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How common is abuse *really*?


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It's alarming to me how many posts have jumped to, "What if there is abuse in the home?" And it leaves me wondering how common is this?  It wasn't on my radar as a kiddo and most of our circle is just heavily invested, interactive, loving parents...  But I have a dear friend who came from a abusive and neglectful home.  Growing up, my dad's cousin was a drug/alcohol abuser and when he was drunk, he was very abusive.  He recovered and I genuinely care for him now, but his family never did recover from that period of time.  

But this leaves me wondering why so many jump to, "But what if...." It's not something I really ever consider and I'm left wondering if that is due to other's personal experiences or if I'm just wildly oblivious?

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I can't speak to how common it is, but I can tell you that a lot of abuse looks like regular parenting. 95% of the stories that I could tell you about my growing up are completely benign, but if you take the other 5% into account a large portion of the 95% was actually playing into it. Because of this when I hear children or spouses say certain things it's very triggering. These things can be completely safe like "She made me finish my dinner" but when it comes to my mom that has a very different meaning. I think abuse victims tend to jump to the word abuse because of this fact.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

It's alarming to me how many posts have jumped to, "What if there is abuse in the home?" And it leaves me wondering how common is this?  It wasn't on my radar as a kiddo and most of our circle is just heavily invested, interactive, loving parents...  But I have a dear friend who came from a abusive and neglectful home.  Growing up, my dad's cousin was a drug/alcohol abuser and when he was drunk, he was very abusive.  He recovered and I genuinely care for him now, but his family never did recover from that period of time.  

But this leaves me wondering why so many jump to, "But what if...." It's not something I really ever consider and I'm left wondering if that is due to other's personal experiences or if I'm just wildly oblivious?

Are you asking about verbal abuse, physical abuse, or both — and how would you define both terms? And what about emotional abuse?

Based on what we saw in the other thread, I think many people set much higher bars than others do, when it comes to defining what qualifies as abusive behavior, so I’m wondering how you define it.

Edited by Catwoman
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I think it is really impossible to know for sure.  Also I think there are many forms of abuse so there is that too.  Physical abuse is a bit easier to pin point or spot.  But emotional abuse is a bit harder to see.  I think a lot of people don't even realize they are in that for a long time.  

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I know a lot of parents who most would describe as strict.  Not a single one of them would be abusive to a child they found breaking a rule.  There might be consequences....but that is not abusive in itself.

 

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2 minutes ago, Catwoman said:

Are you asking about verbal abuse, physical abuse, or both — and how would you define both terms? And what about emotional abuse?

Based on what we saw in the other thread, I think many people set much higher bars than others do, when it comes to defining what qualifies as abusive behavior, so I’m wondering how you define it.

IMO the other thread about the sniping DIL.....that is unkind and disrespectful behavior that deteriorate a marriage.  But I don't really think it is abusive.  

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Just now, Scarlett said:

I know a lot of parents who most would describe as strict.  Not a single one of them would be abusive to a child they found breaking a rule.  There might be consequences....but that is not abusive in itself.

I've also known a lot of parents who use the term strict to cover their abuse.

I am strict and pro spanking, so I am not making an anti spanking point, but getting angry and beating your kids out of anger is abuse, even if it's associated with misbehavior.

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Just now, Slache said:

I've also known a lot of parents who use the term strict to cover their abuse.

I am strict and pro spanking, so I am not making an anti spanking point, but getting angry and beating your kids out of anger is abuse, even if it's associated with misbehavior.

That kind of parent can call it what ever they want but beating your kid in anger IS abusive.  

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Just now, Scarlett said:

That kind of parent can call it what ever they want but beating your kid in anger IS abusive.  

But how do you know the difference? It's not happening in front of you, so just because they call themselves strict does not mean they aren't abusive. This could be abuse hiding in front of our faces. I have no conclusion to this, but it just shows how much we really don't know.

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Just now, Slache said:

But how do you know the difference? It's not happening in front of you, so just because they call themselves strict does not mean they aren't abusive. This could be abuse hiding in front of our faces. I have no conclusion to this, but it just shows how much we really don't know.

Yes, I do agree we don't know what goes on behind closed doors.  But No one I know even spanks their kids anymore, so if they are beating their kids in secret they are really leading double lives.  Makes me sad to think that.  But yes it could be true.

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I think it’s sadly common.  It’s more common in families where substance abuse or generational poverty is an issue. I’d still tell the parents because no matter what a kid is facing at home, sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night makes them much more likely to be sexually exploited or trafficking.  And I mean the real kind, not the stolen from a Walmart parking lot sort of lies prevalent in social media. 

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7 minutes ago, Slache said:

I've also known a lot of parents who use the term strict to cover their abuse.

I am strict and pro spanking, so I am not making an anti spanking point, but getting angry and beating your kids out of anger is abuse, even if it's associated with misbehavior.

Pro spanking? WTH

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I'm not sure the %, but I have (or have had) a number of relatives and friends who have suffered the kinds of abuse that should have been reported to authorities (but weren't reported).  I've also seen some things that I felt were borderline abuse, and counseled the parents in the hope that they would change their behavior.

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Posted (edited)

I think it's simultaneously more and less common than we'd like to think. As in, real abuse happens, monsters look like normal people. IME people mostly look away from those signs, understandably, because they are mostly helpless. However, not every less-than-healthy family dynamic = abuse, I don't assume a rebellious or cranky teen is being abused. 

I also think it's easy to play saviour on the internet, when really these situations are incredibly complex and trying to interfere by encouraging sneaky and secretive behaviour (the teen sneaking out thread) is unlikely to actually be helpful.

Eta - because the post above mine appeared after I posted - I am in no way trying to accuse anyone in a situation like that of ignoring signs. Abusers are manipulative. Sorry for your experience OH_Homeschooler

Edited by LMD
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As a kid, it was not on my radar either. As an adult, I realize that I was a naive kid, thanks to my own very loving upbringing. Not to say that is common per se, but I'm much more aware of the possibility. That is, in large part, due to many people right here on this very board whom have shared their personal heartbreaking stories of emotional abuse.

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It wasn't on my radar much as a child.  Recently a former teacher was posting pictures from years back in a little Christian school I attended. One guy commented,  "That was right around the time my drunken father beat the crap out of me every night."

Never would have guessed. 

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I worked professionally in the area of children in need of care. It happens WAY more often than the average white upper middle class woman thinks, imo. The 1:7 kids statistics sounds about right to me when you aggregate across the population. If you look in households with poverty or substance abuse or mental health issues or where the parents have a history of trauma themselves, it is more common. It is less common where parents are older (not teens themselves), stable financially, mentally well, and able to access supports in their community.

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It was on my radar as a young teen, because a priest in the local Catholic church (which one of my best friends attended) was accused of molesting dozens of children. That case came to light in the early 1980s.

An ex of mine was abused by his stepfather. I was aware of his case in the 1980s also. (His mother sided with her husband and kicked her son out of the house, which is why he was living as an emancipated minor when I met him.)

It's not like any of this is new.

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1 hour ago, LMD said:

Eta - because the post above mine appeared after I posted - I am in no way trying to accuse anyone in a situation like that of ignoring signs. Abusers are manipulative. Sorry for your experience OH_Homeschooler

Thank you. I never understood how a wife/mother wouldn't know either. It's really hard to fathom. I feel bad for a lot of things, but I don't beat myself up for not knowing because I just didn't. 

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As an adult, I’ve discovered that a lot more of my childhood friends were physically or sexually abused than I would have guessed.  And these were church going homeschooling families.  We’ve only now started talking about it as adults and I wish I was shocked—but I’m not.  Nobody ever guessed what was going on in my house and the few adults we did tell never did anything.  

I wish I was surprised, but I know first hand that you can’t tell what’s going on from the outside.

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2 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

As an adult, I’ve discovered that a lot more of my childhood friends were physically or sexually abused than I would have guessed.  And these were church going homeschooling families.  We’ve only now started talking about it as adults and I wish I was shocked—but I’m not.  Nobody ever guessed what was going on in my house and the few adults we did tell never did anything.  

I wish I was surprised, but I know first hand that you can’t tell what’s going on from the outside.

This is key, right here. We shun children for speaking out rather than confront the abuser. We do the same with rape victims and victims of domestic violence. It's easier. Unless this changes it will still be 1 in 7, or worse. I told friends, teachers, neighbors. I think I learned to stop telling by the time I was 7. All it did was ruin relationships and if my mom found out there would be hell to pay for months to come.

When I was 11 I was approached by a guidance counselor because I was showing signs of abuse, so I told her everything. After talking to my mom it was determined I was lying and a few weeks later I was institutionalized for my "lies". In the end I ran away at 15 and it's only by the grace of God I'm not doing the same thing to my kids.

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8 minutes ago, Mrs Tiggywinkle said:

 And these were church going homeschooling families. 

Too many people think this kind of thing makes their families immune (and I understand you no longer feel this way). Many abusers work really hard to look like pillars of their community, become involved in church leadership, and play the role of perfect family (men) specifically so that no one will ever question their motives or behavior. 

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Just now, OH_Homeschooler said:

Too many people think this kind of thing makes their families immune (and I understand you no longer feel this way). Many abusers work really hard to look like pillars of their community, become involved in church leadership, and play the role of perfect family (men) specifically so that no one will ever question their motives or behavior. 

My MIL is like this. Always sat in the front pew, she was church secretary, adopted mother of special needs. She might legitimately be the nicest person I've ever met, so when my SIL (future SIL at the time) started telling me the most insane stories I sided with MIL. MIL would never hurt anyone. All she does is give, give, give. I learned. Boy, did I learn. I apologized to SIL and said "It's ok, no one ever believes me." She was 12 or 13.

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11 minutes ago, OH_Homeschooler said:

Too many people think this kind of thing makes their families immune (and I understand you no longer feel this way). Many abusers work really hard to look like pillars of their community, become involved in church leadership, and play the role of perfect family (men) specifically so that no one will ever question their motives or behavior. 

I agree with you.

I also think that many people underestimate the number of women who abuse their husbands, and no one suspects those women because they put on such a good show of being pillars of their communities, and they volunteer, and they seem so gosh darned nice and they are great at playing their role of perfect family-women... except that they are different people when they are at home alone with their families. And it can be very difficult and embarrassing for a man to admit that he is being abused, and even if he does, he is often not taken seriously. 

I think abuse is far more common across the board than most people realize, whether it’s spousal abuse or child abuse, because even in this day and age, so many people simply don’t tell anyone, or if they do, many of them are not taken seriously.

 

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Very common.  Here are definitions and statistics.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. “Intimate partner” refers to both current and former spouses and dating partners. IPV can vary in how often it happens and how severe it is. It can range from one episode of violence that could have lasting impact to chronic and severe episodes over multiple years. IPV can include any of the following types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.
  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.
  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or to exert control over another person.
  • About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact.
  • Over 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html

 

Child Abuse and Neglect

There are four common types of abuse and neglect:

  • Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury. Examples include hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child.
  • Sexual abuse involves pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities. Please see CDC’s Preventing Child Sexual Abuse webpage for more information.
  • Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name-calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.
  •  

Child abuse and neglect are common. At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate. In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/fastfact.html

Child sexual abuse refers to the involvement of a child (person less than 18 years old) in sexual activity that violates the laws or social taboos of society and that he/she:

  • does not fully comprehend
  • does not consent to or is unable to give informed consent to, or
  • is not developmentally prepared for and cannot give consent to
  • About 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse at some point in childhood.
  • 91% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childsexualabuse/fastfact.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fviolenceprevention%2Fchildabuseandneglect%2Fchildsexualabuse.html

Elder Abuse

Common types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse is when an elder experiences illness, pain, injury, functional impairment, distress, or death as a result of the intentional use of physical force and includes acts such as hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, and burning.
  • Sexual abuse involves forced or unwanted sexual interaction of any kind with an older adult. This may include unwanted sexual contact or penetration or non-contact acts such as sexual harassment.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse refers to verbal or nonverbal behaviors that inflict anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress on an older adult. Examples include humiliation or disrespect, verbal and non-verbal threats, harassment, and geographic or interpersonal isolation.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.
  • Financial Abuse is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older adult.

Elder abuse is common. Abuse, including neglect and exploitation, is experienced by about 1 in 10 people aged 60 and older who live at home. From 2002 to 2016, more than 643,000 older adults were treated in the emergency department for nonfatal assaults and over 19,000 homicides occurred.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/fastfact.html

 

 

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@TechWife — I’m so glad you mentioned elder abuse. I hadn’t been thinking of it because I was associating this thread with the thread about the sniping DIL, but that is such an important topic to add to the discussion. Thank you!

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2 hours ago, LMD said:

I think it's simultaneously more and less common than we'd like to think. As in, real abuse happens, monsters look like normal people. IME people mostly look away from those signs, understandably, because they are mostly helpless. However, not every less-than-healthy family dynamic = abuse, I don't assume a rebellious or cranky teen is being abused. 

I also think it's easy to play saviour on the internet, when really these situations are incredibly complex and trying to interfere by encouraging sneaky and secretive behaviour (the teen sneaking out thread) is unlikely to actually be helpful.

Eta - because the post above mine appeared after I posted - I am in no way trying to accuse anyone in a situation like that of ignoring signs. Abusers are manipulative. Sorry for your experience OH_Homeschooler

- and they're complex.  I've also found - short of physical abuse with bruises and broken bones, people can't comprehend it, it is so beyond their experience they will explain it away and not comprehend what those signs mean.

even those who came from dysfunctional backgrounds - can dismiss what someone else is saying about their worse experience.

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2 hours ago, Slache said:

But how do you know the difference? It's not happening in front of you, so just because they call themselves strict does not mean they aren't abusive. This could be abuse hiding in front of our faces. I have no conclusion to this, but it just shows how much we really don't know.

Thankfully, we aren't alone trying to figure it out. At some point we have to recognize there are experts and trust them to do their jobs. Developing relationships with people so that you are a trusted person and being available to them is a first line of defense for them. Be willing to educate yourself about the dynamics so that you can offer appropriate help and so that you can have some appropriate resources on hand for referral. Be willing to accompany someone to report. Try to talk with adults you think may be in an abusive situation - but if you do so, educate yourself beforehand - don't go into it telling them what they should do, or that they shouldn't let anyone treat them that way. It isn't helpful. There are good ways and bad ways and everything in between when it comes to helping people in abusive relationships.

If you think someone's life is in immediate danger, report.

Report on behalf of minors. Always.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, TechWife said:

Very common.  Here are definitions and statistics.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. “Intimate partner” refers to both current and former spouses and dating partners. IPV can vary in how often it happens and how severe it is. It can range from one episode of violence that could have lasting impact to chronic and severe episodes over multiple years. IPV can include any of the following types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.
  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.
  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or to exert control over another person.
  • About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact.
  • Over 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html

 

Child Abuse and Neglect

There are four common types of abuse and neglect:

  • Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury. Examples include hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child.
  • Sexual abuse involves pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities. Please see CDC’s Preventing Child Sexual Abuse webpage for more information.
  • Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name-calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.
  •  

Child abuse and neglect are common. At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate. In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/fastfact.html

Child sexual abuse refers to the involvement of a child (person less than 18 years old) in sexual activity that violates the laws or social taboos of society and that he/she:

  • does not fully comprehend
  • does not consent to or is unable to give informed consent to, or
  • is not developmentally prepared for and cannot give consent to
  • About 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse at some point in childhood.
  • 91% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childsexualabuse/fastfact.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fviolenceprevention%2Fchildabuseandneglect%2Fchildsexualabuse.html

Elder Abuse

Common types of elder abuse include:

  • Physical abuse is when an elder experiences illness, pain, injury, functional impairment, distress, or death as a result of the intentional use of physical force and includes acts such as hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, and burning.
  • Sexual abuse involves forced or unwanted sexual interaction of any kind with an older adult. This may include unwanted sexual contact or penetration or non-contact acts such as sexual harassment.
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse refers to verbal or nonverbal behaviors that inflict anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress on an older adult. Examples include humiliation or disrespect, verbal and non-verbal threats, harassment, and geographic or interpersonal isolation.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet an older adult’s basic needs. These needs include food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care.
  • Financial Abuse is the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older adult.

Elder abuse is common. Abuse, including neglect and exploitation, is experienced by about 1 in 10 people aged 60 and older who live at home. From 2002 to 2016, more than 643,000 older adults were treated in the emergency department for nonfatal assaults and over 19,000 homicides occurred.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/fastfact.html

 

 

Thank you for this.  Can I just add narcissistic abuse?  (it can be a child, a partner, or other.) - and just a warning, this isn't well covered in school, and there are too many therapists that don't recognize it, and can also dismiss (gaslight) the victim as it being in their head.  (Dr. Ramani, and Dr. Les Carter have both spoken how little they learned about narcissism and it's victims in school.)

Narcissistic Abuse: 16 Subtle Signs a Narcissist is Abusing You (lovepanky.com)

eta: about narcissist.  they are insecure. always, if they had confidence in themselves, they wouldn't need to control everyone around them. and they wouldn't be undermining/tearing down those closest to them.  (the stepmother in tangled is an example of this.)

Edited by gardenmom5
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2 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

- and they're complex.  I've also found - short of physical abuse with bruises and broken bones, people can't comprehend it, it is so beyond their experience they will explain it away and not comprehend what those signs mean.

even those who came from dysfunctional backgrounds - can dismiss what someone else is saying about their worse experience.

I’ve spent years pondering this.  We looked like the absolute perfect large homeschool family. I personally think people just didn’t want to believe the physical and emotional abuse going on.  And we did tell.  A piano teacher. A youth minister.  Another youth minister’s wife.

nobody wanted to believe that it could be happening in our perfect home.  Except it was.

Fortunately—the abuse was a product of unrelenting poverty and stress, and as money and time improved it gradually ended.  But I come back to how many people knew, as I’ve learned as an adult that many kind of guessed, and did nothing. Not step In and encourage my mom to send us to school, to move off an isolated homestead, to reduce the stressors that a fundamentalist church and homeschool world and the Pearls and Cheryl Lindsey and all those people had convinced my parents were necessary.  Nobody called CPS.  Nobody ever intervened.  I know that the 1990s were a different time, but still. It was the 1990s, not the 1890s.

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19 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

- and they're complex.  I've also found - short of physical abuse with bruises and broken bones, people can't comprehend it, it is so beyond their experience they will explain it away and not comprehend what those signs mean.

even those who came from dysfunctional backgrounds - can dismiss what someone else is saying about their worse experience.

Yes. This. 

It's VERY common. Most people minimize and deny the evidence of abuse. 

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My neighbors go through periods of absolutely berating the children. I can't tell if there's every physical abuse (if there was, I'd call), but the verbal abuse has been disturbing to me at times. I remember once when the little one was maybe 3 years old and she was hysterical and the mother spent an hour screaming at her to stop crying.

I'm sure they don't think it's abuse. The kids probably don't think of it as abuse. Friends and family who see it probably don't think of it as abuse.

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I wasn't even thinking about abuse by people outside of the household.  Actually forgot that I was a victim of that kind of abuse, as were at least some of my siblings.

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7 minutes ago, Farrar said:

My neighbors go through periods of absolutely berating the children. I can't tell if there's every physical abuse (if there was, I'd call), but the verbal abuse has been disturbing to me at times. I remember once when the little one was maybe 3 years old and she was hysterical and the mother spent an hour screaming at her to stop crying.

I'm sure they don't think it's abuse. The kids probably don't think of it as abuse. Friends and family who see it probably don't think of it as abuse.

Kids who are abused - think it's normal.  To them - it *is* normal.  It is how they live.  
I remember seeing kids from nice families - being in their homes, and wondering why mine couldn't be like that, but there were still a lot of things I was an ADULT before learning, it *wasn't* normal, and no, most families *didn't* do that.

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27 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Thank you for this.  Can I just add narcissistic abuse?  (it can be a child, a partner, or other.) - and just a warning, this isn't well covered in school, and there are too many therapists that don't recognize it, and can also dismiss (gaslight) the victim as it being in their head.  (Dr. Ramani, and Dr. Les Carter have both spoken how little they learned about narcissism and it's victims in school.)

Narcissistic Abuse: 16 Subtle Signs a Narcissist is Abusing You (lovepanky.com)

eta: about narcissist.  they are insecure. always, if they had confidence in themselves, they wouldn't need to control everyone around them. and they wouldn't be undermining/tearing down those closest to them.  (the stepmother in tangled is an example of this.)

I would put this under emotional abuse. No normal person regularly, intentionally abuses their children.

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48 minutes ago, Slache said:

I would put this under emotional abuse. No normal person regularly, intentionally abuses their children.

narcissists often don't realize how abnormal they are.  My brother would engage in manipulation in front of our mother's dr - he thought it was fine.  (and sucked a nurse into helping him.  If I'd known . . . I would have reported her to her supervisor as she was an idiot who fell for the 'charm' of the narcissist.)

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2 hours ago, Slache said:

This is key, right here. We shun children for speaking out rather than confront the abuser. We do the same with rape victims and victims of domestic violence. It's easier. Unless this changes it will still be 1 in 7, or worse. I told friends, teachers, neighbors. I think I learned to stop telling by the time I was 7. All it did was ruin relationships and if my mom found out there would be hell to pay for months to come.

When I was 11 I was approached by a guidance counselor because I was showing signs of abuse, so I told her everything. After talking to my mom it was determined I was lying and a few weeks later I was institutionalized for my "lies". In the end I ran away at 15 and it's only by the grace of God I'm not doing the same thing to my kids.

I'm so sorry you were not believed. I don't know if my experience was typical but the school counselor did the absolute right thing and called the police when she heard about the abuse. And while I was in complete shock and had no clue what the next steps should have been, the social worker that came to the police station put a no-contact order on my ex immediately. My kids never saw their father again after he dropped them off at school that morning.

The authorities came in believing my daughter from the start, and I hope that's a sign of progress in general.

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The thing about narcissistic abuse is that it can be in some instances so darn nearly invisible to most everyone except the one being abused. Even the abused don’t see it always. This is what makes it so dangerous and is why there needs to be more awareness. 

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I reported dd's therapist for emotionally abusing her, but what she was doing was considered best practice so it was okay. In the end, it doesn't really matter. Dd decided not to listen to the woman and she's very good at appearing to be absorbed when she's not.

Truth is a nebulous concept. If qualified people tell the same lie, it becomes a legal truth.

Abuse is often about patterns. There's lots of non-abusive things you can do to abuse people.

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5 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

The thing about narcissistic abuse is that it can be in some instances so darn nearly invisible to most everyone except the one being abused. Even the abused don’t see it always. This is what makes it so dangerous and is why there needs to be more awareness. 

Also, the victim often becomes worse and worse, giving the narcissist the opportunity to look like a hero. The parent with the difficult kid or the husband with the mentally unstable wife. Poor them, lets give them their space. 

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Parents who present as loving and invested, OP, can also be abusing their children. 

Part of why I never revealed it till I was in my late 40's was because I knew no-one would believe me. 

"What do you mean, you're staying late at school because you're scared that this will be the afternoon your parent comes at you with the meat mallet instead of just their hands? Your parent is wonderful!"

So instead I drank, cut, slept around, overdosed - and I was the problem. "How could you do that to your parents?"

Abuse is common, and having parents who present as loving and invested is no guarantee that a home is abuse-free. All it is likely to show is that material neglect is not a problem - the child is not going hungry or dirty. 

It's a myth that only clearly 'bad' families abuse their kids. 

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2 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Abuse is common, and having parents who present as loving and invested is no guarantee that a home is abuse-free. All it is likely to show is that material neglect is not a problem - the child is not going hungry or dirty. 

Oh, but just because there is food in the home doesn't mean the child is allowed to eat.

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1 minute ago, Slache said:

Oh, but just because there is food in the home doesn't mean the child is allowed to eat.

This is true. 

Every now and then, I remember why I was such a permissive parent to my kids - I couldn't bear to replicate, even slightly, the restrictions my sibs and I dealt with. 

 

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