Letter: Divorce patterns set in childhood

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The Independent Online
Divorce patterns set in childhood

Sir: Laying aside the fecklessness factor - which is real and worrying - I would hazard that most people enter unhappy and therefore destructive marital relationships because this is a pattern which has been set for them in childhood by inadequate parenting (Polemic, Melanie Phillips and Polly Toynbee, 24 May).

If you take Melanie Phillips's attitude - that you make your bed and lie on it - you are effectively condemning those who have already known unhappiness in childhood to unhappiness in adult life also, should they be so unfortunate as to marry someone not able to help them resolve the problems of the past.

It may well be that such persons, and there are many of them, will need the help of outside agencies to achieve this difficult goal, but locking them in relationships from which they can only escape with further damage to their already depleted self-esteem hardly seems the charitable way forward.

ANGELA PARTINGTON

Appleton, Oxfordshire

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