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Do you think my parents were abusive towards me?

(8 Posts)
iwillnotwatchtheocean Mon 10-Apr-17 21:53:13

It's still hard to tell, years and years later. I hope no one minds me asking honestly and sorry if it's long. The main reason I'm asking is because even now I don't have a great concept of what appropriate and inappropriate is in the context of relationships but then I'm not sure my parents were very different to other parents or their time. I should add here my parents aren't perfect but have always been extremely financially supportive and they did love me I think.

Anyway, I was brought up in quite a religious household and I was born to 'older' parents (they prayed for a child and then prayed for a daughter after being blessed with a son) which was me.

My parents were like I say loving to me, they would tell me how happy I'd made them, gave me lots of cuddles and spoiled me a bit with material things. I think a combination of this and being much younger than their friends children meant I was indulged a bit but suddenly it seemed like they kept telling me how naughty I was and my mum in particular used to complain about me in front of me, all the time. We would bump into her friends and she would say 'oh, she did this and it was so naughty and we had to smack her and then she did this other naughty thing and she had to be smacked for that too.' It was really humiliating. My mum never actually smacked me other than once that I can remember but she would tell people she did or that I 'needed to be smacked' like if we had a babysitter or a new teacher she would tell them to smack me as a 'joke.' I do remember feeling so mortified with the babysitter as she was a friends older sister and my mum said 'if she is naughty smack her on her bare bum, that's what we do!' and then went out laughing. The thing was although my dad occasionally did my mum never did!

But I was smacked a LOT (I think anyway as all the times stand out in my mind but maybe it wasn't so much) and often in front of my friends. It didn't work because I just thought I was bad/naughty so I played up to that image. Then as a teenager I went to private school which I think was stricter than a lot of schools as they fussed about stuff other schools maybe wouldn't have been as bothered by but in Year 8, so twelve I guess I did something really stupid and my parents were furious and beat me really.

After that I was so terrified of it happening again I just toed the line so maybe it worked? But when I look back on my childhood all I seem to remember is being smacked or threatened with it for such minor things.

I grew up late 80s/90s to give an idea of context?

Am I overreacting and was this just normal for the time? And my parents were religious and I think believed it was the right way to raise a child.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Tue 11-Apr-17 00:32:51

I grew up in the 80's and 90's and didn't get smacked. I got into fisticuffs with my dad as a teenager (but I was being an arsehole).

Maybe this threat was proferred by your parents to make up for their insecurities as parents.

Do you feel like this affects you now, or can you write it off as being in the past?

iwillnotwatchtheocean Tue 11-Apr-17 00:42:48

I think that's really insightful. I do think they were very insecure in their parenting as they constantly felt they were not strict enough. Which is weird given the above but this was the thing, I wasn't made aware of a rule until I had broken a rule and sometimes I would be smacked for it and sometimes I would be laughed at and indulged. It depended on the mood they were in.

I think the reason it affects me now is not because they ever really hurt me, but because of the humiliation aspect of it. I was scared of them not because I felt like they'd really cause me pain but because they had no respect for my feelings or privacy or dignity. Being smacked in front of friends, and that time when I was twelve they made me take my pants down which for an almost teenage girl was bone chillingly humiliating.

I know I'm rambling sorry.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Tue 11-Apr-17 22:28:10

Ramble away. As much as you can feel the burn of past humiliation - do you feel that it affects how you feel about yourself now or do you think it has pushed you to be more assertive and not accept this?

The changing moods is frustrating. I understand what it's like to be celebrated and then have the carpet torn from under your feet for the same thing.

For my parents it was a bit of keeping up with the Joneses. We were outsiders in our town and so they felt that I had to have immaculate behaviour or we'd be ostracised.

Sometimes when you understand the underlying motives behind their behaviours it helps to humanise it, deal with it and not have it being part of your 'package' (although I'd be lying if I said things were perfect between us now- my DP is on board and keeps me balanced.).

Hecticlifeanddrowning8 Fri 14-Apr-17 18:19:33

I think there was a some emotional abuse going on , to humiliate you the way they did is wrong especially being punished in front of people .and to only make you aware of a rule once you had broken it , then punish you is all traits of emotional abuse. There is a really good book called Toxic parents that may be worth a read 💐

LynetteScavo Fri 14-Apr-17 18:27:57

The thing was although my dad occasionally did my mum never did!

But I was smacked a LOT (I think anyway as all the times stand out in my mind but maybe it wasn't so much) and often in front of my friends.

I got a bit muddled up with this.

I'm not sure the way you parents parented was due to their religion. Lots of atheists smack their children, and lots of religious people don't. They obviously humiliated you, intentionally or not. It sounds like they really, really wanted to give you the best, but as you were a child you did't seem to really appreciate it (naturally!) and this caused them to behave as they did. They do sound rather bonkerz.

Tartyflette Fri 14-Apr-17 18:32:36

So was it your DF who smacked you 'a lot' including on your bare bum, iwillnot ? (You said your mum only smacked you once)
And to beat a 12 year-old, even in the 90s, is beyond the pale.
Our DS also grew up in the 80s/90s and was never ever 'beaten' although he did get the very occasional light smack. On the hand. And I'm not proud of that

gettinfedduppathis Fri 14-Apr-17 18:43:09

I grew up in the 60's / 70's with strict religious parents, but I was never smacked like that, nor threatened with it.

Sorry OP flowers but it does seem that your parents were rather abusive when you were growing up.

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