Studies have shown that our childhood history plays a huge role in how we are as parents.
Parents who did not have their needs met as children may find it hard to meet the needs of their own children.
Research has also revealed that some parents who were mistreated as children may expose their child to abuse.
Environmental circumstances such as job loss, marital problems, or physical health concerns may contribute to mental health issues like depression or anxiety thus increasing family conflict or abuse in the home.
Many abusive parents are unconsciously repeating behaviors witnessed from their own family.
According to one German psychiatrist Alice Miller abusers have an “unconscious compulsion to repeat.”
“An intellectual understanding — that hitting or belittling a child is wrong, for example — may not be enough to prevent abuse, simply because the drive to repeat occurs on an unconscious level”, Miller says.
Other factors may play a role such as substance abuse problems or suffering from a personality disorder such as schizophrenia.
Despite these circumstances research has also shown that many children of abusers can overcome the odds and break the cycle in adulthood.