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    Old 06-30-2013, 06:10 PM   #1
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    parent abusing adult child?

    This is such an embarrassing and difficult problem, it will probably only end when one of us dies. So I'm not seeking a solution here, I just need somebody to listen. I can't tell it to anybody else, even my closest friends, because it's so painful and embarrassing.

    I am a 31-year old female, and I live at my mother's house. This arrangement is because the rent is so high in the city where I work (Seoul, South Korea). I have a small room to myself, though we sleep in the same bedroom. I have two siblings who are younger than me, who live in Canada while being completely supported by my mother. They found their university major (which Mother chose for them) difficult and uninteresting, so they've been taking time off for years. Despite what Mother or I say, they refuse to go back to school. They used to work part-time but aren't doing anything now (partly due to driving license being expired), except insisting they're developing an app or writing a novel. Since 2~3 years ago, Mother constantly visited or lived with me at Seoul due to some real estate issues. Since she has to continue supporting my siblings, she got a one-year contract job at her old company, and have been living with me since this January.
    I'm mentioning all this because it's related with the abuse.

    To be sure, Mother did beat me before I was an adult, which is why I still cringe looking at cloth-hangers or shoehorns (her main means for discipline). Once she chipped off a tooth so I had to have it filled, although Mother doesn't remember causing it. But it didn't occur too often (once or twice a year), and at the time corporal punishment was culturally acceptable as a disciplinary method at school as well, and since it wasn't like she got drunk and beat us with a baseball bat (like a lot of my friends' fathers did), it was somewhat tolerable and "normal" for a South Korean family. Also I felt -still feel- heavily indebted to her, since she raised us all on her own after our father died young. Any punishment I got I felt I'd deserved, because she told me so/it was culturally acceptable/it wasn't entirely random. Deep down, though, I hated it, which is why I advocate for abolishing corporal punishment and for protecting victims of domestic violence.

    The problem is that since the last 2~3 years she's been visiting and living with me, the violence/abuse has escalated and occur more frequently. At home, I rarely leave my room because once she sees me she'll start analyzing and complaining how fat/ugly I am, that I should lose weight to marry (she doesn't understand that I'm asexual), that I should go to law school, etc. That's typical Korean mother stuff, but when I snap back or argue with her on some other issue, she'll throw curses that I'll lose my job, insult and blame my father and his family for placing such a disgusting burden on her, then blame me for turning my siblings into slobs (we all like comic books and video games, which Mother thinks is the source of their current state) and turning her into such a mean person. Such insults pain me. Once in 1.5 or 2 months she will fly into a rage and beat me - pulling and ripping my hair off, scratching, throwing things, using the mop or any object to hit me. It can be instigated by anything she deems I've crossed the line: last time it was catching me eat fried chicken, recently (which was yesterday) a clothing store she dragged me to was still closed, so being in a bad mood I jeered at her and refused to wait out with her at a nearby cafe, because the coffee there is terrible. She of course never displays her rages in public, although yesterday it was a bit risky - she screamed profanities and threw things and kicked and beat me with high-heels (I have bloody bruises all over my shoulder and upper arm.) and threatened to hit me with an iron and kill me all at the doorstep, trying to keep me out. I know the wise choice was to stay out, but she threatened to throw out/burn my things, which she's done before. During the night I woke up crying, because the violence and pain re-occurred in my dream. At times like this I'm sure I will not die a natural death, but in my mother's hands.

    I have a feeling my mother is taking out her frustrations (especially those concerning my siblings) on me, and I know I shouldn't push her so, but I sometimes I get angry and defensive, I can't help it. The logical solution is to move out, though I can't do it immediately since I have to save more. I've heard friends say how they've become "real adults" by retaliating against their abusive parents by "giving a taste of their own medicine (beat them)." Since I'm bigger and heavier than Mother, I know I'm physically capable of retaliation, but I'm afraid of losing control and seriously hurting her. I'm too wuss to hit a person (except when I was in grade school), but I've unintentionally broken objects while taking out my anger, and I'm afraid of breaking her. I know some friends who escaped abusive parents by marrying and moving out, but I'm asexual, and Mother's at least right on the point that I'm too unattractive to marry anyone. My only solace is that Mother's contract ends at December, but she's looking for other jobs to support my siblings, so it's also likely she'll continue to live with me. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a dream (which is not my current job).

    Sorry for writing so long. Thank you for reading.

    Last edited by mod85; 06-30-2013 at 07:02 PM.

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    Old 06-30-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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    Re: parent abusing adult child?

    I am sorry you are in such a sad state of having to live with your Mom, who is truly sounding out of control and taking everything out on you. If she is living in your place, and has enough money to support your adult siblings who aren't supporting themselves, why can't she support herself separate from you and either reduce or stop the money flow to Canada, enabling your siblings to slough off and be unproductive, and not grow up and take care of themselves? It is clear this relationship is very dysfunctional and probably co-dependant. What are you dependant on her for?

    And she is dependant on you so her two youngest kids can be dependant on her. That is putting all the burden on you financially as well as emotionally, and tolerating the abuse just keeps it coming. I would first put my foot down and tell her you cannot tolerate her treatment of you anymore. Remind her you are an adult and must take care of yourself. Let her know the damage her continued support is indirectly doing to the other two, and then lastly, start broaching the subject of needing to live separately. I would do this in steps over a little time, to give her time to think and see if she is capable of making any changes. Hold her to any promises she makes. Be gentle and kind about this so as not to trigger her rages against you. If she is capable of working, she is capable of living alone. And you deserve to live alone and in peace with yourself. Retaliation is lowering yourself to her level and disregarding the concept of parental respect.

    You want to feel good, not bad, about your handling of the situation. Be sure to approach these discussions at a time when things are calm and there is no fighting going on. You can't have a productive talk when emotions are heated up and you are both angry. If you can't make progress with this, I would seek counselling help for both of you, so there is a referee and a objective professional sorting this out with you. It is complex, so please don't be embarrassed to ask for help with it from someone who understands your culture.

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