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    • #132453
      Atta
      Participant

      Hi,
      i’m also new here which is why I’m in “is this abuse” ‘cos i’m trying to make sense of whether i have a right to say there was abuse, or a right to claim that i’ve been shaped by this.

      I’m not a child, I’m (detail removed by moderator). This stuff happened more like (detail removed by moderator). I’m sorry, I know that’s not current.

      I love my dad deeply and have a relationship with him. However, he is sometimes very good at showing love, and other times very indifferent or angry.

      But I think in the past he has been abusive.

      I recall in my early childhood (detail removed by moderator) that after big fights my mum would leave and take me with her for a night or two to stay with friends. She would ask if I wanted to come, so I’d say yes.

      From about (detail removed by moderator) things could get very bad. I had a little sister but I tried very hard to shield her and because there’s a big age gap, she missed a lot of the details of the arguments. I know they were not finding parenthood easy so young and etc.

      Things could be just the best – he was fun and spontaneous and loving and, okay, a bit strict about tidiness but…

      Or they could be do dark and cloudy. For weeks and months.

      Often he would just see red, lose control.

      Smashing things, breaking cupboard doors, slamming doors, he would break presents he’d given her [mum] once or twice. One night he had her by her neck (detail removed by moderator). I thought she would die. and although i used to hide behind the door normally, that time I came out to plead with him and he was so angry with me, for taking sides, said he would disown me if I ever did again.(Detail removed by moderator).

      Mostly I used to beg her to back down, thinking if she just said the right things he would stop. I even blamed her in my head. I did the same with myself, why can’t you make this right (detail removed by moderator),

      I feel so melodramatic, because he never hit us dynamically, but he did use force on mum – grabbing her shoulders or wrist – and sometimes me too, and he would back us against a wall at times if we made him angry. I made him so angry when I was a teenager because I argued back, I could see him losing it but I still did it that time, and it ended in a fight (detail removed by moderator). But looking back, I was only about (detail removed by moderator) which is kind of not a fair fight.

      I never knew what would happen when he came in through the door. Whether to go upstairs and play with younger (detail removed by moderator). Whether to say “Hi Dad, I love you”.

      But it got confusing, because as I got older, he did too and he got more control over the red hot anger. It was more like(detail removed by moderator). When I was about (detail removed by moderator) I just shut away the scary stuff, cause it’s easy to be mad at your dad for calling you fat.

      And it’s all just. I’ve remembered it happened. And I’m like this little girl who always felt old, always felt like I had to be there as though being near could keep mum safe, always felt I had to take care of sibling 1 emotionally, protect her. And I didn’t want to be the big one, I hated being the older one.

      But also because my siblings are a fair bit younger, this just isn’t part of their history (they weren’t born or were very small/didn’t watch) which is so strange for me. Only my mum and me know, and my parents are together – it wont’ help me or them to raise this with them – and I honestly believe that my dad loves us and quite probably doesn’t remember it – because it’s not what he’d want things to have been like.

      So yeah. We have shared experience, me (detail removed by moderator) because ultimately he is a difficult man, who is capable of showing great love and withdrawing all apparent love. But we don’t share this. It’s just me.

      And I love him so much, and I feel so guilty, but I’m also suddenly back to the little girl hurting so much.

      Am I a bad person for using the word? It’s such a big word, abuse. I feel I have no right.

    • #132491
      Atta
      Participant

      Okay, i’m guessing that its not. I shouldn’t use this forum then. I’m really sorry.

    • #132492
      Grey Rock
      Participant

      Hi Atta,

      I didn’t want to read and run but have only got time for a quick response right now. I’m glad you’re here to find support. It’s so hard to cope with those conflicting feelings we experience when someone we love is abusive.

      There is a book called Living With a Dominator which you might find useful in making sense of what you’ve seen and experienced. There is also an an anonymous group called ACOA. It’s for adult children of alcoholic or dysfunctional families. They (or their literature) might be useful,beven if only to find some identification from shared experiences with others who have gone and are going through similar experiences.

      Please do keep posting. It sometimes just takes a while to get responses on here. People sometimes can only check the forum when it’s safe for them to do so.

      GR x

    • #132494
      Eggshells
      Participant

      Hi Atta

      Your post has been moderated to keep you safe but there is enough information there to be able to say that you did suffer abuse as a child.

      Witnessing your mother being abused is child abuse but from what I can tell, it seems that there was threatening abuse targeted directly at you too.

      Using the withdrawal of love and affection to get you to behave is coercive control and it is really damaging.

      Recognising that you have been a victim of abuse can be a real shock. It can take time to process.

      It can take time to get a response on the forum and as you waited for a response, you wrote a 2nd post which broke my heart. It seems as though you are full of self doubt and lacking in confidence. This is so typical of the damage that can be done when you’re raised by an abusive parent.

      Grey Rock has given you some really useful information about where you can get support that is directed specifically at your situation. People who had abusive parents can often end up in abusive relationships themselves. Many of the women on the forum had abusive parents before hooking up with abusive partners.

      Understanding abuse and understanding how it has shaped you can help you to seek out more healthy relationships.

      Try Googling “NHS counselling near me”. If there are no self referral schemes in your area, please consider asking your GP to refer you. xx

    • #132498
      Lottieblue
      Participant

      Oh Atta, you poor thing, this sounds absolutely awful for you, and I’m sorry you had to wait so long before anyone was able to engage with your post. You didn’t just have to witness your mum being abused, (which, as @Eggshells says, is abuse in itself) but you were also directly abused yourself. I think it is worse for you that your parents are still together.

      You have been given good advice above, please do try to get some help for yourself. And do keep coming back. X*x

    • #132555
      Atta
      Participant

      Hi, Grey Rock, Eggshells.

      I can’t write words really to express the value of your support.

      But the value is huge, thank you.

      Grey Rock, I really will follow those leads, thank you so much. Thank you for making me feel understood about the love.

      Eggshells, that was really validating and also made me feel understood.

      Lottieblue. Thank you for being so kind to me <3.

      It is confusing that we are a ‘nuclear family’. It’s confusing that I may never get to witness the love between my parents that I’m told by my mum is there when they’re alone. But i want them to have that, of course I do. It’s just confusing.

      My mum has said it never works when we’re all (parents and siblings) together, but that the relationships are good in smaller groups. ​But the outcome is that I seem never to be able to be loved by all family members at the same time. And it’s a family now where there are adult siblings who have learned some abusive behaviours and use them too.

      And even personally, I fear being abusive. I do abuse (hit) myself when there’s that red mist, it’s a bit weird and I’m working on it and I’m, you know, safe but embarrassed afterwards. I have this partner who grew up in a mega stable family (i know. It’s nice! and confusing!) who has a lot of self-respect and isn’t scared I’ll abuse them, and it reassures me, somehow.

      • #132562
        nbumblebee
        Participant

        Hey I wanted to jump on and say something.
        I was abused as a child by a close family member then as an adult i was stalked and abused then raped by a different family member and whilst ive been married 2 decades ive discovered hes nit nice at all either. I have kids but never ever have i worried that I will become abusive never. I also self harm ive actually broken my own ankle (detail removed by Moderator) by self harm. Now im only telling you this so you know you are not alone. You must be brave and you must reach out and get some help. Its so so scarey I know to admit to such things but you have got to start to believe in yourself learn some self love twchniques learn to look after yourself its a long hard journey but one i think you really need to take in order to live a life you deserve. Xx

      • #132565
        Atta
        Participant

        Hi,

        I’m really sorry to hear about all of those things, but also thank you for your solidarity xx

    • #132557
      Eggshells
      Participant

      If you fear that you may become abusive then it’s unlikely that you have the makings of an abuser. Abusers aren’t scared at the thought of being abusive, it empowers them. That really doesn’t sound like you.

      You are not alone in hurting yourself either. It’s far more common than you might think. It’s not weird, it’s a release for you. It is something that can be difficult to overcome by yourself so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

      This is really hard for you. It’s hard enough to deal with an abusive partner and eventually many women walk away. Walking away from family is even harder than walking away from a marriage. There is specialist counselling that may be able to help you to minimise the impact that they are still having on you.

      Be kind to yourself as you process this as it can be a tough journey. xx

      • #132566
        Atta
        Participant

        If you fear that you may become abusive then it’s unlikely that you have the makings of an abuser. Abusers aren’t scared at the thought of being abusive, it empowers them. That really doesn’t sound like you.

        That’s really helpful, thanks

    • #132559
      Grey Rock
      Participant

      Have you ever watched the film Rocket Man about Elton John? I watched it last night. He grew up in a disfunctional family and always craved love from his father and asked his dad for hugs that never came and was made to feel stupid for wanting this. At the very end of the film it shows grown up EJ with child EJ. Child EJ asks grown up EJ, “are you going to hug me now?” And grown up EJ embraces him. And that self-love gives him the strength to find acceptance around the fact that his father just is who he is and can’t feel or demonstrate love and to stop defining or blaming himself for this. We can’t change our families. I’ve had to accept my father for who and what he is. That doesn’t mean letting him treat me badly. It means not expecting anything different from him, and not blaming my myself for how he is. We can’t change them, just our reactions to them. We can, through recovery and self-love and acceptance learn to not let them trigger us. That’s where the hope is.

      I found working through some Inner-child recovery exercises helpful in my journey at various points. If you’re interested in that I can try and find the name of the book / program I used.

      GR

      • #132567
        Atta
        Participant

        Yeah, I see. I’m definitely working on that acceptance, but the thing is I started working on it before I realised that and his historical behaviour wasn’t ok – I was going from the point of view of I am getting unreasonably upset.

        If you have time, it would be really helpful to know those resources.

        Atta

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