I see abuse affects some adults and children around me. If that adult had one abusive parent and a parent who stood up against the abuse, that adult has thrived. But I've seen adults who had two abusive parents--or one abusive parent and the other parent choose to cower, ignore the abuse, or condone it--and those adults struggle.
Abuse comes in many forms, some so subtle or so blatant. The abusive parent rules through fear and hides their abuse. The abusive parent will manipulate a child into silence or to blatantly lie. Many times the children and parents present a happy facade. This happy facade sometimes continues into the children's adulthood.
Children often don't recognize the abuse; they think it is normal. It's normal for mom or dad to hit them, slap them, or spank them too hard. It's normal for mom or dad to touch them inappropriately. It's normal when mom or dad criticizes them and never gives praise. It's normal when the parent says how disappointed he or she is to make a child feel worthless. It's normal when a parent deliberately and deeply embarrasses a child as discipline.
Because children and later as adults feel abuse is normal, they will joke about being slapped silly, knocked upside the head, or whatever. They tell childhood stories as jokes and gloss over the morality of the abusive parent's action.
These adults still let their parents control them to a certain extent. They won't speak negative truths about an abusive parent because of the fear instilled in them as children. They can criticize the other parent, but anyone hints anything negative about the abusive parent, and suddenly siblings backbite, criticize, name call, use sarcasm, give the "silent treatment," etc. Often they won't admit the truth of abuse to themselves. Just think of Dobby in Harry Potter who punishes himself for stating a negative fact about his master. Just keeps banging his head.
Somewhere these chains of fear must be broken. Adults need to recognize the abuse and watch their actions toward others. Are they repeating the abuse? Are they still letting the abusive parent influence them negatively?
Most of all, adults need to be honest with themselves, their parents and others around them. Truth sets us free from the spiritual burden. Truth may come with a price...maybe worldly prestige, a loss of physical security, etc. But truth and knowledge is the only way to stop the abuse; either to imprison the abuser, or let others know that person shouldn't be entrusted with children. Even if the abuser repents, he or she needs to avoid temptation.
Please leave comments if you have any more insight. Do so anonymously, if need be. This knowledge helps others recognize, avoid and stop abuse.