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TW What is abuse?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this kind of question but I'm too afraid to ask out loud to my counsellor right now.

I'm 22 and live at home with my parents and my dad is FIFO and mum works from home. My brother has severe special needs. My mum's kind of a difficult person, she's very bitter and resentful and I understand why, she didn't have the best childhood and taking care of my brother is tough, she doesn't sleep and is always stressed. The way she treats him though is getting worse over the years. He doesn't go to any therapy or doctors or have any support. She doesn't feed him when he's hungry (he can't get food for himself) but when it suits her (he has 3 meals a day, but he's a teenage boy and I think he wants more). She expects him to (when he's not at school) to sit in a dark room for hours with a TV and not come out or make a sound. She's never physically hurt him but she threatens him with violence a couple times a week and calls him an 'animal, disgusting, stupid' etc. 

She's not exactly caring in her nature, she not affectionate to me and when dad is home, things calm down because he takes over caring for my brother. 

So is this abuse? Or is she just a mum doing the best she can? 

Re: TW What is abuse?

Hey @smileandwave 

 

Thanks for sharing. It must be hard to see your brother being treated like that. It is possible that your mum is doing the best she can, but I think what you've described still constitutes abuse. 

 

Have you raised these concerns with your dad? 

 

 

Re: TW What is abuse?

@Maddy-RO I haven't, I don't think he would understand and he doesn't really know what it's like when he's not here. If I did share my concerns with my family, I don't think they would listen or understand and I don't want anyone getting in trouble either.

Re: TW What is abuse?

Hey @smileandwave, it sounds like you're in the really tough position of wanting to protect your brother, and also not wanting your parents to get in trouble, am I right?

If you don't feel comfortable talking to your immediate family about what's going on, perhaps you could talk to another adult family member - what do you reckon? 

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: TW What is abuse?

@smileandwave that sounds like abuse to me..

Your brother is probably doing the best he can as well, and he deserves to be treated with respect.

 

Have you spoken to your brother about it?

Even if he can't respond or doesn't seem to understand, it's still worth showing him that you care.

You might be able to give him some (genuine) compliments, play a board/ video game with him, or watch some tv with him.

Even just being in the same room might make him feel a bit less alone.

 

Aside from that, this website has easy to follow ways to get help: 

https://www.disabilitysafeweek.org.au/emotional_abuse.html

I don't know what special needs your brother has, but this is deliberately written in simple English to make it accessible to people with intellectual disabilities, so if your brother is able to read, chances are he'll be able to understand it.

Re: TW What is abuse?

@letitgo Yeah, it's pretty tough. I feel so guilty and helpless all the time.
We don't have any extended family around us, and I don't know anyone I could speak to besides my counsellor which I might do next week. It seems less scary now that I've talked about on here.

Re: TW What is abuse?

thanks @Tiny_leaf, communication is hard with him but that is a great resource, thank you!

Re: TW What is abuse?

Hi there @smileandwave 

 

Thank you for coming to ReachOut about this situation Heart It's hard to start a conversation about abuse, so beginning that here was a great idea. 

 

I'm happy to hear you have a counsellor and that you're considering sharing this with them. They will be in a good position to support you and your family. What do you think you can do to take care of yourself after you raise this with your counsellor?