davidrochester left a comment that sums it all up for me. I’ve made similar comments throughout my blog but he does it so beautifully and concisely I must highlight it in a post…
Bottom line in my book, abuse is not always recognized because sometimes it’s subtle. Also the subtle forms of abuse need not be an excuse to fuel fire against poor lost souls doing their best but still harming delicate psyches. We need to learn to heal. And that means well-intentioned parents sometimes need to take a deep look at themselves as see how they might be participating in hurting their children. With love and compassion, both for themselves and their children…
Then of course there is the blatant evil abuse that happens…but no one tends to deny that shit.
davidrochester’s comment in response to this post:
I think someone else earlier in your thread may have said something very similar to what I’m going to say, but I’m going to say it anyway, because the blindness of attributing so much mental and emotional “illness” to genetic factors almost makes me start to foam at the mouth.
Yes, mental and emotional illness runs in families. And why? Because emotionally and physically abusive parenting is passed from generation to generation. Many, many people are suffering the emotional and psychological fallout from having been parented by emotionally absent, emotionally abusive parents; by codependents, alcoholics, narcissists. It has been conclusively proven that long-term trauma damages the brain. This is NOT a form of “hereditary” mental illness, except insofar as it is inflicted repeatedly, generationally.
PTSD is a hugely misunderstood phenomenon. It is frequently misdiagnosed as clinical depression, bipolar disorders, and in extreme cases, even as schizophrenia.
I do think that genetics or internal wiring plays a small part in this, in that people are predisposed to produce and metabolize chemicals differently — and this can be seen in something as simple as the fact that people respond differently to prescription medication. But I don’t think that necessarily translates to mental and emotional illness being “hereditary.” If you think you’re doomed by a genetic bullet, IMO, you’re much less likely to seize the reins of your destiny. (emphasis mine)
And I say this after having been diagnosed with severe clinical depression at the age of ten, and misdiagnosed with several other things before I was finally correctly diagnosed with a severe form of dissociative trauma disorder, which I am now working on, successfully, with no drug therapy whatsoever, having voluntarily taken myself off meds five years ago, after being told, repeatedly, that I would be dependent on drugs for the rest of my life because clinical depression clearly runs in my family.
Sorry, no. Child abuse runs in my family, but it is largely denied and/or ignored.
It also amazes me that when psychotropics or other drugs don’t work for people, the immediate strategy is to try another drug, or more of the drug, rather than perhaps considering that the patient’s condition is one that does not respond to drugs. This is how we have ended up with so many “psychotropic zombies,” as I think of them. I don’t know whether clinicians just aren’t trained to ask the right questions … of course it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s going on with someone who has repressed memories, or who is simply in complete denial about the truth of his or her life … most people will go to great lengths to avoid admitting a terrible childhood, especially in regard to emotional abuse, which is subtle, and often consists of repeated invalidation of the child, creating an adult who is reluctant to speak about feelings. But my point is that we need a shift in mental health philosophy, to consider that there may be more to a situation than meets the eye, and drugging someone into submission is not the most effective way to heal that person. (emphasis mine)
Sorry for the long comment; this is, as you can probably tell, a major hot button for me.
Thank you David,
I’m still recovering and am tired…so glad you did my work for me!!
For more on trauma as cause of “mental illness,” see here for a video by John Breeding.