Am I right to cut a family member out of my life?

#15

Postby Candid » Wed May 29, 2019 4:23 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Based on what you wrote it doesn’t appear that you actually have a question. Instead, it appears you are seeking validation for a decision you have already made.


That's the key word, Richard: VALIDATION. It's a word often used in child-abuse circles, because people contemplating ending the primal relationship are filled with self-doubt -- self-doubt instilled by the abusive parent or parents -- in a way that the offspring of good-enough parents can never understand.

Humiliations, spankings and beatings, slaps in the face, betrayal, sexual exploitation, derision, neglect, etc. are all forms of mistreatment, because they injure the integrity and dignity of a child, even if their consequences are not visible right away. However, as adults, most abused children will suffer, and let others suffer, from these injuries. Beaten children very early on assimilate the violence they endured, which they may glorify and apply later as parents, in believing that they deserved the punishment and were beaten out of love. They don’t know that the only reason for the punishments they have (or in retrospect, had) to endure is the fact that their parents themselves endured and learned violence without being able to question it. Later, the adults, once abused children, beat their own children and often feel grateful to their parents who mistreated them when they were small and defenceless.

This is why society’s ignorance remains so immovable and parents continue to produce severe pain and destruction – in all “good will”, in every generation. Most people tolerate this blindly because the origins of human violence in childhood have been and are still being ignored worldwide. Almost all small children are smacked during the first three years of life when they begin to walk and to touch objects which may not be touched. This happens at exactly the time when the human brain builds up its structure and should thus learn kindness, truthfulness, and love but never, never cruelty and lies.
~ https://www.alice-miller.com/en/
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#16

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu May 30, 2019 2:52 am

Candid wrote:That's the key word, Richard: VALIDATION. It's a word often used in child-abuse circles, because people contemplating ending the primal relationship are filled with self-doubt -- self-doubt instilled by the abusive parent or parents -- in a way that the offspring of good-enough parents can never understand.


And what is our role in providing that validation?

This thread has me questioning a number of things. Might it be the case that a forum designed to help is actually less than helpful? Might it be the case that it is actually counterproductive to provide a way for people to seek validation anonymously from strangers? Might it even be unethical to provide validation to someone solely on the basis that they are seeking validation?

NO! I can easily dismiss all of the last paragraph by rationalizing that there is a solid case for anonymity. Globally, there are people that cannot afford help, or that are in such a small community that they cannot seek advice with any degree of privacy. A forum such as this one provides immense value.

Yet, this doesn’t address the damage we offer. While the forum offers a great space for people to discuss tough issues anonymously, this same feature offers a way for people to seek validation when possibly validation is not at all beneficial for them. Maybe validation will just sink them deeper into believing what they wish. Maybe they have found their way into this forum, exactly because their attempts to validate what they wish to believe have been rejected multiple times and in multiple ways in the real world and so they now seek validation anonymously.

You and I see this on a regular basis. A person joins the forum and provides a few paragraphs about what is going on in their life. Fairly quickly it becomes a case of it being them against the entire world. No one in the real world will validate their ideas. They feel rejected at every turn. They have been through X different doctors and everything is going wrong. Eventually they leave the forum after once again, even in an anonymous forum, their issue is not validated how they wish.

I think we do a decent job of trying to ethically validate a given issue. I think, especially in cases of alleged familial abuse, you tend to give the benefit of the doubt to a much greater degree. I try to accept the initial post at face value, but I think in comparison to your approach I tend to question the validity.

Another consideration is the idea of “abusive” or “good enough” parenting. I understand, but don’t buy into this dichotomy. I understand, in that we are hard wired to prefer yes/no, black/white, on/off conditions. Throw a third option into the mix and we become cognitively conflicted. Life is much easier being able to label and compartmentalize. But, life and relationships, especially those connected to parents are never so easily labeled. In my experience, there is not a single childhood that does not have a mix of abuse and love. Parents are human, they are never perfect and there is no child that does not experience some pain at the hands of their parents.

Admittedly, I struggle as in my mind there are deal breakers. Someone says, “My father raped me, but...” and I am pretty much shut down at that point. There is pretty much nothing anyone is going to post that will have me label that parent as “good enough”.

On the other side, I equally struggle when someone says, “My parent forced me to learn physics.” Suddenly, the earlier claim that the parent fondled them, for some reason becomes less impactful. Throw in the idea the mother watched and did nothing and I begin to ask myself if there is more to the story? I’m no longer so eager to validate as I am in the previous paragraph. Why? Is it my fault that suddenly I am less eager to validate, that a bit of skepticism creeps in? I begin to wonder if the person is in the forum and knows terms like disassociation, because in actual therapy their claims have met equally with a certain degree of skepticism.

Well, when I started writing this post I had a particular thought process, but I think at this point I have started to go a bit all over the map.

I will end by saying I certainly feel for the OP experiencing a certain level of abuse by her parents. My initial “gut” reaction to the thread was a definitive “yes” that she needs to just break contact. But, I’m now more skeptical and not ready to validate my initial gut reaction. I think there is much more to the story that we are not getting. I question my role in providing blanket validation for what seems to be a not so clear cut story of parents that don’t qualify as “good enough”.
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#17

Postby Candid » Thu May 30, 2019 9:58 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:And what is our role in providing that validation?


That's decided by individual posters. It could be said that you and I strongly represent the male and female perspectives. You are rationality and reason; I am emotion and feeling -- particularly when people write about situations I've experienced.

I know the first rule with a rape survivor is believe her. I saw those cases that the police had rejected for prosecution. It wasn't that they didn't believe any of the victims, but that the only evidence was the women's own testimonies. The rapist's first task is to isolate his victim -- not hard to do unless we advise women they must never be alone with a man. Don't go on a date, don't get in his car, don't invite him in or enter his home. There's no uninvolved witness to a rape.

On the forum I carry the idea of believe her. If I don't believe what members say about their experience I either don't reply, or I reply with a post tearing holes in their account as you have done on this thread.

As you would be well aware, child abuse is a topic close to my heart. I know from personal experience that verbal/emotional abuse alone can mean the person remains a child well into adulthood when in the presence of the abusing parent or parents.

Maybe validation will just sink them deeper into believing what they wish.


I have never met anyone who wishes to believe he or she has been systematically abused by one or both parents. It's the most head-wrecking discovery I can imagine. The will to explain, excuse and justify hundreds of incidences is so strong that people will argue for a very long time to minimise what was done to them or to say the abuse was justified.

The big question is: Does your parent love you, do you think? I was lucky in that my father did love me. That isn't to say he never attacked my personality instead of my behaviour, never said stupid and hurtful things. He did, but I knew he loved me. We know when we're loved, and that's the decider. My mother was a different story, and despite overwhelming evidence that she actively hated me, I went on believing for far too long that there was a way I could get through to her, that she would both say and demonstrate that she loved me. I would have loved to believe I was imagining things. I'm still in therapy agonising over my feelings for her, which could best be described as unrequited love.

I'm aware that my own experience colours my perception of other adults who are questioning what happened (and is usually still happening) to them. My parent did this, this, this and this, and I don't know whether I should stay away. The feeling is confusion. It's my parent. Parents always love their children, don't they? And when the confusion passes, there's grief. I've sometimes wished my eyes hadn't been opened, that I'd gone on in the confusion of believing my mother loved me no matter what she said and did. A wiser part of me knows that amount of cognitive dissonance would have made me far more screwed-up than I am.

Maybe they have found their way into this forum, exactly because their attempts to validate what they wish to believe have been rejected multiple times and in multiple ways in the real world...


Yes, that's what happens. Parents are glorified, particularly mothers. I believe mothering is by far the hardest job there is, and hats off to those who do it well. I've watched hundreds of good-enough mothers interacting with their offspring with an amount of patience that could only be fuelled by LOVE.

From what Mephista has told us I feel certain she too would like to be one of the mainstream millions who believe parents always love their children. Like me, she doesn't have that option. She's probably interacted with plenty of people who've said "I'm sure your father loves you". In childhood we believe that, and the lucky majority take it for granted; they never have cause to question it. Mephista is questioning it.

I think we do a decent job of trying to ethically validate a given issue.


And we've done a great job on this thread of representing mainstream thought as well as the possibility that Mephista's doubts about her father are well justified. She strikes me as rational enough to know which perspective feels right to her, even if it wasn't what she wanted to hear. Given time, I predict she'll also question the "love" of a mother who didn't intervene. You'd be surprised how many women are only too glad to hand over sexual duties to the nearest female.

I think, especially in cases of alleged familial abuse, you tend to give the benefit of the doubt to a much greater degree.


I know I do. With galloping C-PTSD myself, and the many effects on my personality and my life of trying for decades to make my mother right, how could I do otherwise? Also, I would have utterly failed as a counsellor if I employed healthy cynicism with any client.

life and relationships, especially those connected to parents are never so easily labeled.


I agree -- and that's where the pain and confusion arise. The most abusive parent will be kind sometimes, and often exaggeratedly kind because aside from sociopathy, they regularly feel guilt that they're acting out their own problems on their offspring. I got home from school one day to find a mug with BE HAPPY printed on it in my bedroom. My mother had seen it while shopping and thought it appropriate for me. I see great irony in her choice.

In my experience, there is not a single childhood that does not have a mix of abuse and love. Parents are human, they are never perfect and there is no child that does not experience some pain at the hands of their parents.


Of course! But I don't believe parents who love their children are ever abusive. A wallop for a minor transgression just because the parent's having a bad day, yelling an attack on the child's character (as my uptight father frequently did) ... these things happen because, as you say, parents are human. I don't even know what love/pain ratio is acceptable, except to reiterate that children know when they're loved. Children have to believe their caregivers love them, and it takes a hell of a lot of overt abuse and icky gut feelings for an adult to walk away.

Is it my fault that suddenly I am less eager to validate, that a bit of skepticism creeps in?


I would be the last to condemn you. Like me, you can only work with your knowledge, experience and perceptions.

Well, when I started writing this post I had a particular thought process, but I think at this point I have started to go a bit all over the map.


:lol: Happens to me all the time.

My initial “gut” reaction to the thread was a definitive “yes” that she needs to just break contact.


I would expect you to understand, as I do, that "just break contact" is a hell of a lot harder than it sounds.

I think there is much more to the story that we are not getting.


No doubt, but I believe we have to work with the problem as presented.
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#18

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri May 31, 2019 3:30 am

Candid wrote:On the forum I carry the idea of believe her. If I don't believe what members say about their experience I either don't reply, or I reply with a post tearing holes in their account as you have done on this thread.

I have never met anyone who wishes to believe he or she has been systematically abused by one or both parents.


I do not think it is a conscious, intentional, or malevolent “wish” to believe. Outside of very few cases, I think it is much more subtle, a much more subconscious process that is intimately tied to societal influences.

Mephista believes her parents are abusers. I can feel for Mephista, yet still be largely skeptical of her subconscious motives.

People questioning whether they are transgender, whether they were abused, wether they are a pedophile, whether they have a mental disorder, have been traumatized, or are a victim of one form or another can be heavily influenced by teachers, the media, their peers, etc.

Many times the socio-psychological stigma can do more damage or have a greater impact on the persons mental well being than the literal event. To some extent, people have no idea they are suppose to be traumatized or feel like a victim until society tells them it is how they should feel.

Consider in this forum the socio-psychological impact of new members posting about being pedophiles because they experimented as a child. That isn’t something they came up with on their own. They learned they are to be disgusted based on the social norms in their community. The same can be said for any of the aforementioned issues.

A simple, concrete example, is spanking. How many people never knew they were suppose to be traumatized or that their parents were abusers because they spanked their children? How many people, as research was published and views on spanking changed started viewing themselves as victims of abuse? How many parents began to feel awful and see themselves as abusers? What changed? Nothing, other than societies views on the topic.

Maybe my skepticism is unwarranted, but I think the term “abuse” is losing value as what constitutes abuse becomes an ever broader range of behaviors.
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#19

Postby Candid » Fri May 31, 2019 7:50 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Consider in this forum the socio-psychological impact of new members posting about being pedophiles because they experimented as a child. That isn’t something they came up with on their own. They learned they are to be disgusted based on the social norms in their community. The same can be said for any of the aforementioned issues.


I agree. Sexual abuse of children is under the spotlight these days. Just a few decades ago, people who'd been sexually abused as children were for the most part too ashamed to talk about it. My own research and counselling practice showed it was like sexual predators were working from a script: they all said things like "No one will believe you", "If you tell anyone, I'll kill you" and "This is your fault" -- apparently just for being there. Having worked with their victims, I'm sure it's the tip of the iceberg and many more are living lonely, closeted lives because they're ashamed of what was done to them.

Those abused as adults are more likely to look for help, but the shame factor is still strong. Rape victims soon learn not to talk about it, except in therapy -- and the relief of finding a counsellor willing to listen is enormous. In the general population, saying you've been raped is still considered to be in poor taste. Dare to speak out, and you will very likely be shunned. It's a nightmare for female survivors and worse for males. Statistically we can infer we have the tip of the iceberg for females and a negligible number for males. Yes, in the military a fully grown man can be set upon by a pack and buggered by each one in turn while the others laugh and sing coarse songs; precisely that scenario came to my attention late last year.

The tendency to self-blame is enormous. My theory is that the horror is so great, the victim casts around for anything she or he might have done to provoke the attack, because they sure wouldn't do that (whatever it was) again.

Maybe my skepticism is unwarranted, but I think the term “abuse” is losing value as what constitutes abuse becomes an ever broader range of behaviors.


We're not talking about spanking on this thread, Richard. I refer you to http://pete-walker.com/fAQsComplexPTSD.html#complexPTSD and click on How Did I Get Complex PTSD? Yes, we are looking at "an ever broader range of behaviors" -- but it's healthier than leaving millions of people self-hating, self-blaming, and pitifully alone with a level of distress they can't even articulate.

We get sneered at by people with good-enough parents just for talking about it. The internet is obviously a wonderful resource for those who can post about their troubles anonymously. That's why, whenever I see a poster with a vague collection of symptoms suggestive of CPTSD, I wade in with my torch.
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#20

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:34 am

Candid wrote:We get sneered at by people with good-enough parents just for talking about it. The internet is obviously a wonderful resource for those who can post about their troubles anonymously. That's why, whenever I see a poster with a vague collection of symptoms suggestive of CPTSD, I wade in with my torch.


Just thinking about how this thread has developed and throwing out my thought process. I find it interesting and figured it was worth sharing.

There are two types of possible errors;

Type I: failing to validate a person that actually was abused.

Type II: validating a person that wasn’t abused.

My interpretation of your approach is that you want to avoid Type I error at all costs, and that a Type II error is more acceptable to you. Therefore, you provide the Petewalker resource if there is any hint of symptoms suggestive of CPTSD.

Overall, I think it is a solid approach.

I too lean, or try to lean more towards avoiding a Type I error. But, I think my skepticism opens up the possibility that I make a Type I error to a much larger degree.

Maybe a better way to explain is to use the #metoo movement. One approach is to believe 100% of people that say, “Metoo”. That avoids any Type I errors. I think you favor this approach, given that you write about the negative impacts of not being believed, how often people are not believed, sneered at, etc.

I think I’m not as accepting. There are people that jump on the bandwagon, the needle of what constitutes legitimate abuse is moved, and when 100% of claims are to be believed you end up with tons of Type II errors. This ends up ruining lives as well, but in a different way. It isn’t the person we interact with, the person making the claim of abuse, but those they are accusing. How many “good enough” parents or how many people in general that did not commit any form of abuse find themselves subjected to a less than valid claim.

Don’t get me wrong, I know you have a good BS detector and you don’t literally validate 100%. I’m only saying I think that you lean heavier towards avoiding Type I error and that you do not see the consequences of making a Type II error as being as significant as me.

On the other hand, I think I tend to be a few degrees more cautious about making a Type II error, which then means I will make a Type I error more often than you. I will unfortunately fail to validate a legitimate claim, where you will tend to fail to invalidate an invalid claim.

I think it understandable given our respective backgrounds/experiences.

And again, I’m not trying to make a point that one way is correct or claim one approach superior to the other. It is really more just something I was mulling over and thought worth sharing. Bottom line, errors will always be made. That’s life.
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#21

Postby Candid » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:01 am

I'm enjoying this exchange of views, Richard.

Maybe a better way to explain is to use the #metoo movement. One approach is to believe 100% of people that say, “Metoo”. That avoids any Type I errors. I think you favor this approach...


You're right, I do. In my present work I've seen hundreds of cases, and only one or two that have set off my BS detector. Because I'm managing statistics, it isn't up to me to make a decision as to whether a case is genuine.

The majority of cases are not reported to the police. Of those that are, by far the majority are marked No Further Action.

There are people that jump on the bandwagon, the needle of what constitutes legitimate abuse is moved...


I agree, but I urge you to consider:
There's no payoff for proclaiming to the world that you've been sexually assaulted.
There are harsh penalties for cutting off a parent or parents.

This ends up ruining lives as well, but in a different way. It isn’t the person we interact with, the person making the claim of abuse, but those they are accusing.


It's frustrating (to put it mildly) to workers in the area of sexual assault that this does occasionally happen. When it does, those cases get a lot of publicity, the implication being that all or most reports are false. This has the effect of shutting up a lot of people who actually have been abused.

How many “good enough” parents or how many people in general that did not commit any form of abuse find themselves subjected to a less than valid claim.


As Alice Miller made clear, it's far more common for people to deny and/or minimise parental abuse. Where does it get you to be estranged from parents? You have no support in the world, no one you can count on when anything goes wrong for you; you’ve lost even the illusion of what should have been your own personal cheer squad (but probably never was). You dread the getting-to-know-you questions about family, because you know new acquaintances are very likely going to view you with suspicion. There’s no question of you receiving an inheritance or the financial help that gets your peers through tertiary education.

I will unfortunately fail to validate a legitimate claim, where you will tend to fail to invalidate an invalid claim.


It’s never been my province to validate or invalidate any claim, unless you include what I do on the forum. Even here I work only with what’s presented – or do you think I’ve made some leaps based on my own experience? If that’s so, you’ll be doing me a favour to point it out.

Bottom line, errors will always be made. That’s life.


May I ask whether your police duties included interviewing people reporting rape?

I used to feel angry at No Further Action decisions, and the line of questioning as reported by my clients, until I spoke to the police about it. The man I talked to very kindly pointed out that if a rape victim can’t handle their line of questioning, she’s going to be utterly demolished by Defence Counsel if the case gets to court.
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#22

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:49 am

Apologies for the long post. Probably one of the longest responses I have written. It shows it is a topic of interest for me. If it is too long, maybe just skim the first main points numbered.

May I ask whether your police duties included interviewing people reporting rape?


Yes, I interviewed people reporting rape. Two cases come to mind;

-1- A father brings in his pregnant 16 year old daughter. The father waits in the lobby as the daughter relays what took place. She was in a park late at night with her boyfriend, an 18 year old and two of his friends. They had been drinking and it had been raining. To dry off she stripped down to her underwear and was sitting on his lap. Kissing started, then it escalated to her consensually being surrounded by the friends and she took turns orally on each while using her hands on the others. This was all consensual. Then her memory was foggy, as she remembers saying no, that she wanted it to stop, as the three guys took their turn, including vaginal and anal penetration.

I have no idea what happened to the case. I recorded her interview, wrote up the report and forwarded it to the detectives.

I had mixed feelings. I believed her story, but was sure the other three participants would each have a different perspective of what had taken place. They didn’t groom her, there was no immediate report, there was no cry for help, she didn’t want to report it until her father questioned the pregnancy. Note, I’m not saying this means she wasn’t raped. I believe she said no, and I believed the men continued.

Still, I struggle with her story. In the movies or what makes it into the media are the worst, evil scenarios. What is produced/published are the clear cut rapist. Real life is much less well defined.

-2- Heather feather. A mother brings in her 6-7 year old daughter, claiming her brother (uncle) had been molesting her daughter. I interviewed the girl and after asking if the uncle had touched her and asking her to tell me what happened, I then interviewed the uncle. I could tell he was mentally slow. He kept denying touching the girl and said he loved her and that he would never harm or do anything to his “Heather feather.” After the interviews, even though it was late at night, I called in a detective. Before getting off shift, the detective saw me and thanked me for calling him in. He praised me for my work and told me he was getting a warrant to arrest the uncle.

Years later I was back in school and writing a paper on false memory and implanted memories. As I learned about the clown experiment, where children were coached to believe a clown had touched their nose, I had flashbacks to heather feather. Regret...uncertainty popped into my head. Had I implanted a memory, then called in a detective that confirmed the memory I had put there? Had her mother unintentionally coached her?

We were trained on conducting interviews, but as a street level officer you don’t get the in depth knowledge. You get what is in the academy and no real refresher training. You sign up for additional training to keep in compliance, but that amounts to maybe 40 hours a year on a wide range of topics. They might touch on leading a witness, coaching, or issues specific to vulnerable populations, but out of the thousands of hours of training, I would say I might have gotten maybe a week on conducting interviews.

I don’t know what happened with that case. As with most cases, I did the front line work and never heard anything again. I don’t beat myself up too bad, because honestly I don’t know. I was trying to do the right thing. I wasn’t intentionally going down a bad path.

Back then, and to some extent to this day I rationalize, that even when we mess up the system will take care of most errors. The detective was a check/balance, as is the court system. As I have gotten older and hopefully wiser, I don’t have the same confidence in the system.

-3- A personal story. A member of my family was 18 and met a girl on an online dating site. She was 16, a junior in high school on the volleyball team. They went out a few times, went back to his apartment and had consensual sex. A few days and the police knock on the door. He cooperates, tells the truth and is arrested for having sex with a minor. Turns out, she wasn’t 16. She had pursued him, she had lied, and at age 18 he was now the “felon”, a child predator.

The court system said her behavior was irrelevant, because she was a minor and therefore incapable of knowing better. The pain this caused not just the one member of my family, but the entire family is hard to measure. To this day, he must register as a sex offender.

His case is not isolated. His case is not some rare unfortunate exception to the rule.

-4- Execution and human trafficking. Back to my professional experience. Stanley Baker wrote in a notebook that his goal was to kill 35 people, rob 35 people, and rape 35 people. He killed one person with a shotgun, a clerk in an adult video store, and then was caught. I testified against Stanley. He was later executed.

Overall, my experience goes beyond interviewing rape victims. As an officer, I responded to a variety of calls that had some element of sexual or other forms of abuse. There was one case where a girl had been drugged and raped for days. She escaped and was running for her life. A fellow officer found her running down the street and because of her drugged condition ended up fighting her, cuffing her, and then taking her to the hospital. I met them at the hospital and helped to get her out of the patrol car and restrain her in the bed. She was so scared. To this day I remember her eyes, frightened.

I used to feel angry at No Further Action decisions, and the line of questioning as reported by my clients, until I spoke to the police about it. The man I talked to very kindly pointed out that if a rape victim can’t handle their line of questioning, she’s going to be utterly demolished by Defence Counsel if the case gets to court.


I find what the officer told you about No Further Action interesting. It seems odd to me, maybe because we have a different system. Or maybe the officer you talked with was a detective with a close working relationship with the prosecutor.

The reason I find it odd, is that we also had a type of NFA system, but it had nothing to do with how a victim might respond or hold up in court. As police, that wasn’t our role. It was not our job to make that decision. Our only job was to investigate and determine if there was probable cause that a crime had been committed. If probable cause exists, get a warrant, make the arrest, and then it is the prosecutors job to determine how solid a case and how the victim’s testimony will hold up in court.

Our system of NFA we called “solvability”. If a person reported rape, what was the likelihood the case would be solved? Boxes allowed a rating in certain areas, such as availability of physical evidence, witnesses, time elapsed, etc. Cases with higher solvability took priority. A case of “he said, she said” with nothing else would result in interviewing the alleged offender and if nothing more surfaced then the case would be filed effectively as NFA. If on the other hand the victim had made a ‘cry for help’, if there was a rape kit or other available proof, e.g. electronic messages, photos, or other ways to corroborate the victims story then it would have a higher solvability rating and would be pursued. Regardless, it was never the detectives job to decide how the victim would be perceived in court. That was for the prosecutor to decide. Anyway, probably just a difference in either the system or in the level of experience/role of the specific officer you talked with. If they specialize in rape, then they might very well be the one that makes that decision.

Candid wrote:There's no payoff for proclaiming to the world that you've been sexually assaulted.
There are harsh penalties for cutting off a parent or parents.


I agree that cutting parents off is with little benefit, so why would anyone ever do such a thing unless they are seriously conflicted?

In this area, because of your personal experience you can’t imagine someone cutting off parents as you know what it is like. You have the firsthand experience, the pain, the conflict, so you can’t imagine why anyone would want to go through what you have gone through.

But, here is the thing. Many of the people have not yet experienced your pain. They are only simulating or imagining a future without parents. While given your experience you can’t imagine, there are surprisingly plenty of people that consider their parents as awful or want to tell a story of how horrific a childhood they had, because they want to fit in with whatever social circles they associate. If Sally and Susan and Betty are all in feminist studies at Uni and everyone is being taught about the horrific abuses of the patriarchy, and if Sally and Susan truly did suffer abuse, then at least some percentage of the peer group will begin to feel the social pressure or the emotional need to belong. Betty wants to fit in, so she begins searching her memory for transgressions of men in her life and recalls her father forcing her to learn physics against her will. In Maslow’s motivational hierarchy, the need to belong is very fundamental to human nature.

In the above paragraph, my guess is that you believe making up or rationalizing past abuses by parents to fit in socially is very rare. I’m not so sure. My experience is that it is more common than we want to believe.

If for every 1 rape reported, 10 go unreported, what are the studies regarding how many are false reports? This is not discussed. It is not a static number, it fluctuates like any other social phenomena, e.g. the Salem Witch trials. People can be influenced to such a degree, that there can be a significant surge in false accusations.

For instance, you have only two categories that you discussed. Either it was criminal rape or it was NFA. The fact there is not a 3rd category, the category of a person making a false claim in your mind means that false claims are exceedingly rare, not worthy of tracking. I see things differently. The absence of data doesn’t mean it isn’t taking place. The same logic applies, that if rape is underreported then it is equally worth considering that false claims are under investigated. No one wants to accuse a person making a claim of being less than 100% genuine, especially in today’s environment. It is sort of okay to say a claim can’t be proven, but to say a claim is outright false or disingenuous, that is heresy that comes with it’s own brand of social justice.

Well, this is long enough. I have much more I could type, but hopefully this gives some insight into why when someone says, “At age 20 my dad grabbed my butt and forced me to learn physics,” that I’m not ready to treat the parents as having caused the person CPTSD. It is not that I condone the behavior of the parent for their alleged behavior. 100% what the parent has allegedly done is wrong. It is just hard for me to not be a skeptic and wonder why the person is in this forum seeking validation.

The OP of this thread, it doesn’t seem like there was any grooming. There is no “don’t tell mom” or any sort of testing. Suddenly at age 20, the father lays on top of her in front of the mother. Then there is the complaint of being forced to learn physics. Maybe I’m making a Type I error, but it just doesn’t seem like it is correct to validate in this case. Given my experience, I give the parents the benefit of the doubt here.
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#23

Postby Candid » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:36 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:-1- A father brings in his pregnant 16 year old daughter...


Interesting to me that you say you believed she said no, and that the men continued without her consent.

Lots of factors here:
The possibility that discovering she was pregnant inspired her to say it was non-consensual.
Alcohol consumption and stripping in front of the guys.
Consenting up to a point with three males.
No immediate report, no cry for help, not wanting to report until her father questioned the pregnancy.

To be honest, I wouldn't expect her claim to get very far. That's not to say I don't think she went through a rotten experience that she herself possibly saw as rotten only in retrospect: when she sobered up, or when she discovered she was pregnant. Teenage girls do daft things, particularly when they've been drinking and they're being egged on by boys. If a teenage boy stripped in the park it's unlikely (but not impossible) that he would be the victim of a sexual assault. Not fair, but a fact of life.

What is produced/published are the clear cut rapist. Real life is much less well defined.


Absolutely! The unknown assailant who leaps out as the victim navigates a dark alley and drags her into bushes appears to be a myth. The data I manage show client's home / perpetrator's home is the most common location. Perpetrators are chiefly male relatives, friend or acquaintance. Since I started working with survivors there's been an unsettling increase in drug-assisted offences whereby a victim has a complete blank between drinking at a bar and waking up with vaginal soreness.

-2- Heather feather.


Where I presently work, there are separate counsellors for children, the youngest of whom are seen in a well-equipped playroom. Leading questions are never asked. The counsellor gains trust and makes observations while the child chooses toys, paints pictures, or whatever. The accompanying parent or guardian waits in an adjacent room. But this is entirely different to your work, in which a decision had to be made re. prosecution.

Had I implanted a memory, then called in a detective that confirmed the memory I had put there? Had her mother unintentionally coached her?


Not something we can ever know. I can only tell you about a five-year-old whose mother alleged that both she and her 10-year-old sister had been sexually abused by their father. In voice-and-video recording, the five-year-old was repeatedly asked about "horrible things" the father had done to her. Can't remember what she came up with, but I do recall it was comical. Also, that whoever was 'interviewing' her did a fine job of scaring, confusing, and possibly implanting false memories.

I was access supervisor in that case. The accused, like 'Heather feather's' uncle, was quite slow. It remains my belief that he was innocent, and that his estranged partner wanted to move on and not have to be bothered with access visits. At a subsequent court case to which I was subpoenaed, he did indeed lose access rights and is presumably still on the offender's register.

As I have gotten older and hopefully wiser, I don’t have the same confidence in the system.


Nor do I!

-3- A personal story.


I sympathise with your family member, although I'm inclined to think he needed to make absolutely certain of the girl's age if he had the least suspicion she was lying. As noted before, many teenagers of both sexes do stupid and even dangerous things, including lying, because they're so desperate to be popular and grown-up. I doubt the court determined that she was "incapable of knowing better", only that legally she was too young to give consent. What's interesting about the US is that the age of consent differs between states, correct? That, I agree, makes it a minefield for randy males.

His case is not some rare unfortunate exception to the rule.


I can't confirm or deny, only reiterate that these cases probably should be widely publicised, including televised interviews with the men whose lives have been ruined, so that males of all ages will check and double-check before unintentionally having sex with children.

That much could easily be done. It would be far harder to find, and even harder to interview on camera, the millions of people whose lives have been ruined by sexual assault. It's worth noting that making a false report to the police is itself a crime. While there are many people who believe the majority of rape complaints are false, I've yet to hear of a single case of a complainant being prosecuted. Even the police know sexual assault is grossly under-reported.

There was one case where a girl had been drugged and raped for days. She escaped and was running for her life.


These stories do come to light occasionally: males and females, but more commonly females, used as sex slaves via kidnapping and imprisonment in a shed or basement, or the same treatment by fathers, stepfathers, older brothers... Children being born, no medical intervention, corpses buried in back yards... Yes, appalling stuff. It's hard to imagine that anyone rescued from such a situation could ever have anything resembling a 'normal' life.

I find what the officer told you about No Further Action interesting. It seems odd to me, maybe because we have a different system. Or maybe the officer you talked with was a detective with a close working relationship with the prosecutor.

The reason I find it odd, is that we also had a type of NFA system, but it had nothing to do with how a victim might respond or hold up in court.


I think I must have worded that badly. It was the line of questioning I raised with the detective, not the preponderance of NFAs, because so many of my clients at that time were distressed that "the police didn't believe me". I understand there's been some improvement in interview technique since then, but it was common 20 years ago for police to ask "Did you lead him on?" "Why did you invite him into your home?" etc. What the detective told me was that if victims were upset by what could be construed as doubting their word, an aggressive Defence Counsel would make an unholy mess of them -- NOT that the police would NFA it. Defence Counsels, as you may know, are allowed to use intimidatory tactics, ask questions intended to confuse the 'witness', come right out and call her a liar, plus bring in every kind of misleading or apocryphal tale intended to paint her as less than an upright citizen. Because a rape complainant in court is only a witness, no one is permitted to speak for her in any way.

During the 12 months I've been in my present job there have been about 800 new referrals for adult counselling and slightly less than half that amount for under 18s. Only a fraction of the adults reported to police, and most of those were NFA. Just two cases have gone to court, and in both cases -- surprise, surprise -- the verdict was Not Guilty.

The idea that hundreds of innocent men are being falsely accused AND found guilty is, quite frankly, outrageous.

Our system of NFA we called “solvability”. If a person reported rape, what was the likelihood the case would be solved? Boxes allowed a rating in certain areas, such as availability of physical evidence, witnesses, time elapsed, etc. Cases with higher solvability took priority.


Yes, I think it's much the same here... although I was surprised recently to find police were investigating a case in which a young woman passed out drunk and was subsequently found covered in cuts and bruises, including to the vaginal area. I presume they'll be looking for anyone in the vicinity at the time (daytime), since the victim herself didn't know who had assaulted her.

While given your experience you can’t imagine, there are surprisingly plenty of people that consider their parents as awful or want to tell a story of how horrific a childhood they had, because they want to fit in with whatever social circles they associate.


In that case, after a brief interlude without parental support, they'll get over it and return to the fold.

My best friend (this is my best friend I'm talking about) simply doesn't get it. She told me about having a row with her mother, they didn't speak for a few weeks, then BF went to Mum's place, Mum opened the door, and they fell into each other's arms crying. Granted, it was years ago she told me this story, as if maybe I should call home and give the old girl another chance. Similarly, BF doesn't get it about sexual assault. Hey, she's had plenty of sex she didn't particularly want and that wasn't great. Someone with good-enough parents and who hasn't been raped can't be expected to know about familial abuse and sexual violence.

If Sally and Susan and Betty are all in feminist studies at Uni and everyone is being taught about the horrific abuses of the patriarchy, and if Sally and Susan truly did suffer abuse, then at least some percentage of the peer group will begin to feel the social pressure or the emotional need to belong. Betty wants to fit in, so she begins searching her memory for...


Seriously, Richard, is this conjecture or can you refer me to a peer-reviewed study of such a phenomenon? Because you know I think the world of you, but on this subject I believe you're talking through your hat.

In Maslow’s motivational hierarchy, the need to belong is very fundamental to human nature.


Quite -- and the need to belong to your family of origin outweighs to an astronomical degree the need to fit in with your fellow students!

what are the studies regarding how many are false reports? This is not discussed.


It's discussed quite a bit, sufficiently that in her book Asking For It, Kate Harding devotes a whole chapter to the topic. Harding's a wise and witty writer, and I'd like to quote her verbatim if time and typing fingers allowed. Here's an extract:

I'm not interested in making excuses for fraudulent victims, who make it that much harder for real ones to get justice. It's fine to think women who lie about rape deserve to be punished for it, but let's not act as though one woman's false testimony is, by itself, sufficient to create the Kafkaesque hell of a wrongful prosecution -- especially when a genuine victim's credible testimony is still not often enough to merit even an arrest. The idea that any given vengeful, embarrassed, or simply bored woman can "cry rape" and automatically send an innocent man to prison is pure fiction.

And later, FYI:

The fact is, men are far more likely to be victims of sexual assault than of lying, vindictive women.

For instance, you have only two categories that you discussed. Either it was criminal rape or it was NFA. The fact there is not a 3rd category, the category of a person making a false claim in your mind means that false claims are exceedingly rare, not worthy of tracking. I see things differently. The absence of data doesn’t mean it isn’t taking place.


I've worked and am still working in sexual violence counselling agencies, not in the legal system. We don't question any referral, we just clean up the mess. IOW, I have no business with false reports.

It is sort of okay to say a claim can’t be proven, but to say a claim is outright false or disingenuous, that is heresy that comes with it’s own brand of social justice.


As mentioned, giving a false report of rape or any other crime is itself a crime. You would be better placed than I to determine how common false reports are, and what action is taken about them.

Maybe I’m making a Type I error, but it just doesn’t seem like it is correct to validate in this case. Given my experience, I give the parents the benefit of the doubt here.


And given mine, I empathise with the parts of the OP quoted in my reply No. 3.
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#24

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:00 am

I agree, there is a degree of responsibility to confirm the age of a girl. Yet, there is also the concept of the punishment fitting the crime. Chopping someone’s hand off for theft is excessive. Likewise, we take horny teens involved in consensual sex and treat them like child predators, putting them in jail, labeling them felons, and then having them register as sex offenders the rest of their lives.

The harsh punishment is a result of ‘Jessica’s Law’, passed in 2005. This was the brutal rape/murder of a 9 year old by a repeat sex offender. The law, intended to target child predators, has taken a life of it’s own with variations passed in each state.

The above is getting media attention. There are support groups and organizations lobbying to revise the laws, because of how the law is being applied for cases of teenage indiscretions. But, like most issues change does not take place fast enough to repair the damage for the initial generation impacted.

Throw in the current political climate, e.g. #metoo, etc., and no politician wants to touch that minefield.

Note, I’m not saying issues related to marginalized communities are not important to discuss. In fact, I think in some sense that is what we are both doing here. You wade in with your torch, because victims of sexual abuse often have no voice or are marginalized. I agree with you. To that end, so are the young teens thrown in jail and labeled predators for life. Those young teens are being marginalized as well and in comparison to other marginalized groups, they effectively have no voice.

Candid wrote:
Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:...If Sally and Susan and Betty are all in feminist studies at Uni and everyone is being taught...


Seriously, Richard, is this conjecture or can you refer me to a peer-reviewed study of such a phenomenon? Because you know I think the world of you, but on this subject I believe you're talking through your hat.

Quite -- and the need to belong to your family of origin outweighs to an astronomical degree the need to fit in with your fellow students!


Absolutely there are studies. There are entire bodies of work on the subject.

Maybe it is in the specific hypothetical presented, or maybe I made it sound like Betty was consciously making the choice. I did not mean that Betty actively scrolls through her memory and intentionally fabricates a falsehood in order to fit in. I’m talking about the subconscious, hence referencing Maslow’s motivational hierarchy.

I’m talking about the power of social conformity.

Where we differ, in my opinion, is the relative weight of “family of origin”. I agree with you that familial bonds are extremely powerful. There is plenty of peer reviewed research on that subject. Yet, there is also plenty of of research on social conformity.

I’m going off the top of my head here, so pardon the lack of structure;

-1- Wire monkey experiment, showing strength of maternal bonds.

-2- Milgram’s shock experiments.

-3- Zimbardo’s entire body of work, including the Stanford Prison Experiment.

-4- Length of lines, social conformity experiment where a participant agreed with confederates about the various lengths of lines, even as it was objectively obvious the confederates were wrong.

-5- Good Samaritan experiment

The horrific things people are willing to do in order to fit in or belong is well documented. In some cases it is a conscious decision, but it is more often a subconscious process.

What is the prompt or basis for experiments on social conformity? According to Zimbardo, one of the biggest drivers is trying to understand how things like the Salem Witch trials, or the Holocaust occur. How do good people do evil things? How do entire groups or populations get swept up in a movement, allowing them to dehumanize others and commit atrocities?

Here is something to consider. If family bonds are “astronomically” stronger, then how would we explain “brother against brother” or “son against father” which is not an uncommon occurrence as families become divided over differences in beliefs. The revolutionary war, the civil war, political differences, etc., can tear families apart. The bonds of family are broken over political viewpoints? Happens all the time. Family bonds broken over religious differences? Happens all the time. So religious beliefs are stronger than familial bonds?

Granted, I’ve shifted the target a bit and am discussing beliefs rather than social conformity, but the research on social conformity is fairly clear. People identify with a group and are willing to break family bonds in order to uphold that identity. I’m not saying it isn’t a struggle or devoid of angst.

What is a bit counterintuitive for me, is that given my “good enough” parents I would think I should be the one saying that family bonds outweigh and are astronomically stronger. Given your personal experience, I would think that you would be the one arguing that family bonds can be broken and are weaker than we might think. I don’t know...at this point just throwing it out there. Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

To reinforce...I didn’t mean hypothetical Betty is necessarily making a conscious decision.
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#25

Postby Candid » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:40 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:... there is also the concept of the punishment fitting the crime. [...] we take horny teens involved in consensual sex and treat them like child predators, putting them in jail, labeling them felons, and then having them register as sex offenders the rest of their lives.


No argument from me about the wrongness of this. In another jurisdiction they could probably get married.

... young teens thrown in jail and labeled predators for life.


Is there a lot of this occurring? Are they going into adult jails, or juvenile detention centres? What length of sentences are they incurring?

Candid wrote:Seriously, Richard, is this conjecture or can you refer me to a peer-reviewed study of such a phenomenon?


Absolutely there are studies. There are entire bodies of work on the subject.
-1- Wire monkey experiment, showing strength of maternal bonds.

-2- Milgram’s shock experiments.

-3- Zimbardo’s entire body of work, including the Stanford Prison Experiment.

-4- Length of lines, social conformity experiment where a participant agreed with confederates about the various lengths of lines, even as it was objectively obvious the confederates were wrong.

-5- Good Samaritan experiment


I'm familiar with all those experiments, but what I was asking about (with tongue somewhat in cheek) was studies specifically about young people trashing their own parents in order to fit in with their peers. I simply don't believe this is happening -- or if it is, that the stance is maintained for years or until the death of one of the parties.

I’m talking about the power of social conformity.


Adult survivors of child abuse who cut contact with one or both parents are hardly good examples of social conformity! I'm far from alone in having been ostracised by siblings and regarded with suspicion by extended family. Can't say it's made me any more popular with my peers, either.

Where we differ, in my opinion, is the relative weight of “family of origin”.


I sense you're not liking the phrase 'good-enough parents', but it has to be said that their offspring find it extremely hard to get their heads around the concept of the other kind. Similarly (and ironically), the lucky majority who've never had even to consider leaving the shelter of family are less appreciative, less aware of how much FOO affects their lives than those of us who had no option but to cut contact.

I'm glad you referenced Harlow's experiments with rhesus monkeys. I remember being badly triggered by a film shown to us when I was a student. The 'abused' monkeys clung harder to the wire mothers -- even the ones from which spikes protruded at intervals -- than did the monkeys with cloth-covered mothers. What brought me to tears was the monkey that eventually ran shrieking from its 'mother' then lay on the ground with its hands over its head. As Harlow concluded, abused infants are far more clingy than those who enjoy the caring, cuddles and constancy of GEPs, and who are infinitely more at home in the world, more free to explore and take risks, because they know someone's got their back.

The horrific things people are willing to do in order to fit in or belong is well documented. In some cases it is a conscious decision, but it is more often a subconscious process.


I believe the experiments you're thinking of were more about obedience to authority figures than about fitting in and belonging.

If family bonds are “astronomically” stronger, then how would we explain “brother against brother” or “son against father” which is not an uncommon occurrence as families become divided over differences in beliefs.


Sibling separation isn't up there with cutting off a parent, and it's my understanding that a young buck has at least to challenge the old man, as a part of individuation that most female offspring never have to consider.

Mothers are a whole different matter. https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic ... 3#msg35763

The bonds of family are broken over political viewpoints? Happens all the time. Family bonds broken over religious differences? Happens all the time. So religious beliefs are stronger than familial bonds?


They make movies about this kind of dilemma, so clearly it is a struggle with plenty of angst. For me, it's far too big a leap from Fiddler on the Roof to hypothetical Betty ditching her mum and dad on spurious grounds.

What is a bit counterintuitive for me, is that given my “good enough” parents I would think I should be the one saying that family bonds outweigh and are astronomically stronger. Given your personal experience, I would think that you would be the one arguing that family bonds can be broken and are weaker than we might think. I don’t know...at this point just throwing it out there. Honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.


I think I can clear this one up for you, although there was a clue in what I wrote about Harlow's monkeys. You've never had to think about life without your GEPs, therefore you can't imagine what life would be like if you broke your ties with them. It would be gross betrayal as well as base ingratitude, wouldn't it?

For me, the older I've got the more I realise what I missed out on.

When I was in my 20s, long before I cut off my mother and even longer before I was formally diagnosed with Complex PTSD, I attended the 21st birthday celebration of a co-worker. Her dad got up and made a speech about her, and I was immediately assailed by all sorts of uncomfortable feelings.

He could joke about bad things she'd done? I would have been hugely shamed for far less. But there they were, my co-worker and her parents, laughing like friends. That's when I got embarrassing tears in my eyes, because for the first time I realised some parents actually loved their children.
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#26

Postby Mephista » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:32 pm

On the other side, I equally struggle when someone says, “My parent forced me to learn physics.” Suddenly, the earlier claim that the parent fondled them, for some reason becomes less impactful. Throw in the idea the mother watched and did nothing and I begin to ask myself if there is more to the story? I’m no longer so eager to validate as I am in the previous paragraph. Why? Is it my fault that suddenly I am less eager to validate, that a bit of skepticism creeps in?


Ok, this pissed me off the most. I confess I have not read all the other posts in the meantime, but this right here is the kind of attitude that I think keeps most victims of any form of abuse silent and self-destructive for years.

You are basically saying if someone does any good to you, it's like you "owe" them in some way and it somehow excuses any abusive behaviour they exhibit towards you.
Yes, my father supported me fincially, yes he helped with maths and physics homework. Does this justify his constant bellittlement, humiliation, and downright molestation, the fact that he would call me a disappointment to everyone not just in the family, but in his circle of friends? I am sorry, but I fail to see how this logic works.
It's like saying someone who works on curing cancer has the moral right to sexually abuse children or whatever the hell he wants, no matter how morally objectionable or destructive to others' lives, because he has status and is a "contributing" member to society.

You mentioned that my account was one sided. But my account was objective as cold be, and have not even mentioned all the negative things I experienced over the years on account of my father's abusive behaviour. Those were all facts. He did lie on top of me and fondled me and joked to my mother about raping me.
The fact that he randomly placed his hand on my butt while passing me by down the hallway of our country house-fact, he randomly made comments about my appearance making me feel like sh** and worthless for years. Even with any "benefits" to this so-called father-daughter relationship, does this kind of behaviour ever seem justified under any circumstances to you? And yes, validation is important, when you have nobody else in your life who truly understands your pain and constantly acts like somehow "there must be something more to the story".
Do you think I am happy with saying that I never had a real fatherly figure in my life? Do you think it is easy for me to ever relax or have any kind of interaction with men, when I never felt safe around my own father?
Do you think it is easy for me to hear my mother always finding excuses for him, no matter how much he hurt me? I would not be here writing about this stuff if it were some minor clear cut case.
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#27

Postby Candid » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:11 am

Mephista, have you looked at Out of the Storm https://www.outofthestorm.website/?

Guaranteed you'll get only understanding replies if you sign up to the forum there.
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#28

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Jun 06, 2019 1:05 pm

Candid wrote:Is there a lot of this occurring? Are they going into adult jails, or juvenile detention centres? What length of sentences are they incurring?


Here is a single source that cites 200,000 young teens and sometimes children being placed on lifetime sex offender registries.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-sex ... pact-youth

Sentences vary, but these are felonies. Young teens get sentenced to up to 10 years and then will be on a registry for life.

I'm familiar with all those experiments, but what I was asking about (with tongue somewhat in cheek) was studies specifically about young people trashing their own parents in order to fit in with their peers. I simply don't believe this is happening -- or if it is, that the stance is maintained for years or until the death of one of the parties.


We see people come in this forum and trash their parents on a regular basis. I agree with you, the stance is not maintained for years. This forum is a testing ground, people bemoaning their parents, venting, seeking validation, but in my opinion the majority are not going to maintain that stance.

Post pubescent teens are well known for rebelling against parents. This comes with plenty of parent bashing and social conformity.

I agree with you that the majority of time it doesn’t last. I’m not inclined to seek out peer reviewed studies on post pubescent rebellion. If you don’t believe post pubescent parent bashing occurs, fair enough. If you believe people that sign up for the forum are an exception, fair enough. I will kindly disagree and use your own case as evidence.

You are a rare case. The majority of people that complain or bash their parents are not going to maintain the stance for years if not decades. Most are not you. Most are in here to temporarily vent about how they think their parents screwed up their life.

Adult survivors of child abuse who cut contact with one or both parents are hardly good examples of social conformity! I'm far from alone in having been ostracised by siblings and regarded with suspicion by extended family. Can't say it's made me any more popular with my peers, either.


Agreed. Again, most are not you.

I sense you're not liking the phrase 'good-enough parents', but it has to be said that their offspring find it extremely hard to get their heads around the concept of the other kind.


This was a bit of an eye opener for me. I should have thought about it. It is something that just never crossed my mind, that we probably have a different origin and therefore different understanding of what the term “good enough” parent means.

I first heard the term “good enough” parent reading texts related to evolutionary psychology. A good enough parent had little to do with abuse. To qualify as good enough the parent only had to ensure any offspring survived long enough to procreate.

When you said I don’t like the term it struck me as odd. I began to guess that you probably first heard the term as it relates to CPTSD or some other source related to abuse, etc.

Given the nature of this thread and our conversations, I must admit I lack a good definition of what qualifies as a good enough parent.

Where did you first hear the term and how do you define what qualifies as a “good enough” parent?

I believe the experiments you're thinking of were more about obedience to authority figures than about fitting in and belonging.


Obedience is one aspect, but there is a large body of work regarding social conformity. Milgram focused more on authority, while Zimbardo’s work touches on both.

The OP isn’t going to permanently break contact with her father, because at worst he has been verbally abusive. I’m not condoning verbal abuse. I’m only pointing out that is the worst we have in this case. At best, he is a jerk, an a-hole, a crass individual that has made his daughter uncomfortable with his sexually charged behaviors.
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#29

Postby Candid » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:37 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Here is a single source that cites 200,000 young teens and sometimes children being placed on lifetime sex offender registries.


Crikey, Richard, I hope none of our young people worrying they're sexual predators click on that link!

It's clearly an over-the-top knee-jerk response to a growing problem (because children are becoming sexualised younger and younger), and I agree it will do far more harm than good. This is the kind of thing that makes people in countries other than the US say: Only in America!

I'm horrified to see jiggling about with another child conflated with forcible rape. Rather less surprising is the difference in funding for the punishment of these 'offenders', and services for survivors, or preventive work.

If you don’t believe post pubescent parent bashing occurs, fair enough.


Of course it does. That's what post-pubescence is for!

If you believe people that sign up for the forum are an exception, fair enough.


I don't. We're both aware, though, that this is a 'helping' forum with a dedicated section for problems in close relationships.

You are a rare case.


I am, like everybody else, unique. However, if you were to spend five minutes browsing Out Of The Storm, you would see abusive parenting resulting in lifelong estrangement is far from rare. There are lots of online articles (mainstream and academic), websites, blogs, and forums for and about adult survivors of child abuse.

To qualify as good enough the parent only had to ensure any offspring survived long enough to procreate.


Had the definition gone a step further, to ensure any offspring were capable of raising the next generation, the roads might have converged. In fact they converge anyway, when you consider that victims of verbal, physical and sexual abuse are less likely to reach adulthood than the offspring of good-enough parents. You can't possibly have missed all the news items about children being battered to death by their caregivers. A disinterested parent won't notice when a child is ill, when it's about to eat poison, or when it's run away and been grabbed by Sakoz's bogeyman. Children raised with contempt or unreasonable expectations are more likely to commit suicide than those allowed to grow, at their own pace, into the people they (the children) choose to be.

Where did you first hear the term and how do you define what qualifies as a “good enough” parent?


I believe I first heard the term from the therapist I was seeing nearly 30 years ago. It's "good-enough" rather than "perfect" for obvious reasons.

Good-enough parents are those capable of attending to their offspring's physical, mental, emotional and moral health and development. They delight in their children's personality and individuation. They want what's best for their children -- as opposed to the parents who want only what's best for themselves, up to and including sexual gratification.

It's not rocket science. When good-enough parents act unfairly because they're having a bad day, LOVE makes them seek out the child as soon as possible to apologise. This both repairs the relationship and models appropriate behaviour.

The other kind of parent wouldn't even consider apologising to a child. These parents alternate between abusive behaviours and exaggerated 'recompense': giving inappropriate gifts or treats, saying "I love you", demanding cuddles for themselves. Alcoholics are notorious for this erratic 'parenting', and a high number of NOT good-enough parents have PDs, most commonly BPD or NPD.

The OP isn’t going to permanently break contact with her father, because at worst he has been verbally abusive. I’m not condoning verbal abuse. I’m only pointing out that is the worst we have in this case. At best, he is a jerk, an a-hole, a crass individual that has made his daughter uncomfortable with his sexually charged behaviors.


That's an extraordinary viewpoint!

Mephista wrote:My father molested me in front of my mother like 10 years ago(he was drunk and literally laid on top of me and fondled me)
My father was an alcoholic and emotionally abusive towards me most of my childhood too.I never had any real father-daughter relationship with him
He accidentally touched my bra after he gave me a hug and sort of looked at me in a gross way.
It always felt like support out of sense of duty on their part, not genuine love.
There have been several sexual comments on his part about my appearance
He ... came home drunk almost daily.
I was told to "go to your room and not make a noise, to avoid provoking him"
I was constantly bullied out of any natural interest I had -art, music, literature, biology etc, from as long as I can remember, because it did not suit his idea of what "his child" had to be. Which was an engineer.
And yes, being forced to study when it is not your interest is a form of abuse. Especially if every step of the way you're yelled at and humiliated for any idea that you voice.
He once walked beside me, and intentionally placed his hand on my butt, he once made jokes about my lipstick being "just right for oral sex"-to put it politely. He once said I took nothing from my mother's side, "not even your c***"-exact quote.
[My mother] is afraid of dying alone and poor, and that beats any care she has for her children.
I do not have much family but yes they have done a good job at painting me as the black sheep my whole life. I am used to having little to no support
Our father also bullied [my sister] into pursuing an engineering major over literature, her passion.
... constant bellittlement, humiliation, and downright molestation, the fact that he would call me a disappointment to everyone not just in the family, but in his circle of friends


This is a father who at best wanted an engineer in the family, regardless of the fact that both his daughters' interests lay chiefly in the arts; and a mother who simply didn't care.

But this is the cri-de-coeur:
it IS possible for a child(who, bear in mind, is totally dependent on his parents for survival-especially when no other caregivers are around, such as was my case) to both hate and love an abusive parent.

Or to put it even more black and white-I have an on and off inner war going on between angry me and idealistic me, who still wants to have a family,


Yeah, Mephista, I get it. I really do.
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