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Am I a Victim of Child Abuse?

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Ever since I was around 6 to 12 years old, my mother used to hit me with a white plastic/metal rod or with her hand. She would do this every time I couldn’t do a math question or if I didn’t live up to her standard of a ‘perfect daughter’. She would talk about how perfect she was which made me feel worthless or inadequate in front of her. Whenever I cried, she and my older brother would lock me outside of the house until I stopped crying. When I was 12 or so, she and my dad had a fight about something I said, and it lead to her storming out of the house threatening to kill herself. My dad held her to try and stop her, and as she was struggling to get out she looked back at me and told me that if she died it was all my fault. This lead to me believing that everything is always my fault. I cannot remember anything leading to or after that incident, nor can I remember much of anything before I was 13. To this day, every time I hear yelling or shouting I feel really scared and my heart beats faster, even if the yelling is just from the television. So I was just wondering if this would qualify as child abuse?

Am I a Victim of Child Abuse?

Answered by on -

A.

Don’t worry as I have since been in contact with a counselor and my mother has calmed down. I was just curious about the matter.. Thank you! :) (From Australia)

A: It sounds like you are doing the right thing by going to counseling. Being hit by your parent for six years for not being perfect is, indeed, abuse, and I would be certain to talk to your counselor about this. You are 15 years old and have the right to a safe home.

Thanks for writing us here. Please connect to the counselor as soon as you can.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Am I a Victim of Child Abuse?

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Am I a Victim of Child Abuse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/02/12/am-i-a-victim-of-child-abuse/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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