Don’t Call it Abuse… Unless it Is.

I read this post on Facebook today:

My parents were apparently abusive to me when I was a kid. They made me do household jobs, go to school. gave me a curfew and smacked my backside when I did wrong. They put food on the table and we were expected to eat it- They put clothes on our backs and we were expected to wear them . They suggested to get a job and work for the things that I wanted. They insisted that I do my best at school, at my job, and to take pride in my work. I grew up with morals, a good work ethic, and respect for the law & my elders. I AM GRATEFUL EVERY DAY!!

It offends me. This status is harmful to all those who actually WERE abused.

I had abusive parents. They didn’t *just* smack my backside when I did wrong, they beat me with a leather strap til I had bruises. My step-dad sexually assaulted us girls and threatened us if we told. My parents were emotionally distant, they warped their relationship with us by making us more than we should have been. We became the responsible party in the relationship… my sister, Lily, became the “wife” in the relationship to our step-dad after our parents separated and I became a kind of surrogate “mom” to Thorn.

hitting is not discipline

Sure, this taught us to take responsibility, work ethics and respect for others… but our respect was born of fear and was not true respect. To this day I struggle with a fear of authority figures. I do not feel on an equal page with many who are older than me or in positions of authority because I was not taught to respect them – I was taught to fear them. If I don’t comply with their wishes and demands, they have power over me to harm me.

That’s what is taught in an abusive relationship. Fear. Fear is not respect, it does not become respect. Fear says everyone else has power except you.

respect based on fear

As a parent, my children are taught to eat the food I prepare, are well clothed, do their chores and schoolwork. They are taught responsibility and to respect others. They respect those who deserve it and they are encouraged to trust their instincts regarding those they shouldn’t trust. When they disobey me or disrespect others, they are disciplined, but they are never hit. They have a good work ethic, even being entrepreneurs at a young age, and excellent moral standards. You don’t have to hit kids to teach them.

It is wrong to call your parents abusive, even in jest, sarcasm or to make a point if they weren’t. Appreciate them for all they taught you. Teach your children. But don’t diminish abuse this way.

Respect is

Abuse is wrong. It’s evil. It is harmful and causes long term damage to the functioning ability of those it touches.

If you have parents who taught you well and taught you properly, who love you and you have never doubted it, who never harmed you while raising you to be the fabulous person you are — Thank them. Don’t accuse them of abuse by somebody else’s false guidelines.

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