“Any punishment I tried to impose (no tv or taking away computer or XBox) was rescinded within 1 hour of implementation.”
This was my daily routine:
Up at 0600 to get “Mark” ready for school. Make sure a fresh, never been used, towel in bathroom for him. Gather his daily clothes, what he will wear. No, he is not slow or challenged in the way you are thinking. He is a fully functioning 13 (almost 14) year old male. However, he has quirks. Each towel must be freshly washed. His clothes must be picked out in advance, or he will take forever making a decision as what to wear. In addition, any clothes that even get remotely put on his body are now “dirty” and must be re-washed. Now all of this is contingent that I even succeed in rousing him from bed. Heavy sleeper, stubborn as hell, gets away with anything his heart wanted. As per Daddy’s orders. If he didn’t want to get up, he didn’t go to school. Any punishment I tried to impose (no tv or taking away computer or XBox) was rescinded within 1 hour of implementation.
Jenn lays out a wonderful example of how the victim is turned into a slave to the relationship. Marks “quirks” easily translate into abusive behaviors. Does anyone else feel like they are reading the script from ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’ starring Julia Roberts? The clincher is Mr. Smith undermining Jenn’s authority as an adult figure in the home. Often times an abuser will argue that the victim is too permissive and that they need the abuser to keep order because they are incapable of maintaining it. However, any attempts by the victim to discipline or redirect negative behaviors are usually undermined so that the abuser can keep control. This can be very confusing for the victim and will often times effect their self-esteem and confidence in their ability to parent. This also diminishes any respect a child has for the adult. Having the respect of a child that is not one’s own under healthy circumstances is difficult, it is virtually impossible under an abusive lifestyle.
“Serve dinner to “Mark”, separate plates and utensils. He was a separator in the fullest form. Not only could no food be touching. It had to be served on separate plates. Wouldn’t use same fork/spoon for food. Each must have their own. And flavor? Forget it. If the food had flavor, he wouldn’t eat it. Unless steak. NO SEASONING, only A-1 sauce.”
We can see by Mark’s behavior that he is also abusing the victim. He expects the same attentiveness as his father and his behaviors are supported and reinforced by his father. There is no relief for Jenn. This is an extremely common story in abusive relationships where the children identify with their abuser and help to victimize the victim. Children can start to be conditioned to these behaviors in the first 5 years of their life. Imagine how difficult it will be to modify Mark’s behavior considering he is already 13 when Jenn comes into his life?
With both the father and the son being abusive, there is little hope that Jenn would ever see a healthy dynamic.
Serve “John” his dinner, and usually his #? beer by this point.
Sit and eat. After everyone completes, pick up their dishes. What I can find. Sometimes “Mark” would somehow “misplace” a plate or two.
Rinse dishes. Watch tv.
Whenever everyone was ready, off to bed.
Lay in bed, wait for “John” to fall asleep, get up. Me time. Play some poker online, check my email. Unwind, relax.
Rinse, lather, wish I hadn’t repeated.
I just ache for Jenn. She just has to feel that she gets on the Hamster Wheel of Hell every day. When victims find themselves in this situation every choice, decision, movement, and chore is ticked off a detailed list and gone over with multiple mental rechecks. This is in an effort to meet the expectations of the abuser avoiding more exhaustive drama at the worst and possibly get some positive recognition at best. Victims become run down and suffer physically often times finding it difficult to squeeze in time for personal activities or maintenance.