Anger and Abuse

My father stood at the bottom of the stairs as I retreated up them. “Do you want to go to Hell?” He yelled after me.

Another failed conversation. Another terror-stricken confession that I did not think I was saved. Anger and accusation followed. How could I intentionally let myself go to Hell when it would be so easy to get saved?

Before I proceed, I need to insert a little note. What I am about to say in this note is descriptive of my own feelings, not prescriptive as to what should be felt by others who have experienced abuse and mistreatment.

I want you to know that I still recognize my parents as people, and people who did many things for me for which I am grateful. I still love my parents, even though I can no longer have a relationship with them. However, I have learned that true love does not gloss over or ignore the flaws of its objects, and I am going to be brutally honest in this and later posts about my family experience.

My parents are angry people. My father has been angry and abusive for as long as I can remember, and my mother has grown increasingly so over the years. I was subjected to a lot of yelling and spanking as a young child.

I remember hiding behind the end of the couch as Mom entered the room. My little child’s brain could not understand how she had known that I had done something naughty, but I knew I was caught. The spanking was sure to follow.

The spankings were sometimes long, given in multiple stages, and even humiliatingly applied to bare skin. The anger was always present, always accusing, always loading me down with overwhelming guilt at my small transgressions. I learned to know that my least misdeed was grounds for severe infliction of pain and punishment.

My mom was not as angry as my dad at first. I remember being in the kitchen once and overhearing her threaten to report him to our pastor as verbally abusive. I never forgot that conversation.

The effects of my parents’ anger and abuse were more devastating to me than I realized for some time. My OCD may have been initially encouraged by this environment, and, after the illness had fairly begun, it was certainly aggravated by my parents’ mistreatment.

This childhood abuse was only the beginning of what would later become some of the most nightmarish experiences of my life. I will share more about those experiences in future posts.

As I continued through high school, my OCD intensified further. I was so troubled and guilt-ridden by my own supposedly sinful existence that I began struggling to eat. In my junior year of high school, I slipped into depression and self-starvation, much to the dismay of my family and friends.

Still, no treatment was pursued. I remember asking my mother if I was crazy. “Oh, no, honey!” she replied.

Odd, somehow I would have been more comforted by a rational explanation of why I felt so terrible all the time.

Eventually, I snapped out of the depression by forming the goal of getting training to learn how to be more independent as a blind person. After pursuing two summers of on-site training at a location hundreds of miles from home, I graduated high school and left for college. Little did I realize the Hell on earth that was soon to begin.

What are your thoughts concerning abuse and discipline and how they sometimes coincide? Did many of you share the experience of being spanked as children? What methods of discipline do you view as healthy and allowable? On what information or experiences do you base your position? Join in the conversation.

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2 responses to “Anger and Abuse”

  1. ElenaLee says :

    I was spanked once in a while, as a youngish child–I don’t think I was ever spanked after the age of eight. I only remember one time–3 or so blows on the bottom with a wooden spatula. It didn’t hurt much, just was kind of scary and embarrassing to have done something deemed worthy of a spanking. Usually misbehavior just meant a talking to, or time out. I don’t remember ever sensing that my parents were angry when they spanked me, and I don’t think it ever lasted a long time, as that concept seems strange to me now. There was explanation before hand and hugging after. When it was over, there was no lingering sense of being in disgrace.

    I’m very interested in learning other ways of disciplining my (currently hypothetical) children, though. I don’t know if appropriately (sparingly, compassionately) applied spanking is a good idea or not. It sounds evil and horrible when done wrong, and I’m so sorry you endured it.

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