by P. Berman
I wish I could be more like my dad. If I was only as smart as he is, I wouldn’t make stupid mistakes!
Craig was caught in a daydream filled with an image of himself as inferior to his dad because he gave Claire the wrong name for his current dog. He was relentlessly cutting himself down; just as Claire, with her very different family background, often cut herself down. They were intolerant of making mistakes. Yet all human’s make mistakes- even Craig’s dad.
Claire came from a rural poor family. Craig came from a wealthy urban family. Yet, emotional abuse, in the form of relentless criticism from their parents was a childhood experience they shared in common. Young Craig was his dad’s pride in joy, unless he made a mistake.
Even a four-year-old Craig had received a verbal beating for making mistakes at preschool. Craig was lost in youthful memory. He was hiding in the backyard, underneath his swing set. Craig had felt forced to hide so his dad couldn’t see he was crying, and his dad couldn’t see him. Craig had been playing ball with the neighbor. Craig really admired this big kid- he was six years old yet still was willing to play with him! This boy had received a ball and bat for his birthday and was trying to teach Craig how to play baseball.
Craig took a wild swing at the ball coming straight at him. It started out as a wonderful miracle- his bat made contact with the ball. But then it happened, the ball hit his dad’s car, sitting in the driveway-it made a big dent. Deeply worried, Craig had told his dad, the moment he came home, about the accident. For his honesty he was given a harsh spanking and told he was never allowed to play with the neighbor boy again; he was an older boy who should never have let a twit like his son put his hands around a baseball bat.
Craig sighed as he sat on the step. He never lacked for any physical thing he had he needed growing up. But he was routinely forbidden from spending time with anyone he made friends with- something was always wrong with them. Craig had grown up lonely. His parents were well educated but didn’t seem to know what to do with a child or how to have enough time to be involved parents.
Craig’s parents had both gone to college. Claire’s parents hadn’t made it through high school. Thus, in some ways, Claire’s parents had more excuses for being ignorant of normal child development that Craig’s. However, most people learn how to be a parent, from what they learned growing up in their families. Both his parents had learned a major lesson growing up- if it didn’t bring in money, it wasn’t that important.
Craig’s dad was now the regional manager of a large bank. He had raised Craig to have all the skills necessary to be successful in the world of banking. He had also taught him that to real men, were always in control of what was going on. Craig had learned his dad’s lessons well. At work, he was on the fast track, always impressing his bank manager with his knowledge of finance. With the women he dated, Craig always took control; but he was still lonely.
Do you think Craig will abuse Claire?
What other signs might you look for?
The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides the following signs that a partner might be abusive including:
- Tells you that you can never do anything right
- Shows extreme jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeps you or discourages you from seeing friends or family members
- Insults, demeans or shames you with put-downs
- Controls every penny spent in the household
- Takes your money or refuses to give you money for necessary expenses
- Looks at you or acts in ways that scare you
- Controls who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Prevents you from making your own decisions
- Tells you that you are a bad parent or threatens to harm or take away your children
- Prevents you from working or attending school
- Destroys your property or threatens to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidates you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressures you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
- Pressures you to use drugs or alcohol”
Has Craig used any of these tactics on Claire?
To read more go to:https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/