Emotional effects of abuse on children

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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Tbunde5
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Emotional effects of abuse on children

Post by Tbunde5 »

While Natalie is the central figure of the book, I found it fascinating to see the interactions of all the children. Robyn, who wets the bed; Shirley, who has a vicious mean streak; and Natalie, trying to hold them all together. Do you think the author gives an honest portrayal of the effects of abuse in children?
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Post by BDTheresa »

Yes she did give an honest portrayal of the effects of abuse in children. Aldo all families are not the same, all situations are not the same so therefore all outcome can't be the same.
Tbunde5
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Post by Tbunde5 »

I agree. I appreciated that she showed it through individual characters. And she didn’t hold back. The sheer coldness of Shirley’s treatment of Robyn, both about wetting the bed and killing the steer, was shocking in its boldness, especially considering her age. A lot of authors would have portrayed the family as sticking together no matter what. But I don’t think that’s the reality. Also to have a female react this way instead of the stereotypical son.
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Post by Eryn Bradshaw »

It's always hard for me to say, having not lived in an environment like that. I felt like the children were well-rounded though. Kids, and adults, all handle abusive situations in different ways. I can appreciate Linnane showing the children dealing with the situation differently.
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Post by lesler »

The author does give an accurate portrayal of the effects of child abuse to the child. There is no specific way it affects each individual person, so there's no right or wrong way.
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Post by rcarr13 »

Fortunately, I have never been in a situation like that so I'm can't be completely sure of how accurate this is, however, I do believe different people would react and cope to the situation in different ways. The author has done a good job of showing how each character in this home deals with it differently and that is an accurate portrayal of any shared traumatic experience.
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Post by azerikaj »

Haven't gotten very far yet but it makes sense to me. As does Natalie being drawn to an older man...for one thing, she's been acting grown for a while so kids from school in more stable situations, say, would feel childish.For another, she has a lot of father issues.
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Post by Mjgarrison »

I definitely think she gives an honest portrayal of the effects of abuse on children. Every child in every situation is different. I had a cousin who was abused as a kid and she grew up to be the abuser. My dad always fought with my mom in a drunken rage and my brother turned out to be distant and suicidal while my other brother fried his brain on drugs. I on the other hand became a teacher and a somewhat protector of children. Everybody feels differently about their situation and reacts accordingly.
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Post by cristinaro »

I think the author's intention was to show the variety of ways in which people respond to abuse and she was successful in doing this. I am curious about the further development of the plot and whether or not we learn what happens with the other members of Natalie's family in the future.
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Post by lbhatters »

Tbunde5 wrote: 01 Apr 2018, 21:55 While Natalie is the central figure of the book, I found it fascinating to see the interactions of all the children. Robyn, who wets the bed; Shirley, who has a vicious mean streak; and Natalie, trying to hold them all together. Do you think the author gives an honest portrayal of the effects of abuse in children?
Absolutely. I used to be a caretaker for a dysfunctional family, and all three of these things were being manifested in the family. The father would have major outbursts of anger at the wife, the son of about 10 years old was wetting the bed, and the daughter of about twelve was trying so hard just to keep the peace. The parallels here are incredibly similar, and accurate.
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Post by Jkhorner »

I can't speak from personal experience, but from my counseling training I can confirm that bed-wetting and angry interactions with the world are both indicators that there is something wrong going on at home. As commenter azerikaj mentioned, even Natalie's sexual desire is a common result of childhood abuse.
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Post by revna01 »

I think the author addressed some realistic results of childhood abuse, but these are just the tips of the iceberg. There are countless indicators for abuse.
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Post by mcfeealexis »

I feel that abuse can affect people different ways and it also depends on what type of abuse may it be physical or emotional. As I person that has felt emotional abuse when I was younger I did not even realize it affected me until later on in my life. I do think this gave a great representation of what someone who is affected by abuse would act.
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Post by Aisha I »

Yes, I think the author was so honest in portraying the emotional effects of child abuse as I can still figure out the trauma Natalie must have been through towards trying to keep her family together by all means at a very young age. it is a burden she needs not to carry at that age of hers while her mother still lives.
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Post by mmklundt »

The effects of abuse on children is far reaching. The noticeable effects vary depending on the age of the child and the type of abuse. Nothing in this book seemed unusual or inappropriate to me.
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