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askmypoop's avatar

What is verbal abuse and is this an example?

Asked by askmypoop (40points) February 27th, 2011 from iPhone

My dad was yelling at me just 15 minutes ago about calling my friends dad to tell him about something. When I told him I called him but didn’t get an answer, my dad said he’s gonna call because he didn’t believe me. When he was yelling at me he was cussing and he threatened to take away my Facebook and Skype accounts and he was gonna cancel my 13th birthday party. My parents are telling me that 13 year olds are mature and take responsibility but I’m not thirteen for a week. And I already am responsible and mature but I don’t like how much they push me to do things. I want to talk to someone but I dont know who. I don’t trust my aunts because they are very close to my mom and I’m afraid they might say something to her.

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15 Answers

Dog's avatar

Without more details we have no idea if this is verbal abuse.
What are you supposed to be telling this parent and why?

Why is it so important that your internet is in jeopardy?

zenvelo's avatar

No, what you’ve described is not verbal abuse. Your parents may be frustrated with you. Have you been truthful with your parents? Have you taken responsibility for schoolwork and chores at home?

If you need to talk to an adult, try the counselors at school.

askmypoop's avatar

@Dog my friends dad invited me to be in a commercial for earth day. I didn’t want to do it so I didn’t call and my mom got mad. Then my dad came in to my room and started yelling and cussing at me just to call. He knows that I’m shy and i don’t understand why they couldn’t just call the dad back. @zenvelo Yeah I assumed that it wasn’t… I guess I could have given more details but I don’t want to be untruthful with my parents… How can I tell them I want to talk to my school counselor?

WasCy's avatar

I’ll answer the first part of your question “What is verbal abuse?”

Verbal abuse is unwarranted and often unprovoked words, whether spoken or written, whose intent is to damage, belittle, intimidate, humiliate or embarrass the target, or to otherwise make the person feel or appear to be “less”.

So things such as taunts, name-calling, spreading lies (or even damaging truths) in a malicious way, even if it is sometimes accompanied by a helping of “it’s for your own good” can all be verbal abuse. Sometimes teasing is just teasing; after all, friends and loving family members sometimes do some of these things at selected times. We all have our failings and embarrassing moments from the past, and sometimes a friend or family member will gleefully point that out to someone who doesn’t know that story about you that is being told. On the other hand, threats of bodily harm to you or loved ones, and obviously mean-spirited jabs are pretty easy to spot.

Only you can judge when “teasing” crosses a line into “abuse”. Sometimes the abuse goes on long enough, or subtly enough, that you start to believe that you really are “less” or “less worthy” than others, even though objectively you try to behave and follow the rules and get along. That’s why sometimes, if you missed the point at which “teasing” turned into “abuse” and “controlling”, then it might take a real friend or another outsider to say, “You deserve better than that,” and help you either develop better coping strategies or to get away from the abuser.

Having said all of that, it’s impossible to say that anything your father has said to you in the little bit that you’ve shown us is “abuse”. I would tend to think not. It’s not uncommon for parents to not believe things that their kids say, especially if there’s a history of untruthfulness. (That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that you develop a reputation for telling the truth, even when it hurts you sometimes. If people know from experience that you always tell the truth, then you get the benefit of these kinds of doubts.) And your father hasn’t threatened to hurt you; he’s merely holding a threat of removing some electronic toys from you in order to get you to do something he wants. This is an ancient parental custom, probably as old as our species – in my day it was television and transistor radios that were withheld for noncompliance with the ‘rents.

From what you’ve said in the response to @Dog, your parents are trying to help you to grow up and confront people when you need to in order to say “no”. This is an absolutely vital thing for you to be able to do. Your life may will depend on it someday. I’m 100% in favor of what your dad is doing, even if I’m not absolutely certain that he’s doing it the right way.

Dog's avatar

It is entirely possible that your parents are concerned that your shyness is attributed in some part to, or is enabled by your internet social life. Keep in mind your parents are trying to prepare you for a very demanding world where shyness can be a disability.

Regarding a counselor- you do not need the permission of your parents to talk to the school counselor. Make an appointment during your school recess or period break/lunch. Counselors are wonderful at helping us overcome things and changing our lives for the better. It is great to get an outside perspective.

flutherother's avatar

I would say it is abusive. It was upsetting and uncalled for and I hope your dad regrets it. What is he trying to do anyway? Make you less shy? That may not be a bad thing but you can’t bully shyness out of someone.

Going back to the beginning though why not just bite the bullet and take part in the commercial. You might even enjoy it. You know, I can see your dad’s point of view in this as well.

zenvelo's avatar

Your dad was trying to get you to be responsible and polite by you calling your friend’s dad to tell him you wouldn’t be in the ad. It is impolite to not respond yes or no; he would be unable to plan properly not knowing if you were going to show up.

And he was also trying to teach you to do it for yourself. Your father should not have to do it for you. Once you are 12 or 13, it is time to take responsibility for your activities.

Seelix's avatar

From your description, it sounds more like parenting than verbal abuse.

Your parents only want what’s best for you. Also, don’t forget that parents are human too. They’re able to get frustrated and irritated just like anyone else, and they’re also able to overreact just like anyone else.

syzygy2600's avatar

I don’t wanna sound harsh here but you posted this from your iPhone. From an (I’m assuming) middle to upper middle class home with two parents. If this is your biggest problem, you are better off than 99% of the world. No it’s not verbal abuse.

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Nullo's avatar

What you have posted does not sound like verbal abuse. I would not recommend couching it as such to any authorities, either, since that will pitch you headlong into more grief that just a virtual grounding. Grief, I might add, of your own making.

WasCy's avatar

Is any of this helping you deal yet? Otherwise we’re just going to seem like a bunch of old farts talking to each other over your head which we may be in any case but we’re really here to help.

In fact, if it will add anything to the discussion and help you to see this from a different perspective, here is some advice I gave to a friend of mine about an issue he had with his son. Granted, you’re not a ten-year-old boy, but the advice I gave comes from the same place, and for more or less the same reason. As part of your maturing process you have to learn to say things to others that sometimes you’d rather not have to say, or you’d rather not say to them directly, or you’d prefer to have someone else say them. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to stand up and say the thing you don’t want to have to say, and the sooner you can learn that and learn to actually do it – and practice it – the better off you’ll be.

But in case you still want to talk to the school counselor or another dispassionate / uninvolved adult, be sure to represent the situation as accurately as I think you did here. That is, don’t say “my dad was yelling at me” or “my dad threatened me” or anything other than what was actually said, the tone of voice it was said in, why it was said (to the best of your knowledge) and what your own actions and responses were. If you want sympathy, emotion and ‘someone on your side’ then you might be tempted to embellish the story a bit. But if you want the best advice you can get, then you have to stick to the plain truth – and my bet is that any competent and honest counselor is going to tell you that “it’s just parenting, and they’re doing what they see as the best thing for you”. So are we.

Good luck.

john65pennington's avatar

You can talk to me. Send me a email on the private Fluther.

babygalll's avatar

At your aga I wouldn’t call it verbal abuse…I would call it parenting.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

@askmypoop, it doesn’t sound like anything especially terrible is going on in your house. Seeing as how your parents seem to let you have an iPhone at the tender age of 12, I would venture to say things could be a lot worse. You have about six years left of fighting with your parents, and as hard as it is not to, I have to say just don’t. Think about the big picture, and whether you’d feel better just accepting their parenting decisions or getting into a screaming and crying match about it. If it sounds like I’m telling you to suppress your emotions, I am. Don’t give in to the impulse to act like a baby; you’ll feel better and more mature.

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