Spoiled Children of Divorce

“Hand-Me-Down Blues”
November 22, 2007, 7:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here’s an except from a book called Hand-Me-Down Blues:  How to Stop Depression From Spreading in Families by Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D.  The book is about how Depression runs in families, sometimes chemically, sometimes through events and behaviors.  In parts he talks about how Divorce may affect a child’s vulnerability towards Depression.

From p. 76 in a section called “Breakdown of the Family:”

“There has long been a presumed, if not well-documented, link between serious losses (like divorce or death) and later depression.  Is depression inevitable in later life when children are pushed through their parents’ divore?  No, depression is not inevitable–it’s just more likely.  People assume it is the emotional trauma of the divorce itself that echoes throughout the rest of the child’s life, and that may well be the case.  Custody fights, arbitrary and inconsistent visitation schedules, parental inaccessibility both physically and emotionally for all sorts of reason (such as withdrawing because they are healing with their own hurt and anger while also struggling to rebuild their own lives), and other undesirable changes forced on children are traumatic.

“But I think it is the helplessness children feel that is the most debilitating aspect of divorce preceding later depression. Helplessness is a core component of most depressions.  People typically just give up when they are depressed, succumbing to the paralyzing belief ‘Why bother?  Nothing I do will make any difference anyway.'”

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