QUESTION: “DOES VIOLENCE BREED VIOLENCE?” IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRANSMITTED DOWN THROUGH FAMILY GENERATIONS?

My answer was:Speaking from clinical experience and interviewing thousands of clients violence does beget violence and DV can carry over from generation to generation if the behavior is not addressed. We need to understand that children can be affected differently when violence is witnessed in the home. Some children’s “ego” strength are stronger than others, meaning they have the ability to not let outside influences or messages determine how they will function in the world. Therefore, these individuals will not repeat what made them feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, a child witnessing DV may learn that “if I see the impact of physical violence and who wins the battle I will apply these methods so I can have a better chance to survive in the world.” The child will usually identify with one or the other parent’s behavior as having greater survival value. We can also talk about how traumatic or terrifying experiences can alter the chemistry in the brain and the individual may respond to stressful situation through violent behavior. There are so many variables involved that influence a child’s response to trauma one can only hope the behavior is not repeated.

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