Is my Child Abusing me?

In this video I discuss some of the aspects that may be involved in the experience of feeling like your child is abusing you. Remaining conscious of the variables that define the balance in our parent-child relationship will assist in tweaking our own approach and behaviour. Whenever a conflict or friction arises, we have an opportunity to re-assess and learn to come to a new sense of harmony.


Hi everyone, a topic I wanted to bring up …well not so much the topic — a question someone asked was ‘What do you do when there’s moments where you feel kind of abused by your child or another child?’

To give you some context this question came from a friend of mine who lives with me. She is kind of like, I call her ‘alloparent’, which is like in the animal kingdom it’s generally like another female in the group or herd who will just kind of co-parent and take care of your child when it’s needed. And at some point she was staying with my son and he started hitting her and in general just disregarding her and for a moment she is like feeling abused here. So she asked me like ‘ how do you deal with that, what do you do with that?’

And my perspective was basically that ‘Yes, he was abusing you and No, he wasn’t abusing you’ — in that you created the conditions for him to enter into that behaviour.

Now my son is four-and-a-half when he was very young a baby, he required constant care, he was very vulnerable, very dependent. And as a mother, and if you’re a new mother it’s like for the first time you realize what it means to sacrifice yourself and to be there completely for someone else and it’s a very hard thing to do. Like you have to break through so many comfort zones, so many ideas about yourself, about what you thought was possible, what you thought you would never be able to do and you end up doing it. Because the need is there, the call is there and you answer.

And for myself I really wanted to also challenge myself. How much can I do? How hard is it really? How much of my suffering is coming from my attitude, how I’m looking at things, having an emotional background – instead of coming from actual physical reality, of there being you know real physical limitations. And I really enjoyed that period, in this sense of breaking through a lot of barriers. But as your child grows up and gets older over the months, that role is no longer required.

Where it’s like you have you and your child and it’s like an equation sign here you know for each part of an equation. Initially the equation is as such that your child is like…. it’s this little vulnerable baby and you have to take this huge role of doing like everything for yourself and your baby. But you know the baby starts growing and you know. When the baby starts growing he starts understanding more, he starts to be able to do more and this part of the equation changes and then you equally have to start changing your part of the equation.

And for myself that was really difficult you know. First it was difficult to break through and just completely let go of any type of choice and put yourself in that position of just doing everything for your baby. Some babies can be very…. not that they’re demanding but they are such that they are very sensitive, they need a lot of care, you don’t sleep all through the night, their eating is like constant and erratic. You have other babies who are calmer, they sleep easily, you know it depends from baby to baby what kind of experience you go through as a parent.

Mine was more on the extreme side like he only started sleeping 6-hour stretches once he was 2.  But because I sooo enjoyed — not really enjoyable — was more proud of myself that I was able to let go of so many points of self-interest I kind of kept doing that because I thought ‘Oh my god, so cool I didn’t know I could do that – let me let me stay in that role’ even though now the child is changing, he doesn’t really need you that much, he’s understanding more about the

world and can take on more say ‘responsibility’. Now I’m talking two, three, four and a half years old. And the thing is you know that initial self-sacrificing, in really having to evaluate whether you can’t do something for your child whether that is based on your comfort zone or an actual limitation — that’s a big challenge for a lot of people. To be really honest about why they can’t play with your child for twenty minutes, like do you really have to work now — or you’re just in a stressed out state of mind, focusing on lack that you create the experience and you create the conditions inside yourself and around yourself, making you not being able to play with your child for 20 minutes or doing something for them? So I really enjoyed breaking through those things and I think it’s very important for everyone to look at those aspects and to break through them.

But the thing is you get to a point where your child can do more and you are not required to kind of be so strict with yourself because there’s more leniency in terms of your child understands that you’re busy and he has a capacity to understand that he can wait five minutes and then you know you’ll get him some food or it’s not gonna happen now. And if you’re personally still struggling with that aspect of dropping your own comfort zones and moving yourself to be completely there for your child you can sometimes get stuck there and believing that that’s what you have to keep doing. Well yes it’s still relevant for you to look at these points to see okay am I just being lazy or am I just using an excuse to not do something with my child or someone else’s child. But you also take into consideration that you have more space and leniency in how you direct yourself and your child.

So for instance what happened with her and my son was that she was… even though he’s four-and-a-half years old she was kind of placing herself in that position of “it’s all about him, it’s all about his well-being, and I’m just like this is the situation and I’m kind of just like not really in it but also not really out.” But everything’s about him and how he’s doing and she wasn’t taking herself into consideration she wasn’t putting herself into the picture. And children are very good, very, very good at picking up on those dynamics and they will start to push those buttons and they will start behaving… it’s almost like you’re inviting the behavior by not setting certain parameters and then they will start acting out and before you know, it’s like ‘oh my god this child is abusing me!’

It’s not they’re abusing you, it’s just that they kind of see the setting you’ve created for them and they take advantage of that. And it’s not to be mean,  it’s like … should you give a child a big room they’re gonna run in that big room they’re gonna use the space. And if you put a child in a small room they’re gonna use the space that’s there. So it’s kind of like you’re just playing with the environments and the conditions. And that is kind of an ongoing process I must say, where you must constantly evaluate for yourself. Like I would have it where you know one week everything’s going fine, we’ve got a very good balance, our relationship is like just where it needs to be. Then he goes through some kind of growth spurt and developmental milestone thing and starts shouting all these new words out of nowhere and you can see there’s a change.

And suddenly what you were doing, you know equation wise, it’s like it doesn’t work anymore. And there’s friction and conflict. It’s because this part of the equation changed but now it’s not balanced anymore. Because you know if the one side changes, other side naturally it has to change as well. The thing is, it doesn’t happen automatically. We have to consciously be aware of the environment and the dynamics that are taking place. And we have to be that force that changes the balance.

So there a little bit of insight into why your child might possibly be abusing you or if you’re a babysitter….those are the things I looked at for myself. Who are we in our relationship towards our child and is there anything that we need to change, our balance, taking into consideration where we are at and where your child is at.

Thank you for watching

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