Coercive control as parenting — in the eyes of my biological parents

My parents have little reservation about telling a person what they think is wrong with that person, and what that person needs to do to fix it.

They appear to have always viewed parenting as a form of control.

In extended family meetings, my mother would often straight up tell another child's parent, in front of the child, "Wow, how come he is so fat today? Don’t let him eat as much. Let him skip meals for a while."

Or to another's: "You are so skinny." Then, she would lift one of their arms and say, "It’s just bone." And she would laugh.

There were a decent number of cases whereby if my sister or I made decisions that they did not like, they would consistently spend the next few hours, or days, exerting extreme psychological pressure to attempt to make us change the decision.

When I was first considering quitting high school, in those first days, weeks and eventually tallying through the months, my dad had threatened to break my laptop, when I said that my coding mattered more to me; he had threatened to constantly check on my homework and called the school when the first term reports came out; he insulted my pay from my internship, saying "you think that’s a lot? People out there are earning $50, $100 an hour"; he insulted whatever I did, saying, "I am working all day, and all you have to is eat and study, and you can’t even do that".

Both had a rolling slew of insults when it came to how they saw my autistic needs — yelling at me, calling me "not normal", or exclaiming "weird".

There may be factors and stories that might explain my parents' behaviour, but it does not excuse their behaviour. Even if they might not like or agree with what I have laid out as my reasons for wanting to leave school, it is not acceptable to deride a person, for days and weeks. People have a right to have choice in making decisions about their own life.

If the issues in this post have raised any concerns for you, you can contact 1800respect.org.au in Australia, or the local domestic violence support service in your country.