Advanced search

Would this have scared you as a child?

(27 Posts)
Casehistories1 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:01:53

Aged about 3, at our neighbours. I didn't like the mum but liked playing with her daughter. The mum and her boyfriend tried to make me change into one of her daughter's swimsuits to play in the pool. I said no because I didn't want to take my clothes off and they laughed but then got annoyed and quite belligerent but I kept saying no. I remember being so uncomfortable and afraid and made up a lie to get away, and went home.

They followed me home and spoke to my male relative who became really furious with me after they left, coming up to my room and bellowing at me in rage for telling a lie, I remember the initial terror but then shutting down and sort of matter of factly wondering if he was going to hurt me because of such aggression. He did not, though. I knew my mum would have said I'd done the right thing.

Sorry if it sounds like nothing, but it has come up for me in the last few days and really upset me a few days ago, it just creeped me out so much. Fine today, but think it was odd. I've thought about it before but always with a view of "it was fine because nothing actually happened". Was I overreacting to have found it upsetting in hindsight?

OP’s posts: |
LochJessMonster Fri 19-Jun-20 19:15:24

What are you focusing on, the swimsuit issue or the yelling?
Most children would be scared at being yelled at.

Dmacka75 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:21:01

I think most 3 year olds would have been scared of an adult shouting aggressively at them
Which bit has creeped you out? The swimsuit bit?

Dmacka75 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:22:02

Sorry, I know its besides the point, but I'm amazed you can remember so much from being 3 years old!

CallMeOnMyCell Fri 19-Jun-20 19:22:54

I would have been terrified. Do you know what they said to him? Seems like a massive overreaction from all of them! I empathise as I’ve had similar incidents and they sneak up on you years later.

Casehistories1 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:29:18

I can't separate out which bit I found upsetting, it's all rolled up like one thing in my mind. I remember the deep discomfort of insisting I didn't want to change into the swimsuit and urgently needing to get away from them, and then a different kind of upset at being roared at and wondering if I'd be hurt. Two different kinds of fear feelings, but they both seem to weigh the same and are joined together?

Maybe because it was a fucking horrible day I suppose.

OP’s posts: |
LegallyBlue Fri 19-Jun-20 19:30:30

Honestly, it completely depends and there's not really enough information at all.
Firstly, if you were determined to go in the pool and weren't capable of changing yourself then I can't imagine they were unreasonable to insist that you changed. I also wouldn't allow a three year old to walk home by themselves so following you home isn't weird at all - they would be entirely in the wrong for not checking you got home safely.
Secondly, whether the anger is reasonable or not pretty much depends on what you lied about. You may have made your relative look very stupid.
If you were uncomfortable then you did the right thing in getting out of the situation but that doesn't necessarily mean that they did anything wrong. It's always upsetting to be yelled at and I don't yell at my children but it's a very common form of discipline and was more common decades ago when this would have taken place. If my child had been at a neighbour's and the neighbour brought them home and said "sorry to hear your mother's died, [insert child's name] just told me" then I'd be mightily angry with my child for lying about it - without knowing the lie, it's impossible to know.
In my opinion, you're not being unreasonable to be upset by this experience but you're being unreasonable if you think anyone else did anything wrong.

Casehistories1 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:33:46

No, I didn't want to go in the pool, I was scared of the water. They were insisting. I think I was frightened of how pushy they were, it seemed like a power battle where they then got pissed off because a child was saying no.

OP’s posts: |
Casehistories1 Fri 19-Jun-20 19:34:44

Thanks for the feedback, all.

OP’s posts: |
TORDEVAN Fri 19-Jun-20 19:39:14

If my child came home (at any age) and told me they'd lied to get out of a situation they found uncomfortable I wouldn't yell at them 😮 I would be bothered about the situation that made then uncomfortable and I'd forget the lying to get home!

I think you were reasonable to be bothered and scared, especially at 3, that's very young.

WellThisIsShit Fri 19-Jun-20 19:46:08

It sounds very scary, and like you were out of your depth, being such a tiny child without a grown up on your side/ taking control for you in both encounters.

I wonder why it’s surfacing now?

WellThisIsShit Fri 19-Jun-20 19:48:04

Oh btw, I’ve always told my child they don’t have to explain themselves if they feel uncomfortable doing something, just to say no is enough.

If other adults had forced him into a situation where he’d had to lie, I’d be congratulating him on his quick thinking, not raging at him.

thebearwentoverthebumble Fri 19-Jun-20 19:48:40

That does sound horrible, and to have the male relative who I assume wasn't your dad screaming at you would be so scary! When I was 2 and a half my uncles girlfriend was baby sitting my brother and I, I remember getting out of bed to play with my little toy kitchen quietly in the dark and she burst into the room and said "get in bed you little shit" I was and am very sensitive and my mum would never have spoken to me like that, I've never forgotten it, I sobbed myself to sleep. If you were scared you were scared and yanbu 🌷

D4rwin Fri 19-Jun-20 19:54:52

At 3 I'm not surprised that you were wary. I remember clearly at 5 someone else's mum shouting at me at the school gate and how much it alarmed me how angry they were, what they might do (and I was actually used to getting a slap etc at home). It must have been awful to remember something that well from age 3 like that.

Samtsirch Fri 19-Jun-20 19:59:41

You trusted your instinct, to get away.
Then you were yelled at.
Both are scary and both are wrong.

dottiedodah Fri 19-Jun-20 20:05:28

I remember being pinched on the arm by a Teacher! I was scared and didnt tell my DM till much later .Would have only been about 5 or 6 .Luckily a temp Teacher while our one was ill .Have you ever spoken to DM about it ? You had every right to be scared .

FTMF30 Fri 19-Jun-20 20:22:15

That definitely would have scared me. Especially at such a young age. Who was the relative?

legalseagull Fri 19-Jun-20 22:23:24

This would scare any child as children don't like being shouted at - but most adults wouldn't still dwell on something so I significant. Is there something else going on that you're transplanting you're feelings from?

Casehistories1 Sat 20-Jun-20 19:45:49

Legalseagull it's a bit shit of you to try dismiss it as insignificant, it was not just being shouted at as I thought I made clear. As a child of the eighties I know discipline was different then, I was smacked a couple of times as a small kid and did not find that traumatising. Although I am completely and utterly against smacking kids myself. I was also shouted at in a 'normal' way the odd time and again that was different. I was not a particularly sensitive child, at all, I wasn't afraid of most adults and did not cry easily.

This was a sense of being in real danger, it was very frightening but then I sort of closed down.

OP’s posts: |
Casehistories1 Sat 20-Jun-20 19:48:46

Samtsirch yes that's how I looked at it and why I didn't think the lie was bad. The lie was something like oh I'm not allowed to play here now it's late (or something) it wasn't anything elaborate. Clearly, it was a lie though and that's why the neighbours didn't believe it.

OP’s posts: |
safariboot Sat 20-Jun-20 19:52:46

YANBU. All the adults involved were unpleasant.

Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel Sat 20-Jun-20 20:00:42

Sorry, I know its besides the point, but I'm amazed you can remember so much from being 3 years old!

I do too. A huge amount.

Agree, all the adults were dreadful. What did you DM say/do to them?

Casehistories1 Sat 20-Jun-20 20:10:16

I don't remember what my mum said but have an overwhelming feeling that she agreed I did the right thing to get away and wasn't bothered about the lie in this incident. She was at work which was very part time.

OP’s posts: |
FridayNightAtTheBronze Sat 20-Jun-20 20:18:51

I think that situation would have been very scary for a child of any age, but certainly a 3 year old.

Memories are strange things, and this has been triggered by something. Do you have a child around that age?

I would try to focus on the positive in the situation, that even as a 3 year old you had the presence of mind not to do something you were uncomfortable with. That's a very good strong characteristic to have.

I agree with PP, all the adults in this situation acted very badly, and you shouldn't have been punished, how horrible for you.

lisajane1966 Sat 20-Jun-20 20:23:58


What are you focusing on, the swimsuit issue or the yelling?
Most children would be scared at being yelled at.

Oh my god, that is just the sort of thing I always warned my daughter about, (someone making her feel uncomfortable) what sort of mother was this and why did her partner want her to do it. You definetly did the right thing. Well done, no one should pressure a child, especially for something like that.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in