Sunday, December 20, 2015

How do you tell which parents are abusive and which are the the victims of abusive children

http://www.issendai.com/psychology/estrangement/which-parents-are-abusive.html

How Do You Tell Which Parents Are Abusive and Which Are the Victims of Abusive Children?

Members of estranged parents' forums say their adult children are abusive. They claim verbal abuse,emotional abuse, and deliberate mind games; many claim financial abuse; a few claim extortion, harassment, even physical assaults. Members diagnose their children with alcoholism, drug addiction, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and sociopathy, all conditions that can make adult children just as much of a threat to their parents as abusive parents are to adult children. This is exactly the sad picture you'd expect if estranged parents' forums were gathering places for parents victimized by abusive children.
It's also exactly what you'd expect if you're familiar with the acronym DARVO.
So how do you tell the abusers from the victims? That's an excellent question, and one I'm working to answer. Without the chance to interview both parents and children, then check up on their stories, it's impossible to get a real answer to this question; and even then, some abusers are skilled enough to convince anyone that they're the wronged party. However, it's possible to come to tentative conclusions.
My working principles are:
1. Abusiveness is not an either/or situation. Abusive parents can have abusive children. In fact, abusive parents are more likely to have abusive children. So it's not a simple matter of determining that one party is abusive and calling it a day.
2. Abusers lie. Bear that in mind at all times—when reading both parents' and children's accounts. (This is the point I stumble over the most because I'm biased toward the children.)
3. If a person's own writing shows that they lie, rewrite reality, or otherwise engage in cognitive distortions, they're abusive. Period. Instant kill shot. The only exception is if they catch themselves distorting, correct it, and reflect upon it. That suggests that they have abusive tendencies, but are working to improve themselves in a most un-abuserlike manner. Unfortunately, that also means they're not entirely trustworthy, and can still cause pain to those around them; so if anyone is reading this list to decide whether someone in their life is toxic, a) please don't and b) go with your gut to decide whether the person is safe to be around.
4. Look for patterns of distorted beliefs. Common beliefs that show up in estranged parents' posts are:
  • My child is responsible for my happiness.
  • My child is permanently subordinate to me.
  • My child wants to control me.
  • Any limits my child sets on me are a power play that I must resist.
  • My child's decision to ignore my advice or make a choice I disapprove of is a sign of immaturity.
  • My child was most real and true to himself when he was a preschooler (and had not begun to defy me).
  • I am the best friend my child will ever have./I am my child's only true friend.
  • My child is living only half a life if he or she doesn't have a relationship with me.
  • If the relationship had any good times at all, the child has no justification for breaking it off.
  • If I put up with a certain level of mistreatment from my own parents, then my child should put up with the same level of mistreatment from me.
  • My pain is the complete justification for why my child should resume a relationship with me.
  • Children have no right to break off relationships with their parents.
  • Refusing to have having a relationship with me is abusive.
  • 5. Is the abuse offensive or defensive? Is one party tracking down the other party to abuse them? Or does the abuse happen only when one party insists upon contacting the other party? If a daughter drops by her mother's house for a visit and ends up shoving and punching her mother, there's an excellent chance that her abuse is offensive. If a mother drops by her daughter's house despite requests for no contact, and the daughter ends up shoving and punching her mother, the abuse is defensive—and is probably self-defense, not abuse.

19 comments:

Judith said...

"My child is living only half a life if he or she doesn't have a relationship with me."

I was living less than half a life when I was having a relationship with my parents. I didn't even know who I was. Because I basically existed only to please and be an extension of my mother.

All these points are dead on right, though.

Elli G said...

Forgot to add the all time classic: "I carried you for 9 months in my womb and gave birth to you, so you owe me respect!"

Yes, she actually tried to use that one on me. I said who the hell asked her to do these things for me. Freakin' idiot.

q1605 said...

Elli How about you brought into a nightmare that I didn't ask to be brought into so you owe me some normality.
Judith that sounds more like taxation without representation. If that's half a life a full strength one would kill you.

q1605 said...

I just don't get where their sense of entitlement comes from. It a pretty good indicator that they are crazy. It would almost be like pouring scalding water on a kid and then them saying I've always wanted to do that to a kid. Well we are going to pour scalding water on you in return......Huh? NO way that would hurt like hell. That's why the criminal justice system doesn't recognize personality disorders as a defense. They know, they know, what they are doing and they know they are just mean. And willfully so.

Tundra Woman said...

Yeah, "I CAARRIIEEDD you for 9 months" etc. Here's a Reality Check: Who you chose to spread your legs for and when was not a factor with regard to the "fruits of your womb" (aka, their Golden Uterus) and our ability to chose the circumstances of our parentage or birth. Parents would do well to remember, *we were conscripts, not volunteers.*
That'd be analogous to your kids saying, "I didn't choose to become a miscarriage" as if in fact we had a choice about the process of conception and the results. How 'bout, "I ALLOWED you to carry me and give birth to me after 9 months?!" Sound any less ridiculous?! Because it isn't.
All the choices were ultimately Mommy-Dearest's and were often exercised strategically: To trap a partner in an abusive relationship, to extort money/resources from the other(S), to prop up a failing relationship, because it was "expected," because you liked the IDEA of yourself playing "Madonna and Child" but sure as hell hated the Reality of it, because abortion or even Plan B is "against my religious beliefs"-but clearly pre-marital sex isn't?! How convenient! These are just a few really shitty reasons to have a child...because it's not about the child at all.
It's all about how that child can be leveraged for the Parents' USE-and abuse.
TW

q1605 said...

When I first discovered blogs about personality disordered people they kept mentioning the violence associated with them. And I kept thinking that wasn't my mother's style, and I finally figured out they didn't mean the disordered person beating up the people around them, they meant the family members that took it and took it and took it and finally blew a gasket and started terrorizing their terrorist. Of course it was about this time that the police pulled up and misread the situation and arrested the family member instead of the real crazy person. When it comes to these freaks you just can't win for losing. Which why you should get the hell out of there while the gettin is good. I still sit around and rehash old events and wonder if I had said this or done that and maybe things wouldn't have gone so far wrong. But my mother could had peace with me and my sister anytime she wanted but she just didn't want it. I followed her trail of breadcrumbs right to where she wanted me to be. Stopping her insanity would have been like stopping a tidal wave with a volley ball net. And it doesn't matter much any way. Last time I checked she is still dead and she can't get to me now.

Elli G said...

Tundra Woman,

I love your observations. Do you have a blog?

q1605 said...

And Elli if my mother had ever said that I would have punched her in the head. One night she must have been feeling sentimental and started talking about not knowing it at the time but how my father was really the best friend she ever had. Later I told my sister about it and she asked me how I kept from going over the table and beating the shit out of her. And I just said I had more self restraint back then. If I could go back and know then what I know now I would have choked her to death on the spot.

Elli G said...

Do you think she was genuine or just eliciting a certain reaction from you? Because they are usually full of crap even when they appear sentimental and vulnerable.

q1605 said...

I think she just liked to hear herself talk. She didn't give two shits about anyone but her. I forgot about that post. I get hammered by trolls and it gets me pissed off and instead of taking it out on them I'll delete a post of my own.

Tundra Woman said...

No Elli I don't have a Blog: I'm just very fortunate to have friends who do! And they indulge my inner bitch who waxes prolific Reality-Speak and slays Unicorns-Yk, those magical creatures that shit glitter and vomit confetti all over steaming piles of (CB parental) shit?! I'm very much enjoying your comments too, thanks-and q's, mulder's, Judith's, Peep's etc. We really do have a good bunch of people here. I'm so pleased you're speaking up-isn't it nice to know our CB "parents" are no where near as unique and "Speshall" as they think they are?! Pull up a chair, you most defiantly have found your peeps!!
TW

Joan S said...

I can remember my mother's mother being abusive. I remember when I was 18 and she used to stay at an aunt's house, and I was asked over to help so my aunt and her husband could go out for the night. Fine. When I got there she wouldn't let me do anything. I tried to turn on the tv, and she told me to get my f**king hands off the tv. It was a 3 thousand dollar tv, and I would break it. Fair enough. But she followed me around all night and wouldn't let me do anything. I couldn't go to the bathroom alone either, for I would probably pee all over the floor. No I'm not kidding. But when other's were around, she was nice. I can't get over that, how they are like that around others, but know who to target. I know this does not give my mother any excuses for her behaviour, as much as she blasted her mother, she followed in her path.

I so wish TW had a blog too.

q1605 said...

I think our problem is we try to understand crazy people using our normal brains.
Yeah TW could really shake'em on down.

mulderfan said...

So, in my case, two consenting adults got drunk celebrating VE day and forgot to use a condom which was apparently MY fault for being a twinkle in the old man's eye. Also my fault, adding insult to injury, I was born a girl. Beginning with the name of the pub they were at when they got drunk, this story was retold over and over beginning when I was a preteen. So unlike most people I get to celebrate "conception day" and my birthday. I think everyone should have this kind of information.

Of course, if you ask the NGC, he'll say I'm making this up. But then, his status as the NGC is virtually unshakable because he was planned and born with a penis.

My all time fave, is when you're abuser "stumbles" on your ANONYMOUS blog, recognizes his own abusive behaviour and "outs" himself by crying foul!

q1605 said...

They fucked and it was your job to bring a rubber!!! You idiot.

Joan S said...

Ok, Q, that sure was funny, but my drink went up my nose.

Bess said...

So f'n true

mulderfan said...

If it really was an "accident", I'm desperately trying to block the visual on who tripped and fell on what!

q1605 said...

It depends on whose version of the story you get.