TW for physical abuse. Not graphic, but potentially upsetting.
I just want to know if it is normal for a parent to beat their own helpless kids. When I was in 6th grade, I remember telling my classmates about how my dad beat me over trivial things and all of them looked disgusted and said "that's abuse" and that's when I really began to think something wasn't right.
It's not normal to beat kids but it's common. I told other kids I was beaten, and they didn't have the shocked responses that children's peers would now, but this was in the seventies and eighties. I even told a school district psychologist about the abuse when I was sixteen and told him I was considering running away. He agreed that it was domestic violence and if I had somewhere to go, then running away was the best solution. He didn't intervene with my parents, and there was no mandated reporting back then. I did run away, and a friend's mother who was a nurse asked me what was going on, and gently asked to see my butt. I had never thought before to look, as the beatings had been over my clothes since I was around five. It was covered in bruises. I told school counselors in junior high, I told a psychiatrist when I was fourteen, no interventions. After I ran away, my parents joined Tough Love, a support group for parents of "incorrigible" teens. The group suggested I be picked up by the police, and to not answer the phone and left to sit in juvie overnight to teach me a lesson (running away was not a crime, I didn't belong there). I was taken to the police station and I told the officer what was going on at home. I knew him, if met him when I was a kid, he used to be one of my dad's friends. My dad was a cop. Then I stayed with the leaders of the group for a couple of weeks and told them about the abuse, and they learned it was far from being all on me, so they did mediation with me and my parents, and I was given the power to call time outs when fights escalated so I wouldn't be beaten. As soon as I returned home, my parents quit the group. Within a week or two, I was blamed for the beatings resuming because I broke a rule of the agreement, I lied about something, so, conveniently, all of the rules we'd ironed out in the mediation were out the window (though I was still expected to keep my half). Then they took me to a child psychologist, which I wanted. In the first session, I told him about the abuse. I really liked him, I felt supported. He suggested family counseling and I was so excited. He said he needed to talk to my parents alone, and when they came out of his office my mother was livid. She said I wasn't going back to him, and "We're
not going to change, you
are." The last physical assault was when I was eighteen. I told my father it was the first time I almost hit her back. He said, "Don't you ever
hit your mother back. She has every
right to hit you. You have no
right to hit her back."
I inherently knew in grade school that it wasn't right. I think the first time I heard the word abuse I knew exactly what the deal was. A neighbor even recommended a beating method to my mother, but somewhere around 1980 was when police started getting involved, and my mother said she'd kill me if I ever dared call the police, and I never even threatened to do so, it was a preemptive threat. She used to threaten to kill me a lot, and she didn't mean actual death, but there was an underlying threat that I could be beaten a lot worse.
I can't ever remember not being beaten, of there never not being an object to beat me with. In my earliest years, it was a paddle that was embossed with a picture of a girl with a glowing bare butt and the words "Heat for the Seat." A few years ago when I was traveling through the Midwest, I saw very similar paddles being sold at a truck stop convenience store. When it broke around the age of four or five, she used paint stirrer sticks, and they would brake and my big butt was to blame. Then around the age of seven, the neighbor suggested a wooden spoon as well as how to make me to submit to the beatings rather than wiggle around and/or block with my hands. This went on until I was seventeen. I worked up my courage to ask her to stop, and the look on her face was the threat that she would kill me. She did it one more time after that, then stopped, then a final full physical assault when I was eighteen. There were occasional face slaps all those years, and twice my mouth was washed out with soap.
I really don't know why I love my parents. There was some good, but this shit is so fucked up. I still hate them, still at times have the impotent rage. After every beating, I was allowed to go to my room and cry for about ten minutes, then my mother would come in and gently say, "Now, we friends?" like I was being welcomed back, like she was making some kind of loving concession. The one time I hadn't yet worked through enough of my rage and the reason for the beating had been exceptionally irrational, I said no, and there was that threatening look. I'm surprised i wasn't beaten again. My dad almost never intervened in any of her shit, and maybe that fucked me up more because it gave me false hope that he was my protector, when he actually emotionally abandoned me, and sometimes threw me under the bus on the rare occasions when someone with authority or influence was involved. He himself is so impotent, and now hates me for not giving in to her domination and entitled interference in my life, even as an adult. I feel deflated and disempowered by my pity for his incompetence. She was verbally abusive to him, too, and he had no savvy to stand up to it and put a stop to it. I'd fantasize they'd divorce so that I could live with him and actually do things, he was more permissive until she blocked, and I just wanted to get out of the damn house and socialize with other people.
Maybe mandated reporting has somewhat curbed physical child abuse, kept some people in check. But it's scary when a parent threatens a child if they dare to report the parent, and often CPS won't do anything until it's too late, and if they do anything, the child often ends up in an even worse situation. There just is no win, except for the small proportion of parents who are kept in check by the threat of LE involvement, so at least child abuse isn't the norm that it used to be.
I am so burned out on this world.