Published January 10, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Are you kidding?

(I know–I’ve been 86 for two years now.  Still have trouble counting.)

Since there may still be some disagreement between the definition of victims and survivors, and how enduring the effects of poor parenting are–including incest–I thought I’d speak on the topic from my vantage point.  After years of excellent therapy–and becoming a therapist myself–I can testify that all the fertilizer in the world can never make a tree that’s bent in youth absolutely straight again.  (I’m speaking metaphorically here).

All children seek validation for their value as an individual–that their humanity is respected, and that their thoughts and feelings matter.  Lacking this, they too often accept the valuation of their earliest caregivers, known as parents.  When this is followed by manipulation of the child’s body for a parent’s  own gratification, the child too often accepts his or her value as only a commodity in life, to placate others.  Strangely, only the child feels guilt, since her body  responds without understanding,  not the adult abusers.

Feelings of having basic worth and value–and likeability–are  shaped early in life.  All attempts in later life to feel essentially valuable in oneself  are doomed.  But  there are many possibilities to lessen the effects and to make the best of a harmful childhood including psychotherapy, support groups, readings, excelling at something, etc.  One of humanity’s psychological defenses is “Undoing,”  defined in the  DSM IV-TR  by the American  Psychiatric Association as “dealing with emotional conflict or internal or external stressors by words or behavior designed to negate or make amends symbolically for unacceptable thoughts, feelings or actions.”

I won’t list all my other defense mechanisms, except my more functional one:  Humor–The individual deals with emotional conflict or external  stressors by emphasizing the amusing or ironic aspects of the conflict or stressor.

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