There are lots of books about this subject; the best writer is Lundy Bancroft (When Daddy Hits Mommy etc)who writes a lot about the effect of wife batterers on the children,whether or not the child is also battered.In my family we were not allowed to express anything negative about our father's intolerable cruelty and violence. We were too scared to say that we were scared because if we said we were scared this would be taken as a criticism and we would be beaten.

Alongside this was a stepmother who believed in smoothing things over, behaving as if what we faced in the home was perfectly normal and that it was a sign of our father's love for us because he was so stressed because he worked so hard so we could have a high standard of living. Insane. No wonder two of us married narcissists, one lived with a narcissist and one became morbidly obese.

I have found unlearning my learned helplessness to be the hardest thing in recovery. It is also very difficult to explain to other people how frightening it is for the learnedly helpless adult child to stand up for oneself with any real authenticity or sense that one will be taken seriously. I have met less than three people who really get it. What we all had in common was a narcissist mother or mother figure and a violent or absent father.