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In order to adapt and survive, we all make a necessity into a virtue.
His son had rationalized this brutality with a story that let his father off the hook and put the responsibility on himself. They can't face the reality of their suffering at the hands of others and so blame themselves.
A psychoanalyst once said that children would rather be "sinners in heaven than saints in hell," a reference to the need children have to maintain an idealized view of their caretakers, even at their own expense.
They can't let themselves know that they have legitimate dependency needs that are unmet, that they need more protection, or that they feel invisible and want to be more important to other people. They have to be unconsciously kept in check all the time.
Although meant well, and often helpful, this approach appeals to audiences in a special way. In their hearts, they have a passionate contempt for victims, the weak, the helpless, and the unprotected-either real or imagined.
It's not a far cry from there to right-wingers like James Dobson, who advocates corporal punishment and to Dr. I say real or imagined because, of course, even the strict moralists like Schlesinger and Dobson would favor sympathy for the most obviously feeble and helpless groups in our society, e.g.
She loved her husband, and didn't want him to die at all.