (i.e A would treat me bad and I would tell B, C and D about the issue wanting them to tell me that I was not in the wrong and if they do not see my point I would talk and talk until they agreed I was right not giving them a chance to say anything unti they agreed with me and that irritated people).
I saw myself as a survivor with no after effects however I had issues that I needed to deal with. I wanted approval for everything, I am a grown up woman but would always go to dad if I wanted to do something (he neglected me as a baby I had to find him later in life because my mom was abusive I needed a home I felt that he loved me) listen to his reasoning before taking a decision maybe it was because I never had to discuss things with anyone before I had to make decisions to survive.
Now I am finding myself with the help of a shrink I acted like a child in most things because I had to grow up very early in life and when I relaxed I went back to being a child again immature. Something happened to wake me up where I found that my younger sister acted llke an adult and I like a child in a misunderstanding we had.

So abuse does affect us differently I guess its just for person to see if they behave normally or a bit different to other people.

Reply to Dee
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/01/26

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.

Reply to cybershrink

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