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Bennu

Is my son one too?

23 posts in this topic

He's in his late teens. He does clean out the coffee pot, but he always spills the coffee grounds. I have to clean the floor every morning for all the grounds spilled around the trash. I clean the floor anyway, but is that the lack of consideration of an abuser?

He washes one load out of about 4 dishes, but it's a lot smaller than the ones I do. He says that he doesn't use as many dishes as I do. He puts away dishes, but only one load, and he puts a lot of them in the wrong places. That's the same thing my husband did until I just put them away myself. I would have to re organize the ones he put away to be able to put the other ones away anyway. It was easier to but them away in the right place the first time. Also, we used to have a lot of kitchen cupboards and I would have to search for long times when I was cooking to find the dishes I needed. It used to drive me crazy. Is my son the same?

That's what I wake up to every morning as I make the coffee, rearrange the dishes to put the nights load away and then wipe the floor of his spilled coffee grounds. What a way to start my day. I've talked to him about it 3 times now and he's still putting them in the wrong places. He says that it's because he's in a hurry, he was tired, he forgot where they go. Organization matters to me and not to him.

It's a balance of the aggravation of the dishes being in the wrong places and the aggravation of feeling like you are being taken advantage of since you are the only one doing the dishes.

He has barely cleaned the apartment. We talked about it and he said he would do better. Then he cleaned the bathroom. There were cleaning rags in the sink because he didn't know what to do with them. I had just cleaned the bathroom the day before so it couldn't have been very dirty, but I praised him anyway. Positive feedback is supposed to work. He hasn't done it since. He's on vacation right now and you think he could do some cleaning. Did he leave the rags in the sink to make a big show of helping when he had hardly done anything? That's familiar behavior.

Is it just because his cleanliness level is lower than mine? Is it because he is depressed? Is it because he worked hard at school and needs a break? I need him to help more. I need to be spending more time looking for work. I feel taken advantage of. I am tired of it. I think I just want to live by myself and not to have to clean up after others anymore. It feels like the only way to have people around is to be taken advantage of them. I know that isn't the case with everyone, but it is the case with my family. My daughter only contacts me when she needs something. A lot of that is normal teenage/young adult behavior. How can I tell how much is normal and how much is the road to abuse? Am I just being petty?

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Bennu,

I am sorry that you are dealing with this. I don't feel qualified to offer sage advice, however, I can offer that you are wounded. We all are wounded from being the kind ones for years, even decades and not having that generosity of spirit returned. Some actions trigger those awful feelings of being taken advantage of and we are sensative to it, very sensative. We have to be as we are trying to not let the abuse happen again to us. I am at my parent's house right now and I am in super high alert to their actions, words, way they are treating me. I am trying not to read into everything that they do, but it's so difficult. I don't want to be taken advantage of again, I am trying to figure out how I let things get so bad with my h while not seeing it/minimalizing and I am compensating by over zealous "alertness." Honestly, I dont trust my perception right now because my head has been so messed with and its so difficult to see everything without this filter of abuse. Be gentle on yourself right now, show yourself unconditional love and pick your battles right now to conserve your energy. It sounds like you are exhausted-from giving and giving and never refilling your soul. Be gentle as you heal, be gentle with those around you who are healing. Take it for what it's worth, but wait and see how things go with your son, talk to him in a respectful manner and tell him why you are sensative to the issue and see how he responds. His response will tell you a lot. (((((Hugs))))

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I am so hurt. It is so painful to think of what he did to me and how I let it happen.

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Has he lived with your H too until recently?

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My heart goes out to you, Bennu and I wish that I could give you a hug.

I go through phases of anger, of extreme hurt, and I wonder what I did to allow this, as well. The thing is that we tried to be kind and understanding and to be there when times got rough because that's who we genuinely are as people-that's what love is and we loved well. What was returned to us was incomprehensible. There is nothing inherently wrong with trusting those who you love, those who are closest to us. We need to be able to trust those who are closest to us for our own survival. I try to understand why he did it to me, how he could do it to me and then I get stuck in a black hole. A friend asked me what my future self would say to my current self (as though I am looking back-already out and regaining my confidence, etc, A couple of the things I came up with are: pick myself up off the floor one step at a time and to stop being who others think I am and start being/acting like who I know I am and who I can be. Focus your attention on the future, not the past. I know it's hard. I know. Start to identify with the strong person who got you out of this and be that person-not the one our stupid abusers repeatedly told us we were. I've been though a lot in my life and living with abuse and breaking the cycle and getting out is one of the most difficult things I have even done. Go easy on yourself. I see your strength and I'm here to tell you that it's going to get better.

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Has he lived with your H too until recently?

Off and on.

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My kids are 9 and 10. We still live with the abuser and in the past 2 weeks, I was finally able to identify and label what is going on for a long time. I knew I didn't like his anger issues but the rest was all a fog that I simply could not explain and so I have told Noone until now. Since I started on this forum, I've been introduced to gaslighting techniques, the Fog, denial and minimalizing and blame shifting. I knew something was wrong. I have not been happy for years and I could not identify or put into words what I was actually feeling. I hated the way he parented, but I was placing myself and my needs so low that I didn't see what he was doing to me and I am now linking a lot of not great behaviors/things that never made sense in my kids to the abuse and I now see that when I tune out and ignore my h's bad behavior, I send a message to my kids that "it's ok" to treat us that way because I say nothing. Trust me, that's about to change when I get home. I'm mad as hell now that eyes are opening!

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Oh, sorry!!! On my phone, it looked like the question was to me from Jomarch. My apologies-it didn't really make sense at the time, but I thought I should have some response!!!! UGH!

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Lol no problem. I just think maybe this is the toll it has taken on him too.

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Oh, sorry!!! On my phone, it looked like the question was to me from Jomarch. My apologies-it didn't really make sense at the time, but I thought I should have some response!!!! UGH!

No worries. We share problems, we can share a thread. Somehow it feels better to have company, though I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

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Thank you!!

I, too wish no one else would go through this - and we are working toward thay goal by getting ourselves and our kids out of it so that we save them and whomever they get involved with. I know its hard, Bennu. I know it sucks, but we are doing the right thing and our future selves will thank us one day for having the strength, courage and determination to get through it!

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It hurts to see traits of your husband in your child. I have to say this and it might sound cruel but you need to hear a sounding board. Your husband was flat out cruel. Your child might have some traits he learned through him but it does not necessarily make him one. You can leave your husband but I do not recommend leaving your child emotionally or mentally. They can be taught while they are impressionable. A mom that can show them a stable balance of care and good mental clarity can be enough to NOT to develop the deep wound that Narcs have. Most of it is a deep nature and something is off to begin with. So continue to give a huge effort to your child. It is hard that emotional separation still has to happen. You want to separate your son on a loving and note not a puffed up angry teenager note. When you deal with it and love your kid through the hard times then chances are they might still be hard people but have good family values because mom held it together. So this is where being a good person does matter.

I had to swallow a bunch of garbage to not attack my son and build a relationship with him. See your child as a whole independent individual. They get a touch more care than the full grown adult that knows better. Instead of expecing him to just pull his weight train him to handle more. Don't just tell him to do it but stand near him and make it fun having good talks. You need to teach love and empathy. Your the onlyone in the family that has it. So if you emotionally pull away and be done with it. He will grow up with no one seeing him and cutting through his emotional pain and baggage. Some moms have more on their plate than others.

You can do this!!!

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Bennu I can fully relate and sympathise with you. I have a very similar situation and often think that both my son and daughter exhibit behaviours that are 100% the same as their father's. I worry about their futures because unless they start identifying and changing these parts of their behaviour, they will end up being abusers to their partners and history will repeat itself.

It all has to do with respect and this is what they appear to lack thanks to their upbringing.

We can only hope that our behaviours, actions and modelling can help them identify and change their unacceptable behaviours. It's up to us to continually teach them because no-one else is going to do it.

Jannaku x

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I had some discussions with my son and he has been better. He has been helping more with tasks, though not really enough yet. He apologized for something harsh that he did which hurt my feelings and I admitted to having pushed his personal privacy boundaries which lead to his behavior. We are working out how to get along in healthy ways.

My daughter is another story. She is much further along in the transformation to abuser. I'm slowly trying to establish boundaries to stop her from abusing me. It will be a long process. I will work hard because I know that she needs me even more than I need her.

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Bennu,

I don't have kids so my perspective may not be as valid but I am not sure your son's behavior is "typical" teenage behavior or the beginning of showing abusive behavior. All I can say is that teens are lazy... not all, but many. They rather do their own thing. Picking up or helping with household tasks are not really on their priority list.

In the reverse-psychology world I would instead of telling him that he is doing stuff wrong and that he needs to do better and do more around the house... I may ask him questions instead. You know, we don't always see the same things. A simple coffee sump spilled in the kitchen at my office may tick some people off, while others go by it unnoticed. It has nothing to do with being abusive or irresponsible - it is just how we view our world and what we take pride in and how we want things to look around us.

You can try to ask your son if spilled coffee sump bothers him at all. Or how much would bother him or something like that. And perhaps - NOT clean up after him to see how long it took for him to SEE it. I had an old ex years ago - we lived together and after dinner he would clean off the table and put his dishes in the sink or dishwasher - but he would never pick up his glass - it was as it was invisible to him. So after getting sick of always picking it up for him or pointing it out here and there - I stopped. After there were about 5 glasses on the table he got the point. I just had to fight my urge to either say anything or take matters into my own hands. Sometimes we can make our points way stronger by doing nothing...

Maybe you should also put the dishes wherever for a while LOL!! ;) See what he says when he can't find anything - or help label shelves to help him out. Teenagers sometimes don't pay attention to that stuff. They can go into the kitchen and even though the glasses have been on the same shelf their entire life they will still go through multiple before they find it... Ridiculous I know, but it is exhausting to be a teenager in today's world you know ;) LOL Can't remember it all...

Cleaning the bathroom and leaving the rag out.. hummm... I see it as the same thing. Lazy or it doesn't bother him... But I am unable to label it as abusive at this point. It doesn't mean he isn't, I just don't know at this point. When we interact with people after getting out of an abusive relationship we have a tendency to see red flags where there are none or react out of proportion when someone say or do something that reminds us of those days. This is to no fault of our own so don't blame yourself for having these thoughts or way of thinking about your son. You could be right - but I hope you are not.

Hugs!

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And perhaps - NOT clean up after him to see how long it took for him to SEE it.

Ha ha. It is clear you haven't had kids.

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Yeah it is a mixed bag to teach your kids a good heart. While it looks like we are dealing with things. We learn eventually our original abuser did know what they were doing. It was the shock to find out they did not care. Our kids we try to teach them to care through things. What we learn is that no matter what they still have a nature either we connect with it and help or we don't. To be fair you will not be taken avantage of or abused by your husband or your kids. You can express that and move to a direction in a loving way. It hurts and nothing can hurt us worse than our kids.

My biggest challenge was to teach my son who I was so his dad could not use him to gaslight me his whole life. I guess I had to teach my children to have a heart for me. Unless something is wrong unconditional love is usually present in children naturally. So just be a good mom and fair and teach them to care for themselves. The gravy train does end with responsible adults. You love them it would be nice they responded in a way that showed that respect and love back. It is how good things GROW! We will put it this way even if you really screw up there will still be something that comes out and takes over a nature that stands tall and claims themselves and the beauty around them. I can get around my child being mad at me once and a while. I am sure I have my quirks shoot I have anxiety.

Your doing good because your son expressed himself. This makes you a better parent because he shared his heart. You can honour that spirit in front of your daughter and encourage her to be open with you too! Sometimes we feel like failures and our kids just want to be loved. We want to know we help make them people that are okay with life and not screwed up. They do not always have the skills to tell us how we are doing till they get older.

Well you can teach a child to do something out of love or you can teach them through a reward. I think the system you use should match your beliefs and faith. I believe that work will teach them how to work for a salary or wage. We just need to teach them to live within that and to add to themselves. Try many different avenues with a consistent message even use grace on sick days. When they are sick do things they hate and when your sick teach them to do things you hate and celebrate them when they do. It is teaching your kids how to love you back within the few rewards you have advisable.

The goal is that your children see dad does that to piss you off and not join in because they get emotional reward back to hurt you. My son sees I am not picking up any fights to hurt him and I always ask what he thinks and feels. When my son is a adult I will have to have a relationship with my child that is based off not being told what to do or approval. I want to be involved in his life without overstepping my bounds. So I have to respect boundaries. At the same time some people love emotional distance and the freedom that gives them to be who they want and hide what they do. so your emotionally close to your kids without control. It's a hard balance to maintain and teach. ESPECIALLY with an abusive man/woman. They always try to make a big deal out of everything.

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I don't know the whole story obviously and I understand how hurt you've been, but I would really caution you against comparing your children to your abuser at all. Especially with your son still living with you, the power dynamic is very different. Your son legally has to be there in addition to just being a teenager with hormones, and him having conflicts with you over cleanliness standards is very different than a partner who chooses to be there intentionally taking advantage of you. You're the one in power over him, for obvious and good reason as he's the child, but that means it's normal for him to push back at your rules. Doesn't mean you shouldn't enforce those rules, but I think comparing him to your abuser at all is going to be very detrimental. And if he picks up on this, he's going to feel very invalidated and resentful. I know it's hard not to compare when you've had such bad experiences, but children are a very different dynamic since they have much less say in anything. Family counseling might be a good idea if you can, to help you and them understand the other. You also have to remember that they experienced the abuse like you did, even if it was second hand. That's traumatic for them like it was for you, and complicates their relationship with you. That's not your fault at all but may explain the tension with you and them. I don't mean to be harsh or blame you at all. I just think it'd be much healthier not to put an abuser label on them or compare them to your ex partner since the relationship dynamics are so different. Boundaries are absolutely fine, but labeling and comparing them risks not seeing the whole picture which will make the conflict worse. Remember they are people with hurts just like you from this horrible experience and it's only by communicating and working together that your relationship with them will improve, which it sounds like you're trying your best to do.

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Ha ha. It is clear you haven't had kids.

Heck.. go nuts on him.. "spill" the whole thing of coffee sump on the floor ;)

And just because I haven't had kids doesn't mean I haven't been around them enough to know how they function. Teaching dance for years, younger siblings, etc... They are LAZY! But yes.. you are right.. I don't have kids on my own :(

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Heck.. go nuts on him.. "spill" the whole thing of coffee sump on the floor ;)

And just because I haven't had kids doesn't mean I haven't been around them enough to know how they function. Teaching dance for years, younger siblings, etc... They are LAZY! But yes.. you are right.. I don't have kids on my own :(

I meant that if I let it get messy until he cleaned it would only get very messy. I've done it. I had a depressed period where I did very little so I really know what happens.

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I agree with LiliRose (and I do have a child). In a description I only see a normal lazy teenager (or an average child from 0-20 y), I don't see abuse.

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I agree with LiliRose (and I do have a child). In a description I only see a normal lazy teenager (or an average child from 0-20 y), I don't see abuse.

Thanks diamonds. We talked. Things are OK. I was freaking out. I lived in a shared house in college and some people just have lower levels of cleanliness than others. In our family, I have the highest cleaning standards. I was really sick and depressed for awhile, and everyone was happy with leaving every dish dirty all over the house and only washing them as they needed them. I was in bed. My husband would yell at me for the place being dirty. He would yell at me because the kids weren't helping. How could he not see why they would think that I was the personal servant of the household? Children learn by example. My son would sometimes bring me something in bed. The others only complained that I wasn't serving them. This recent experience brought back feelings from that era. I felt to terrible and was treated so badly.

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I understand, Bennu, my ex was very similar, I felt so exploited. And his son was horrible to me too, not only lazy, but really disrespectful and nasty and mean, he was allowed from his father to even yell at me (and he was only 9-11y then) and I wasn't allowed to say anything. My daughter was just being lazy sometimes, but she was never disrespectful when I got angry because of that.

Since we left, my daughter has become so much more helpful, all by herself, she really wants to help me at everything. Of course there are still days when she forgets to clean after herself, she leaves dirty socks on the floor and similar, but she's just 10y and anything else wouldn't be normal. ;)

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