Did Your Father Come Into Your Bedroom At Night?

Marilyn Van Derbur Speaks candidly and beautifully about her father, and how one question by someone who suspected the abuse, triggered her memory.

MV

Marilyn and her parents. Who would guess?

 

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One of Jerry Sandusky’s Sons Guilty of Child Sexual Abuse

I wonder where he learned this behavior from?

“One of the sons of former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has pleaded guilty to 14 counts of child sexual abuse in Centre County, Pa.

The Centre Daily Times reports that the younger Sandusky was charged earlier this year:

“Jeffrey Sandusky was charged in February after state police at Rockview began an investigation when a 16-year-old known to Jeffrey Sandusky reported that he had sent the minor text messages asking for nude photos in March 2016. Another minor told police that Jeffrey Sandusky had asked her to perform sex acts on him when she was 15 years old, according to a release from the District Attorney’s Office.”

Sandusky

Due to go on trial next week, Sandusky, 41, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and 12 felonies in a deal with prosecutors, under which he would serve three to six years in prison. The judge isn’t bound by the deal and could sentence him to up to eight years.

Centre County District Attorney Stacey Parks Miller said the plea spares the victims the trauma of testifying. “We are happy that these girls can move forward and experience a life with adults that deserve their trust,” she said.

The elder Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Earlier this year, three former Penn State officials were given jail sentences for failing to report him to authorities. Former head coach Joe Paterno, who died in 2012, was fired in 2011, also for failing to adequately report Sandusky.”

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http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/15/551411363/jeffrey-sandusky-penn-state-coachs-son-pleads-guilty-to-child-sexual-abuse
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Is The Recollection of Family Members Who Deny Child Abuse Any More Reliable Than The Accuser’s Memory?

Proponents of the now discredited “False Memory Syndrome” believe that when a person reveals to family members that they remember being sexually abused by a parent, or other relative, it is the siblings who deny any sexual abuse took place who somehow have a perfect memory for exactly what happened in the home at all times.

Siblings often don’t want to see what is happening to the other children in an abusive home and when the abuse is revealed later in life, the denying sibling might have reasons of self-comfort for turning their back on the painful truth. One of those reasons is because they too were sexually abused and want nothing to do with any memories of abuse, their own, or their sibling’s abuse.

Brothers and sisters, who deny allegations of incest or child abuse, might also harbor guilt for not protecting the younger child and it is very possible that some siblings sexually abused the child themselves (in addition to the abuse by the parent) and don’t want to admit to it, or to ever face it.

Claudette Wassil-Grimm specifically addresses disbelieving siblings who have a brother or sister who has made an accusation of sexual abuse against their parent. Wassil-Grimm writes, “Trust your own memory. You were there. You do know what happened. People don’t repress years of abuse.” 1

The problem with Wassil-Grimm’s statement is that the repression of trauma has been well documented, so this same sentence can be said to the person who has remembered being sexually abused within the family; just change the last sentence to, “Trust your own memory. You were there. You do know what happened. people can repress years of abuse.”

In a statement to parents that have a daughter who has remembered abuse, Wassil-Grimm writes, “Don’t exhibit anger with your accusing child. Her mind is not her own.”

No person has the right to tell another individual that their mind is not their own. Each human being has their own experiences and their personal perceptions of those experiences. A person has every right to express their personal truth without being demeaned.

One father, who was accused by his daughter, admits to drinking heavily during the period in which his daughter says she was sexually abused by him, yet FMS proponents would have us believe that the father’s alcohol influenced memory is to be trusted over the daughter’s recollection. 2.

When a parent has a serious problem with alcohol, their mind is not their own.

There is a strong probability that most people who have come out to family members about previously repressed sexual abuse, but who retract those allegations, have indeed been abused as children, but biological family influence or substandard methods of therapy brings on the desire to withdraw the allegations.

Although inferior therapy practices can contribute to memory distortion and false accusations, it is more likely that defective psychotherapy creates a certain weakness, or even a false strength, in a person who had once dissociated (repressed) their childhood trauma. If a therapist promotes an environment that causes their client to prematurely speak out about their memories, or with too much anger, or a need for revenge, then the survivor can experience guilt over speaking up. They might also fear punishment or still retain a strong personal denial —all of which subsequently result in the survivor submitting to family pressure to recant the memories.

Typically, the supporters of the fictitious ‘False Memory Syndrome’ do not challenge or question any retractions, and the revocation is virtually embraced as a victory for their movement. Any investigation into the truth of the matter is forgotten.

Judith Simon points out that FMS advocates practically ignore the numerous, and often disturbing clinical histories, of those who withdraw abuse memories (or the psychological problems are attributed to innocent reasons). The proponents of FMS also present the picture-perfect version of what the family was like prior to the accusations of abuse, and then speak of the family as being “shattered” after memories are revealed by the accuser.

FMS proponents feel that psychotherapy is the real danger to society. Therapists have been sued for allegedly instilling so-called false memories, but many of the patients already had memories, even displaying symptoms of abuse, long before the therapist ever took the patient’s case. 3.

If certain aspects of healing are dealt with too late in therapy, or not at all, then the patient may place negative emotions onto the therapist. The client then returns to the family and turns on the therapist.

An in-depth look at thirty malpractice cases invoking people who retracted previous accusations of child abuse, found that eighty percent of the patients had been diagnosed with as many as four key psychiatric problems, some of which included anxiety disorders, PTSD, personality disorder, addictions, sexual desire disorder, eating disorders, and psychosomatic symptom disorders. All of which can be  directly linked to child sexual abuse.

These patients may have had an unsatisfactory recovery no matter who treated them and negligence was presumably not the case. This opinion is due to the multiple diagnoses in each patient along with the intensity of the mental and physical disturbances. It is suggested that these therapists most likely had a tremendous hurdle to face with the multitude of problems in one single person. The premise is that no matter who treated the patient, the prognosis would have been poor.

We are left to wonder what caused these numerous problems in one person, if not the very sexual abuse that was originally remembered.

In all thirty cases, there was no determination to go looking for repressed abuse memories. The recall came from the client and never from a therapist’s suggestion. It was only after the client had been influenced by FMS material that they decided their memories were false. Retracting and subsequently suing a therapist might stem from the attention-seeking behavior that goes along with the severe issues of an abuse victim, rather than from therapist induced memories. 4

In all honesty, it is highly probable that an unknown number of clients have been treated by a therapist who helped instill untruths into their belief system through poor therapeutic practices, but evidence does not show this to be any significant amount of people.

It is probable that some people, who were abused, have accused the wrong person and that some therapists have handled the cases of abuse victims so poorly that the client may never understand the depths of their abuse, or at the very least, if any abuse actually happened.

There are also people who deliberately lie about sexual molestation for self-gain. It is impossible to know how many of these cases exist because incidents of repressed memory infrequently become public.

Some people who retract allegations of abuse may have a need to gain attention and validation from the court system by suing the therapist, or through acceptance from those in the false memory movement. However, it is more likely a need to please their biological family. Validation is rarely given within the family when a person discloses abuse to parents or siblings. When the unhealed accuser cannot obtain the needed consideration and support, they find it by retracting. Rescinding invites the biological family to once again embrace the accuser.

Skeptics claim that falsely accusing a person of abuse is an “easy excuse” for an unsatisfactory life. On the contrary, it is much simpler for a survivor of abuse to believe that an unethical or uneducated therapist implanted ideas of molestation, than to accept that the parent –whom they love—had sexually abused them as a child.

Evidence for erroneous retractions can be found in the amount of recantations among children. Twenty-five percent of abused children had revoked their story in one sample. Thirty-one percent retracted after a year of therapy. In another portion of the children, three out of thirteen recanted abuse, even though the perpetrator had confessed. Recanting abuse memories can be a normal phase during the period of remembering and then revealing abuse. 5

Retracting accusations of abuse is often a psychological defense mechanism.

Research shows that when a previous victim takes back their account of what happened, it is most often because the crime perpetrated on them was traumatic, personally devastating, and heinous. 6

Retraction is especially found in cases of ritual abuse, satanic ritual abuse, or mother/daughter incest. These shocking experiences enhance the denial system to such a degree that recanting accusations can almost be expected.

One woman who entered therapy to treat problems which she felt had stemmed from a current relationship, began to realize that her pain was more deeply rooted.  The woman was very depressed and had intense urges to self-mutilate and commit suicide. At the time, nothing about sexual abuse had been mentioned or implied in her therapy sessions. People do not just “out of nowhere” suddenly feel the urge to self-mutilate or commit suicide if they have not gone through trauma or severe emotional pain during their formative years. 7

The therapist asked the woman to think about a time she had been angry with her mother. She described one experience she had as a child where her mother didn’t tell the girl’s father to stop entering the bathroom while the child was bathing. The very fact that the mother allowed the father to continue walking in on his daughter is odd. However, the woman admits that this always-remembered incident did not cause her to have memories of sexual abuse by her father.

Although the  it is vague how she feels her memories were invented, the woman does admit that her therapist did not attempt to dig any further into her past. We are left to wonder how she came up with the idea that she had acquired false memories, especially when the incident about bathing had never been forgotten. Additionally, her never-forgotten memory is indicative of a mother who refused to act on her child’s pleas for assistance, along with a father who did not respect his daughter’s boundaries with regards to her body.

Over a number of years, the woman decided along with a therapist that she may never know for certain what is false and what is true. Then, just as suddenly as the supposedly “false” memories began, she decided that because of her “Personality Disorder,” that she made her father a “scapegoat.” She then stated that she still has these “false” memories from time to time and retains a desire to self-mutilate. Personality Disorder and self-mutilation are both highly associated with child sexual abuse and every indication points to a woman who is not willing to allow herself to face the truth.

Former FBI agent Kenneth Lanning notes the common problem of families who persuade the victim not to disclose the molestation to authorities, and those who tell the child to take back the accusation after it has been exposed outside the family. He has observed the frequency of family members who put pressure on the child to keep the secrets. The same can be said for adults.

The United States Department of Justice reports that primary caregivers and parents often don’t believe the child when they first disclose abuse. Furthermore, because the child -not the abuser- is usually removed from the home, the victim often revokes the allegation. According to the Department of Justice, the child is frequently punished by the family with a lack of affection.

Recantations in children often take place when the perpetrator is arrested, when the family financial income consequently stops, when the child is placed in a foster home, when there is backlash from the siblings, or when authorities seem more like discipline to the child than helpers.

These circumstances mimic the cases of adults who speak out about having been sexually abused as a child, and are suddenly ostracized and cut off from the family. When the accuser is considered dead or “not one of us,” by family members, the person can mistakenly decide that it is much more comfortable to be a member of the family again than to heal from incest.

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  1. Dissociation, Repression, and Reality Testing in the Countertransference, Jody Messler Davies, Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation, Jason Aronson Inc., Edited by Richard Gartner, Ph.D, pages 60-61
  2. Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Child Abuse, Jennifer J. Freyd, Harvard University Press, 1996, page 45
  3. The Highly Misleading Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act: The “False Memory” Movement’s Remedy for a Non-existent Problem, Simon, J.M., Moving Forward, 3(3): 1, 12-21, 1995, used with permission by Judith Simon
  4. Recovered Memories: The Current Weight of the Evidence in Science and in the Courts, Daniel Brown Ph.D, Alan W. Scheflin, JD, M.A., LL.M, and Charles Whitfield M.D, Journal of Psychiatry and Law, spring 1999, Volume 27
  5. U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Office for Victims of Crime, Washington, D.C., June 1999
  6. Negation or Reversal of Legal Testimony, Hypnotic Investigation of Psychodynamic Processes, Milton Erickson, The Collected Papers of Milton H. Erickson on Hypnosis Volume 3, Edited by Ernest L. Rossi Irvington Publishers, Inc, 1980, page 221 or (lost my notes on this reference, it’s one of these two) , Your Memories are Not False: A Reply to the False Memory Syndrome Foundatio 1994 by John Backus, Sc.D., and Barbara Una Stannard, Ph.D.
  7. FMSF Newsletter March/April 2000 Vol 9 No 2

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Children Will Lie To Protect Their Abusing Parents

Children and their parents have an undeniable bond. Children will usually lie or blame themselves before they would accuse their parents.

Detective Chris Hicks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. described the account of an eleven year-old girl whose mother threw her against a wall. Her head had been cut open, she was bleeding, and the mother’s roommate says the mother hit the child with a heater plate three or four times. 1 Evidence showed blood on the plate, and the mother admitted to hitting the child with the grate. Yet, the child’s story was in direct conflict with the police report, all the evidence, and the mother’s confession.

The child’s version was to put the blame on herself. She said she “wasn’t being a good girl.” She was placed in temporary housing but the child kept asking, “When am I going to see my mom? I want to be with her.”

Detective Hicks says authorities often cannot get the truth from the victim, and the child will lie to protect the abusing parents. He said that children will sometimes defend parents to their death.

Melissa Salcedo was a victim of enslavement by her mother. She was not permitted to go to school, she was choked, she suffered beatings, was kept in a closet, and was forced to drink toilet water. The abuse lasted seventeen years, beginning at birth. Experts said it was one of the worst cases they had ever seen.

While standing in court on the day of her mother’s sentencing, Melissa, with choke marks and scars still visible on her neck, said to her mother “I love you. I miss you. I hope that when you get out we meet again.” 2

Melissa’s sister Gloria Salcedo was quoted as saying that she and their other siblings could not stop loving, or turn their backs on the woman who gave them life.

Former FBI agent Kenneth V. Lanning spent twenty years in the Behavioral Science Unit and National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime while with the FBI. He has consulted on thousands of cases involving sexual acts inflicted upon children, and was an expert witness in both Federal and State courts on child abuse matters.

Lanning confirms that many child victims remain silent or deny the abuse when it is discovered. 3

The reasons for the children to deny are often the same reasons that adults block abuse from their conscious mind. They are too afraid or ashamed, they fear no one will believe them, or they like being special and feeling pleasure with the perpetrator. Sometimes the child knows they will not be protected and sense that they will be punished or removed from the home.

Most children love their parents even when the parent is molesting, beating, or raping them and often cannot allow themselves to believe the parent would inflict such pain. When we are children our parents are like Gods to us. With a child-like innocence, those of us who repressed childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a loved one, chose to remember only the good part of our abusers and anyone who protected them. We decided a long time ago that there was always hope for a normal family. We clung to the belief that those who sexually abused us “didn’t mean it” and that our mothers really did love us.

Children often refuse to see their parent’s evil, and can retain their denial well into adulthood. Then, when previously repressed memories of rape or abuse begin to surface, it is easier for the adult survivor to see themselves as mistaken, than their parents as child abusers. It is too difficult to accept that our parents could have done something so despicable, and when memories start to come into our consciousness as adults, our denial begins.

Just like the child we once were, as adults, in those first few hours, days and weeks after remembering the abuse, we are once again vulnerable little children.

Many survivors choose the easy answer –which is that they are mistaken about their memories. Their denial can create deep confusion and other psychological disturbances

Many people get past that stage and continue to heal. Some people revert to the old habit of denial and once again, embrace the myth that their parents were good people, who never harmed them, and they re-unite with their abusers as if nothing ever happened.

Their soul knows the truth, and they will never be in peace.

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References:

  1. Arts and Entertainment Channel, Investigative Report’s, L.A. Detectives, Juvenile Investigations Team “A Dangerous Mom”
  2. L.A. Times 5/16/00 “Mother Gets 9 Years in ‘Slave’ Abuse Case
  3. Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis for Law-Enforcement Officers Investigating the Sexual Exploitation of Children by Acquaintance Molesters, Fourth Edition September 2001, Kenneth V. Lanning, Former Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation, Copyright 2001 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, page 58

 

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Women Who Sexually Abuse Children, Just As Harmful As Male Abusers, And More Often Abuse Their Own Child

Finally, an article that describes exactly what I have been writing about for years —that women who sexually abuse children can have extremely deviant sexual behavior and use violence when they abuse, and that sometimes, sexual abuse by a woman is worse than when perpetrated by a man.

August 22 2017 Editor’s addition to article:

[Women are not immune to unhealthy desires. There has been an increase in the last few years of adult women viewing pornography over the internet. Millions of women find it stimulating and some have become addicted. One third of on-line pornography customers are women. Over nine million women in the United States visited porn websites in one month during 2003. Many women view pornography with their boyfriends or husbands, but scores of women are doing it alone. One study found that thirty-four percent of Christian women are visiting pornography web pages, and according to psychologists, some of this activity is “destructively compulsive.”

Many mothers are a part of this recent upswing. One woman admitted engaging in visiting porn sites as much as thirty hours a week. She said she was more interested in surfing the porn sites than being with her daughter. She could not wait for her child to go to bed so that she could begin satisfying herself with such images. 1

These women dangerously enjoy the attention they receive from men, who swarm after them as soon as they enter a sex chat room. This is the kind of woman who might unconsciously, or even willingly, allow a man to sexually abuse her child just as long as she is being taken care of and has a man around the house. Experts confirm that there is now a higher risk of child molesters marrying or moving in with women in order to gain access to their children. 2]

“That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?” ~The Consequences of Sexual Abuse by Women, 1972

“Early literature on sexual abuse, as exemplified by the 1972 quote above, often suggested abuse against children by women was unbelievable and, even if real, less harmful than when perpetrated by men. Despite these earlier beliefs, females are capable of sexually abusing children, with very damaging results.

In a recent US study, one out of every five child sexual abuse cases validated by child protection had a female as the main offender of the abuse. The types of sexual abuse females can commit on children is not limited to touching and fondling. Among many other sexual acts, females can penetrate children with objects, force children to have sexual intercourse with them, or to do sexual acts with animals.

While the public has started to realise females are capable of committing sexual offences against children, research shows the view is that female child sex offenders are less harmful to their victims than male child sex offenders. Yet traditional gender roles are misleading in this area. Not all females are nurturing, caring, and protective and therefore unable to cause much harm, especially towards children.

Harms of female sex offenders

Female child sex offenders can have disturbing and life-long impacts on their victims. These impacts are similar to the impacts for child victims of male sex offenders, including self-injury, substance abuse, depression, and difficulties with sexual identity.

Most alarmingly, research has found victims sexually abused by both females and males said the abuse committed by females was more psychologically damaging than the abuse committed by males.

There are also effects particular to victims sexually abused by females. These include intense rage towards women as well as difficulties in relationships with women.

Research has found female child sex offenders are much more likely to offend against their own children (or a child in their care) than male child sex offenders. In contrast, male child sex offenders are more likely to be other relatives of the child, a partner of the child’s mother, friends or neighbours. Many victims of female-perpetrated sexual abuse struggle with the deep betrayal of having the one person they trust most in their entire lives – their mother or caregiver – sexually abuse them.

In instances where the offender is the child’s mother, victims also report difficulty developing a sense of identity, even into adulthood. These victims have difficulty establishing a separate identity due to the highly entwined relationship between mother and child. As one individual who had been sexually abused said:

“Sometimes I can feel her on my skin. I can’t explain […] I suppose it’s like as if we are some way, we are melted into each other. I scrape and scrape at my skin but I cannot get deep enough into myself to get rid of her.”

Great description. I can relate. It’s the same for me with my father, but if someone asked me, “would you rather be sexually abused by your mother or father?”…My answer would be “my father… no doubt about it.”

“Most alarmingly, research has found victims sexually abused by both females and males said the abuse committed by females was more psychologically damaging than the abuse committed by males.”

….

Please read my article on this: https://ordinaryevil.wordpress.com/breaking-social-taboos-about-femalefemale-child-sexual-abuse/

“Researchers suggest some women abuse their own daughters as a result of narcissistic tendencies. In these cases, an older woman’s need for admiration and exaggerated sense of self importance, for example, leads to jealousy of her daughter.”

This describes my mother.

“Female child sex offenders can have disturbing and life-long impacts on their victims. These impacts are similar to the impacts for child victims of male sex offenders, including self-injury, substance abuse, depression, and difficulties with sexual identity.”

 

Please read the story of Grace: Grace One Woman’s Inner Journey From Sexual Confusion Towards Liberation/

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References:
1. Web-site porn attracts women by the millions, Mark O’Keefe, Newhouse News Service, 10/31/03
2. Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis for Law-Enforcement Officers Investigating the Sexual Exploitation of Children by Acquaintance Molesters, Fourth Edition September 2001, Kenneth V. Lanning, Former Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation, Copyright 2001 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, page 35
https://theconversation.com/women-who-sexually-abuse-children-are-just-as-harmful-to-their-victims-as-male-abusers-80395#_=_
https://theconversation.com/women-also-sexually-abuse-children-but-their-reasons-often-differ-from-mens-72572
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The Age of “Self” Creates Depression and Anger

Will Storr has it right on. Self-Esteem is creating narcissism, unhappiness, depression and anger. Self-confidence is what helps us with contentment.

If you want to create more peace for yourself, and less anger and depression, please read my articles on positive-thinking and the human ego.

On the Modern Self

by Clay Routledge Ph.D.

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What made you interested in researching and writing a book focused on the self?

My previous book, The Unpersaudables, was an investigation into how intelligent people come to believe crazy things. It focused on the ways we become intellectually stuck. I concluded that we don’t really choose the things we believe – at least not those things that are core to our worldview. What we believe is just part of the accident of who we are. In an important way, our core beliefs and our self are indivisible.

But this was also a slightly unsatisfying answer, because clearly people do change. I became curious about how this happens and began focusing, in my journalism, on people who’d changed their minds. One of these people was the eminent psychologist Professor Roy Baumeister who used to be a believer in the self-esteem myth. Not only did he change his mind, he was an important figure in proving to the world that the idea, which was dominant at the time, was wrong.

What is the self-esteem movement and how did it come about?

Its proponents believed self esteem was a ‘social vaccine’ that could cure us of a vast array of problems, and to make us more successful and competitive in our working lives. At its simplest, it said that in order to become amazing we must believe we’re amazing. It helped change the way we raised and taught our children.

At the heart of Selfie is a deep investigation into one of its main proponents, a politician named John Vasconcellos, and his government mandated task force to look into self-esteem. He told the world that the scientific part of his investigation confirmed that high self-esteem was, indeed, a social vaccine. I tracked down former members and spent weeks pouring through their archives and found that he’d deliberately lied and attempted to cover up about what the science really showed – which was no causative link between self-esteem and good outcomes.

Unfortunately, Vasconcellos’s lie went around the world. Journalists bought it, powerful influencers such as Oprah Winfrey embraced it and the idea took over. It was hugely consequential. It was in this era of self-esteem parenting and teaching that we began to see the rise of narcissism in young people, that leads right into this ‘selfie’ era. I believe that Vasconcellos and his task force played a part in that story.

There has been a lot of attention on rising rates of narcissism. What is the current thinking on the causes of this increase? And how worried should we be?

The data behind the narcissism rise has been controversial and I take a careful look at the arguments on both sides. I think it’s real (even if calling it an ‘epidemic’, as some have, is probably an overstatement, in my view). As for the reasons behind it, I think self-esteem parenting played a part – it’s since been found that ‘parental overpraise’ raises narcissism in children and this was, indeed, the era of parental overpraise!

But another huge part of the story is the economy. If there’s one single idea that underpins Selfie, it’s that a huge part of who we are, as a people, emerges from our environment. 2500 years ago, in Ancient Greece, where the Western personality came into being, it was the ecology of the place that was of critical importance. The rocky coasts and poor soil forced us into becoming individualistic hustlers, because that’s who we needed to be in order to survive. Today, when we’re not so tied to the land, it’s the economy.

In the 1980s our economy went through a massive change. It was the era of neoliberalism, which saw an end to the relatively collective world we’d been immersed in for decades. Reagan and Thatcher wanted to save us from the economic mess of the 1970s by increasing competition wherever they could. So we became more competitive. Think about who we were, in the West, in 1965 versus who we were in 1985. We’d changed from hippies to yuppies – an absolute revolution in self. What happened right in the middle of those dates? Our economy transformed.

Self-esteem was a kind of neoliberal remix of the ‘Human Potential’ ideas around self that emerged in the 1960s. It was the right idea for its time, which was why it caught on.

As for how worried we ought to be, the latest data suggests the narcissism rise topped out in around 2008. There’s an idea that the financial crisis played a part in this change, and that we’re seeing a transition from higher grandiose narcissism to higher vulnerable narcissism. This is all still paying out, though, so it’s not yet fully clear.

There are also concerns about rising rates of psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. How do these problems connect to the self and perhaps the self-esteem movement?

We can’t oversimplify this complex and serious problems, but one part of the story is that we tend to become stressed and depressed when we set overly high expectations for ourselves and repeatedly fail to meet them. When we tell ourselves we can be anything we want to be, which is the myth that emerges from Human Potential and self-esteem ideas, we’re setting ourselves up for unhappiness, because it’s simply not true.

It is easy to focus on the negative features of the modern individualistic self, but there are also positive aspects of individualism.  Do you have thoughts on this tension between positive and negative dimensions of individualism?

I’m not, by any means, anti-individualistic. You’ve only got to look at what we’ve achieved in the West since the days of Aristotle to know that this idea has helped drive us to do incredible things. Neoliberalism, too, has been amazing for a great number of us. Globalisation, which is a neoliberal project, has lifted millions out of poverty in the third world. You’d be a fool to underestimate these things. But I also believe that individualism should be treated, not as a religion, but as a system. Like any system it has good outcomes and bad outcomes. I don’t think we should ever stop stress-testing it and trying to make it work in a way that’s better for all.

The blank slate view that people can craft any self they want is common but at odds with research on the stability of personality and other traits. In the book, you grapple with this issue. Is there a way to balance self-improvement and self-acceptance?

The blank slate view is instinctively, addictively attractive to people because we want to believe that anyone can achieve anything. It’s a lovely story, and it’s one our culture tells us repeatedly. But it’s not true. I’m a leftwing person, and we especially seem to confuse the pursuit of equal rights with the idea that all individuals are the same.

I’m in despair at how the people around me are currently treating even the discussion of the science of gender difference, for example, as taboo, ‘alt-right’ or somehow evil. It’s disorientating and quite scary. You see how ideology trumps reason in even the most intelligent of people.

I’d love for our children to be taught more precisely what a human being actually is. We’re not gods, we’re animals, and we’re all different. We have different personalities, for example, which are relatively stable and built mainly from biological differences and early life experiences over which we have no control. These differences don’t make us ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than anyone else – but they do mean we can’t be anything we want. Knowing ourselves properly gives us valuable intelligence. It means we can pursue lives that are more likely to make us happy.

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psychologytoday.com

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Key Principles and Facts about Child Sexual Abuse and Incest

  • Incestuous families often do not appear deviant in any way. In fact, most seem perfectly normal, and many are high-functioning.
  • In many families where incest is being perpetrated by one or both parents, the father has a respectable job and the mother is a homemaker and both often attend church or synagogues. Many abusers are atheists as well.
  • Alcoholism, and or, drug addiction are often involved in acts of child sexual abuse, and in families of incest.
  • Incest and child sexual abuse, perpetrated by a neighbor or family friend, rarely happens “just once” and the child is usually victimized for years –often well into their teenage years. The father, or step-father, usually abuses more than one daughter. They often physically abuse the male children, but sometimes a father or step-father sexually abuses or rapes the male children as well.
  • Child sexual abusers and child rapists rarely look like a monster –most look very normal and hold jobs of all different levels of education –including judges, Government officials, police-officers, and firemen. Sexual perpetrators are often the most respectable, well-loved members of the community, and often the person least likely to be suspected.
  • Less than ten percent of child sexual abusers are mentally ill, but the other 90% are emotionally ill.
  • Father-daughter incest is the most common form of incest.
  • Child sexual abuse is linked to all kinds of physical illnesses and diseases in adulthood, and to countless psychological conditions. Depression, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, personality disorders, insomnia, panic attacks, and migraines are just a few..
  • Anger is often the most repressed emotion connected to child sexual abuse, and the most difficult to get to during therapy and healing.
  • Over ninety percent of crimes perpetrated against children go unreported.
  • The United States Dept of Justice says one in twenty men have molested a child.
  • Seven out of ten sexual assault victims are under eighteen years old. This means that mostly children and teens are being raped and assaulted.
  • Ninety percent of child sexual abuse is committed by someone known, loved, and trusted by the victim.
  • At least sixty percent of all convicted sex offenders are on parole or probation. The vast majority of offenders are never caught, yet they have sexually abused multiple victims in their lifetime.
  • Forty to sixty percent of men who abuse women, will abuse children as well.
  • Fewer than five percent of children ever tell anyone that an adult is sexually assaulting them.
  • Children of all ages are raped or molested –and for some children, even from infancy.
  • Women, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and sisters sexually molest children too.
  • When a sibling sexually abuses a younger sibling, or a child that is less powerful, it can be very painful and damaging to the victim. Some people excuse sibling sexual abuse as “playing doctor,” or “mutual exploration,” or “no big deal,” but it can be a big deal to the victim and can cause many physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms in the victim. In addition, same-sex sibling sexual abuse can be devastating and create terrible problems for the victim –even when it was a female sibling who abused a female child! Female-female child sexual abuse can be very serious for the victim. So is male to male child sexual abuse.
  • Up to 20% of victims of child sexual abuse completely block out the entire event/events, and even their entire childhood can be blocked out from memory if the trauma and abuse began at an early age, lasted for many years, was severely emotionally traumatic, and involved threats of death.
  • Photographs of incest are uncommon. Medical records are more likely non-existent because most abusers do not take the child they are raping and molesting to a doctor to treat the abuse, more often than not, the mother (or father) who knows the sexual abuse is taking place, also do not take the child for help.

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  • Studies show that at least forty-four percent of mothers protect the abuser, not their child. If rape was involved, the mother is even less likely to have protected her child.
  • Most survivors of child sexual abuse are angrier at the mother who did nothing to stop the abuse, than they are at the perpetrator. Most mothers, who guard the abuser, do so out of self-convenience, love for the abuser, and material needs –not because they are “victims too.” A mother’s chosen ignorance severely affects incest victims physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Many victims repress those emotions because of society’s views of women, and because we have been taught that women are all victims, and because we are taught that mothers cannot be blamed.
  • Many survivors of child sexual abuse –especially victims of incest- can also become very angry at any non-offending siblings, who did not protect them. This is a natural, normal response to have towards family members who knew the abuse was happening, but did nothing to stop it.
  • According to former FBI Agent Ken Lanning, children often don’t have any visible signs of abuse. When a child has been sexually assaulted, doctors often cannot find any identifying physical marks or injuries. Even if the child was physically wounded, they can heal rapidly.
  • Researchers have found that abnormal medical exams in children, who are suspected of having been sexually abused, only occurs about four percent of the time. The results of this study show that signs of sexual abuse in a child are hard to detect when physical evidence is depended upon as the primary indicator.
  • Experts feel there are fifty to sixty million survivors of child sexual abuse in the United States alone. Evidence shows this number is grossly underestimated.
  • Many survivors of child sexual abuse and incest have lost their connection with God, or a Higher Power because the person who sexually violated them proclaimed to be a religious person. Other victims lost faith in God because they could not understand how a loving God could possibly allow the abuse to happen to them. These feelings are normal and natural to have.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, you were not at fault for what happened to you. NO CHILD wants to be sexually abused. Some children respond to sexual abuse in a favorable way because they were not provided with love from other authority figures or family members. Sometimes the perpetrator gave the child gifts, treated them special, or the abuse created a pleasurable physiological response in the child. Victims having a favorable bodily reaction to sexual abuse is nothing to be ashamed of. This is a normal reaction to child sexual abuse. The perpetrator and anyone who protected the perpetrator are the only guilty people. Children are innocent.

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