Friday, September 08, 2006

Abuse (update)

Ironically, the word itself is frequently abused.

I've never seen a time when so many people are feeling so abused. Children being made to order from the kids menu or being told 'no' to certain desserts... are now feeling "abused." When a parent draws a line as to how their child's room is decorated (ie, "no, you can't put that picture up in the corner near the ceiling by itself, pick another place") the word recklessly flies. Even simply feeling insulted is now considered abuse by some.

People use it to describe many things that, arguably, aren't abuse at all. In divorces and legal actions, the word is frequently used to extort... which is an "abuse" of the system.

Culturally, when we throw the word around as loosely as we do, we risk the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome. I wish people would lighten up a little and examine their lives. Some are dealing with real, dangerous abuse every day.

My daughter, for instance.

This morning, I had to endure a story from her mother about a late-night phone call, during which she heard my daughter being hit by her boyfriend, being called names and screamed at. My daughter wouldn't tell her where she was, but asked if she could come home. Unfortunately, she didn't have the courage to leave... she stayed in that environment. This morning, I can't reach her, and am going just a little crazy wondering if she's okay.

That is abuse.

As a father, I'm struggling with how to handle it. My first inclination is to go find the kid and give him a mouthful of broken teeth. Jail time doesn't appeal to me, and I think it would backfire anyway... probably resulting in her resentment of me, and pity for him. I'm truly at a loss for how to handle it. This minute, I finally got a text message from her, so she's okay.

I will spend the day and the weekend considering the options. Meantime, it's a little difficult for me to hear the word "abuse" being thrown around so irrationally, when real, actual abuse is touching my life so profoundly right now.

UPDATE: It's amazing how ridiculous the laws of Missouri are. At age 17, she can move out, do whatever she wants, it's her decision. However, if she gets into trouble, it's still the parents' responsibility until she turns 18. This one of the few states where this age disparity exists.

The result is, I cannot issue an police-enforced ex parte of protection against him. It's up to her to do that... and she won't do it.

However, I have formulated a plan and will execute it Sunday evening. At this point, it doesn't involve the broken teeth scenario, but if he even so much as looks at me funny at the time, that could change. It may be her decision to continue seeing him, but I have the ability to make the abuse stop... and I will do just that.


❉ pixie ❉ said...

Oh Dave, that is so awful. My heart sank a little when I read that paragraph about your daughter. I'm so glad she is okay and I hope she can see that she needs out of that environment. Nobody deserves to be treated that way in what is supposed to be a loving, caring environment. My thoughts are with the both of you today.

Mishka said...

Dave, I hope it works out...I can't imagine the emotions you must be running through or how I would handle something like that.

Is this the daughter that is only 16 or an older one? Regardless I can't agree with you more on the careless use of the word abuse and the soft way we think everything in this life needs to be...we need to toughen up a bit so that when real abuse comes along, we know what it is and how to handle it.

My only suggestion for dealing with your daughter would be to reinforce her self esteem and the fact that she deserves better than this treatment. Hopefully she will see that as well.

Nobody said...

I hope she is okay, and gets out of that relationship. I'm not sure how I would handle that situation myself.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Always carry a throw-down.

Yep. Sneering at your wife is "abuse" nowadays.

Fantastagirl said...

OMGOSH... I am so sorry your daughter is going through this - I hope that she can see that she doesn't need her boyfriend and is "safe".

I can't imagine being being in your shoes. I'd want to hurt him badly.

amandarama said...

Jesus. That is so awful. You and your daughter will be in my thoughts.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I am so sorry. I hope your daughter is able to rid herself of this guy and soon.

Keep telling her you love her and then tell her again.

Blogarita said...

I'm so sorry C. is going through this. It's a tough situation to be in, and it's hard to make someone see they are in an abusive relationship if they don't want to see it.

I wish all the best for her...and for you both work through this.

Give me a call if you need to talk.

Pyrhonik said...

Dude, some of this is simple, and the rest is exclusive to your situation, and therefore complicated by the variables between you and your daughter.

Your choices are measured. Inaction is noted and measured. Whatever you choose to do, make it now, not two minutes from now. And whether she resents you and pities him is irrelevant. In years to come she will see your actions and measure them as her father's love. Or you'll be forever measured for inaction in your daughter's eyes. Even the smallest actions like phoning every night, stopping by, and "I love you's" can be the difference. It's a tough spot the two of you are in. Perhaps your love can open her eyes to what a relationship is supposed to be.

Either way your making an impression on her and the boyfriend.

sally in brisbane said...

This is one of those times when dads have it harder than mums... this is something only a father would agonise over... its not what a mum does, punch a guy's lights out...we protect our young in different ways.. have no concept, really, of how you must feel, but I bet its fucked.

mckay said...

YIKES, dave! do you know the boyfriend or where he lives? do you know where her best friend lives? she might be there.

i hope this all works out. i think having YOU tell her she deserves better than how her jerk of a boyfriend is treating her will help. i remember when i was dating a loser and my dad's advice did sink in.

take care and BIG prayers to you, C. and her mom.

Randy Raley said...

"A father's worst nightmare"...indeed. You had intimated this might be coming the other day at lunch. I wish you patience and the determination to do what's right and stand your ground. Good luck, Dave. Remember,"the parent's hell will slowly go by..."

phoenix said...

I have been thinking about this since I read this at work... sorry for no comment at that time. I think I have a small solution that will work on your daughter.

You need to ask her to lunch or supper... and on the way there or back... drop by an abused women's shelter. Let her hear and see first hand from those that have been where she is now. They are not married and a hard and fast lesson in what it is like to live that way will show her this is not a life to be living.

Just a thought, but one I truly believe will shock her into reality.

Good luck Dave, you are both in my prayers.

~The Goofy Ass Chick said...

Just the fact that you care Dave.... you're daughter is lucky to have you. I'm sorry y'all are going through this mess.

kdillon said...

As you know, I've been there. Probably will be there again. ALL of us have ideas, and tips...the only one that will work best for you is what YOU decide for YOUR situation. All those that care about you can do is sit on the sidelines, root for you, and know that the outcome will be the best it could possibly be. Sometimes knowing we're here, but knowing we're all just far enough away, can be a blessing.

Two words: The Smiths

Good luck, Bro!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Golly, Dave, that is rock and hard place, nowhere to be. Good luck, pal; just keep your cool.

Pyrhonik said...

Yeah, that law makes things sticky, but ultimately you can only control your own actions.

Good on ya for the plan.

Good luck!

CP said...

You take that little fucker aside and you let him know that you have a gun. A loaded gun. And that if he ever touches your daughter again, you aren't going to kill him. You will just render his babymaker useless for the rest of his pathetic, natural born life.

As for your daughter?

You need to spend more time with her, Dad. She needs to be with a real man and only a father can provide her with the self esteem she seems to be lacking. She has to know she is worth more to a man. That she is valuable and treasured and should be treated as such.

If all else fails, kill him.


Anonymous said...

you're a great father. you will know what to do when the time comes.

rachel said...

oh my god, i am speechless, that must be every parent's worst nightmare. Stay strong when you sort it out, respect to you for your words

prodgodq said...

Dave - Un fuckin' believable. I would suggest caution here. Don't let the emotion of the moment take things out of control.
My guess here is that this kid has been around physical violence most of his life, so he considers it to be a normal thing. So you want to be careful not to let this escalate into something physical. But at the same time, you have to let him know that his actions are totally unacceptable. At the same time, I think most of your work is going to be with your daughter. She has to be made to understand that once the violence begins, it will never end.
If you have the resources, I'd suggest hiring someone to watch him. Then use that fact against him. Hiring a private detective is totally legal, and totally unnerving to the person being watched. This way you have leverage without going over any legal line.
I'm sure you're getting a lot of advice, but I just wanted to throw my 2 cents in, and to let you know I'm with you in anyway that I can be. As you know I have a six year old daughter and your situation makes me think about what I might have to deal with some day. Hang in there bro..........

heidi said...

everytime I'm away for a while, I return to unrest. I shall stop by every day, three times a day if need be!

I know this situation. Why do young women fall into this "I need him trap"? you'll never know. BUT you will know how we slip out of it. She will wisen up, after all, you are her father.

I'm so sorry about your situation. I agree with the rest, keeping your cool will speak volumes. You are not a man without self control as he is.

Chelle said...

that is every parent's worst nightmare!! MY daughter just moved to Toronto to go to college. I am scared to death that she will get involved with someoen like that and we are not there to help her. I hope everything works out for her and you!!

Susan R said...

So sorry to hear about it, my sister is/was going thru some things with her daughter, no boyfriend involved, but now she's 18, but they told my sister the same thing, that she could do anything she wanted at 17, my sister works at night as a nurse, my niece was having people over at night even though there was a rule of no one at the house when she was at work, my sister has had things stolen from her house, and they were drinking and doing whatever, then she would go out at night, get home a few hours before her mother did and then did not want to go to school the next day, but things are going a little better now, hang on you will make it through.

Diana said...

Sorry to hear that she is going through that. That's sad. Just so you know, we are all here for you and for her if you need anything.

Anonymous said...

I had an abusive boyfriend when I was 15. Totally fuc*ed up. My parents banned me from seeing him but let me tell you...after that it was 'him and I against the big bad world.'
If you can...rather than showing how much you are AGAINST WITH her, be on her side, support her. Otherwise you will become the enemy in her mind and nothing you say will get through. Ask her how she feels about this guy and whether SHE thinks he is good for her, where this will go, other options etc.
Most of all, be her friend...

phoenix said...

I so hope you and your daughter are ok this morning. Thinking about both of you. Hugssss

It's Me, Maven... said...

Please make sure you update this, so we know how the story is progressing.

Words are a jumble in my head right about now. Just know I'm thinking of you, and hoping for the best for everyone involved.

rachel said...

How did Sunday go? What happened? Wanted to ask you on your next post but cant bear to be the first one, especially when silence and memory are more appropriate

M. said...

My heart breaks for your daughter. That guy deserves a severe asskicking. Good luck with the situation, I hope it all works out and your daughter will get out of this abusive relationship. She obviously has a wonderful, caring father.

Take care

Nichole said...

Dave - All I can say is this. It's completely different when you (the parent) are on the outside looking in.

I put up with that crap for 3 years. An ex-parte wont do anything if she isnt really ready to leave.

I'd be more than happy to round up my papers on my 3 year battle with abuse. Maybe that would help her see?