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Confused about emotional abuse

38 replies

Spangledangle · 08/06/2017 00:06

Hi everyone i'm a long time lurker but never posted before.I just wanted some perspective on my situation.I'm a woman in my late 20s and my dad has always been a selfish man but lately i am feeling that it may be more than that and that it was emotional abuse.
Basicaly my parents divorced when i was 8 and every weekend my brother and i would go to dads.Dad would never do anything with us whilst we were there he would fall asleep and leave us to it.our bedrooms were sparse.we were never given any money for sweets or treats and my dad would barely have any food in feeding us fish and chips before we went brother and i ate flora and sugar.He would go ballistic if we asked for any money like the time my brother asked for 5 pounds for a recorder or 30p as i had forgot my busfare.this is a man who has plenty of money spending hundreds on clothes and nights out every weekend.

I always felt like i needed to please and appease him and had constant guilt all my life.He never spent any time with me as an adult and never rings me.We never had holidays as he went alone or with his girlfriend (who was married).His needs always came before ours.
So is my dad just a selfish bastard or was this abuse.I had a fantastic mother and i think that makes it worse as its a stark contrast.

OP posts:

Spangledangle · 08/06/2017 00:07


OP posts:

pieceofpurplesky · 08/06/2017 00:10

I wouldn't say it was abuse. Just a shit father.


chitofftheshovel · 08/06/2017 00:10

No that is not abuse. Not even close.


WickedLazy · 08/06/2017 00:12

He sounds really selfish.


Spangledangle · 08/06/2017 00:13

Thankyou i just want to add i don't want to offend anyone by my use of the word abuse its just i wonder as i feel so let down and emotionally battered sometimes it feels this way

OP posts:

ChesGuitarra21 · 08/06/2017 00:20

I think it's both tbh. He failed to cater to your basic needs - i.e feeding you and your brother and sounds extremely neglectful, it sounds from the brief details like it verged on abandonment.

I hope he reaps what he sows and when the day comes when he needs help and support you can tell him where to sod off to (and I say this as someone with an amazing dad).


DancingLedge · 08/06/2017 00:20

Not technically abuse.

But treating you as though you weren't of any value or importance. So pretty emotionally ndamaging and hurtful.
He was a emotionally neglectful Dad. Because of who he was, obviously not your fault.

I'm so glad you had a Mum who could be a better parent for you.


Mysterycat23 · 08/06/2017 04:07

Not feeding you when you visited was neglect. He fed you once a day and you and your brother were foraging for Flora and sugar out of desperate hunger, did I read that right?

Neglect has a long term impact. It's funny how things you think are normal as a child then suddenly surface as an adult and you think WTF.

My mother didn't make us packed lunches and didn't believe how much school dinners cost so the amount we were given didn't cover a meal. I was starving hungry for a very long time until basically something inside me broke and I just stopped eating. That was also neglect.


Thingsgettingstranger · 08/06/2017 06:46

My father was emotionally neglectful. Didn't feed us, never spoke to us except to insult us, constant criticism, controlling us (not allowed out with friends etc). Was also horrid to my mother and frequently made her cry. When we were younger he used to shove us around, kick us, hit us, punch us etc (so that was physical) but that stopped when we were teens and he just blanked us and seemed to think we only existed so he could hurt us with words and not look after us. Stays with you a long time. Flowers OP


MrsJayy · 08/06/2017 06:53

Your father neglected you and your brother to the extent he didn't feed you he sounds a horrible selfish man I am sorry he treated you like this Flowers


Pouncival · 08/06/2017 07:04

Neglect IS abuse - under safeguarding guidelines we should look out for one of four things - sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect

Sorry you went through this OP - as someone said earlier as a child you may have thought this was normal and as an adult you start to realise it wasn't - please don't let others minimise this - it might be worth considering counselling


MrsJayy · 08/06/2017 07:07

I agree don't minimise it what happened to you was real and abusive


ChasingAPinkBall · 08/06/2017 07:09

If your father didn't speak to you, show you any love, compassion, support or intrest in your life then he was emotionally abusive. Not feeding you and leaving you in bare surroundings is neglectful.

You were lucky to have a wonderful Mum to counteract your Dad.

I think that because you had your Mum, it doesn't officially class as emotional abuse. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is how you feel.
Try looking at 'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward. That cleared a lot of things up for me.


ChasingAPinkBall · 08/06/2017 07:17

Sorry I don't want to minimise, my dad was like this and it causes real problems.
Not having emotionally supportive parents can cause a miriad of problems.

It was something I read last night that mentioned about having 2 parents as emotionally neglectful for it to be officially classed as abuse.

Your Dad should be ashamed of himself.


picklemepopcorn · 08/06/2017 07:19

Your dad was abusive. He neglected you, didn't feed you, went ballistic when you asked for things.


MrsJayy · 08/06/2017 07:22

chasing what you read was misleading at best living with your dad must have been hard


MrsJayy · 08/06/2017 07:26

My Dh was neglected by his mum he explains it away with various excuses she was a terrible parent truely awful but he won't see it i think it might be a coping thing for him,


bumblebee61 · 08/06/2017 07:26

Emotional abuse certainly. You were lucky to have a mother who was great. What a horrible horrible man. I am surprised you are still in contact at all.


crazykitten20 · 08/06/2017 07:29

If you felt abused ( which can include abandonment and lack of love) then you were abused. None of us know how you felt. If it affects you still, I'd have some talking therapy xxx


Pouncival · 08/06/2017 08:45

I think that because you had your Mum, it doesn't officially class as emotional abuse



picklemepopcorn · 08/06/2017 08:57

In terms of developmental trauma, one good relationship allows the brain to develop typically even if there is neglect from elsewhere. That doesn't mean the other parent isn't abusive.


Needanewaura · 08/06/2017 09:07

I can't believe people don't think this behaviour is abusive: not feeding young children and terrifying them into not asking to have basic needs met is surely abusive.

However, I'm not sure it makes it worse having had one good parent. It's important for good mental health to have had at least one good enough caregiver in childhood who attends to your emotional and physical needs. If both of your parents had been like your father it would have had considerably worse impact on your mental health.

I'd be curious to know what kind of childhood your father had to make him behave so appallingly. Have you had any counselling op to get over your experiences?


ChasingAPinkBall · 08/06/2017 09:08

"In terms of developmental trauma, one good relationship allows the brain to develop typically even if there is neglect from elsewhere. That doesn't mean the other parent isn't abusive."

I didn't mean for it to sound like I was saying your Dad wasn't abusive. I'm not very good at explaining myself.
I can't find where I read that, I've read so many different things recently. But I've undoubtedly got it wrong.

I'm sorry for that OP, I don't want you to feel like you don't have cause to be hurt.
Your Dad sounds very similar to mine so I know you absolutely have cause to be hurt and angry, he did abuse you.

I've found the Peter Walker website really helpful and counselling has really unlocked it all for me, I second that suggestion.

Pouncival - I LOVE that passive aggressive smiley! ESPECIALLY on child abuse threads. In fact passive aggressiveness in general is super awesome!


Lottapianos · 08/06/2017 09:13

I'm also shocked that people are saying this is not abuse. OP, this absolutely was neglect and emotional abuse. As another poster said, whatever happens in your childhood is 'normal' for you at the time, but it's when you get to adulthood that you start to examine it more closely. Your father's behaviour must have left you feeling scared, sad, confused and lonely. You were dependent on him to meet all your needs when you were with him and it's scary to be neglected by the person who is supposed to be caring for you. It's totally understandable that his behaviour has had a lasting impact on you


Pouncival · 08/06/2017 09:16


I wasn't being passive aggressive - it was a "hmm" - as in...... you actually believe that one good parent cancels the other abusive parent out? really?

You were the one that said it doesn't officially class as abuse and minimising the OPs feelings on a child abuse thread

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