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35 replies

Wherearemycarkeys · 09/10/2018 10:48

My friend is really struggling since becoming a mother with memories of her childhood, because she says she couldn't bear the thought of doing to her child what her mother did to her and it makes her feel really angry with her mother. She told me that as a child she was extremely frightened of the dark so when she was naughty her mum would remove her lightbulb from her room and lock her in there for ages. She said she removed her favourite teddies so she'd have no comfort and leave her in there while she cried and cried in the dark. I think this is disgusting and abusive but she's not so sure and thinks maybe it was a normal punishment at the time (would have been early nineties). I just wanted some opinions about this because she's trying to work out why and where her relationship with her mother went wrong (they're now NC and she's happier but just wants to figure it out a bit for closure). I think that this might have been the sort of behaviour that started problems between them (she said as a child she felt really angry and upset a lot of the time and I think maybe punishments like this were part of the reason she felt like this). What do you think? Is this sort of punishment abusive or normal?

OP posts:
Faster · 09/10/2018 10:51

That’s fucking horrible. Horrible. Purposefully scaring a child til they’re in tears? Fucking horrible.

BertieBotts · 09/10/2018 10:53

Er, no, that's twisted and cruel. A punishment is supposed to be a mild deterrent, not a massively fearful experience. That hasn't changed since the 90s.

Youshallnotpass · 09/10/2018 10:54

The 90's were 20 or so years ago... That's fucking appalling and I would personally go no contact if she was my mum.

Andro · 09/10/2018 10:55


Wherearemycarkeys · 09/10/2018 10:57

Thanks Faster, I totally agree. Her mother's very much a tinkly laugh/talk loudly about expensive purchases so everyone knows she has money/ keep up appearances/pretend everything is perfect type of woman so I think in a way my friend is confused as the way she was treated wasn't physically aggressive and never in public, just subtle and cruel, very much emotionally abusive in my opinion. I think my friend sees it as, she didn't scream at me in public or hit me so maybe her behaviour was okay. But I strongly disagree and just want to show her that her mother's behaviour is unacceptable and that she wasn't the problem like her mother always made out.

OP posts:
Faster · 09/10/2018 10:58

Nah, her mother is a cunt.

Singlenotsingle · 09/10/2018 10:58

That was definitely NOT normal for the 90's. It wasn't normal for the 50's when I was a child! Harsh, cruel and abusive - no wonder this friend is still haunted by her childhood.

Wherearemycarkeys · 09/10/2018 11:00

Just seen other replies, thanks guys! Just as I thought.she said she's surprised but in a way relieved

OP posts:
wijjy · 09/10/2018 11:00

Can't speak for the 90s but it would have been regarded as a very severe twisted punishment in the 70s (when a majority of children would get a slap on the leg).

BertieBotts · 09/10/2018 11:02

I was little in the 90s and the worst thing that most children were threatened with was a smack, and that would be rare and it would literally be one or two slaps - nothing really terrifying or traumatic although of course it wouldnt be okay today. Anything more severe would have been seen as abusive.

whatwillbewillbe03 · 09/10/2018 11:02

there are many things in my childhood that my parents did that i will never understand.. I thought about them alot after i had my own daughter and i was angry, hurt, upset and confused.

My mum died at 49 and i have accepted that will never get answers and to be honest i don't think she would think she did anything to be answerable for if she was alive and i asked.

I have now let it all go. Its made a huge difference to my life and how i live it. I go out of my way to ensure my daughter will never feel towards me the way i felt towards my own mum. I ensure she has everything i NEVER had without her being too spoilt.

I hope your friend comes to see that her mother's behaviour was not acceptable and she can also let go and move on xx

wijjy · 09/10/2018 11:02

That's a Roald Dahl book punishment.

Wherearemycarkeys · 09/10/2018 11:02

What would you do to move on from this? Mutual friend said discuss it with a counsellor but she's not so sure. She's considering writing a letter to her mother to explain how her behaviour made her feel as a child and today and just having it as a closure letter - she wants her to know that what she did wasn't okay and that she no longer accepts that she was a problem for being a normal child (the bad things she did were things like quarrelling with her brother or talking back - never in trouble at school, never even got a detention, always did well and tried hard, never late home or rebellious or anything)

OP posts:
Storm4star · 09/10/2018 11:29

My DCs were young in the 90s and I'd go so far as to say that what her mother did was sadistic. To leave her in the dark, bad enough, but to lock her in and take away any source of comfort? Extremely cruel. It would never have even crossed my mind to do something like that to my DCs. As a mother you do your best to soothe your child's fears. Not use them against them in some twisted punishment.

stressedtiredbuthappy · 09/10/2018 11:31

That's just fucking evil.
Personally, I think emotional abuse is worse that hitting kids, although I don't agree with that either.

recklessruby · 09/10/2018 11:34

My dcs were little in the 90s too. I would never have done that. It's really cruel and ds was scared of the dark. He used to have a little night light all the time.

WasabiSpring · 09/10/2018 11:35

It might be a bad idea to send that sort of letter to her mother, especially if they are NC. She'd have to think through her reasons for wanting to do it - whether she is looking for a response or not and what the possible responses might be.

If she is just wanting to make it known it was not okay and is prepared for denial, being ignored or excuses / lack of apology / being blamed still then a letter could be cathartic. Sometimes it's enough to just let someone know what they did was wrong.

BertrandRussell · 09/10/2018 11:38

There have been cruel parents throughout history. Locking a child in a dark room would have been considered cruel by the vast majority of people at any time ever.

nellieellie · 09/10/2018 11:50

I was a child in the 60s. That sort of behaviour would have been seen as cruel then. Purposefully scaring a child is not normal punishment. I know that even today some parents remove teddies or dolls as punishment. I would never ever do that, because children really love their teddies, so taking them away is just cruel.

ChristmasFluff · 09/10/2018 12:51

Writing the letter is a great idea - sending it is not. Women like her mother will just use it against her, showing it around her friends (and anyone else) as an example of how ungrateful her daughter is, and a liar too! It certainly won't wake her up to herself.

No contact is the best way. Healing doesn't lie in the hands that abused you. Your friend can find help if she googles Adult Children of Narcissistic Mothers, or Childhood Emotional Neglect. She can also read the work of Dr Jonice Webb, or Dr Karyl McBride. Also Alice Miller books.

Wherearemycarkeys · 09/10/2018 14:24

Thank you for all the replies everyone, really helpful to hear your thoughts! Xx

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stinkyfeets · 09/10/2018 14:43

I was a young child in the 90s and my parents used to smack me all the time with a wooden spoon. I'd regularly be threatened by them rattling the spoon drawer. They would regularly wash my mouth out with soap if I repeated any bad words or was "mouthy". I have memories of barricading myself in my room pushing against the door as my mum would be forcing her way in to smack me.

It's only recently that I realised it was abusive when mentioning it to DH and he was shocked.

I seriously struggle now to come to terms with how they treated me since having my own dc. Our relationship is non existent as a result.

stinkyfeets · 09/10/2018 14:47

Sorry I meant to add, I know my experience wasn't exactly the same but I feel so much better not having to speak to them and it probably won't help her by doing so.

IMO she's better off seeking some professional help and not bothering with her mother.

Almostfifty · 09/10/2018 14:52

Mine were born in the nineties. I would think anyone doing this was twisted.

Poor little girl.

OurMiracle1106 · 09/10/2018 17:37

I was a 90s kid and being sent to my room or threatened with not going riding on the weekend or mobile taken away was my punishment. Very very rarely did I get a snack and it was always on my bottom and I only think that was 2/3 times tbh.

What her mother did was not normal. Or acceptable.

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