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We've all heard about child abuse, but what about *parent* abuse??

(48 Posts)
flow4 Wed 02-Mar-11 13:44:01

Sometimes I feel like a victim of domestic abuse by my own child. If anyone else treated me the way he does, I would throw them out of my house and they'd never come back. But you can't do that with your own child, can you? We've all heard of child abuse... But parent abuse?? No-one really talks about that, do they? Maybe this is the 'last taboo'...

I'm sitting here feeling ashamed and guilty and miserable because of the way my son is behaving. After all, I have brought him up, so if he's behaving badly, that must be my fault, right?! Oh I know that's not logical, but it's how it feels.

He's 15, he's bigger and stronger than me, I'm a single parent, and so I'm the person around to dump on when he's angry and frustrated. Here's just a random sample of things that I have found especially upsetting or difficult to deal with:

- Stealing from me
- Calling me a b-tch and c-nt, esp in front of other people
- Punching holes in walls/kicking through a door panel
- Barricading me out of my own bedroom when I tried to walk away from an argument and go to bed
- Taking and hiding my PC monitor because I confiscated his TV

Anyway, I thought I'd post this and see whether there's anyone else out there who feels like this. Maybe there's a lot of this 'parent abuse' out there, but we're just not talking about it much. Maybe we can break the taboo...

sharon2609 Wed 02-Mar-11 15:03:13

No advice i'm afraid...just lots of sympathy

Socy Wed 02-Mar-11 17:10:14

flow4, sympathy from here too.
I haven't experienced anything as bad as this but DS1 did hit me on the shoulder once, when he was about that age. I will not back down just because I am being physically threatened and it has never happened again - I would rather get hurt than let them think they can bully me physically.

DS2 is more likely to damage things - he pushed the door so hard the handle went into the plaster wall - hole is still there, thing was I had a friend staying so it was very embarrassing to have him behave so badly and be unable to do anything about it.

Does your DS see his dad? I strongly believe that mine take a cue from their dad in being generally rude and ungrateful - my ex-H basically gives the message that I am not valued in any way. You are not the only one responsible for how he behaves - he will copy from his peer group, tv etc too

solo Wed 02-Mar-11 17:18:22

I know 'someones' neighbour (don't want to say too much) who we suspect is being physically abused by her 15yo son; she has bruised up arms often and when asked about the bruises, she says 'don't ask'. Unfortunately, I think things have become the way they are because the mother is an alcoholic and the son has gone off the rails a fair bit. I think the dad (a good man) tries to discipline him and check him, but I've heard the way the boy speaks to his father first hand and my jaw hit the ground. It's very sad.

I don't think it's as uncommon as it might be thought OP. I just hope that things get better for you very soon. I doubt very much that it's your fault.

Maryz Wed 02-Mar-11 17:59:04

I sympathise with you - and I think you need to inform him that you will call the police if he ever is violent towards you.

Feel free to search some of my posts on here - six months ago I was very afraid of my son. dh lives here as well, but I couldn't let him deal with ds, for fear there would be a fist fight. Whoever won, we as a family would lose if it came to that.

Has your son got involved in drugs? Because ds's worst spates of violence are coming down from so-called legal highs, or for a few days after he stops smoking dope (he stops sometimes, is sober and really psychotic for a few days, and then goes back to being stoned all the time sad).

I am now going for counselling with counsellors at the local youth drug project (where ds refuses to go), and it has been really helpful. You have to take a step back and deal with him more as if he was a lodger than a child. Be more dispassionate about how you react to his behaviour, try not to be emotional. Try to ignore and walk away. Go and get help for yourself - I have discovered I can't change ds, but I can change how I react to him, and things are a lot more settled here now.

You need to talk to someone in real life soon. And you need to separate emotional abuse, which you can walk away from, and physical abuse (including living in fear), for which you should call 999.

pinkchoccy Wed 02-Mar-11 18:18:55

Hi flow4 I agree with Maryz. My son was like that 6 feet at aged 14 and big. He would be awful just like you explained. He was taking drugs and it changed his personality completely. I ahve rang the police on my son also because it just isn't acceptable to be violent and the more they get away with the more they will do.
It is all physical and emotional abuse.
I know how you feel and it is awful.
I hope that you are able to get some support with this .

flow4 Wed 02-Mar-11 18:55:31

Thanks for the support, folks. I am a very strong person, and have never been in a violent personal relationship (before?) and would never tolerate it - I'm not any kind of shrinking violet or doormat - so if this can happen to me, I think it can happen to anyone - and I think it probably happens to more parents, especially single parents, than we ever hear about.

The one single time my son was physically violent directly towards me (he threw a phone at me, hard, and hit) I did call 999. My line is very firmly drawn there. But his anger and physical violence towards things is still very frightening: as he kicked in the sitting room door panel, he panted "Would.. you... sooner... I... did... this.. to... YOU?"

He doesn't see his dad, who he moved abroad when the CSA caught up with him. So I don't have any support, but I don't get undermined or verbally attacked either.

Maryz and pinkchoccy, it sounds like things have got better for you. I'm glad, and it gives me hope. He does smoke some 'skunk' and I agree it has a nasty effect and adds to his agression - I think it's evil stuff.

Maryz, the distinction between emotional and physical abuse is useful - thanks - I am often afraid, but rarely actually hurt... And I am (luckily) very brave. But I still struggle with it because I can't just walk away - not in the moment, because he literally follows me, or generally, because he's too young to throw out, and I love him when he's not horrible like this.

To end on a nicer note, my son has apologised to me this evening, and we've had a civilised conversation. So I feel much better, though still totally drained.

Choufleur Wed 02-Mar-11 18:59:45

Are there any DV helplines where you are. Domestic abuse covers abuse across generations and they will often be able to give advice and support.

ladysybil Wed 02-Mar-11 19:03:08

i think, and please dont flame me for this, but i think that this is where in the past , places like the church came in useful. ie, another adult to talk to, counsel the family etc.
i refuse to believe that all priests were bad people. I think the vast majority were doing a good job. Im not a christian o have no vested interest in the argument. But i have also read steve biddulphs book in which he says that at this age, boys especially need the company of an adult who cares, and isnt a parent, to help them grow inot men.

organisations like scouts also very important in this.

have you spoken to his school? is there any pastoral support you can access? or family workers refer him to counselling? lots of sympathy and hugs for you. i have a tiny little b it of an idea about what you are going through

flow4 Wed 02-Mar-11 20:07:58

Ladysybil, I think you're right that church leaders often played this role - and scout leaders and football coaches and blokes who took teenage lads on as apprentices. I absolutely agree with Steve Biddulph's view that boys this age need adult men, and I have put some effort in over the years to trying to fix this up, since my son's father has been so absent. But I haven't succeeded. There isn't any pastoral support at my son's school (they replaced the pastoral team with a 'behaviour management' team, which says a lot) and I have tried to access counselling for him - we had an assessment with CAMHS and didn't reach their threshold for support, and though I managed a self-referral (after 12 months of trying) to a voluntary org that offers counselling for young people, he only had 3 sessions before he and the counsellor decided he didn't need it. I have had counselling myself in the past, and have just got another referral for support for myself today.

Choufleur, you're right about 'specialist' DV support probably being useful, but it's a bit difficult for me because I know the people who run the local DV support service though my work (I work for the local council), and I don't want to talk to people I work with/might work with in the future about something so very personal. I know I shouldn't feel ashamed and stigmatised, but I do.

When things are good, my son and I actually communicate well (better than most teenage sons and mothers, according to the CAMHS psychologist). It's just that communication breaks down totally when he gets angry or frustrated - it's like a Jeckle and Hyde thing - if feels like he goes temporarily a bit mad.

ladysybil Wed 02-Mar-11 21:35:41

flow, i feel for you. My ds1 is a bit younger than yours and when he gets into a temper, its horrible to. I reallyhope it doesnt get as bad as your situation.

but thats me being selfish and turning this thread into me. rathaer than you.

I dont know what cultural background youcome from, but, you have tried all sorts of things, do you think you could try one of two others? ask around to find out what is the best place locally, and take your ds to a church? it couldnt hurt could it? ds1 foound this on the web its funny, but the point that me and you are interested in,could be applicable to all us moms.

other than this, and what we've already said, i have nothing for you except lots of positive vibes. hope things get better soon.
perhaps someone else has better advice than i do?

ladysybil Wed 02-Mar-11 21:39:42

lol, just rewatching it, and am not sure . :D will you get the humour? i hope so. It was something we all had a great laugh. the counsellor bit doesnt come in till five minutes into it.
if you like it, watch the other ones. he's done til five. and they are dead funny if you come from an asian background. especially the bits about the paracetamol

GypsyMoth Wed 02-Mar-11 21:43:37

Have been through this with my dd. Her abusive behaviour was aimed at me and her siblings. She has spent nights in a police cell x 3.

Think she's learned now..... But I've had to protect her from herself by giving her a room of her own, meaning I no longer have a bedroom of my own.

Social services have given us family intervention by Christian care. That's all they can offer even tho her abuse was aimed at her 2 yr old brother on one occasion.

Even abuse of siblings seems to be accepted!

flow4 Wed 02-Mar-11 21:45:00

The link doesn't work for me, ladysybil

flow4 Wed 02-Mar-11 21:48:15

Oh wow, ILTiff, that sounds grim. Are you coping OK?

ladysybil Wed 02-Mar-11 21:51:39

sorry. it should have :S

got to youtube, and look for diary of a bad man.

RailwayChild Wed 02-Mar-11 21:58:09

A friend of mine was regularly beaten by her son until she called the police. One night in a cell and he stopped.

sharon2609 Wed 02-Mar-11 22:01:57

Why is it so hard to get help for our children....People in prison seem to have access to every type of help going! Why wait until it's too late for some of these kids?
Rant over.

GypsyMoth Wed 02-Mar-11 22:05:56

Coping day by day. Dd is ok, hardwork but as long as she has something to lookforward to/work towards, then she does better

Maryz Wed 02-Mar-11 22:20:56

If he is taking drugs there may well be a local youth drug task force volunteery thing (no idea what it would be called where you are), and it is often easier as parents to get help and advice from the drugs unit rather than from any school or mental health service (who are massively overstretched)

The counselling I am having at the moment is really helping. Just to pick up one thing in your posts - I'm not really sure it's such a good idea to hide the fact that you are frightened of him. I don't mean quiver or cry or anything, but to say to him, outside the event, that he is really frightening you and that is NOT ok, and that you will be reporting him, might make him think, just a bit.

If he is still talking to you, and even apologising (even rarely) it means he still does care, even though he hides it. What he really needs, of course, is some sort of anger management because these kids are really sad and angry in their lives, and just take it out on us. Unfortunately they need to admit they need help before there is any chance of getting it sad.

Ilovetiffany - how's the room working out? I haven't seen any new threads by you recently so I'm wondering has it helped to split the girls up?


GypsyMoth Wed 02-Mar-11 22:55:16

Yes maryz .... It really has! ALOT!

Dd is now (I think) trying to make up for her bad few months. She's constantly in and out and asking for things/asking questions/chattering away, which is lovely, really nice, but I don't want her feeling guilty.

Op, the police have been quite helpful to us. Dd has spent quite a lit of time talking to officers. She now wants to be one herself. So a silver lining for us maybe!? Don't be afraid to call them out! I'm a lone parent also, another adult just validating house rules etc really can help.

sharon2609 Wed 02-Mar-11 23:02:41

IloveTiff....really pleased for you..

OP def call the Police if needs be ..they've been very helpful to me and totally non judgemental.

flow4 Wed 02-Mar-11 23:23:35

I don't hide it from him when he frightens me, Mary. I am more likely to show anger or indignanation - I am not a natural quiverer - but I do tell him afterwards I find him very frightening sometimes. Generally he doesn't believe me, or he says he doesn't. I have also told him that I will call the police if he is violent, but/and I am quite careful not to threaten things I wouldn't carry through.

(Actually, I have just noticed something new: I tend to act angry when I am scared, which is just what he does. I mean, I am already aware that he does this, but I hadn't thought that I do it too. That'll probably be useful, so thanks!)

I've phoned the local drugs advice line, who tell me skunk use is very, very common in our area. But he's not interested in any kind of help... He doesn't think there's much of a problem... From his point of view, I just have to let him do what he wants and not complain ("not be a bitch") and then he won't get angry - so we'll both be happy! hmm

He's more reasonable when he's calm. We've had a decent convo this eve. I'm going to sleep now cos I'm absolutely shattered.

I hope everyone else out there who's being battered by their teen - physically or emotionally - gets some peace soon too.

Maryz Wed 02-Mar-11 23:40:37

"From his point of view, I just have to let him do what he wants and not complain ("not be a bitch") and then he won't get angry - so we'll both be happy!" hmm.

I wonder - I think I might just have heard that myself about a million times once or twice shock.

It's terrible how they simply can't see what is so glaringly obvious to the rest of the world.

I realise he probably won't want help - but what about you? My way into help for me was through an information point in a local shopping centre - a voluntary scheme had leaflets etc there, and I stopped to talk to the woman on the desk and burst into tears blush. She gave me a number of a support group for parents of drug users (I had thought that because it was "just" cannabis, they wouldn't want me), and it has been great. Through that we got a referral to a counsellor - who is free (the last one cost 120 euro an hour and told me I was a control freak hmm). Just having someone to talk to, and for me and dh to bash ideas off has been a huge help.

flow4 Thu 03-Mar-11 09:44:20

Yes, I'm getting some support for myself. I phoned Parentlineplus yesterday (are we allowed to talk about them here?!) and they have referred me for some 1:1 phone support/counselling, which would suit me well cos we live in a semi-rural area and I don't have a car.

I guess it is like this for women living with abusive partners too - I don't suppose the men who abuse them think they have a problem, either.

The thing I find really, really hard, though, is that if my son was an adult I would clearly and firmly see this as his problem, and I would not live with this behaviour. But because he's my son and a child, I have to find ways of living with it, and dealing with it, and supporting me and him.

At my lowest moments, I can't help thinking that other women living with domestic abuse aren't expected to carry on and on living with it, and to go on looking after the person who is abusing them... but I am expected to do just that with my son - because like ilovetiff says, I know we will be nowhere near the threshold for social services support.

Anyway it's all quiet and calm at the moment, so that's a relief.

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