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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » How far is too far?

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Author Topic: How far is too far?
Yasmin
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Before I start off, I just want to apologize if this is in the wrong area. I'm not sure if this is abuse or not.

My mom hits me sometimes. Actually, it's more of a normality for me. Yesterday my boyfriend got me home later than my mom wanted me, and once he left, my mom freaked out on me and started yelling in my face, then finally she grabbed my arm and twisted it. It really hurt.

I told my boyfriend last night, and he got really upset and told me he'd call me back. He ended up not calling me back, and when I hung out with him today, he told me that he felt really guilty and was worrying about me so much last night. He was really upset about the whole thing. I felt bad for worrying him.

Anyway, I was just wondering: How far do you think is too far when it comes to discipline? I've been raised like that (spankings, getting slapped on the arm/thigh/face, etc.) and I guess it doesn't faze me very much anymore. It's ordinary in my family. I was kind of thinking about calling CPS, but I also feel like I'm blowing it out of proportion. My boyfriend, however, is really freaked out. He's really worried about me. Like, more than I've ever seen him worried about anything.

Thoughts?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Physical abuse is ALWAYS too far.

Hitting, spanking, slapping: this is abuse. Plain and simple.

What do you feel like you want to do, Yasmin?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Yasmin
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I don't want to do anything really drastic, because most of my family would probably think I'm making too big of a deal about it...they just would think I'm overreacting.

I just want my mom to stop hitting me. I love her and I know she loves me, I just think that sometimes she gets out of control and doesn't know what to do with herself, so she takes it out on me. She's not happy. I think one of the reasons she was so crazy yesterday was that earlier in the day, she went with my grandpa to visit my grandmother's gravestone. It's been almost two years since she died and I'm sure my mom isn't over that yet, which is understandable.

I think we should go to family counseling. My family has a huge problem with communication. We have so many elephants in the room that I'm surprised we have any room to walk, or even breathe. I don't have a very good home life, as you can probably tell.

I just want to feel safe. Right now I'm at home but my mom is gone, and I honestly don't want to be around when she gets back from church.

I just don't know what to do. I feel like crying, because I'm so confused. One part of me feels like this IS a big deal, and I should deal with it like it's one, but the other part of me feels like I'm just overreacting.

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Yasmin
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My mom and I had another blowout today. It was something small, I told her I had to go to the store to get supplies for a final project for school. She FREAKED out, and it escalated to her hitting me in my face and grabbing my arm really hard.

Then she grounded me (AGAIN).

I'm so frustrated. Later, she called me into her room and told me that if I ever tried to hit her back, she would "lay me out". I was just looking at her really dumbfoundedly because that thought never even crossed my mind. Then she threatened to send me to a "Youth Detention Center".

Is it just me, or is she just getting more and more ridiculous? I've been getting thoughts about running away more and more, lately. I just can't stand to be in this kind of environment anymore. It's like I can't breathe. I feel like I'm constantly being beaten down.

I don't know what to do. This is the only place I can really let my feelings out to.

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Heather
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Oh, Yasmin.

How old are you? I ask so that we can maybe get a good look at what your best options are -- because this isn't just ridiculous, this is abusive, and you ARE being constantly beaten down, quite literally, which is absolutely not okay.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Yasmin
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I'm only fifteen. I'll be sixteen in August though, if that makes a difference.

I confronted her about her actions when i was in her room - how I thought that it was NOT okay for her to put her hands on me. Then she told me that it was her prerogative because she is the parent, and that the Bible said it was okay.

(My mom is extremely religious)

She said it was only discipline, but I just can't shake this feeling that it is NOT okay. Putting your hands on someone else - even your child - is not okay. I'm not just a piece of property, I'm human and I have feelings.

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Heather
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Even in the highly abusive culture we live in, your mother hitting, stirking, and grabbing you, threatening you, and yelling in your face isn't lawful, or considered "only discipline" in the eyes of family law.

While getting into a dogma war with her likely won't be helpful, I also do have to say that I'd be pretty curious what parts of the Bible she's using to support her abuse: there are PLENTY of passages (Ephesians, Collassians, etc.) that make clear that that is NOT okay. regardless, we don't live under Biblical law: we live under other law which again, isn't on her side here, it's on yours.

Since it'll be some time before you can lawfully and soundly leave home -- and really, running away only tends to compound problems, and get YOU in trouble when you shouldn't be, I have that t-shirt -- and since it sounds like this isn't an environment where you're going to be able to talk your Mom into counseling, I wonder if you might be open to considering calling into children and family services, Yasmin.

I know that can be a scary thing to think about and do, but having already lived with abuse so prevalenty it seems normal is scary, and living with it for longer is both scary and dangerous. A call into DCFS would likely result in warnings, supervision and mandatory counseling first -- and cover your butt, again, so these threats of detention centers become meaningless -- and if the situation doesn't improv, a replacement home for you.

Alternatively, if you have other relatives who aren't abusive and where you could be placed, that's something family aservices always prefers to do: are there any options there?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Yasmin
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The thing is, that my entire family would be against me calling them. I don't think one family member would back me up, because they were all raised like this. They would just think I'm making a big deal out of nothing. I'm just afraid that it will disrupt my entire home life for the worse. My family is already on the rocks, and I don't want to make it worse. But I know that continuing to have things the way they are isn't conducive to my physical and mental health.

Like I said, I don't think I have any family members I could live with. I live with my mom and grandfather, and all my other family members aren't really in a position to have a teenager in the house. Also, my father isn't around. I think the last time I spoke to him was a few minutes last Christmas, but I haven't seen him in years.

I guess I'm sort of chickening out. I don't know what to do, but that's stupid since I know I have options. I'm just really torn, I guess.

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Yasmin
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God, I hate it here. I hate it! My aunt just got here and she's been here a week and she's worse than my mom. Every morning is like a battle, one I always lose.

This morning it was really bad and I couldn't help just laying down and crying. I just have to get away from here. I can't do this anymore. I have to get away.

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Isanne
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In your situation, I am not sure that it matters if your family would support you or not. If they are the same as your mother, you don't want to have to move in with them anyway. I would call CPS/DCFS. There is a difference between spanking a toddler when he or she is acting up and twisting someone's arm, screaming in their face, and repeatedly slapping them. One is discipline and your case is abuse. The sooner you can call them, the better.

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