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TW: Childhood trauma/abuse

Hi all, 

I’m just currently thinking about childhood events and just wanted to talk about it and maybe get some advice on how to deal with them or what to make of them. I’m specifically thinking of one incident with my dad, which I think has forever made me scared of him and also of stepping out of line, and I also feel like has maybe negatively shaped me in my life.


I probably won’t go into detail, but I was about 7 and I remember talking back to my mum when my dad heard and got very angry. He dragged me to his room by my hair and grabbed his belt out and threatened me, saying something along the lines of this being my only warning and that next time I speak like that to my mum he will belt me. I grew up with him belting my siblings, so I knew that he would actually do it, so I think it has really just had an effect on me, and has caused me to I guess shut down more and never really speak up about anything out of fear of saying the wrong thing. 


I think I’m confused because I’ve never thought of this event as childhood trauma or anything, but now that I think about it, it doesn’t sound right. I think that it was very normalised for my dad to lash out like that in my household, and I grew up thinking it was just normal punishment. He doesn’t belt any of my siblings anymore (I never actually got belted), I think the last time he did was sometime between 2013-2015. I just want to know if this is abusive behaviour, or just punishment/discipline? I love my dad, but I am very distant from him emotionally and am honestly scared of him - If I am in my room and hear him raise his voice or hear a loud noise I freeze up and instantly think that he has hurt someone, which I don’t think should be a normal reaction.


I also try my best to be the perfect child and do as I am told because I’m terrified of getting in trouble, and I feel like I am also terrified of failing and rejection in my friendships or at school as a result of all of this. 


Re: TW: Childhood trauma/abuse

Hey there @pstlcims its good that you've chosen to open up about that experience with your dad and how it might be impacting you. It's very common to feel that you love and care about your parents but some of the choices/actions they made when you were little has influenced you. 


Most people can recount some kind of memory from their younger years that plays on their mind today. Identifying it and seeing the connection to the present shows a lot of emotional maturity on your part - you should be proud of that. 


These sorts of memories are good to chat about with a counsellor or therapist of some kind. They can help explain why that experience may have influenced your emotions and give you tools to move past those fears of failure and rejection. 


Do you think talking to someone about it would help? 

Re: TW: Childhood trauma/abuse

Hi @pstlcims

Thankyou for sharing Heart, it sounds like you are feeling a bit confused and upset about this memory and the way your dad has acted in the past? Not to mention, feeling a bit sad about your relationship with him, and perhaps a bit exhausted, feeling like you have to be on edge all the time if you hear him raise his voice? That is a lot to process! 

As @Bre-RO mentioned, it is so cool that you are beginning to examine these things, it sounds like there is a lot to unpack, and that is so normal Heart


Would you feel comfortable seeing out a professional to talk to? I have found they are really great at helping focus reflection and what to address first when here are multiple things at play.