Controlling Parents and the Questions Abusers Ask

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child abuse, adult child abuse

The post “Psychological, Physical and Sexual Abuse Why Questions” generated a lot of interest, so I decided to do a follow up post asking the questions that controlling and abusive people ask us.  The response on the Emerging from Broken facebook page was huge.

These types of statements that controllers and abusers use are designed to keep us in a fog of confusion. Remember that this type of grooming begins when we are very young and becomes part of our definition of love. We are taught “if you love me you would not fight, argue or even disagree with me”. We may also be taught that compliance is respect and respect is a demand not a choice. The problem is that so often we end up respecting abusive behaviour and we are not sure what abusive behaviour is because it starts when we are so young.

The following ‘why questions’ abusers ask can be used to control and to cover up any type of abuse. They are used to guilt and shame us into looking back at ourselves and to question ourselves, instead of them. They are used to keep the victim in a spin ~ trying to figure out the truth and never quite putting a finger on exactly what the truth is. These questions are used to control. These types of questions are abusive. They don’t make sense but we so often don’t realize that because we have been groomed to accept these false definitions of love and respect since we were very young.

Here are some of the comments that came in on EFB Facebook, about typical questions and statements that are used to control, guilt and shame, force compliance, or cause to shut down.

~ “why don’t you just get on with your life and get over that? Why do you insist on destroying our family? Why can’t you let me forget that happened?

~ “Why don’t you spend time with me anymore? Why do you look so serious all the time?”

~ “Why can’t you forgive and forget?  And I am told I SHOULD love them.”

~”After all I’ve done for you why are you treating me this way? Why can’t YOU just move on?”

~ Why don’t you like me? Don’t you remember all the fun we had when you were a kid? (along with an answer ~ “no, I don’t remember all the fun and even if there was some fun does that make up for all the other abuse?.. NO”)

~”Why don’t you respect him? He was a good provider. (Is that what a father is?) You are going to have to live with the way YOU are treating your Dad.”

~ “If you loved me you would… or If you loved me you would not….”

~”You SHOULD be grateful”

~” Why can’t you think of somebody other than yourself for a change?”

~ “Why can’t you grow up and start acting like your Mothers daughter?”

~ “You MAKE me do this to you. If you would do things right the first time I wouldn’t have to….”

~ “Why can’t you see this from my point of view?”

~ “Stop acting like a spoilt brat”

~ “What is WRONG with you?”

~ “Why do you keep talking about this? Why do you blame me; your father did it. What the hell are you thinking, writing a book about it? Why are you so selfish? Do you think you are the only one that matters? What about ME?”

These questions are full of the twisted communications and insinuations hurled at people for the purpose of control. Love is not disempowering and it does not support lies. This system is very backwards and extremely devaluing. Most of these questions are what controlling PARENTS said to their own adult children. We are called selfish, because we want to expose the abuse? Because we want our lives back? We are reprimanded for wanting to have a voice, for wanting to have a chance, for telling the truth? It is more important for them to keep up appearances and to protect the abuser or the secret than it is to validate a child or adult child? Therefore we are the ones with the problem because we want to be heard? In this system there is no hope. When we do as they ask everyone stays sick. And the most difficult part to comprehend is that they would rather us comply, cover up and obey, then become the flourishing healthy adults that we were born to be. We are told we SHOULD love them but we are not taught love by them. Love has not been modeled for us. They do not love by their own definition of love;  the same definition of love that we are expected to love them by.

When I went back into my past to examine the events that originally caused my depressions and dissociative identity disorder, it became apparent that there were a lot of lies involved. There was justification by the abusers, there was blame towards me, when I was an innocent victim, there was covering up, ignoring, and “that didn’t happen” and “shush let’s just forget all about it”. This is where the mental illness accelerated for me ~ with the twisting of the truth; the not being protected and the misplaced blame. The illness accelerated because one lie breeds another lie. And when this type of control works, the controllers keep upping the ante. They want more control, more compliance.

 We grow up and we are often attracted to controllers and abusers…  it’s familiar; it’s what we know. By the time I was in my late thirties the confusion and the fog was so thick that I couldn’t see the truth at all anymore; I easily bought the lies, I conformed to the requests, I complied and I tried harder. My mental health grew increasingly worse. I had no idea what love was. This is how my belief system got so messed up.  And it was in sorting it out; realizing the false from the truth that I recovered.

Please feel free to contribute any of your own stories or the questions used on you.

Busting through the fog,

Darlene Ouimet

43 response to "Controlling Parents and the Questions Abusers Ask"

  1. By: Michelle Posted: 13th August 2012

    Darlene, I’m still half in the fog I guess. I was a member of a support group with whom I met once a week for about 2 years until the other day. We had a group page on facebook too. One of the members posted to the wall that she hoped I would stop talking about my abusive mother and put it in the past and be grateful for what I have and “move on.” I just kind of flipped out, like, how dare someone tell me to “move on” especially in a support group, you know? So I defriended and degrouped. The facilitator did not address the situation quickly enough and I felt like everyone was talking about me behind my back and they secretly wished me to be out of the group… I wish I could go back and do it differently. If I could have done it differently, I would have posted something to the group wall to help educate the fellow group member. Unfortunately, I guess I was triggered because this sort of thing went on in my family, where I was told to put things in the past and move on and my family was talking about me behind my back and eventually ostracised me. So now the group has been closed down and I think the plan is that they will start another one up again, but the people who were at the former group will not be invited back.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 13th August 2012

      Hi Michelle
      I can relate to what you are expressing; It is always easier to look back and say that I know what I would do differently, but that was how I learned to actually DO and say things differently. That is how I came OUT of the fog and a big part of how we apply what we learn about functional vs. dysfunctional. I didn’t start off by speaking my truth, I started off by realizing that things were being said to me in a mean and nasty way and how I wish I would have said such and such instead of retreating. Today however I DO say the things that I believe are right to say and I don’t retreat.
      It sounds like your truth was bothering other people. How nasty to tell someone in a “supportive group” to stop talking about the root of the actual problem! But this is part of global problem; if people honour your right to speak about your parents it makes it very hard to deny their own dysfunctional family roots. Easier to tell someone else, in this case you, to shut it up.
      Kudos to you! Thank you for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

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