Google+ Authentic Parenting: Dysfunctional

Friday, March 12, 2010


Gentle Parent - art by Erika Hastings at

I read a conversation between two facebook friends a while ago... and have felt I had to react to it, even though this might be hard to me. The one friend spoke out against punitive parenting but stated they weren't sure what road to take, seeing her husband was a believer (in corporal punishment). I have been paralyzed, wanting to answer, but unable too, but here goes.

I once read that there are two possible reaction children have to having grown up in a dysfunctional,abusive family. Either they decide to have the perfect family, and prove to the world they can do it better, or they decide to have no family at all, because all mariages are bound to be hell.

That first reaction is the one I had, and my brother chose door number two.
I come from a seriously dysfunctional family. I was hit by my father well into my teens (and even after being married) and the whole family got bullied and terrorized by him. My mother was no saint either, she threw the occasional garbage tin at my head and did some spanking of her own. More over, my mother gladly wallowed in the victim part, occasionally spinning it out in public so she could get pity and ultimately attention. I think my mother enjoyed the victim part that much, that she often tipped my father over the edge, knowing all too well his every trigger. She certainly did nothing to help her children. The best she did was turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, the worse was covering up and claiming loud and clear to everyone who could hear that if ever someone would hit her children, she would imediately leave that man, that that was something she would never tolerate... even though it happened for years and with her knowledge.
For years, my two brothers, me and even some friends and relatives, have been spectators in this theatre of madness and insanity in which they so eagerly perform. They have been publicly getting a divorce every six months or so ever since I can remember and they have lavished in getting as many spectators as possible.

I hate being the victim. Not only because of the way it makes me feel, but because of the way you are viewed as such and the total helplessness it creates. I am not writing this to get your pity. There is not much you readers can do to help me with this, it is something I have to wrestle through on my own.
I write this because I feel too many victims are lost in silence and this is why this violence can continue. All too often domestic abuse is laughed at, discarded as 'disciplining', a lesson needed to be thaught.
I share this because we victims need to stand up and show the scope of this culture of violence. Hitting and spanking a child does harm. Serious, irreparable harm. Think about it, an abused child has noone to trust, nowhere to turn too except to his abuser. No matter how hard that child will ever try, there is no way he or she can sever the bond made in blood to their parents. They shall bare the scars on their soul forever.
Spanking and hitting is wrong! Don't do it to your child, and don't let your partner use it against your child.

I think this is why I went for an entirely different approach to parenting. To break the cycle. (My father has been severely abused as a child and probably witnessed unspeakable atrocities and my mother got her share of 'disciplining').
I probably go overboard, calculating each step, thinking about how I react, selfreflecting, but I've got a lot of evil to exorcize. I truly think violence needs to be stopped at home.



  1. Hi again! Sandra from again :)
    I couldn't help but comment on this post I foundthrough your "about". I come from a rather abusive family myself - both physically and verbally(although my experience seems a bit different from yours). Both me and my sister were "disciplined" to the point where whenever my mom would aproach I would raise my hands to protect myself. It's not that they hit hard, and wouldn't qualify as abusive to authorities, I'm sure, but you're right - the emotional scars are irreparable and it's something I still struggle with today. I chose the same path as you (as did my sister)but sometimes, deep down in the darkest part, when we're having an exceptionally rough day and my dearest little baby has a tantrum, the thought of a spanking comes to mind - not that I EVER would, it just pops into my brain because that's how my parents would have handled it. I too feel I have to reflect a lot before acting, I read plenty of gentle parenting books look for alternative ways. I've been reading through your blog and I think it's definitely one I will follow. Thanks!
    Ps- sorry forthe enormous comment!!!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I often find myself wanting to parent and discipline the way my parents disciplined me growing up (for better or worse). As I get older and wiser I am realizing that just because they were my parents and I love and respect them does not mean that they did everything the way they should have. This post has reminded me to really evaluate how I parent! May God bless you for sharing this!

  3. The scariest part is admitting to yourself that your family is dysfunctional. Even harder is pointing it out to them! I've chosen to disconnect from my own family exactly because they are disinterested in addressing the issues we have as a family and instead would rather scapegoat me as the shit-disturber. Well I tried anyways! Instead I have chosen to put forth the effort to break the cycle within my own little family and although it is difficult, and sometimes overwhelming, I know that it is worth it.


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