I was abused as a child. To this day, my parents believe they did what was right for us and was the one and only possible way to discipline. However, with an unmedicated bipolar mother and a father with a complete lack of anger management, discipling always equals beatings, in addition to groundings, taking away of privileges, etc, for a single transgression. I was beaten with a wooden paddle, wooden spoon, hands, leather belt, and plastic coathangers. I have had deep bruises, bloody welts, splt lips, bloody noses, boxed ears, etc. My parents didn't think it was abuse unless it was uncalled for (i.e. the child did nothing wrong) or left permanent scars, such as broken bones.
Unfortunately, the emotional scars still haven't healed. I still cry when I talk about how I felt as my dad sat on my chest, screaming at me to shut up and backhanding me across the face when I was fifteen. I don't even remember what I did wrong that time. It couldn't have been anything too bad. It was probably "backtalk," which my dad considered to be any words that disagreed with anything he or my mom said. We weren't allowed to have a different opinion or we were talking back. I was a good kid - I didn't drink, smoke, do drugs, stay out late, have sex, skip school. I got good grades, went to church even though nobody else in my family did, and was involved in lots of extracurriculars. Of course, if you ask my mom, I was an out of control teen who slept around (lost my virginity at 18 to my future husband thankyouverymuchmom) and was just horrible. In her mind, I was out of control because I was out of HER control. At about 15, I stopped letting her know everything about my life just because she asked and she decided that I must be hiding horrible things.
I still fight my anger issues. When I get really frustrated I feel out of control and I tend to freak out. I scream, cry, and throw things. I've even hit my STBX. I have NEVER hit DS. I have stopped myself more than once from smacking his hand. I'm sure I'll be tempted to do more than that as he grows, but I hope I will be able to fight that and not hit him. My brother as well has always had anger issues, from a very young age, though his wife has helped temper that a lot, as well as being out of the house. My little sister was always the spoiled baby and got the least of the abuse, and has the fewest issues with anger.
I do have a good relationship with my dad, despite our past. He's a LOT better with his anger, especially since my brother and sister and I were out of the house. I've only seen him get really angry once in the past five years (for good reason that time!). My mother and I will never have a good relationship as long as she refuses to confront and seek help for her mental illness.
Every time I talk about this it turns into a novel, so I'll shut up now.