T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 47084
posted 02-26-2011 07:25 PM
This a very serious and important question, and I'm looking for advice as soon as possible. My mother has been physically and emotionally abusive to my dad, me, and my siblings ever since I can remember (probably since I was 12 years old, and I'm 19 years old now). I began researching why she might be like this, and I've come to the conclusion that she must have a mental illness of some sort (I'm thinking a severe version of bipolar because of her symptoms). For years I've been having to deal with her, and my dad has never gotten help and he doesn't know what to do about the situation. My dad does not want to file a divorce because I have 5 younger siblings and my dad doesn't want to make things worse by doing that (my mom doesn't have a job either..she is a stay at home mom). I feel like I have a lot of emotional baggage in my life at the moment because of the way my mother has treated me for all these years. She is very negative and makes me feel terrible, she insults and me and calls me names. I remember times when she used to hit me until I was bruised, or she would scratch me until I was bleeding. I remember always having to go over to a friends house because I was scared to be at home when she got mad, or she had already hurt me etc.. I do have a psychologist to help me recover and heal from that at the moment. I could write down a million ways that she has made my life difficult. She has changed my dad also, he is constantly stressed by her and I am worried about his health. I feel like both of my parents are very unstable and they leave me in a position where I feel like I need to "parent" them, and they are not "parenting" me. I can tell that my brothers are also going through anxiety because of my mother and my parents constantly fighting. I have told them to seek the guidance counsellor at school if they need to.. but I find my younger brothers have already been extremely influenced by my mother so they do not listen to me. I am constantly worried about my brothers because I am not always at home now because I am in university (I still live on the same street as my parents, so I visit almost everyday to check on my mother.. my family is the only reason I did not leave somewhere far for university). I really don't want to be controlled by them and stressed out by this anymore, I just want to get on with my life and not have to worry about them. To end this short, I really need to get help and I don't know where to go or what to do. I am from Canada, so I think seeking help for these kind of problems might be different than how it is in the US? But Children's Aid Society has visited my parents before, and they told my mom to seek a psychiatrist. But she refuses to get any help, and she will not see the doctor under any circumstances. I feel like she NEEDS to get help and I NEED to step in and do something about this. I do not want my father, myself, and siblings abused by her anymore. Does anyone know what I should do? Should I call the police, what would they do? What is the best way to force my mother to get help as soon as possible? Thank you very much. [ 02-26-2011, 07:54 PM: Message edited by: anonymousgurl ]
Member # 50455
posted 02-26-2011 08:53 PM
First things first: it is neither your job nor your responsibility to deal with this by yourself and if you are unable to help that does not mean you have failed. The most important thing is your safety; you know how on airplanes they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others? Same theory here.
I wanted to make sure that you got some kind of response tonight, but I'm not absolutely sure what there is to offer you in Canada. Another volunteer will get back with you ASAP (most likely tomorrow, if not later tonight. If you or somebody else in your house is in immediate danger please call 911. The first two things that come to my mind are, Diagnosing any mental illness when you aren't trained to do so can be tricky and usually not all that accurate. The absolute best way to treat any mental illness is under appropriate medical care which, of course, the person usually has to seek out themselves and has to want in order for it to be effective. You are 19. Is there any way for you to get out of the house? As an adult the best way you may be able to help is if you are able to remove yourself from the situation in order to gain a better perspective and not have to worry about what may happen if you do need to call emergency services or child services to the house. Like I said, I am not 100% sure what is available to you in Canada. Somebody else will check in with a more thorough answer soon!
Member # 36725
posted 02-26-2011 09:02 PM
Just wanted to come in as well a little bit, but also not very sure about how things work in Canada. Do you have a close family friend or relative you may be able to talk about this with? Because they may be able to help you by directing you to the people you would need to talk with. Also, are you enrolled in any type of school? If so, have you thought of speaking with a counselor at the school about this? Sounds like you've been having a tough time dealing with feelings around this, so counseling may help you in finding someone to talk with about all of this while you're finding how you can help.
Member # 47084
posted 02-26-2011 10:33 PM
Hi, thank you both for your responses.
I have been speaking with my aunt about this situation for a few months now. We are planning to talk to my psychologist together this week and hopefully find out what to do about this. My aunt is very confused about this just like I am, and we are both trying to figure out how to make things better. I have been talking to my psychologist about my feelings for months, but she hasn't really recommended to me what I should do (other than call the cops if I feel like I am in danger). Do your recommend I talk with a counsellor from school also? I really really do want to move out next year into a place with some roommates (it would definitely help me heal and move on with my life). But there is no way I would be able to afford rent (my parents are not paying for my school tuition, I am on a loan) and I only have enough money in the bank from my parents for food, clothing and etc for this year. I am hoping to get a job this summer to help me save up.. But other than that, if I want to move out next year, I need to find out how I can get money for paying rent and everything else as soon as possible. I'm planning to go to a financial advisor at my school and explain the situation to them, so hopefully I might be able to get another loan for next year. If anyone has any other advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing from someone in Canada.
Member # 26516
posted 02-26-2011 10:38 PM
I'm really sorry you've gone through something like this anonymousgurl. This sounds like an incredibly difficult situation. You're very brave for getting out and trying to help out your family.
If I'm understanding correctly, you don't live at home anymore, but your brothers do, right? If so, is your mother still physically and emotionally abusive, and are some (or all) of your brothers minors? What you describe is serious abuse, and it sounds like it has affected you and your brothers a great deal. As far as I know, if minors are being abused, the CAS should get involved. I'm not sure why more wasn't done when they originally visited, but I imagine that they would at least still have a record of the visit. If you call them and let them know that abuse is still going on and that your mother refuses to get help, they would have to do something. You can also report this to the police, and it's likely they would get the CAS involved as well. They may arrest your mother and/or commit her to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Is there a legal aid clinic at your university? Some universities do have these and they can offer free legal advice to students. They could let you know how situations like this work, and other options you may have. You mentioned that you're seeing a psychologist to help you heal at the moment. That's great, and a very important step in recovering from abuse. Is he or she aware of the abuse that is still going on in your home and with your brothers? If so, he or she can and should help you report it. Mental health professionals not only have an ethical duty to report known or suspected child abuse, but it's also the law (for everyone). If you want, you can also give us your city and/or postal code, and we can try to find local resources to help you as well. All this being said, I also want to make sure that you're safe. You mentioned that you live on the same street as your parents and go visit often. Is your mother still physically and/or emotionally abusive towards you? If so, I would recommend staying away, and helping from a distance by reporting her to the police and/or the CAS. I know this must be hard because people you love are still in danger, but you have to take care of yourself as well. I hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any questions or would like more support. [ 02-26-2011, 11:26 PM: Message edited by: blysse_norwood ]
Member # 48854
posted 02-26-2011 11:02 PM
I don't know if the school or schools your brothers attend would allow this, but I've gone through difficult things sometimes, and when my mom knew I wouldn't go speak to the school psychologist on my own, she went to the school and asked them to call me in and see if I needed to talk. Is there any way you could speak to the people where your brothers attend school and see if they would call them in and see if they need to talk?
Member # 26516
posted 02-26-2011 11:43 PM
To address your second post, I think it's a great idea to go see a financial advisor at your university. They can advise you on the best ways to get financial aid, and maybe help you apply for scholarships or bursaries that you don't have to pay back.
In terms of jobs, I'd recommend starting to look and apply as soon as possible, especially for stuff that's higher paid than retail or fast food. Have you ever heard of the ? It's a program where full-time students can apply for federal government summer jobs (and sometimes part-time work during the year). If you're interested, I recommend applying ASAP though. If your university has a career services centre for their students, you can probably get help finding jobs or at least they can direct you towards the best ways to apply and review your resume.
Federal Student Work Experience Program
Member # 47084
posted 02-28-2011 01:08 PM
Kawani - That's a great idea, thanks. I'm going to call the counsellor(s) at the school and ask them to call my brothers in to talk to them.
Blysse_norwood - Thank you so much for all your advice. It's made me feel a lot better. You are correct, I don't live at home anymore. I live in one of my dads houses (he is a landlord), so I am not paying rent right now and my costs are covered by my dad (the house is right next to my parents house). I'm not sure what you mean by my brothers being "minors," but 2 of them are in highschool, 1 in kindergarden and the rest are in elementary school. I'm planning on calling the CAS to report the abuse, or the police. I just have to decide which one would be the best option. I haven't seen my mother physically abusive to my brothers for a while (more than 1 year), but she is emotionally abusive towards them still. I find she is the most abusive towards me and my dad for some reason. She needs to get some sort of help, or become diagnosed by a doctor as soon as possible, because her abuse is a never-ending cycle (it stops for a while, and then starts again, stops, etcc) I'm also going to check with my school to see if there is a legal aid office. My psychologist is not aware of all the physical abuse going on in the householdt. The abuse does not happen everyday, but once and a while she has phases where she gets extremely mad and becomes a abusive for a few days. I'm planning to tell my psychologist more about the abuse this week, and I'll find out if she is able to report it. I am safe at the moment, I only visit sometimes just to check on everyone to see if things are okay. For the past two days, everything has been normal and my mom hasn't been mad or anything else. As for finding a job, I'm going to research more about that in the next few weeks. Thanks for your info. I'm also going to book an appoint. with a financial aid officer sometime soon. I'm going to be extremely busy with university for the next few weeks, so bare with me if I don't reply for a few days. Trying to fix these family issues is one of my top priorities along with school right now, so I just need to make time to fit everything in and figure this out.. I'll post back by the end of this week and I will update you about what my psychologist recommends to me and my aunt.
Member # 26516
posted 02-28-2011 08:07 PM
Hi anonymousgurl, I'm glad my response was helpful and that you're safe at the moment. What I meant by "minors" is anyone under the age of majority, that is, under 18 or 19 depending on which province/territory you live in. So, your brothers definitely qualify. I'm glad you're planning on reporting. That's a very good step to take. Even if she's not currently physically abusive, that can change, and emotional abuse can escalate. What you're describing about it being a cycle is actually the norm with abuse. Here's some information from our on abuse (it's mostly aimed at abuse within romantic relationships, but the information can still apply to domestic abuse): article quote: 1) A honeymoon or seduction phase (some people call it the remorse stage), a state when both partners are happy to be in a relationship, and at a point where the relationship is enjoyable, romantic. This phase can feel like a time when there isn't any abuse, even though it's a key part of abuse, since without it, no one would wind up in an abusive relationship or stay in one: it's the "hook" an abusive person relies on to get their partner and keep their partner sticking around. 2) The tension phase, when the couple is getting into small arguments, and the abuser becomes frustrated with their partner. Even if an abused partner tries very hard not to do things they know will lead to attacks, an abuser will usually find, during this phase, things which will eventually result in the next phase. 3) The last stage is the abuse phase, or the explosion phase, where one specific incident leads to an explosion of anger, in the form of physical, sexual, verbal or other attacks. 4) The abuser then quickly defaults into the honeymoon or seduction phase to make up for their behavior. They will probably apologize at this time, may give gifts or be very romantic, and even though they may also still tell the abused person the explosion was that person's fault, not their own, they will generally try and be as nice as they can, and try and gain the sympathy of the person they are abusing. I'm really glad that you'll be talking to your psychologist about the abuse and about reporting. In Canada, there's a mandatory reporting law on child abuse so she should either report it herself or offer to help you with reporting. If you would like to be involved, you can also tell her this.
Don't worry about only replying when you can. We're here to help whenever you're around. Hang in there!
Member # 47084
posted 03-03-2011 08:12 PM
So i went to the psychologist with my aunt yesterday, and the psychologist strongly recommends that I report the abuse to children's aid. My aunt is planning to call children's aid with me tomorrow. To be honest, I'm really scared about doing this. I know it's the right thing to do, and based on everything that has been going on, I don't really know what else to do. Problem is, I always have that doubt in my mind that things will get worse if I do report. But I know I only say that because I know my parents will think I am against them once they find out I reported. I think they are going to lose all respect in me (even though I'm just trying to make things better).. I'm not really sure if police are going to get involved or not. But my first step for now is just to call children's aid and tell them a little bit about what has been going on. I'm planning to write down everything that worries me about my family, and all of the emotional and physical abuse so that I know what to say to them once I call..is that a good idea? I'm really nervous about all this. Any comforting advice or support would be great for now. Thanks again
Member # 48854
posted 03-03-2011 08:19 PM
I'm glad my suggestion was a little helpful.
Writing things down seems like a good idea, so that you know what specifically to say. I know if I call anyone that I need to have my main points written down so I don't fumble over words...in a situation this emotional and probably stressful, having everything written down would be really useful.
Member # 26516
posted 03-04-2011 12:35 PM
I'm not sure if you've already called CAS or not, but I just wanted to let you know that you're doing the right thing, even if your parents don't see it that way. You're being incredibly brave and stepping up for your brothers, and that's commendable. I'm glad your aunt is so supportive and helpful as well. I agree with Kawani that writing things down is a good idea. I definitely do that when I have to call someone and it's important that I don't forget something. Good luck with all of this. I'm rooting for you!
Member # 47084
posted 03-04-2011 04:23 PM
Hi again, thank you both so much.
I did contact the CAS with my aunt, but unfortunately they can't help with my situation. I was really surprised actually, but they said that they can't force my mother to get help (to go to the doctor and get meds), and they can't protect my brothers unless there is severe physical abuse going on (someone is getting beaten, sexually abused etc..).. which there isn't. My mother is impossible to deal with, and for years the family has been pushing her to get diagnosed, but she will never take action. They also said that since I'm 19 now, I can legally leave the house in order to get away from the situation, and they strongly recommend I do that asap. They said that if any physical abuse happens to my bros, I should call them right away and also the police. They said the police will be the only ones that can take action during the time of physical abuse at home. I still feel really upset about all this, because Im trying to get help and I'm trying to fix my family.. but I don't think I can. I want to move on with my life and heal from the past and present abuse. I guess the only way for me to do that is to move out, get a job, and focus on school. I want to keep a relationship with all of my brothers also. I don't want them going down a bad road, I want to be an excellent role model for them, so hopefully they will learn from me in the near future. & i'm going to get my bros counseling at school (thank you for that idea). My aunt recommends I keep talking to my psychologist about this, which I am, I don't know how I would survive without her really. & for now I'm going to focus on how I am going to move out, getting a job, and how I'm going to figure out the financial issues. My aunt offered me to stay at her place whenever I need to, so I'm really thankful for that. So I'm going to make an appoint with my financial aid office to figure out how I can go about moving out for September. I'll also get my resume fixed up and hopefully get a job for the summer. I'm not sure who else to contact about this? I just need enough money for rent etc., and then I'll be ready to search for a place to move into. I really hope this works out, well I need it to work out somehow (for September I hope I don't think i can take being with my parents for another year ). I want to go out and meet new people and hopefully have some roommates. I think that will help me heal and move on with my life. I'll update soon. I might need someone to talk to about all this once and while, so don't mind me if I post a lot at random times. Thank you so much for your help again. [ 03-04-2011, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: anonymousgurl ]
Member # 36725
posted 03-05-2011 06:23 PM
The roommate idea is a great one, it can really help to make rent and bills a LOT cheaper, meaning ultimately you need less money yo live on your own. Per keeping in contact with your brothers, I agree that you're on a good path with that and that you can certainly be that good role model for them. It sounds like you've got a lot of things going for you right now, and as soon as you've got your ducks in a row it'll be swimming well. Hang in there!
Member # 26516
posted 03-06-2011 09:40 PM
I'm really sorry CAS wasn't more helpful anonymousgurl! I'm actually quite shocked they weren't. This is from the Ontario CAS, but I'm sure it's similar in other provinces if you're elsewhere:
http://www.oacas.org/childwelfare/signs.htm. Severe physical abuse is not the only thing they list as child abuse; emotional abuse is also included. If you haven't already, I recommend that you talk to your psychologist about this and see if she has any suggestions or knows of any other resources in your area. If you would like, you can also give us your postal code and we can try to find some as well. If you're not comfortable posting it on the boards, you can use the "contact us" button near the bottom of this page. Besides all this, I'm glad to see that you're trying to take care of yourself and figure out ways to live on your own. That's really important too! Let us know if there's anything else we can do.
Member # 26516
posted 03-29-2011 11:15 AM
I was thinking of you today, and wondering how you're doing with all this. I hope you got the e-mail with the resources for your area too and that something in there was helpful! I'm still rooting for you!