Descending into the particulars

Sideways

Moderator
This is the part where my jaw dropped.

Something really toxic was going on in your home or your head to have a relationship like that with your mum. She gets an F for parenting.

But potentially days locked in an attic? That must have been overwhelmingly frightening to experience. Especially as a child.

Because this isn't just any attic, this was your home. This was the only place in the world that you had. Where you were meant to be safe. And you weren't. As a child...even if you could have escaped from the attic, you would have nowhere to go. And the whole time, the person who is supposed to love you unconditionally and make your world safer is the one who has done this to you.

That's hard to wrap my head around. The terror is one thing, but the helplessness and hopelessness of your situation is off the charts. Whatever preceded this? That time in the attic must have been a horrendous, life changing experience. I'm sorry that happened to you.
 
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desiderata310

Moderator
Normalizing, justifying any maladaptive parenting that many of us went through …doesn’t have to happen to the next generation or now : please if you are new to the board
*MOD HAT ON* To be fair, this may have been a PSA and if that's the case, that's cool! If it was meant to something else, I need to ask you to stop. *MOD HAT OFF*

I feel like I should clarify that the purpose of this exercise isn't to normalize anything. It's me, just me and J trying to help me sift through all of this. J thinks that I'm wrong to take responsibility. I think he needs to look close and realize that I am culpable for my actions. The punishment fit the crime.

Thank you for the CA law info. I remember at one point trying to comb through the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law. It was overwhelming for me and I stopped. I'll try to look at it again now that you've reminded me of its existence.

Look, It hurts- like physically hurts- to look at these things and I'm struggling in ways I don't believe I can share on the board or in my diary. This post was my therapist's idea- to talk to the board about it. Telling you all about this part of my past is deeply, deeply embarrassing. The fact that I behaved so wickedly that I needed to be contained in that manner it's not something that I'm proud of. I'm horribly ashamed of myself. I have always assumed that this is why it bothers me so: that I couldn't behave. That I couldn't be good or quiet or whatever. That I would lash out and kick and hurt people on purpose- including myself.

*Sigh*
It's fine. I knew this would be painful.

Those words tell me the thoughts or feelings you may have had while you were in the closet - there was some sort of war/competition going on between you and adult, and you ended up in the closet.
I was a bit older.
I'll be damned if I remember what started it that day but I remember that I refused to apologize. I lost because I couldn't outlast her.

We lived in a house with stairs to the attic. That attic door was fully visible from my room. They installed a slide bolt on it when we moved in when I was 4. It was always a reminder when we lived there to behave. (we moved a lot but always kept this house).

At the heart of all of this was the knowledge that (and I was told this repeatedly) I wasn't supposed to be here. I wasn't supposed to have been born. It's been a bit of a cosmic joke- a hiccup- an offense to the universe that I exist at all. It was actually a bit of a shock to me when I followed the bread crumbs and discovered my birth date and how close it was to the passing of Roe V Wade. The stories of the warnings from my mom's doctor that she should not conceive again. The repeated fury that my birth had cost her so much physically-her health, her beauty, her marriage.
The best part of me rolling down my mom's thigh. Those words and others. Yeah, they didn't want me. But more than that, I wasn't supposed to BE here.

f*ck.

What f*cks with me more is that closets play a very important role in my life even now- they are a place of safety. When things become too much, I can be found hiding in one, much like I used to as a kid- with a little nest inside of blankets, snacks, etc. They were both a place a for refuge and a place of punishment.

And yes, a place where I was- on more than one occasion, shoved to get out of the line of fire when I fight broke out. At one point the police came and escorted both mom and dad out and I was left in the apartment alone in that closet. I don't remember getting out. (obviously I did) but I was under shelves and I couldn't reach the knob on the inside.

It's confusing and difficult to talk about. Lots of moving parts to this.
Ok.. Lots of other people weighing in but I... need to take a break from writing this response.
 
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grief

Sponsor
If I'm a danger to them because I'm totally out of control? Then a closet may be my best option.
Once.
this is also something that i was thinking of with that other thread of what that individuel who had been triggered by her kid screaming had done. because there have been moments where i did leave my kid in her room and leave. and she could have left if she wanted to. i didn't lock her in there. but i did put her in there alone. because it was not safe for her to be around me. because i was not rational. and if that had been a sustaned situation then it would have been unsafe for me to be her parent. period.

because it is my responsebility to handle the situation. and not just put her somewhere and ignore her. and let her be destructive and screaming. because that isn't parenting. it's just, like, nothing. it's not doing anything. but some situatens are more emergent then others. the real issue here is that it appeared to be a pattern. if my kid punched and kicked me and made me bleed over and over again.

that is not a situation that i can handle by myself. because i am not trained to handle that. i am a civilian. i am not a doctor or a police officer.

it is like you say. that is a situation that has a limited number of "uses." before it stops being logical and starts being a pattern of abuse. if every time she gets upset i throw her in a room by her self. that is not rational. because it's not her problem. it's my problem. and if i cannot handle the problem. then i need to find the professionals that are trained to handle the problem. because if i tried to handle the problem myself that what might end up happening. is that i cause my kid to be hurt.

either i try to restrain her which i don't know how to do. and i break her arm or something. or i lock her in a closet for days. and her brain melts. and i give her claustraphobia or ptsd. or she hates me. or what ever. that is a breakdown. that isn't rational. and even if she is hurting me, it doesn't f*cking matter. it doesn't matter. because she's my kid. and i'm the adult and she isn't. and it's my job to teach her to be better. not to get mad at her. and punish her because i'm mad.

because she's behaving poorly because probably because i caused that behavior.

you know what i mean? and becuase as parents our role is to guide and to teach. not to just have our feelings all over the place. at a kid. who is not evolved enough to understand what is really happening. and that was not done here. a situation was attempted to be handled by one person who was just not equipped to do that. and they caused harm because they made the wrong decision.

I don’t remember specifics but locked in the attic for an extended amount of time. Days? Not sure but I was much older (preteen/teen)and was fighting and refused to yield. She won in the end. But I was a serious handful and to say I was difficult would be an understatement. It was summer in the south and it was hot. She needed the advantage. I was already taller than her- she was 5’3”.
Point is I deserved that.
you didn't. though. because after a few hours the situation is over. so even if you could reasonebly justefy that was safer. (which you can't. because it is a repeated pattern.) two and three days later that is not even the situation any more. it is just you being locked somewhere for no reason.

but because you were a child that is different any way.

if your mother could not handle being your parent then she needed to bring in outside help. and she did not do that. she locked you in a hot attic in the summer for days which is a safety issue. and you did not deserve to be put in danger because you lashed out. because you were a child.

and because we don't just hurt people just because they may be behaving badly. (sometimes we do. and it happens. in prison and things. guards abuse prisoners. and things and some people think that is justefied. but the law says that we shouldn't. because that is uncivilized.)

It’s a bit much to think through and this has caused a huge amount of upheaval in my present day world
i am sorry things are still hard for you. but i do hope that you are doing a bit better now! this stuff is hard to work with. but this is an interesting that this has a form of therapy which is named.

as this is what i had tended to do with my self by my self and in my own therapy for a real long time. which is to examine the cause and effect and individuel deicions and things. and break down situations linearly.

it is logical and important but the emotions of things can be all big and vast and twisty. but you are doing real good work! and reaching out and having other peoples opinions and things can be so important to that process instead of spinning in your own brain. so i think your therepist has the right idea there. 🫂

I don't do purely punitive things like that, because the result of being punitive is resentment and/or fear, neither of which I want to cultivate in my children.
this. punishment for its own sake (especially after the situation is over) is irrational. and more than that that it is dealing with violent behavior which is some thing that needs to be addressed medically. not something that most parents can just throw into a closet and hope for the best.

that is a child lashing out, physically, harming people. and that is behavior that needs professional intervention.

so there was a lot of neglect going on here. punishment isn't the answer. and at this point it is a safety issue. but the safety issue is being generated because the caretaker isn't taking the appropriate actions. and is putting herself and her child in more danger.
 

Freida

Sponsor
Telling you all about this part of my past is deeply, deeply embarrassing.
Because you were taught to believe you were at fault.
From where I stand, reading your story, I see a kid who desperately needed someone in her corner, and there was no one there. So lashing out made sense. You were trying to get help, but you didn't know how. That's not something to be embarrassed about.
Thats something to be sad about
The fact that I behaved so wickedly that I needed to be contained in that manner it's not something that I'm proud of. I'm horribly ashamed of
My niece had epic tantrums for years. My sister was beside herself trying to figure out how to help her. She was willing to try anything, within reason. There was no abuse, niece was just wired that way. Finally sis got her connected with the right team of doctors and niece got the help she needed. She's like a different kid now

Sometimes when the screaming had gone on for hours, sis would hide in her backyard and cry because she couldn't help niece calm down. But she never, ever locked her away. Niece was often told to go to her room until she calmed down, but never locked away

Niece is 12 now, and sometimes she gets embarrassed by how she acted.. and we all tell her...its ok.. you were a kid in pain and you couldn't explain what hurt.

Jusy like you.
You acted in response to your environment. You were a kid in pain, and no one noticed. They just locked you away.

That was not your fault
EVER


have always assumed that this is why it bothers me so: that I couldn't behave. That I couldn't be good or quiet or whatever. That I would lash out and kick and hurt people on purpose- including myself.

Of course you did. No one was helping!
But it doesn't make excuses for how they responded
Especially since they were the reason you were acting out
You deserved to be helped, not punished.
 

Sideways

Moderator
You have nothing to be ashamed about. You were a child.

I know that doesn't make it go away. But I think it's still important. That it gets said. You were a child, and you were loveable, and deserved love. Irrespectively.

You also had a right to be kept safe. Not locked away.
And I'm sorry you didn't get that.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
The age of 4 you were aware of this method of controlling your behaviour. The age of 4.
At the age of 4 we're, what? Learning to spell our names? Believing in tooth fairies/Santa? About to start school? Totally reliant on our parents for our survival?
And you had this knowledge of this scary punishment if you did something. You weren't meant to exist, so if you did something that highlighted your existence it's met with this punishment?
Sounds as though your parents were violent? So you learnt violent behaviour from them?

J thinks that I'm wrong to take responsibility. I think he needs to look close and realize that I am culpable for my actions
I'm sorry this is destabilising you. But I think re framing what you experienced, whilst so painful, is ultimately the oath to healing.
All the responses here are in line with what J is saying.
What your saying is: (and obviously I'm paraphrasing): as a child I deserved maltreatment because I shouldn't have existed, and I am shameful and my behaviour was dispicable. And my parents did everything they could to make things better and love me and look after me.

I get the need to twist reality: to block out the responsibility of the parent and out that onto you as a child. To internalise feelings, to take blame. It's what children do in traumatic situations: internalise blame.
But that survival mechanism , whilst helpful then (to a point), is not needed.
The truth is: you were let down. You did nothing wrong.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
What your saying is: (and obviously I'm paraphrasing): as a child I deserved maltreatment because I shouldn't have existed, and I am shameful and my behaviour was dispicable.
From what you've said, that's pretty much your parent's line of thinking. Just being "parents' doesn't make them right.

Can I propose a couple of topics for future consideration? (Maybe not, but too late, I'm already doing it.)

1) Is it ever ok for a child to kick an adult in the face, with or without a subsequent nose bleed?
a: How should that event be handled, going forward?

2) Is it ever ok to repeatedly tell a child they "should never have been born"? And, I'm cutting your parents some slack on this one. I, personally, don't think it's EVER ok, full stop. I said "repeatedly" just to allow someone to get away with a one off, in the heat of the moment, that's followed by an extravagant apology that leaves the child believing they are loved and wanted.

Here's a situation for you. When I was pretty little (must have been about waist high on my 5' 2"ish mother) I was standing behind her while she was shoveling snow. She hit me in the face with the end of the shovel and gave me the only really black black eye I've ever had. (All I remember about this is it happening and my dad coming over to be sure I was ok. I'm reasonably sure it was an accident.) Was it also an unforgivable crime of some sort? Because I'd put it in about the same category as you kicking your mother. Although I'm also pretty sure that you kicked you mother in self defense and self defense is allowed.

Glad you decided to share this topic with a wider audience! I think there are a lot of people, both now and in the future, who are going to find it valuable.
 

desiderata310

Moderator
I’ll be completely honest and say I have felt out and out attacked and hostile which is why I have not responded and actually and question my decision to respond now...

I can see that none of the responses were attacks, and yet there we are.


Sounds as though your parents were violent?
I’d not thought of it in those terms but I guess given the black eyes, broken fingers (and that was just between my parents)and some stuff I’m afraid to mention here, I guess?

You have nothing to be ashamed about.
Ehrm... we can agree to disagree on this one. This is the ‘easy’ stuff we are dealing with here. I’ve got a lot to be ashamed of.
that is a child lashing out, physically, harming people. and that is behavior that needs professional intervention
Goddamn it, @grief ! You sound like J- are you sure you’re not in cahoots with him?😒 no, not attacking you, just REALLY struggling with these concepts.
that is a child lashing out, physically, harming people. and that is behavior that needs professional intervention.
yeah as I keep pointing out to J (and @scout86 ) I AIMED.

A while ago j told me about a place he worked (early career)with kids and how they had kids like me. Pretty sure that I would have (a) not done well in that space (b) would have certain given them a run for their money.(he agreed about that). The thing that was so terrifying even as an adult to entertain (even 30+ years later) is that j said they wouldn’t have sent me home. Like ever. They would have sent me off to with live with relatives (none would have had me-known fact) or I would have been shipped to foster care. Which j and I both agreed could have possibly turned out worse for me.
I digress.

That time in the attic
It happened. I dunno it wasn’t a one time.
ok break From responding
 

grief

Sponsor
Goddamn it, @grief ! You sound like J- are you sure you’re not in cahoots with him?😒 no, not attacking you, just REALLY struggling with these concepts.
this gave me a bit of a chuckle. not in cahoots. just some one that has been in that scenario before. i was the kid. too. and i got the intervention i needed. but if i had not it is very probable that i would be in prison right now. so i hope you are giving your self some credit. being prosocial? is hard as hell. for me, anyway. i don't know if it was hard for you but it was real hard for me.

because 1) i did not know what social even was. 2) i did not want to be doing the things every one had said i should do. for no reason. it wasn't because of anything! i just hated being told what to do. go put on your shirt, grief. f*ck you! i don't have to listen to you! i'm going to throw shit at you instead! i hope you die!

and like you i feel a lot of shame for that period of time. because no one could say that i was being mistreated by the people i was harming. i was just hurting people. because i was unable to exist around other human beings in a civelized way. so when you say you aimed and you did on purpose i know what you're talking about. this isn't that you kicked someone in the head by mistake. you did it on purpose.

i've actually done a little worse than that. i won't-you know, that's not the point-what i mean is that-ugh, bear with me, sorry. i'm not trying to hijack, i promise! what i mean is that this comes down mostly of your concepteons of your self. the reasons why you were behaveing this way. the rational answer (which was that you needed help) and you did not get that help.

and that as a child you cannot be expected to have the same responsebility over your actions as an adult. that doesn't mean no responsebility. you should not kick people. that is wrong. correct. but there is gradiations of things if that makes sense. you should not kick people. but also people should not be locking you in places for days at a time in unsafe circumstances, either.

when i was fifteen i attacked my caseworker. i broke a big glass bowl all over the place, slashed up my hands, and then tried to slash him. and i could see the fear in his face when that happened. and that it was more than just a direct physical safety threat. i made him afraid. and he backed up away from me. and i didn't care. i wanted him to leave me alone.

all of this was bad. and wrong. and horrible. i know. i feel shame for this. and remorse. i made someone feel afraid. of me. and i actually liked it. that is bad. it is wrong. it should never have happened. you cannot treat other human beings like that. it is not okay. and those are good things to feel. because it means i have empathy.

and that is important! because i very easily could have ended up aspd/ssd just like my dad. so those feelings are actually a good thing. even though they suck. because it could be much worse. you could just not give a shit. and that is a whole other problem. a much, much worse problem.

anyway. that's what i did. and the response was fast and it was efficient. i was restrained until i had calmed down. and then they put me in iselation. with the door open once i had calmed down. he did not respond by locking me in an attic for days at a time. or throwing me in a dark closet. or yelling at me. or holding a grudge toward me when the experience was over.

we actually ended up having a very good relationship. because he was the professional who was trained to handle a violent, antisocial teenager.

that is still abuse. just because you also did something wrong. two wrongs don't make a right. and when a child is involved, the adult in the situation basically needs to suck it up. and also that i'm sorry if my replies had caused you to feel attacked of any way by the way. that was not my intention. i feel drawn to this thread because of this type of processing and things which i am natrelly drawn toward.

you are doing a lot of real hard things in here. 🫂
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I’ll be completely honest and say I have felt out and out attacked and hostile which is why I have not responded and actually and question my decision to respond now...

I can see that none of the responses were attacks, and yet there we are.
I can understand that. It's attacking (or challenging) the belief system you have about what happened. That is hugely confronting.
That belief system got you through all these years. It's not going to go easily or readily.
My T says to try and find a way to 're-purpose' these messages we gave ourselves. It was protection and survival then. It was helpful. But it has done it's job and now you can (and need to?) see the past for what it was as it is safe to do that now as an adult.
 

grit

Not Active
It seems you may felt a big parts of you were being invalidated because again most people will fall back to the default thinking/beliefs of a child is like a wilted flower!
 

desiderata310

Moderator
i just hated being told what to do. go put on your shirt, grief. f*ck you! i don't have to listen to you! i'm going to throw shit at you instead! i hope you die!

being invalidated because again most people will fall back to the default thinking/beliefs of a child is like a wilted flower!

could see the fear in his face when that happened. and that it was more than just a direct physical safety threat. i made him afraid. and he backed up away from me. and i didn't care. i wanted him to leave me alone.

ALL of this.All of it.
And there's a lot of f*ck YOU tied up in everything I am not saying. It's not directed at anyone in particular just ... If I weren't a 48y/o woman I would probably run right now out into the street, flinging my clothes off telling everyone to go f*ck themselves. (Yes, something I did when I was 10/11 ) I have a TINY bit more restraint.

I've been hostile and short tempered f*cking angry for days.
I went off on the guy at my local bike shop. NOT something I usually would do EVER. I usually have shit neatly tucked down and contained. I'm usually merely *prickly*. Not so much right now.

There as just a little too much 'poor thing' and I can't deal with it. It happened. I deserved it. I am not f*cking ok. I just want to figure out if these events were acceptable.
And that's not an attack on anyone who's responded to the post
*goes fishing for the Mod hat that's behind the couch and some semblance of decorum*
Ok... maybe I'm not quite ready to respond yet.
 
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