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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you ever look back on friends or acquaintances you had in childhood, and, as an adult now, can recognize signs of abuse in some of those friends?

Asked by Dutchess_III (28292 points ) September 2nd, 2014

Two little girls lived across the street from us when I was in Florida. I was about 5 – 7 years old. Looking back on some of my experiences with those girls, I’m pretty sure they were sexually abused.

When I was a young teenager I had a horse. It was boarded at some stables outside of town. My best friend also had a horse who they boarded at the same stables. There was a guy who would hang around out there. He didn’t have a horse, but he was almost always there.
Looking back on some of the things he said and did, and to the fact that he was always at the stables instead of home, I’m fairly certain he was horribly, physically abused by his father.

I just didn’t recognize any of it then.

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10 Answers

jca's avatar

When I was about 8 or 9 (4th grade), I had a friend Patty who lived with her brother and father. I think the mother died, if I remember correctly. The brother was maybe a year or two older. The father was an old nasty drunk who was just miserable to look at and acted miserable. Half the time, they weren’t allowed out. I don’t know if the father molested her but if I were to guess, he was physically abusive. It seemed like a tough, sad life for the two kids.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t recall any friends that showed signs of abuse. Lot’s of neglect, but not actual abuse. Although that isn’t much better.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Yes, I had a classmate and neighbor who was abused my her mother.

The mother was a severely OCD housekeeper. Everything around her had to be spotless and immaculate. She cleaned nonstop, and she cleaned things that weren’t dirty or messy. It wasn’t unusual to pass by her house and see her outside, scrubbing the entire driveway on her hands and knees.

Children are messy, loud, and disorganized, so my friend and her 2 younger siblings weren’t a good fit for this woman’s mental illness. My friend was given full responsibility for the younger ones’ care, which meant keeping them out of the house and yard at all times. She had no time or opportunity to do homework, so she struggled at school. She was also exhausted from countless hours of being a banished “nanny” for her siblings.

This happened during the early-1960s. Nobody understood OCD, and there was none of today’s psychopharmacology to treat the condition.

The husband and father did try to make things better. First, he built a finished basement where the kids could stay and be away from their mother. She quickly absorbed the area into her OCD zone and banned the children from entering. Then, the father constructed a room off the other side of the attached garage, separated and away from the house, as a safe place for the kids. That room, too, became off-limits.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul sounder like a thriller. I wonder how damaged those kids are today?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul How awful. And…we just didn’t see that back in those days.

The two girls I referred to in the details…well, they were my age, about 6, and they were my first introduction to sex. One time they pulled me inside and had something to show me, but I had to promise not to tell. Well, behind the living room curtains there was a naked Barbie on her back, with a naked Ken on top. They said “That’s where babies come from.”
I was all, “WTF??!” And ran home to ask my Mother. In hindsight I’m surprised she handled it like she did. She very calmly told me the details. I was thoroughly grossed out.
That one incident alone probably wouldn’t mean anything, by itself, but there was another time they told me to come in to the bathroom. They opened the toilet lid and there was a foam in the water, like you get when a man pees hard, but doesn’t flush. The girls told me that’s what came out of a man when they have sex.
I still think it was just pee foam, but in hindsight…that was an awful lot of knowledge for those girls to have.
They were also very nervous children and they bit their nails.

KNOWITALL's avatar

YEs & beat myself up sometimes for not speaking up back then. Mostly single mom’s trying yet failing their kids.

Mimishu1995's avatar

When I was 8 I joined a group of friends. They were very friendly to me, always trusting me with anything they needed. When they needed help they always came to me. Whenever they went to somewhere they let me tag along with them. Now I realized that they never liked me. They only let me go with them because they wanted me to look after their belongings, and the reason why they “trusted” me was just because they wanted a “scapegoat” or just didn’t bother to do something.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s not abuse, @Mimishu1995. That’s just “Shit happens.” I was used too in that way too, when I was young. Let myself be played for a fool.

@KNOWITALL “Back then” was the early 60’s. We had NO CLUE.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@DUtchess I had a single mom, too, it just about broke her. I’m lucky that she’s so intelligent, not everyone is.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What just about broke her heart @KNOWITALL?

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