What are the effects of abusive parenting?

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tinyflame
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Hello,

I'm just interested to see what most people's opinions are about this topic in TSR.

My question is

What effects does abusive parenting have on children?

And I mean that the child suffers from any type of abuse, from physical to emotional.

And what have you read about this topic, any books, articles, documentaries, any neuroscience on this etc. ?

Feel free to discuss, I'm interested in what responses this question raises...
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Michael_98
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(Original post by tinyflame)
Hello,

I'm just interested to see what most people's opinions are about this topic in TSR.

My question is

What effects does abusive parenting have on children?

And I mean that the child suffers from any type of abuse, from physical to emotional.

And what have you read about this topic, any books, articles, documentaries, any neuroscience on this etc. ?

Feel free to discuss, I'm interested in what responses this question raises...
In my past experience I ended up developing anxiety and a feeling of unease around my father's family. Whom My mother hated and told lies about them, also to this day I have a burning dislike for her

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tinyflame
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(Original post by Michael_98)
In my past experience I ended up developing anxiety and a feeling of unease around my father's family. Whom My mother hated and told lies about them, also to this day I have a burning dislike for her

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Ahh, so how have you dealt with it further in your life?

How have you dealt with these difficult feelings?

Have you done any reading around this topic, do you need any information that could help you?

Also above all, when you tell this story to people how do they react to it?
Do they listen and support you, or do they tell you to not complain?
I'm interested if this topic is still taboo in society...

Also I admire your honesty about this, imo a lot of people protect their parents out of fear, even if they have blatantly abused them.
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Michael_98
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(Original post by tinyflame)
Ahh, so how have you dealt with it further in your life?

How have you dealt with these difficult feelings?

Have you done any reading around this topic, do you need any information that could help you?

Also above all, when you tell this story to people how do they react to it?
Do they listen and support you, or do they tell you to not complain?
I'm interested if this topic is still taboo in society...

Also I admire your honesty about this, imo a lot of people protect their parents out of fear, even if they have blatantly abused them.
In all honesty to this day it still gets me a little but at 16 I've had enough of my mother I've stopped listening or caring about what she thinks. The only people who know the true story are my cousins from my dad's side to this day using their past experience with their parents is what keeps mentally rooted. When I tell people about it, they neither cuss or defend my mother they just give me look meaning it's just how it is or say no more. Because from I can see they've more or less seen or have been in the same situation as me.

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tinyflame
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(Original post by Michael_98)
In all honesty to this day it still gets me a little but at 16 I've had enough of my mother I've stopped listening or caring about what she thinks. The only people who know the true story are my cousins from my dad's side to this day using their past experience with their parents is what keeps mentally rooted. When I tell people about it, they neither cuss or defend my mother they just give me look meaning it's just how it is or say no more. Because from I can see they've more or less seen or have been in the same situation as me.

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Sounds terrible,

You basically have to put up with it all alone?

I think it's good that you don't depend on her emotionally, it will give you the chance to take care of yorself, rather than keep being worried about what she thinks of you.
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MariaJB
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(Original post by tinyflame)
Hello,

I'm just interested to see what most people's opinions are about this topic in TSR.

My question is

What effects does abusive parenting have on children?

And I mean that the child suffers from any type of abuse, from physical to emotional.

And what have you read about this topic, any books, articles, documentaries, any neuroscience on this etc. ?

Feel free to discuss, I'm interested in what responses this question raises...
In my experience, it has made me more independent - always being told "do this or I'll kick you out on the streets!" And having parents who emotionally and physically abandon you make you more motivated to get a job and make sure your life is going somewhere, just in case.
However, how your parents raise you shapes you. As a child of mentally ill, selfish, immature parents, I struggle a lot emotionally and have had countless doctors diagnosed me with a variety of different things, which all add up to not being able to process complex emotional situations from an early age.
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upagumtree
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I did an essay on this last week.....

Emotional abuse - repeated criticism, invalidation of emotions leads to reluctance/fear of showing negative emotions. Basically, ignoring and bottling up and you can imagine what that does to a person over the life span.

Physical abuse - constant fear of whats coming next, the kid is always looking over his/her shoulder and doesn't know what mental state or mood the parents will be in at any given time. The trauma leads to a tendency to dissociate as a coping mechanism (going to a completely different place mentally, where the abuse is not happening which leads to lost time, essentially).

Sexual abuse - MAJOR trust issues especially if the abuser was someone the child knew. Dissociation again.

Basically, if you are very young and the person who is supposed to give you love and show you how to be is mistreating you in any way you will grow up seeing yourself, the world and other people in a very negative way. See Bowlby and all that for his work on attachment.
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tinyflame
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(Original post by upagumtree)
I did an essay on this last week.....

Emotional abuse - repeated criticism, invalidation of emotions leads to reluctance/fear of showing negative emotions. Basically, ignoring and bottling up and you can imagine what that does to a person over the life span.

Physical abuse - constant fear of whats coming next, the kid is always looking over his/her shoulder and doesn't know what mental state or mood the parents will be in at any given time. The trauma leads to a tendency to dissociate as a coping mechanism (going to a completely different place mentally, where the abuse is not happening which leads to lost time, essentially).

Sexual abuse - MAJOR trust issues especially if the abuser was someone the child knew. Dissociation again.

Basically, if you are very young and the person who is supposed to give you love and show you how to be is mistreating you in any way you will grow up seeing yourself, the world and other people in a very negative way. See Bowlby and all that for his work on attachment.
I am massively interested in this...

How have you found this information out?
Most of the people I know avoid this topic like the plague, even if they had abusive parents themselves? They tend to deny their memories, and usually forgive their parents even if they were cruel to them.

You mentioned Bowlby, could you give his views about this in a nutshell?
So far I have only read Alice Miller's books about this, and I have visited Jordan Riak's website. I have recently discovered Lloyd Demause, but I still need to read more about him.

Also if cruelty and abuse in childhood is so destructive, what would the difference be between an innocent, corrective "smack" and outright abuse?

I was actually surprised to see just how many people were at least "correctively"smacked as a child, very few people have not had their parents beat them?

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...usive++parents


Also, if you want to, can I read your essay about this?
Do you feel that this topic is still taboo in society?

Also, what in your opinion can survivors of this sort of abuse do to heal themselves?
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tinyflame
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(Original post by MariaJB)
In my experience, it has made me more independent - always being told "do this or I'll kick you out on the streets!" And having parents who emotionally and physically abandon you make you more motivated to get a job and make sure your life is going somewhere, just in case.
I think it's a massive achievement that you recognize that your're not emotionally dependent parents any more. In my opinion, most people form an attachment to their abusive parents (a bit like stockholm syndrome) and hope all their lives to transform their cruel parents into loving parents in vain.

Hence why the pressure to forgive cruelty, even if it was really bad.
IMO children have no choice, they have to put up with their abusive parents and protect them from blame out of fear of abandonment, but adults do have a choice.



However, how your parents raise you shapes you. As a child of mentally ill, selfish, immature parents, I struggle a lot emotionally and have had countless doctors diagnosed me with a variety of different things, which all add up to not being able to process complex emotional situations from an early age.
I'm curious as to how you have dealt with all this anger and resentment?
Do you feel that you need to forgive your parents for what they did to you, or do you feel that you can accept these negative feelings towards them?

Did any therapist pressure you to forgive or see the "good" sides of our parents, or did they give you the freedom to be honest about what you felt towards your parents?

Have your diagnosis in any way helped you to deal with your emotions??

Also, have you read anything about this topic? Or do you need more information about this?

Also, thank you for posting and participating, and thank you for being honest
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upagumtree
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(Original post by tinyflame)
I am massively interested in this...

How have you found this information out?
Most of the people I know avoid this topic like the plague, even if they had abusive parents themselves? They tend to deny their memories, and usually forgive their parents even if they were cruel to them.

You mentioned Bowlby, could you give his views about this in a nutshell?
So far I have only read Alice Miller's books about this, and I have visited Jordan Riak's website. I have recently discovered Lloyd Demause, but I still need to read more about him.

Also if cruelty and abuse in childhood is so destructive, what would the difference be between an innocent, corrective "smack" and outright abuse?

I was actually surprised to see just how many people were at least "correctively"smacked as a child, very few people have not had their parents beat them?

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...usive++parents


Also, if you want to, can I read your essay about this?
Do you feel that this topic is still taboo in society?

Also, what in your opinion can survivors of this sort of abuse do to heal themselves?
Bowlby's theory revolves around the idea that infants need to have a primary caregiver who acts as a "safe-base" from which to explore the world. The caregiver's mood, emotions, responses, their whole way of interacting with their child will imprint on them and demonstrate how to handle interpersonal relationships. For example, if a parent is constantly rejecting and neglectful of the infant, i.e doesn't comfort the child when he/she is distressed, then they will grow up believing they are unlovable and people general are not to be trusted and depended on.
The types of parent-child attachment...
* Secure - providing love, support and warmth, responsive to child's distress
*Insecure anxious - the child hides negative emotions so not to create negative, rejecting response in parent. Pretend to be ok so he/she will receive love.
*Insecure disorganised - the parent is nice one minute and rejecting and evil the next.

I would like to upload a copy of the essay but not sure I should for plagiourism reasons. Not that I believe you will copy it or anything, just because uni's can be VERY strict about these things and its safer if I don't, but in a nutshell it dealt with how early trauma causes maladaptive coping strategies like self-harming, problems with relationships, trust and dissociation.

Here's the papers I used. I don't think there is any harm in sharing them.....

Rees, C 2010, “Understanding Emotional Abuse”, Archives of Disease in Childhood, 95, 59-67.

Katz, C and Barnetz, Z (2014) “Love covereth all transgressions”; Children’s experiences with physical abuse as portrayed in their narratives during forensic investigations”, Children and Youth Services Review, 43, 1-7.

Kuo, J.R, Khoury, J.E, Metcalfe, R, Fitzpatrick, S, Goodwill, A (2014) “An examination of the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and borderline personality disorder features: The role of difficulties with emotion regulation”, Child Abuse and Neglect, 17(1).
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upagumtree
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Sorry, to answer your other questions.

I do think society are afraid to touch this subject. I also worry sometimes that parents don't realise the future consequences of their actions. I mean, maybe people think that just because they aren't hitting their children or abusing them sexually then they are not going to be doing any harm but I dont think many people know enough about the importance of healthy attachments and being responsive to their infants when distressed. I don't have any children myself, so its maybe harder than I think and I probably don't have the right to tell people how they should be handling their children. I do think though that when someones son or daughter grows up troubled or with serious mental health problems they should maybe think back to what they did or did not do in the early years and understand how it has contributed to their adult child's behaviours. Not that they can go back in time to fix them or anything and there is no point in pointing the finger of blame, but just to give better understanding of how their kids are as adults.
I never researched the whole "smacking" kids debate. Its maybe something they should begin longitudinal testing on if they havent already.
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tinyflame
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Thank you for introducing me to Bowlby, I didn't know much about his theories before.

I'm curious though, if individuals are affected by this early in life, what chance do they have to turn it around when they grow up?

(Original post by upagumtree)
Sorry, to answer your other questions.

I do think society are afraid to touch this subject. I also worry sometimes that parents don't realise the future consequences of their actions. I mean, maybe people think that just because they aren't hitting their children or abusing them sexually then they are not going to be doing any harm but I dont think many people know enough about the importance of healthy attachments and being responsive to their infants when distressed.
I personally believe that cruelty in childhood has devastating consequences, but that society always sides with the parents and blames the children for what they went through.

I think this topic was very taboo in the 19th century for example, but I am optimistic that it is becoming less and less taboo in the future.


I don't have any children myself, so its maybe harder than I think and I probably don't have the right to tell people how they should be handling their children.
I think that it's hard to change abusive parent's behaviours and attitudes, but what we can do is provide support for the victims and side with their story, rather than keeping it taboo like it always has been.

Also, what is your opinion about why parents feel the need to hit or abuse their children?

I do think though that when someones son or daughter grows up troubled or with serious mental health problems they should maybe think back to what they did or did not do in the early years and understand how it has contributed to their adult child's behaviours. Not that they can go back in time to fix them or anything and there is no point in pointing the finger of blame, but just to give better understanding of how their kids are as adults.
I never researched the whole "smacking" kids debate. Its maybe something they should begin longitudinal testing on if they havent already.
Jordan Riak's website has a lot, and I mean a LOT of articles about this, as well as the science behind it.

I personally believe that abusing children is a generational thing, so many people believe that an occasional, "corrective" smack is normal in upbringing. And I am curious to know which people continue to repeat what they're parents have taught them vs. the people who disagree with it and do the exact opposite.
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upagumtree
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(Original post by tinyflame)

I'm curious though, if individuals are affected by this early in life, what chance do they have to turn it around when they grow up?
Its not something people can do without a lot of help. Some people are naturally resilient people and find, or don't feel, that their experiences have affected them badly.
MH professionals should obviously listen non-judgementally. Convey that they believe the person's story and sympathise that the way they feel and the things they do are understandable reactions to childhood abuse. This will help people begin to feel validated. Then once the person is able to understand why they feel the way they do and why they act the way they do they can eventually begin to accept what happened and move on. It is probably a very long and difficult process though.





(Original post by tinyflame)
I think that it's hard to change abusive parent's behaviours and attitudes, but what we can do is provide support for the victims and side with their story, rather than keeping it taboo like it always has been.

Also, what is your opinion about why parents feel the need to hit or abuse their children?
Again, it is about providing validation for people with traumatic pasts and reiterating that it was not their responsibility, It should not have happened to them but unfortunately it did. It is important to eradicate self-blame as a result of abuse.

I honestly don't know what goes through the mind of people who harm their children. I do know that parents who were sexually abusd as children are more likely to be perpetrators themselves as adults. I don't know why though.
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tinyflame
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(Original post by upagumtree)
Its not something people can do without a lot of help. Some people are naturally resilient people and find, or don't feel, that their experiences have affected them badly.
MH professionals should obviously listen non-judgementally. Convey that they believe the person's story and sympathise that the way they feel and the things they do are understandable reactions to childhood abuse. This will help people begin to feel validated. Then once the person is able to understand why they feel the way they do and why they act the way they do they can eventually begin to accept what happened and move on. It is probably a very long and difficult process though.

Ahh,

I actually believe the opposite...

In my opinion, people are held back by traditional morality (forgive your parents etc.) from admitting their negative feelings towards them, which reinforces their attachment to their parents.
This cocktail keeps them "trapped" in an unhealthy relationship and prevents autonomy and adulthood.

I believe that they need people like you said, who side with them and allow them to explore these negative feelings without being pressured by guilt.

I honestly don't know what goes through the mind of people who harm their children. I do know that parents who were sexually abusd as children are more likely to be perpetrators themselves as adults. I don't know why though.
Yeah it's crazy man, I believe that it's like a vicious cycle.

imo, People who had cruel childhoods, usually deny any memory of this, forgive their parent's, manipulate their feelings and hope all their lives that their parent's would perhaps change if only they find the right attitude or behavior. (self blame)

and then when these people have children,l if they still have not made c0ntact with these memories or feelings, would then be compelled to act out these feelings onto their children.

As long as these feelings are not consciously perceived, they would be compelled to act it out in cruel actions instead. I don't know how to explain it really, it's confusing to an extent :s

Have you heard of "compulsive repetition"?
Or have you read any books from Alice Miller?

I struggle with explaining it, but it if you want to know more, you can read her book "For Your Own Good" for free at Jordan Riak's website, it goes in depth about this topic.
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upagumtree
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(Original post by tinyflame)
Ahh,

I actually believe the opposite...

In my opinion, people are held back by traditional morality (forgive your parents etc.) from admitting their negative feelings towards them, which reinforces their attachment to their parents.
This cocktail keeps them "trapped" in an unhealthy relationship and prevents autonomy and adulthood.

I believe that they need people like you said, who side with them and allow them to explore these negative feelings without being pressured by guilt.



Yeah it's crazy man, I believe that it's like a vicious cycle.

imo, People who had cruel childhoods, usually deny any memory of this, forgive their parent's, manipulate their feelings and hope all their lives that their parent's would perhaps change if only they find the right attitude or behavior. (self blame)

and then when these people have children,l if they still have not made c0ntact with these memories or feelings, would then be compelled to act out these feelings onto their children.

As long as these feelings are not consciously perceived, they would be compelled to act it out in cruel actions instead. I don't know how to explain it really, it's confusing to an extent :s

Have you heard of "compulsive repetition"?
Or have you read any books from Alice Miller?

I struggle with explaining it, but it if you want to know more, you can read her book "For Your Own Good" for free at Jordan Riak's website, it goes in depth about this topic.
I haven't yet read anything by Alice Miller but will absolutely check her out as well as Riak.

I suppose its due to unresolved conflict and thats what propells the cycle of abuse.

Can I ask, what fuels your interest in this area?
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tinyflame
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(Original post by upagumtree)
I haven't yet read anything by Alice Miller but will absolutely check her out as well as Riak.

I suppose its due to unresolved conflict and thats what propells the cycle of abuse.

Can I ask, what fuels your interest in this area?
Hhaha oh well, I didn't want to give details about my own life in this thread, I wanted it more to be a debate with other people giving their opinions. :P

I don't want to give away too much, but what I can say, is that I suffered for a very, very long time from depression, probably since I was 12 or something.

I then started to question why I was so scared of my feelings, and why I was avoiding them through addiction at all costs. What was the danger that I was avoiding all this time? Slowly, I then tried to feel what I had been forbidden to feel from, a very early age, my anger and resentment towards my parents for how they treated me, but I denied this for a very long time out of fear and guilt. Because of course I was still a child and I depended on my parents to take care of me, so I had to deny these feelings and kept them to myself instead.

I then discovered that I was depressed because I was denying these negative emotions, after searching the internet I then found Alice Miller and started to read her books.
In the beginning I wasn't really convinced by her argument, but the more I faced my negative emotions, the more I understood what she was trying to say. And the more I felt better about myself, but I couldn't do this without being emotionally independent from my parents.

I still frequently read her books, as they practically "saved" my life, and I just feel that before I die or something, I want to do something to bring more awareness about child abuse, or at least reduce it's taboo.
Which is why I thought about studying psychology, but I'm thinking twice about it, since it's hard to even do anything in the field of psychology since it's so competitive and oversubscribed.

But I'm thinking of becoming a psychotherapist at the very least.
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upagumtree
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I see. I don't expect you to give away anything you don't feel comfortable on here but your life experiences, from what I can see, have been very similar to mine actually. I have a long history of depression and self-harm dating back to 1999 when I was 11. Someone in my family was borderline emotionally abusive but completely changed her tune when she saw what it may have done to me. I do not blame her too much or make her feel guilty because there is no need for it but I do have a lot of anger towards her in a way.

I am training to become a mental health nurse and have had the opportunity to study the subject of early life trauma quite a lot over the past three months. Is this something you have ever thought about doing? I have a psychology degree as well but you are right, there are not many job prospects to be honest!
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tinyflame
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(Original post by upagumtree)
I see. I don't expect you to give away anything you don't feel comfortable on here but your life experiences, from what I can see, have been very similar to mine actually. I have a long history of depression and self-harm dating back to 1999 when I was 11. Someone in my family was borderline emotionally abusive but completely changed her tune when she saw what it may have done to me. I do not blame her too much or make her feel guilty because there is no need for it but I do have a lot of anger towards her in a way.
Wow, that sounds awful

I really don't know what to say, but I can tell you that there is no need to make that person feel guilty about it.

What is very important imo, is that you don't deny this anger, you have to try to feel it consciously. I think that depression, anxiety, addiction etc. stems from this repressed anger and other denied, unfelt emotions. And that most people with abusive childhoods deny this anger out of fear and guilt.

As long as you give yourself the freedom to be able to feel all of your feelings, not just the positive ones, then you will be able to find ways in how you could help yourself and take care of yourself.

To be honest, I think I have a hard time explaining it, so I think that if you're interested, here is Alice Miller's For Your own Good which is all about this. It explains how some people direct this anger against themselves (depression, addiction etc.) while other people direct it at others (violence, crime, serial killers etc.)

http://www.nospank.net/fyog.htm


I am training to become a mental health nurse and have had the opportunity to study the subject of early life trauma quite a lot over the past three months. Is this something you have ever thought about doing? I have a psychology degree as well but you are right, there are not many job prospects to be honest!
100%!!

Ideally, I would like to go into research about this, and then write books like Alice Miller did. I just want to make it less taboo, or I want to continue where Alice Miller had left.

Surprisingly, I was reading the afterword to Alice Miller's The Body Never Lies yesterday and she had wrote something about Bowly, Kohut, Freud and others.

She mentioned how mos psychoanalysts, focus on the "drive" theory and basically say that children are "born evil", and that analysts like Bowlby are on the margins of psychoanalysis because they have done research that goes against this major taboo.

In other words, I think Bowlby is one of the good guys, I'm looking forward to read more about him.

Also about psychology not leading to jobs, this is what has caused me so much stress and anxiety for the past month?

I have made a thread about this here, please take a look at it if you could: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...5#post52384705

I have so much stress about studying psychology and doing this research, compared to doing engineering and just getting a job?
But I am barely interested in engineering to be honest?
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upagumtree
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(Original post by tinyflame)

Also about psychology not leading to jobs, this is what has caused me so much stress and anxiety for the past month?

I have made a thread about this here, please take a look at it if you could: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...5#post52384705

I have so much stress about studying psychology and doing this research, compared to doing engineering and just getting a job?
But I am barely interested in engineering to be honest?
I think enrolling in a subject you have little interest in is a mistake, to be honest, no matter what its job prospects are. My brother-in-law is an engineer. He and my sis live comfortably but I just think.....how dull!

Don't get too caught up in what the job prospects are for psychology students. There is nothing wrong with just doing a degree because of your interest in it. You will end up doing something you love eventually. What subject is more likely to lead to a career in research into abuse; engineering or psychology?

There are a few people in my class who have already completed psychology degrees and it is most likely the thing that boosted their chances of getting into MH nursing. So there are uses for a psychology degree even if we don't all become psychologists or psychiatrists after the four years.

Here's another option, if you are concerned about spending 3/4 years at uni fearing the job market. Consider getting work as a healthcare assistant to see if you might be suited to work as a nurse. Annoyingly you have to start off doing general nursing/care of the elderly work before you can work with people with mental health problems but doing it part-time to begin with will give you an idea of what its like.

Having said that, I think it would be best for you to study psychology, maybe do a pHD or masters or postgrad or something and try to get into research.
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I've read quite a few online things about it and, from what I can remember, child abuse (I'm talking emotional abuse here but physical abuse probably causes these things as well) just lends itself to mental health problems later in life eg depression, anxiety, low self esteem, potential eating disorders etc

And I suppose a child who has suffered abuse will think it's their fault and, what hurts is, you probably love your family and want to be involved in their lives, but perhaps you're also left feeling that you don't want anything to do with them? You think these people are toxic and not good for you mentally, but they're the only family you have so you have to/want to be with them?
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