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Is This Abuse?

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  • Is This Abuse?

    I'm a 13-year-old girl, and I'm afraid I might just be being over-dramatic or exaggerating when I say this, but I'll try to speak about my home life objectively.

    So, ever since I learned about the signs of abuse at school during sixth grade (I'm in eighth grade now), I've been wondering if what my parents do to be counts as emotional or verbal abuse. I haven't done anything about my feelings because I thought I was just being a brat and I know how the stereotype of teenagers finding every single thing annoying is based on truth, but lately, I've been seeing sure signs of emotional abuse as I learned from my research (I've researched it because I wanted to be sure, but I'm still not sure, so I'm asking here). This is going to be long, but if you could look what I've written over, it would be really amazing because I really, really need to know once and for all.

    Also, my mom speaks a foreign language when talking to me, so I've translated the best I can.

    Here's what has happened:
    1. (AGE 12) I feel suicidal sometimes; I haven't been diagnosed, but I think I might have some form of depression and/or anxiety. I wake up every morning and the first thing that goes through my mind is how I wish I could just fall asleep forever. I ask myself what I have to look forward to, and normally, there isn't anything. If there is something to look forward to, I hardly feel any excitement at all. I would have felt excited upon waking up when I was younger, and I don't remember when I started feeling this way. I feel an undercurrent of extreme stress more than half the time without any distractions, even when I don't have anything to be stressed about. I also have good reason to think I might be showing symptoms of anxiety. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but I'll move on. I told my mom about this last year- something like "I don't feel like I have anything to live for"- and she told me that if I felt that way, "maybe you should just die." After this, I started wondering whether I really should.
    2. (AGE 7- One time when I was in second/third grade or so, I had been sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to play games on my dad's phone for about a month. My mom found out, and she was so mad, she screamed at me as I was waking up. She went to the kitchen, got a knife, and screamed at me with it in her hand. She said something that encouraged me to just die or something like that. I broke down crying, and she told me to get out of the house and go to an orphanage because she wasn't going to be my mom anymore. I actually started heading out of the house before she called me back and made me hold my extremely heavy backpack over my head as punishment instead. She told me that if I couldn't hold it, she would kick me out. After this was over, she told me that this was just an empty threat, but it severely traumatized me at the time.
    3. (AGE 7) I wrote a mean, immature note about a boy in my class who I had been kind of bullying, and my second grade teacher asked my mom to come to a conference so they could speak to me about it weeks before the conference actually happened. My mom asked me if there had been anything I had done wrong. Scared, I lied to her and said I hadn't. Keep in mind that there had been many instances of my mom screaming at me and hitting me (softly, and occasionally) before this, and as a little kid, I was just scared of what she might do to me if I told her I wrote the note. She hadn't found out about the note yet, and I held off on telling her. My mom went to the conference, came back before I came home from school, and when I came home, she screamed at me. My dad was also there. They both screamed at me/talked to me intimidatingly for the rest of the day. I went upstairs to my room, turned on the fan, and got some water. My dad came upstairs and got mad at me for "using his fan and drinking his water," telling me that I wasn't his child anymore. I cried. My mom told me a little while later that I should pack my suitcase because they were planning to kick me out of the house in a month or so. At this time, I couldn't sleep without my mom in my bed, and my mom refused to sleep with me any longer. I did not sleep for more than three hours for almost a month, cried myself to sleep during those nights, and never spoke to the boy I bullied again, scared that this might happen again.
    4. (AGE 10) In fourth grade, my class was going to recess. A boy (let's call him Ed) tripped over and fell onto the ground, lying on his back. My friends and I were immature and mean and stepped over Ed. One friend stepped on him lightly, and I stepped on him, too. However, I was much heavier than my friend, and I think I might have accidentally hurt Ed a little bit. I told my teacher that I had done that because I felt guilty. My teacher told my mom about this, and when I came home from school, my mom screamed at me (again). My dad told me to get on the ground and my mom stepped on me a little so "you can see what it felt like" as I cried my eyes out. Earlier, my mom had come towards me with her fists raised, so I lashed out and pushed her away as a reflex. I apologized. My dad told me that this was bad and slapped my wrists and hands (understandable, but it had been an accident). My dad made me hold the heaviest book in our house over my head, kneeling on the floor, for an extended amount of time as he and my mom yelled at me, and when they allowed me to get up, my arms hurt for a week.
    5. (ALL AGES) I'm very forgetful. I used to forget my lunch regularly in elementary school. Whenever I did, my mom would call me stupid, useless, and lazy. She would yell at me at the top of her lungs while I cried, then yell at me for crying, making me cry more. She asked me what I was going to do with my life if I kept forgetting things and tell me that I should just die if I was going to be so useless all my life. I will never forget this, and though I know it's not true that I'm useless RATIONALLY, I can't help thinking irrationally and worry about the things my mom threatens me about.
    6. I haven't forgotten anything important for a few years, scared into submission. Recently, I forgot my phone at school, and yesterday, I forgot my violin. This is because my school schedule has changed drastically, and I've apologized repeatedly for forgetting as well as thinking of ways I won't forget again. My mom screamed at me for both of these things, which I understand, but it's the things she said that really got to me. She keeps calling me stupid and says I have no common sense whatsoever. She says that I'm useless and lazy and just screams at me at the top of her lungs. She also lectures me and loses her point during these lectures; she often goes off into rants about how I have to be smarter because I'm "really not smart" and "the stupidest person I know- you know that, right? You know you're stupid" and "you have to be smarter because you're not pretty. You know you're not pretty? You have to be smarter because you're ugly, and you don't have any other talents to make up for it." I understand that she's angry when she screams and that she might not mean everything, but I'm extremely insecure about all of the things she says, and THIS IS BECAUSE OF THINGS MY MOM HAS SAID. Every time I go outside, I feel suffocated when people look at me because I think they're looking at my acne or how fat I am or just how ugly I am in general, and I'm always thinking of ways to not let people see me. I know on a rational level that this is just me not fitting in society's beauty standards, but I can't help being insecure because I have acne and I'm overweight. After this incident, my mom left me at home alone for a bit, and I really went online to look up ways I could kill myself. I was seriously considering it. I looked at the balcony we have and thought about jumping off of it, but I wasn't sure whether it would 100 percent kill me. That was the only reason why I didn't do it. Even now I think I might have killed myself before today if I had a way that would guarantee my death.
    7. Those were just particular incidents, but I think I've spent more time crying around my parents than I have happy. I'm happiest when I'm home alone because there's nobody to talk to me or call me stupid, and my thoughts settle when I'm alone.
    8. I think my dad might have anger issues. One time, when I was three or four, I hazily remember my dad hitting me so hard I basically flew across the room because of something I did and don't remember. I also know my dad's late mother had a history of mental illness and my uncle- dad's brother- hit his wife, my aunt, one time. Like, he beat her. I'm scared it might happen to me, which is why I hate talking around my dad. I never know what might set him off. I'm very non-confrontational and anxious, and I think that might have been influenced by my dad's anger. I never want him to be angry at me. I'd rather hurt myself than have him angry at me because it's the worst feeling. Even if he doesn't yell, he gets this look on his face, and I'm on edge and almost crying or outright crying when he's mad because I feel like he might hurt me. He hasn't, though (yet).
    9. I got a fear of loud noises that I don't remember having when I was young. I think this might be because of how often my parents yell at me.

    More on another post.

  • #2
    Hey there,

    Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing a little bit about what’s been going on, we know that it takes a lot of courage. It must be really hard to live in a home where you feel so unhappy. You mentioned that you have previously had thoughts of suicide and have made some tentative plans in the past. We care a lot about your safety, and we can help you find resources that can help you cope with these feelings. You do not have to face this alone, and there is so much help out there for you. If you are thinking about hurting yourself, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline could be a good resource for you. You can check them out at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/, or you can call 1-800-273-8255 for help and support any time.

    In addition to the suicidal thoughts, you brought up that you think that you may have undiagnosed depression and anxiety. It can be really hard to live with mental health issues and we want you to know that you aren’t alone in addressing them. If you’d like some additional support, an organization that may be helpful is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can contact them by calling 1-800-950-NAMI or you can text them by sending NAMI to 741741. Another agency that could be of great help is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), they can help you locate low or no cost mental health care providers in your area. Their number is 1-800-662-4357 or you can go to their site at samhsa.gov.

    It sounds like your parents aren't fully understanding you when you are trying to relay your thoughts and feelings about how their version of discipline makes you feel. It could be a good idea to work with a local family counselor or have a conversation mediated by a school counselor/social worker, trusted friend, or family member to help clear the air. If you'd like, you can also call us directly and we can conduct a conference call with your parents so you have a safe environment where you can express yourself.

    If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

    Stay safe,
    NRS
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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