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Parents Are My Abusers?


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#1 silentcallerinthedark

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:31 PM

I'm seventeen years of age and living with my mother, step-father and older brother (23 years). My step-father is disabled and my mother is his primary carer. She is also my brother's primary carer because he has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Before my mother met my step-father, close to ten years ago, she was single. But when she was sixteen she got married to my oldest brother's father (let's call him "Bob"). "Bob" is twenty-eight(ish) and has a family of his own. Anyway. Bob's dad used to physically, emotionally, mentally and verbally abuse my mother. I obviously understand that this is a bad thing and for a long time she suffered at his hand. Then they got divorced and she moved away from where she'd been living.

After Bob's dad came mine and my other brother's, "George". Mine and George's dad pretty much did the same thing to her as Bob's dad did. But Bob was also a target, though it mostly "sit there and don't move. If you move you get a hole" as opposed to full-blown "you breathed wrong 'smack'". Eventually my mother couldn't take it anymore and she snapped, kicked out our dad and began to raise us on her own. I was about... two maybe three when she 'evicted' him from her life.

After all the abuse she suffered my mother has a defence mechanism, a conditioned response, to anger or perceived threats. She gets verbally aggressive, and I seriously mean aggressive. Now, because my brother has ADHD he obviously has behavioural problems, and the test my mother's patience quite often. The problem is, most of his behaviour, and George's inability to deal with emotions, stems from my mother because; like most children do, George learned how to behave by watching mummy.

This is a big problem for me because, whenever my mother is angry about something, I intentionally get her to 'blow a casket' and rant and what-not at me. This is because she's now married to a man who has made her happy and who she loves (though he's got his own problems really) and it wouldn't do for her to destroy her marriage because of her conditioned responses.

So I become the veritable punching bag for her temper. And I accept that willingly, because I can handle it... mostly.

What I can't handle is the fact that, because I don't get 'verbally aggressive' back at my mother, my brother has now reached the conclusion that I'm the only person in the house to whom he can verbally abuse and not expect a reaction. And he does it often.

Because of his ADHD, and his insomnia, he doesn't sleep properly. He sleeps more of a day than of a night, and spends the majority of his time hidden away in his room playing the Xbox and watching films etc. Whenever I go to bed, around twelve (I am a teenager) at night, I always have to ask him to turn his tv down or turn off the Xbox. His first, and normally 'only', reaction is to tell me to "F*** off!" and slam his door shut. He doesn't expect me to respond because I don't respond to my mother and so he exploits that fact.

I could harm him. I could get verbally aggressive right back, but I won't. I don't want to. It's not because I'm scared he'll hit me or because I'm scared of what he'll say. It's because I don't want to become a bigger part of whatever deformed abuse cycle exists in my family.

My step-father doesn't really help matters. He's apathetic. An emotional response that he developed when he was in the army and had to keep his wits, sanity, about him in war-zones. So, whilst he doesn't respond like my mother does to verbal abuse, he doesn't let you give it to him either. Because he's an adult and the male figure in the household. One that George looks up to. But you can't explain your problems to him, or at least, I can't because he doesn't listen. He hears what you say but doesn't listen.

Anyway. I guess I just gave a mini-history of my family, very slim on details 'cause we are seriously messed up, but I would like to know if there are any people out there who could maybe help me out. Give me someone to blather at who I don't have to be afraid of seeing face-to-face (which is the main reason why I don't tell my friends this crap, and because I don't like showing weakness... learned response).

Right! I'll give you all a wave because I've had enough sad moments writing this to last me a while (not that that'll change anything like).

Silentcallerinthedark :)

#2 gemstar

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:05 PM

Hi silentcallerinthedark,

Welcome to DF. This is a great place to come and share your story and to get advice and support. I am sure you will get lots of responses.

The first thing I thought of when I read that you instigate your mother's temper just to be her punching bag was: co-dependance. You are fulfilling a role within the family unit so that the family can 'function' in a disfunctional manner. It is not your responsibility to be your mother's punching bag, or to save her marriage or anything else. You are 17 years old and should be focussing on graduating from school, perhaps going to university or college, getting a career, finding relationships that satisfy you, exploring and discovering yourself. It is sad that you feel you have to 'step in' and be the punching bag. I really feel badly for you, and can see how that would be extremely stressful and lead to a lot of other defense mechanisms and ways of compensating and coping in negative ways. I don't mean negative to be a judgmental word. Not at all, please don't think that. I just mean: negative for your own well being and happiness. I hope that makes sense?

The second thing I wondered while reading your story is if your mom is on any medication or not? Does she receive counselling? If not, I sincerely feel she should. It is not right that she is taking out her aggression on you or any of the other kids.

I'm sorry your step-father is apathetic. That can be very difficult, especially because you say he listens but doesn't hear you when you are trying to talk to him.

Is there any counselling available to you in your community? Could you talk in private to your family doctor and request the services of a counsellor? I think you need to focus on taking care of yourself. When you do move out of the home and continue on with your individual life, your mother will no longer have you as the punching bag. Then what will happen to her marriage, her relationships with her family? I want to be clear here: it's not your responsibility to be that punching bag. You are protecting everyone else, but I believe it is only facilitating your mother to not seek any help for herself, and only delaying the inevitable.

Thinking about your mom, she has had a heck of a hard life, and if she's been caring for an ADHD child of any age, that would be very difficult, not to mention the other stressors she has had to deal with in her experience. She probably needs to talk to the doctor about counselling, as well, for herself as well as for the family. It's not up to you to get that help for her, although if the situation presents itself you could try having a heart to heart with her about things, tell her what you've been doing all these years as the punching bag, and ask her if she thinks it might help her to talk to the doctor and a counsellor.

This is just my opinion, so please I sincerely hope I have not offended you. :console: I think you deserve to look after yourself, and to be able to share your thoughts and feelings with anyone who will listen and really hear you. We are here, and we are definitely going to be supportive of you! Never forget that.
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#3 Steveab63

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:20 PM

Gemstar is right, you don't have to be the martyr here. At the very least you should stand up to your brother and say you take crap from mom cause she's mom, but I'm not taking it from you. Its admirable that you want to try to provide a sense or normalcy for him, but I think that ship has sailed anyway with the rest of the family acting as they do. I agree that yelling and tension is no way to live or to bring up someone, but you have to take care of you.


I've told people this here before, and I don't know how people feel about it, but here goes: its ok to love your parents and hate how they treat you. The love part is kind of automatic, they brought you into the world and you have that special attachment. However some people are just messed up and have no business trying to raise a kid. Being in that atmosphere is not helping your mood, self esteem, or anything else. Spend as little time there as possible, get a job, and get your own place where you can choose normal people to associate with. No one should have to stick around and be abused. If you can get your mom to do some counseling or get some medication for her issues, you've performed a miracle. However I suspect it will just be another yelling match. Save yourself; please.

Steve

#4 silentcallerinthedark

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 08:57 PM

@Gemstar
Yeah... that's what I thought too...
I do A-Level Psychology and have an avid interest in it so I kinda know a fair bit about stuff from research journals and... wikipedia *looks round* :p
I guess I'm multi-tasking when I shouldn't be, but I sometimes feel as if I need to step in and be the 'adult' for them all 'cause my mother does deserve happiness. It's her conditioning that's the problem.
Oh it's alright honestly. You're already in my "brilliant person" book just for replying :D
I do have a lot of coping mechanisms for it all. Most notably I 'detach' from it all. And the biggest irony of all? Whenever my mother has a dilemma, she comes to me because I can "do the Spock thing". Lovely...

She isn't on medication and hasn't really seen a counsellor other than I think... once or twice in her life. The first time was when her granddad was passing away. The second, when I was getting my diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. I'm a high-functioning Autistic which doesn't really help the situation 'cause that means my mother has two 'problem' kids to raise. *insert bitter sarcasm here*
I agree with you though, she does need help, and I, unfortunately, can't give it to her. It's not right, but it's how she copes and whilst I can never condone it, I do understand it. And I think that's what's hardest for me. I'm not in denial about the fact, and I'm not of the mind-set of "it's how she shows her love". I just... 'get it'.

I tried to help him too, tried to explain to him how being apathetic doesn't help in the long-term and such but... well, once again; he hears but doesn't listen.

Uhh... it's kinda complicated really. I know there's SEFS but that's for teens and such. There's my college, which has a father and a counsellor, but I don't want to 'deal' with them about this. I'm intensely private, mostly because I depend on my own perceived strength around others so I'm not bullied, so I find it difficult talking to people who I know I'll see more than once in my life. God I hate my own defences at times!
I think, if my mother had it her way, I'd never move out. She's controlling, mostly because she didn't have the control one expects to have in a relationship.
You're right. You're absolutely right. But what can I do? Besides suddenly up and decide I'm going to move out. Whilst I like my independence, unfortunately, because of her need for control I know little of public transport and renting apartments etc. Most of the stuff I do know I've had to look up or 'figure out' by listening to my friends.

A heart-to-heart... yeah... that won't work right now...
We're kind of arguing. Well not arguing. She's doing the whole 'silent-treatment' and 'there's an invisible child' routine. As is my step-father. Long-story cut short. I half confronted my brother about two nights ago about the noise he was making; at FOUR in the morning! He got aggressive. I turned off the net. He came downstairs and we had a bit of a 'tiff (which is basically me pointing out that I could hit him hard enough to break something only I don't want 'cause I don't want to be like that and him getting in my face and swearing... same old really). This accidentally woke up the parents.
My step-father heard half of my explanation. My mother heard none of it. 'George' explained what happened; edited and set up to sound like I was in the wrong, and so my mother basically decides to completely ignore me. I get the wrath of both of them for the first half hour as I listen to them ranting and raving and name calling (name calling. Adults calling their kids names... how f***ing mature hmm?)
And... that's why a heart-to-heart won't be happening any time soon. They've literally just walked right past me, even as I'm writing this, and ignored me very presence.

Thank you so much for your support. It really means a lot.
I actually started to tear up when I realised someone had responded to my post.

SCID (lol, acronym-love! xD)

#5 silentcallerinthedark

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:07 PM

@Steveab63
I know I don't, but at the same time I feel obligated to. Don't ask me why 'cause I just don't know.... *headsdesk*
I did. Two nights ago. And it's ended up in me being ostracised in my own house by everyone other than, ironically enough, my brother.
True... very true...
Love-hate relationship... sounds about right.
My mother wasn't 'messed up' to start with though. She was made that way through years of abuse; all types. When she was younger she was happy, care-free and very protective of animals. She doesn't mean to be the way she is but it's how life's events have made her. But it still doesn't make it right. Nor acceptable.
My mood's are always all over the place. Self-esteem? What's that?
I wish I could but, where we live, I have no friends nearby, no means of finance; thank you economic crisis and a government that steals a person's pension!
I am so tempted to just leave the house one day and never come back. But I have no idea where I'd go...

It will. Shouting matches are quite common, but I don't normally do the shouting. I'm more the type that does the 'quiet, forceful yet soft words' that you tend to listen to more than the shouting.
I think, if this current little 'spat' is ever resolved before I make a noose for myself, I'll probably find a number of a counsellor, or a referral or ANYTHING, and just say to her straight "listen. I'm tired of being the victim in the house. Take offence if you want, that's what I'm aiming for. This is a number for X. Make an appointment and go to it. Because if you don't I might not be here this time next month."
I can take a lot of crap from people, mostly 'cause I can turn it back onto them and can either help them or break them, but even I have my limits and it seems I've finally reached it.

Thank you for replying and as I said to Gemstar, I literally started to tear-up when I saw people cared.

Thank you thank you thank you!

SCID (loving this acronym... might have to find a better one soon though :p)

#6 gemstar

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 10:08 AM

SCID, (think that's I love that acronym, too!)

I'm sorry you are having such a hard time at home, honestly.

You seem to understand a lot of what is happening in the home, and at least you have that. A lot of people in the same situation as yourself wouldn't understand at all, which adds to the confusion. I hope the silent treatment will go away -- that's such a cruel method of punishment, so manipulative and hurtful. I just don't understand how people can raise their children that way, or feel justified in doing so. :no: I'm a mom and would never do that to my own child. It's so awful, verging on emotional abuse. I'm so sorry you have to put up with that.

I undesrtand your need for privacy, most definitely. One thing to know is that a counsellor will never tell anyone what you speak about. It's protected and private, confidential. It may help you to talk to someone, you know. It couldn't hurt at all. Logically speaking, the best thing to do for yourself would be to talk to someone with professional experience. Also, there probably is a career counselling center at college where you could most likely talk to someone about finding a job and get some help with that. Perhaps even look into room and board with someone else, you know, in a quiet and less toxic environment. Perhaps find a roommate. You don't have to know them, just be willing to share a space. Those are just a few suggestions for you.

Keep us up to date. I like the idea of you giving your mom some information about getting help. I think it would probably be taken in a better way if you did it when she comes to you for your 'spock' advice, though, and not when you are angry. Just another suggestion.

:console: Thinking of you and hoping you'll be okay.
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#7 Sanda

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:18 PM

Wow. You sure have my respect and admiration. I was just over on another thread whining about my terrible childhood, but what I had to go through isn't a tenth as hard as what you seem to have endured - and keep enduring.

Yet you seem to have such an awesome ability to step back and look at it all in perspective. That's a great strength, I hope it sees you through. I admire you for stepping up and saying something to the dysfuntional adults around you, and even when you can see how wrong they are, you still seem to have the empathy to understand why they are the way they are, and care about them. Anyway, I hope things get easier for you soon, and I hope you maintain your interest in Psychology & get a graduate degree - because I have a feeling with your character and surviving this experience, you're going to be an awsome addition to the field should you choose it!








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