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My Family Life’s a Mess & I Don’t Know if What I Went Through Counts as Abuse

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I just wanted everything to go away: I’m 14, and am currently in high school, year 10. As a kid, I was forced to study way ahead of my grade, and my mum used to teach me. Every time I got a question wrong, I used to get smacked with a rolling pin. Or when I made my mother angry, I was smacked, then dragged and thrown into the bedroom. I wasn’t allowed to cry, otherwise she’d punish me more. It was more when I was younger, but I learned not to make these mistakes. I sometimes used to get bruises and stuff. But afterwards, my mother would make it up to me by saying things like “I love you” and “You will always be my cute daughter” and buy me snacks. Otherwise, I enjoyed my mother’s company. But it would confuse me, and still does. The memories sometimes haunt me, flashes of my mother dragging me into a room, and the sinking feeling in my heart as I know there’s nothing I can do to escape. It’s just so confusing. I still don’t know if what she did to me is considered is “abuse”…I know it’s stupid but……it’s so confusing.
My father helped me a lot although he was almost always working, he took me outside for breaks in studying and protected me from my mother sometimes. There has always has been two “sides”. My mother’s side and my father’s side. I always had to choose, whose side I was on, but I don’t know. I still don’t know. My parents always fight, then somehow make up, then fight again, and the cycle continues. I don’t know anymore. It’s just so stupid, and I always try not to get involved, but I always get dragged in. I just want it to all go away, but it doesn’t.
When I turned 13, I realised I’d drifted off from my father, mostly because he was taking care of my other two sisters, and I was alone. To be honest, I liked being alone. I don’t have to pretend, and I don’t have to act. My mother had also stopped teaching me, she let me have my independence. But since my father was usually out, it left me and my mother alone. She always tries to justify and persuade me onto her side, telling me all these things which I really don’t care about, but it just hurts me. I feel like I’m being torn apart in half. I don’t want to choose a side. Can’t we just live in peace? I have always considered running away, but I have never had enough courage to do so, under the fear that my mother will always end up finding me and scream at me and punish me. I don’t know what to do.
I’m sorry for rambling, I’ve never shared anything like this anywhere.
Thank you.

My Family Life’s a Mess & I Don’t Know if What I Went Through Counts as Abuse

Answered by on -

A.

Please don’t apologize for “rambling.” You have not done that. You are simply telling your story. All of those details help me to understand what you are going through.

What you have described is abuse. Your mother is guilty of abuse. Your father is guilty of ignoring her abuse. You shouldn’t have had to endure this abuse.

In the United States, if a child is being abused, they can be removed from their parents. There are hotlines where abuse can be reported. I don’t know what the laws are in your country but in all likelihood, a similar system exists. Google “child abuse and the name of your country,” you might find the necessary reporting information. Local hospitals, churches or counseling centers may also be able to assist.

Running away would not be a wise idea since you don’t want to risk being homeless. Is there anyone with whom you can live, at least temporarily? A family member whom you trust?

It was brave of you to share this information. As you wrote, it was the first time you have done so but it shouldn’t be your last. Your next step should be reporting this information to the school guidance counselor or a trusted faculty member. They should be able to help you find the necessary services to remove you from this situation. I hope this answer assists you in knowing how to proceed. Please don’t hesitate to write again if you have additional questions.

Dr. Kristina Randle

My Family Life’s a Mess & I Don’t Know if What I Went Through Counts as Abuse

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). My Family Life’s a Mess & I Don’t Know if What I Went Through Counts as Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/05/16/my-family-lifes-a-mess-i-dont-know-if-what-i-went-through-counts-as-abuse/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 May 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 May 2019
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