Was this abuse? How do I reconcile this treatment?
After my parents divorced, my older brother (4th grade) and I (1st grade) went with our mom and our new step-dad to live in Osborn, MO.
I had just been diagnosed with ADHD and was on a regimen of Ritalin . Even now, I remember being picked on for my various quirks at home- biting my nails, picking my nose, fidgeting, drawing wild conclusions, and asking lots of questions. My step-dad was the most enthusiastic about this type of entertainment, and my Mom and Brother didn’t do much to defend me. In fact, they often just laughed along with him. I tried to laugh along most of the time, but in hindsight it was just a defensive mechanism.
In my new school, I became the class-clown immediately- resulting in lots of principal visits and parent-teacher conferences. I wasn’t bad, I just had a hard time paying attention in class- maybe because it was me who wanted the attention. I remember feeling misunderstood and confused a lot, and wondering why everyone was so serious all the time.
My punishments were often severe- I’d be grounded to my room (without TV, friends, or even books sometimes) for up to three months at a time- sometimes accompanied by an aggressive spanking. When they realized I was finding other ways of entertaining myself (drawing, radio), they started grounding me to a chair down the hall from the living room. It always made me so sad to hear everyone having a good time and laughing at the TV- I never really felt like part of the family like my brother (who was the angel child).
At home, my brother and I had a daily list of numerous chores. I was always getting distracted and procrastinating. In about third grade, my step-dad got so mad he hit me. When my mom found out, she yelled at him but it didn’t stop him from doing two more times.
I don’t think my mother ever meant to screw me up- I think she thought it was character building, and maybe it was (after all, I like who I am now). I don’t deny my step-dad was abusive and irrational, but was my Mom to blame for letting things be that way? Since it comes up in my thoughts still, should I talk to her about it?
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