The New Taboo

You may have seen me at Parents Evening or in the supermarket and noted the long sleeve tops in the middle of summer, your gaze has lingered questioningly on the heavy make-up on the suspiciously puffy eyes, you may have even thought about quietly slipping me the business card to a support group for victims of domestic violence.

The litany of injuries to date includes several broken toes, a broken finger, a broken nose, constant fresh bite marks and bruises to both arms, bald patches where he has torn my hair out, black eye, gouges to the face, constant fresh bruising to both legs and back and several teeth either loose or knocked out. Add to this 3 pairs of broken spectacles, several plates and mugs smashed, a smashed phone, holes in internal doors and several larger items of furniture damaged beyond repair.

BUT here’s the secret – I’d confide in you if it was my partner inflicting these injuries on me, it’s no longer taboo to speak up about that, no my secret is much worse, my secret is still taboo. In a way I am the victim of domestic violence but the difference is that I can’t just walk away ……… The perpetrator is my own son. My son has just turned 8 and was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder when he was 6.

You see, behaviourally, my son is trapped in the Terrible Twos. At two it’s easy to put them for a time out, at 8 you can’t get near them without risking severe injury. The professionals are aware of these incidents, it was the violent behaviours that led my GP (after several years of my asking for help, it was only when she witnessed a meltdown for herself) to refer him for assessment. In his paperwork I have a letter from Clinical Psychology and the very first line reads “…I hope you made it home ok” following an appointment that was cut short after 10 minutes due to a meltdown, he is currently excluded from school as a health and safety risk and yet nobody wants to help. There are no services in the UK (and probably the rest of the world) for parents who are at risk from their children, even social services will only look at whether you are likely to snap under the pressure and harm your child – if they think you might your child is then classed as ‘at risk’ from you when, in fact, the opposite is true.

Don’t for one second think this is rare, at one time people believed domestic violence didn’t exist but it was just that it was taboo to talk about, victims suffered in silence. It’s time we break THIS taboo. It’s time to start shouting. It’s time for society to stop turning a blind eye. It’s time for proper advice and support it’s time for those of us living this to stand up and admit I AM A VICTIM OF CHILD-ON-PARENT ABUSE AND I AM NOT TO BLAME

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18 thoughts on “The New Taboo

    1. Thank you, I think we need to start speaking up about this, at one time it was taboo to speak of domestic violence and when people did the victim was often blamed but the more people started talking about it the more help suddenly became available. Hopefully if we talk about it and break the taboo we’ll get more help and support for others suffering in silence x

  1. This is an excellent post and I really like your blog, I can resonate with everything that you say. Until a few years ago your life was my life and I have often commented that I feel as if I was a victim of domestic abuse due to the control that my daughter exerted over me combined with daily verbal and physical abuse. The effects on my mental health, confidence and self esteem continue to leave there mark to this day. Discovering a little known form of autism called PDA ‘Pathological Demand Avoidance’ helped me to understand the triggers for her behaviour and to adopt a lifestyle that has reduced the meltdowns to nil. Her original diagnosis was Aspergers but that profile and the recommended strategies just never seemed to fit and the strategies just made her worse. I know the hell that you are living and I truly hope that you can find a way forward with your son to help reduce the daily onslaught that you are currently living with. If your son has traditional ASD rather than a PDA profile you may find some of the strategies and understanding that we use for our PDA kids helpful.

    1. I’m convinced The Whirlwind has PDA but trying to get an assessment or any of the professionals involved to even consider it is proving to be a nightmare. I’ve printed off your PDA booklet and will be insisting his social worker reads EVERY word of it!

      1. lol my son’s nickname was Whirlwind but he’s an aspie. Good luck with the professionals, hopefully if they read the profile and know your son the two should quickly slot together for them. Get one on board and hopefully the rest should follow. If you can face trawling through my blog there may be lots of posts that are helpful. If you have only recently suspected or discovered PDA then you may find this link useful http://www.thepdaresource.com/ I’ll ask the admin to put your blog on the resource page if you like. There aren’t many writing about our experiences as honestly as you and I do, so it would be great to include your blog.

  2. Thank you, it would be great if you could add my blog, for a long time I ‘covered up’ what my son was doing to me but I’ve realised that unless we talk about it then it will remain a ‘dirty little secret’ and we won’t get the help we and our children need. I’ll look for that FB group xx

  3. I’ve just found the link for your blog and know exactly how you feel about the abuse from your son. Until Dillon was diagnosed with PDA and started on Risperidone I was constantly covered in bite marks, pinch marks up my arms and my shins will never be the same from the amount of kicks I got. The last kick bruise, which was Nov 2012, is still there nearly a year later , it was that hard! I always had to wear long sleeves. I ended up turning up at CAMHS which had a reception desk in our health centre and begging for help showing them my arms! It seemed to work and we got seen. My little one is now much calmer and happier and, after 8 months out of school, we have one that really understands his problems….. And it’s mainstream!

  4. You are obviously not alone; so many parents going through this torment every day and being ignored or refused help. You’re brave to talk about it and I hope with combined voices we can find that support we all need x

    1. Thank you x my aim when writing this post was to encourage more people suffering child-on-parent abuse to speak out, while ever we treat it as something shameful then the authorities don’t need to act to provide help and support

  5. I remember once calling the police because the violence was at such a level that I couldn’t cope….and then they took us home and came and searched my house!!!! And then made a referral to the SS (who thankfully didn’t bother to come round but phoned to see that we were ok). I would never call the Police again. They made me feel like it was all my fault 😦

    1. Unfortunately child on parent abuse is not taken seriously by either the police or SS, either they assume it “can’t be that bad – he’s only a child” or they assume it’s caused by a failing on the parents part. We need to speak out and share our experiences in much the same way as women had to before to get Domestic Violence recognised and acknowledged, in part this was why I wrote this post – to give heart to other parents that they aren’t alone and that we shouldn’t feel ashamed about talking about it.

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