I read a book called “The Sovereign Psyche”, which talks how the abuse of slavery still haunts many African Americans today. Dysfunctionality is passed from generation to generation. First Nations people in Canada suffer a similar fate as First Nation families were broken apart to “civilize” the young ones.
I recall reading a quote from the Bible something like “the sins of the father last seven generations”. I found something that mentions four generations, but I think the quote is talking about the passing down of mental illness and dysfunctional thinking.
Those who are afflicted need a refuge. For me, it was my school. For seven hours a day, I was away from my father and his wrath. I did not enter adulthood as a well adjusted person, but without the school, things would have been worse.
As for my father and many others, they did what they had to do because they knew no different. They need to be forgiven and we need to learn. If they are still alive, strong boundaries need to be set — which could include estrangement. In the end, it is their battle to fight, not ours.
If our nations were analyzed as a person by the field of psychology, the field would say the nation suffers from mental illness and trauma. We really need to fix this. But with the arrogance of western democracy as the ultimate system of governance, we can’t fix anything.