For those with abusive kids, what was the first hint you had that he WAS abusive?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I remember the incident very well.

    I was in the car with 35 when he was in high school and I remember saying something to him, although I don't remember what. Now this was not the first time he swore at me, called me names, or shoved me a little, but this was the first time I thought "Is this teenager actually an abuser?" I don't remember what prompted him to do this, but he reached back and slapped me across the face. Hard. I pushed him away from me on the seat as a reflux reaction and he shouted, "Don't touch me, b*****" and he slapped me across the face again. When I just stared at him afterward he said, "That was YOUR fault."

    Before that, I thought, "He is disturbed and it's because of the divorce and it's all my fault."

    After that, I was just plain afraid of him and no longer blamed myself. The other kids did not hit me and lots of k ids go through divorces. I tried to push the word "abusive" out of my head until recently, however, because back then it just was never spoken regarding your own child. He was about fourteen or fifteen at the time.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    The first time Belle actually hit my father. I'd seen her smack her brother, but I thought that was sibling and would go away. But when she punched my father and then told him she was going to call 911... And he told her he'd dial the phone for her. Even then, I still hoped she would outgrow it.
  3. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    MWM, that's horrible. I don't know what I would do, if one of my kids actually hit me. Fight back, I guess. But then, that is what everyone says, until they actually experience abuse, themselves, and get frozen inside and afraid to leave. This must all have been so impossibly hard for you. I must have been off the site when you told us about your history with 35. I thought 35 was doing a verbal abuse by phone thing.

    I apologize for anything I've ever posted about never giving up on a child. Just like parents with easy child kids could never understand what we go through, even those of us with difficult children don't know what it is like to deal with a truly disturbed, violent difficult child, unless that has happened to us.

    I don't know what I would do, MWM. Probably, I would do just what you are doing. I would still love the child enough to want him better, and I would still try until, like you, I really got it that this person cannot be helped ~ at least, not by me. Do you think part of the reason you keep contact with 35 is so that you know where he is? I might do that.

    I know I would be afraid.

    I believe I would take a gun safety course, and keep a gun. And maybe, have something like Life Alert.

    And a really big dog.

    They say we should have one of those automatic keys that remotely start the car? And if something scary happens at night, you hit the horn with that remote. Someone will hear. Tell the neighbors that if they hear that, to send help.


    The first time I ever suspected abuse is when you posted that article and I started thinking about verbal interactions with my kids, and in my family of origin, differently.

    Looks like I didn't have a clue what I was talking about.

    I'm so sorry.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    But we read about kids hitting their parents all the time on this site. I'm not so unusual. Some start as young as two and don't stop. We've all read the story. And, Cedar, I don't recall your ever telling anyone to never give up on an abusive child, hon. You've always been more than understanding and kind.

    I wasn't really afraid of him then, just appalled. Then I remember asking myself what I did to deserve it, like any abused person. He didn't hit me after that but he'd get close in my face and swear and finally one day he had a friend over and I told him that because of his swearing at me his friend had to leave. He was nineteen. He said, "If he leaves, I leave!" I said, "That's your decision." He left. He went to live with friend's family. A few months later they through him out. He never lived with me again. Ex bought a condo and let him move in with him. Then HE got the abuse, poor guy. Before that, ex paid for him to live in cheap motels.

    I'm wondering if anyone else even would want to post on such a gloomy thread. I guess I'm in a gloomy mood with 35 on the edge of a total meltdown. Thank God for distance and St. Louis.
  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I think it might be too shaming. And there is always that piece about admitting to ourselves that what is happening IS abuse. Not just a kid (or husband or wife) losing his or her temper, and not just a situation that got out of control. People who engage in physical abuse (and probably verbal abuse too, once I figure that one out) don't go around abusing people bigger than they are. They abuse people who are smaller or weaker in some way.

    Which makes them bullies and cowards.

    But naming them doesn't change anything, if you are the one being threatened.

    I don't think this is a gloomy post. I think it's a really important post.

  6. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    There have been so many times difficult child has pushed me to question whether I am abusing her. Like the time I slapped her leg when she was yelling at me and the time I spanked her after she swore husband was going to die in Iraq and he was never coming home. I lost my patience and lost my cool. I still can't forgive myself for those things but in the long run I know a spanking and a slap on the leg are no where near the abuse she has heaped on me.

    To the point though it was when I got called to school because difficult child had sent a naked picture of herself to her boyfriend via text. The school called us in and she literally ran away from the school. When we finally got her back and took her home she started throwing a fit and ran away from the home. We finally got her back the second time and then explained the punishment. She lost it and went completely berserk. I wound up having to lay on her to keep her from hurting herself while she screamed at me that I should have had an abortion. She hit me in the face and I slapped her back. Nothing is more shaming than having to go to work with bruises on your face and legs from a child who has hit you.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    And the question is always, asked or unasked, "What did YOU do to deserve it?"
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That's because the question is the same no matter what the source of the abuse.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think moreso if it's your child. The implication is you abused your child and he was just defending himself. I'm not so sure it's quite that bad if it's, say, your husband. I admit that before I had kids, if a kid was in any way violent I thought, "He must see this at home." I think most people think that way if it's a child.
  10. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Thats exactly what difficult child tried to pull. After the incident I described she ran away again and spent the night with a friend. She told the mother that the hand print on her face was from me having smacked her for no reason. I politely told the "irate" mother that I would be over in the am to pick her up wearing my own bruises. She then realized it was time to back down and hear the whole story.

    Of course that "irate" mom was the one allowing her 13 year old to have a playboy bunny themed birthday party. So I didn't really give a **** about her opinion but I didn't want her to call the cops either. Ah there is that SHAME again!
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The problem is, there is little help for abused parents, but it is changing.
  12. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Well, here is the thing. Because we are anonymous here, this is a safe place to look at those things. Once we do that in a supportive situation, we will be able to see all of it from a different, healthier perspective.

    We cannot change what has happened, but we can stop condemning ourselves.


    District, that whole experience must have been so awful for both of you.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I was pregnant with Jess when Wiz kicked me with the stated goal of causing her to die. He was four. It was the last time he ever tried to kick me because out of reflex I grabbed his leg and tossed him on the floor and he hit head first. It was not thought out, I simply reacted to a threat. Even at four he was FAR stronger than he looked or than a child his size should have been. I babysat a LOT and NEVER saw a kid as strong as he was other than him.

    He didn't hit me again until he was around six and figured out that I was determined to NEVER leave him alone in a room with Jess. After that, any time he lost his temper he came at either her or I. When he was eight or nine he decided that he was okay with killing me to get to her. The doctors never seemed to take it seriously, regardless of what we told them. Not until I found him strangling J in her sleep when he was 12. Even then, HIS doctors didn't really want to do anything, not even a medication tweak. It was not until I went to HER doctor for help (well, his pediatrician too, but we went for help for HER and SHE was the focus) that anyone took it seriously. I was soooo furious with his docs, all of them. THe pediatrician had left it all to the psychiatrist and therapist, and they didn't want to push for residential because it was a PITA to find. But when it came in with him as an abuser and DHS involved, gee, they contacted the ins co and got an approval within two days. THen it was the fight to get them to really SEE him, not the poor misunderstood boy who just wanted his parents to spend some one on one time with him, when they spent all the time with his siblings and NONE with him. WHich was a crock of bs because just about everything revolved around him, his therapy, his activities, his wants, his needs. THey got the leftover crumbs of our time because it took so much to make sure that he wasn't hurting anyone at any given moment.

    Even now, most people seem to think that we caused him to be abusive. We did NOT. I also get grief from people who think "poor poor Wiz, his parents just threw him away when he started to have problems". Sooooooooo far from reality. I fought tooth and nail for years to find help, to keep him with us, to create a family life that would lead to happy, healthy, responsible adult lives for each and every one of my children. The ONLY reason that I agreed to let Wiz leave our home was because I honestly, deep down in my gut KNEW that if he stayed with us the only possible results would be me dead with WIz in prison for life and jess either maimed or dead, or else Wiz dead, me dead and Jess possibly maybe alive but totally emotionally broken. If I managed to kill him to keep him from killing her, I would have killed myself. I knew it then, I know it now. There was ZERO possible chance for us all to be happy, healthy and not in prison if he stayed in our home. He was totally determined to get to Jess by going through me, and he well knew he would have to kill me to do it. Not only did I see it in his eyes, and have him tell me about it, I found clear written plans in his room after he left. It crushed me, and broke me inside. But by getting him OUT of our home, we all had a chance to someday create positive relationships with him. We had a CHANCE and at the time, it was all I could figure out to do. I don't know if a residential program would have been a better option. I do know that right now he is developing good relationships with his siblings, is finishing his last year in college with almost perfect grades, is working, and has made huge progress.

    Even my husband had no idea how bad he had gotten. husband was not home much back then as he commuted 1.5 hours each way and by the time he got home Wiz was locked in his room and would have nothing to do with the family for the night. husband didn't see the way even saying "Hi" to Wiz after school could result in Wiz hitting me or Jess. just that one little syllable and some days he just would charge at me and go nuts. Made zero sense, but when has a difficult child made sense?

    Of course most people think it is our fault, esp mine. Reality? Not so clear. I do know that Wiz did NOT see that sort of thing from us. WHen h was younger we did spank him, but that was rare. I only used spanking when the behavior would result in great bodily injury o r death, such as for running out into a street, sticking something into a light socket, etc... There were times when I lost it and smacked a hand or his mouth for cussing at me or hitting/hurting me or someone else. But those were few, far between, and were NOT the cause of the problems.

    I was committed to raising him nonviolently. There was very little violence in anything he was allowed to watch for YEARS after many of his peers were watching violent movies, etc... I even removed Disney movies for long stretches because they can be incredibly violent. If there was violence of any kind, like the villagers attacking in Beauty and The Beast, the ONLY part of the movie he focused on was the violence. All those super hero action figures the kids had? The ONLY part Wiz played with where the weapons that the figures held, from maybe age 3 on. It was part of how he saw the world from LONG before other problems surfaced. husband and I worked hard to keep that out of his world.

    I hope and pray that at some point our society opens up discussions about parent abuse and sibling abuse. SOOOOOOOO many people say that it is okay/normal for siblings to hurt each other, and they flat out won't even admit that some kids abuse their parents. We are NOT the generation that invented this. Not by a very long shot. Until we open up honest discussion about these issues, we don't have a PRAYER of making any real changes in the domestic violence epidemic in this country.

    I have tried to be more open about the abuse because SOMEONE has to start talking about it in order for any help to begin to be available. Our local DV shelter had no treatment concepts for parents abused by their kids until I begged for some help. Now at least they know a little, and they are willing to try. That is a lot more than many DV places offer. I hope and pray that someday we figure out effective ways to help this issue. I know that Wiz' abuse was because he was mentally ill. I know he regrets it, and he works hard to not ever do that to anyone again. For me, that is HUGE and I am so proud of him. I hope that when he has his own family that he will work hard to make sure his kids get help if they show these same problems.
  14. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Here is something we all need to remember, when those fortunate enough to have been able to raise their children without the trauma we have all experienced judge us: There was a time, and not so long ago, either, when homosexuality, autism, schizophrenia and criminal behavior were blamed, by the medical profession, on the mother, too. There was a time when diabetes was blamed, again by the medical profession, on the person suffering from it.

    And now, obesity is a "blame" thing. Eventually, someone will come to the brilliant conclusion that there is something in the way we aare over-processing our food these days, that accounts for obesity.

    I'm just sayin'.

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think Cedar is right. Blame isn't helpful and it is a super easy thing to slide into. I know that MANY people, including Wiz, blame me for 'kicking him out". Even my folks do, and in my opinion that is super misplaced. We are working through it, but we don't really know quite how to fix it yet. Time will help, at least we hope so.

    Blame is worse than not helpful, it is destructive. We waste precious time on blame because we are not looking for therapies and treatments. There just isn't time to waste on blame.

    FYI, if you do a google or library search on sibling abuse, you will be SHOCKED. Even an amazon search will come up with many books. What most people see as 'kid stuff' or basic sibling rivalry, is vastly more painful and damaging to the entire family than ou can comprehend. I know, been there done that myself as a kid and a parent. It took years for me to see that it was as bad as it felt, and more years to accept that I was not the root of the problem, that I was not intrinsically worthless, useless and a waste of carbon and water. I believed those things deep down because NO ONE really intervened between gfgbro and I. mostly no one really paid any attention, even if I screamed help help help over and over as he hurt me. I know my parents heard, but they thought we should work it out between ourselves, even when I had welts and bruises for days/weeks after one of his rages. The real damage was far deeper than the bruises though. It was to my self image, self esteem, and general view of the world.

    Do some research on sibling and parent abuse. Learn the types, and make sure that all of your kids get the help they need, not just the one who creates the biggest problems and conflama. Many horrible things are chalked up to 'sibling rivalry' just the way bullying used to be 'kid stuff' for kids to work out. We know that doesn't work, don't we?
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, boy, Scent. You are so right. Autism was a "form of schizophrenia" caused exclusively by "refrigerator moms." I remember. So if you had an autistic child it was YOUR fault. Not dad's. Not genetic. YOUR fault. I'm so glad there is a movement away from blaming parents and evidence to prove almost all forms of "differences" are inherited. But we still get the parents or our parents who haven't kept up and think we caused it. R.I.P. Freud and your wrong theories!!!!