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Is This Considered Abuse?

Open Discussions About Child Abuse

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Is This Considered Abuse?

Postby bingbongbing » Sun May 12, 2019 8:23 pm

Sorry this ended up being so long.
For this all to make sense I guess you need to know about my situation. My mother died when I was a little over a year old, and my father did not deal with it well. He sat on facebook all day making my grandma do all the work to raise me. He used him grieving my mom as an excuse, but it'd been years since she passed and he was only getting worse.
Even though he obviously wasn't well enough to care for me, he tried to move away to the literal other side of the globe and take me with him, without telling anybody. Might I add he was living in my grandma's basement without a job? Anyway, the breaking point I suppose was when he 'forgot' (more like didn't want to bother) to enroll me into school, and even after he did he never got me anything I needed for my classes. After that my grandma took him to court, got custody of me, and now I live with her. I couldn't be happier with that outcome, but I still have to visit him on weekends.
That would be fine with me, he's still my father and I still care about him, but he got a new wife a couple years after the court thing and spending time with him hasn't been the same since. He never talks to me unless he has to, and when he does he talks to me as though I'm still a toddler who can barely speak a full sentence yet. His wife is really controlling over him and he's just so.. different around her. They put me down constantly and I'm honestly scared to say anything around them unless it's just me agreeing with something they say. They always have and still laugh at me whenever I do anything wrong/don't know how to do something, even though I'm still just a kid. They make fun of me for what I wear, like one time I wore a shirt with a tiny mickey mouse head on it and it was the end of the world apparently, tell me I'm too immature, etc. They've even made fun of me quite a few times for not having a boyfriend. I have for almost 2 years now btw, I'm just scared to tell them. They've made fun of me for taking 'too much food' at lunch or dinner, even though I've had an eating disorder in the past (partly caused my my step mother making fun of me for my weight- which is ironic btw, since she's obese and I am not.), and tell me about diets all the time and ask me if I'd like to try them. I don't want to. Also they're kind of in a cult? not like a murder-y cult, but a weird brainwashy religious one. They also talk sh*t about my grandma all the time, even though she's never ever done anything to hurt them. That's honestly what bugs me the most. They can say whatever the want about me, but they have no right to say my grandma isn't raising me well, when she's done everything to raise me and probably is the reason I haven't killed myself by now.
I feel bad that I'm upset over this and honestly just feel like I'm being privileged or something for complaining, but they also make me do an excessive amount of chores for them? I don't mind doing chores around the house for my grandma at all, in fact I kind of find it fun, but that's because I live there! I'm only at their house 16 hours a week, and yet they make me do 3-4 hours of housework for them most Saturdays? This past week, they had me pressure wash their house, car, gutters, concrete pathway, and their pet's cage. I had and still have no clue how to use one, and they wouldn't help me so I ended up getting shocked a couple times. They also had me pick up stones and sticks off their grass, which is normal I guess, but my legs got covered in mud (the lawn was wet from the pressure hose) and since I didn't have a change of clothes at their house, I had to sit around in mud all day. They then made fun of me for being gross an unhygienic since my pants were dirty. My knees are where it's the worst, they're all red and they really sting to the touch, and I'm covered in bruises. On another occasion they had me fill their pet's cage with vinegar to get the smell of the guinea pig urine out(which isn't safe for the pets but they made me do it anyway), and then take the hose to it. The vinegar splashed into my eyes and it hurt s o bad and I could barely see, but when I told my step mother since I was worried she laughed and said 'oh nice! haha you're so clumsy still' and told me to suck it up and get back to work. There's a lot more but I've rambled for long enough. I know this is petty stuff to get upset about and I'm probably overreacting but... I dunno. I just want to know if this is normal or not? I don't want to be upset over this anymore if it's normal haha.
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Re: Is This Considered Abuse?

Postby avatar123 » Mon May 13, 2019 5:41 am

Bing, I'm sorry you are in that situation. That definitely is not normal, it's borderline physically abusive and is verbally abusive at a minimum. I suspect the constant put-downs are due to their own insecurities, they need to feel superior to you and in their minds, making fun of you provides them assurance that they are.

Of course they're really not superior, actually you are the normal one by far. They sense that so they have to try to make it appear otherwise. This is a common bullying tactic. It's also why they put down your grandmother as well

So maybe it would help if you recognize they are bullies, and deal with them the same as you would any other bully. Recognize that their barbs are meant to inflict injury, but they can't unless you let them. You have a good sense of right and wrong, so when their behavior is wrong, just walk away. Don't buy into it.

If they ask you to do somehting that is unsafe in your judgement, or that you are uncomfortable doing, just say no. The worst that could happen is they send you back to your grandmother, and that would not be a bad thing.

I realize it's a lot to ask of you at your age, but basically you have to be the adult, instead of them, since they are clearly not behaving well. But if you can learn that skill, to understand the problem is theirs and not yours, and then let it roll off, it will serve you well throughout your life.

Many of us in the forums have had to do this growing up, it's more or less a survival skill in some households. I did not even realize the put-downs were wrong until I hung out with friend's families, and saw that they didn't treat each other that way. You're fortunate that you have your grandmother, so you already understand that it's wrong. That's a good head-start in life, don't let them take it way from you.

If things get really bad, then don't be afraid to talk to your grandmother. I'm sure she already knows the score, and is tolerating the situation so that you have an opportunity for a relationship with your father. But there are limits, and you can decide if/when you've had enough. No one would blame or fault you for walking away from abuse.
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