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Avatar universal

Am I developing abusive behavior towards my pet?

I've always dealt with a lot of anxiety and controlling my emotions. I mostly hide my true feelings from others and especially my family. Lately I've been developing a lot of uncontrolled anger that I think I'm now venting on my pet.
I've never hurt my cats intentionally during my childhood but have had some intrusive thoughts of hurting and or killing my pet in different ways. Since recent events and my hurt and pain I've had very frequent intrusive thoughts towards my new kitten I recently got. She is very energetic and will annoy me by biting me and scratching me quite badly until I bleed. I don't like this but won't do anything back just push it away. However, since a recent fight with my family I acted on my intrusive thoughts. I grabbed my kitten that was biting me and squeezed her throat like I was choking her but not with a force so much to do so. I did it for a few seconds and let go and pushed her away. I didn't exactly feel bad about it in the moment but knew it was very wrong. This has never happened before and I feel like I was pushed to my limit with my emotions to acting out my intense anger and pain. I'm in constant pain and anxiety due to my relationship with my family. I think these emotions are developing into something darker that I keep deep down.  I just don't know what to do anymore.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
You don't say how old you are, which is important.  Childhood emotional situations are not the same as adult ones and what one needs to do in situations therefore differs as well.  If you were an adult, I'd say it's time to give your cat to someone else for now and see a therapist to figure out what's going on and form a plan to deal with it.  If you're a child, you need to speak to a school counselor and your parents.  You also don't say exactly what's going on with your family.  Life throws difficult things at everyone, but not everyone reacts to them with anxiety or out of control emotions.  But almost every child does so on occasion -- they're children.  So maybe something is going on with your family and maybe you're just bothered by things that happen to everyone.  Without more detail we can't know.  If you're living at home and really think your anger is rising to a degree that you're a threat to the animal or to someone else you really need to talk to someone you trust ASAP and get some help.  If it was a temper tantrum, kids get those, they're kids, and your parents have the job of controlling them and teaching you that you can control them.  If that isn't happening, you may need to see a professional therapist for that help.  If you tell us more about your age and what's going on and your living situation, we can be of more help.  I once acted out on my dog when I was a little kid, but I never did it again to anyone or any animal and I'm old now so it didn't become a part of who I became.  Kids do some pretty cruel stuff and then they grow up and either do even more cruel stuff or they stop doing cruel stuff, but in general, people aren't the kindest creatures on the planet.  I hope you decide it's better to be nice if this isn't an illness, and if it's an illness, I hope you recognize it as such and seek help.
6 Comments
I am 14 years old soon to be 15. I understand that it's best to distance myself from my animal when I'm at this degree. I do believe this to be a mental issue and I don't find myself to be cruel or unsympathetic when I act this way, it's not me, this is not the way I act. I love my pets and wouldn't want to do anything harmful to them in any way. But over the past year I've began to lose my grip on my control over myself both with my emotions and actions. As for my relationship with my family, I do not have a voice. Because of my age my opinion doesn't matter in arguments and such and that forces me to push my problems and emotions deep on the inside. You must understand I don't have any way to vent out my emotions or deal with them properly. I am currently seeing a therapist. I first saw a Psychotherapist about six months ago, the first therapist I had caused me a lot of stress and because I deal with bad eating habits when under stress I gained weight due to my sessions. I have now gotten a new therapist and things seem fine. Yet, I cannot fully talk to my therapist due to the presence of my parents during the sessions.  I deal with a lot of anxiety and low self esteem on a daily basis and mostly push it aside instead of dealing with it. I don't have any cooping skills to use and my parents make this worse as they misunderstand me when I communicate to them my issues which leads to arguments and such. I don't know how to seek help in this state as I'm afraid of what my parents would think of me and what would happen.
I wish I could make being 14 (and 15 and 16 and 17 ... ) easier, but this is a both a difficult and the best time to be alive.  It's hard, because you're in transition -- not a kid anymore and not an adult yet.  You have both the behaviors of a kid and that of an adult.  Your sexual hormones are coming alive.  Hopefully, in a year you'll feel differently about yourself and the things in your life.  But you also sound about as articulate as I can imagine someone of that age being.  You write really well and clearly and express yourself well.  Which means, there's a bit of a downside to that, which is, you're probably thinking about things others your age aren't and in a way they aren't.   Life is like that -- people are different, and when you're the age you are, being different in any way can seem a really bad thing.  It isn't.  It just is.  As for the way you describe your parents, that's how we all described our parents at your age.  We all felt our opinion didn't matter because, in truth, it really doesn't inside of a family.  In a family, your parents are the boss and you're not.  Their job is to get you to adulthood safe and sound.  It's not to be your friend.  Do you have friends?  When I was your age this was the stuff my friends and I complained about.  When we got older, we realized either that our parents were a lot more clever than we thought or a lot less clever than we thought, depending on the parents.  But it is how life is.  I do think it's really odd, at least to me, that your parents are at your therapy sessions.  There's a lot of stuff a 14/15 year old does normally that, ahem, we really don't want to tell our parents and they really don't want to hear, so at least to me this sounds like an impediment to your getting past this.  As for therapists making you stressed, if they don't, they aren't working.  A lot of therapists just sit there and chat, which is pleasant and comforting, but doesn't help any.  They can only help you by making you face things you're avoiding, which is stressful.  It's hard to read how you write and see how anyone wouldn't understand you, but maybe you don't speak this clearly when talking to your parents.  You might have them look at some of the threads on this forum of issues between parents and their children and see if it makes an impression on them, but in my opinion, I think you're right, at your age you're quite old enough to need to to talk to your therapist without your parents being there, and probably more valuable.  If this is a control problem that lies with your parents, that's a harder problem to solve.  
Thank you for your help, I appreciate it. To answer some of your questions firstly no, I do not have any friends. And as you see from my writing I can express myself very well and clear even when I may be having clouded emotions. However when it comes to my parents this is not the case. When I get upset over something that has happened and I feel I should rightly be for I cannot express this in a clear manner to my parents. I tend to rant in serious discussions and never get my point clear across. I always give up even before saying anything about my side and how I'm feeling because my parents usually respond by yelling or ending the discussion. When in a very heated argument they shut me out, as if I were an outsider and refuse to speak to me. This I feel is very childish and very wrong to me when I have not even explained myself to them and how I'm feeling. I understand they both have not been raised in the best of families or had as nice of a childhood as I have and I try to sympathize with them. This is a constant struggle for me as arguments are on a regular basis. I won't leave myself out of the blame due to my procrastination and often laziness but when I'm in a serious need of comfort and help I'm sad to say I do not trust my parents to be the support I need. They are often judgmental and at time unintentionally hurtful to me and I would rather have an outside mediator or trusted adult to handle the situation such as my Therapist. It has been recommended for me to my Therapist separate from my parents but they aren't considering it. There are so many things I'd like to express to my Therapist and be open about that I cannot be with my parents but I simple can't in their presence. As for feeling stressed with my Therapist I just recently transitioned to a new Therapist and have had one session with her, I have not really developed a relationship with her so to say I'm not stressed with her would be a lie. My previous Therapist was in my opinion not helpful to me or very understanding, she had an approach I did not like which was me talking about whatever I'd like. This put me on the spot which I was uncomfortable with. I'm more of the person who likes to be questioned instead of simply speaking on whatever I'd like. During the period I felt trapped, like I wasn't being helped and no progress was made. I went into binge eating under the stress which is what I normally do and gained about 7 or so pounds during the period I was with her. This made me more upset as I dealt with being overweight in the past and worked on dieting and exercise to lose 30 pounds of my weight but that's another story. I understand my parents do what's in my best interest and I should listen to them, but sometimes when they have intense emotions such as being angry with me this just makes me lose respect for them. There are things I hold against them that have happened in the past, I know I should forgive them but there are things I cannot let go. The first time I was sexually touched and the only time was when I was around the age of 6 or 7. I was staying with my two cousins who are both a year older than me. My parents were at their house in a separate room and I went to my cousin's room to watch them play a video game. The 0ne cousin left and the other invited me to sit n his lap, I didn't see anything wrong with it he was my cousin I trusted him. After a few minutes or so of watching the video game he was playing, as I was distracted he reached down and touched me. I immediately knew what he did was wrong and ran crying to my parents to tell them. Afterwards we left and after I stopped crying thought everything was fine. During the car ride home they questioned me about what happened over and over and I left out a detail until the end of the ride as to how it happened. I said in the beginning when asked how it happened I said I don't know, then like I just remembered I said I sat on his lap. When we got in the house I remember them just beating me with a belt because I let it happen to me. I don't know if this is entirely true because of the many times I got beaten for things I did bad and just ended up having this memory but I know it happened that way and I feel so wronged about it. My parents are old fashioned and have used this method of discipline instead of taking things away or grounding me. They have lessened this when I got older but I resent them for using this form of discipline for me to learn to do something or not do something wrong. I hate when people use the method of pain on their children instead of what is so called normal right now. Now I'm not saying my parents abuse me but this is the type of discipline that was used on them and so they use it on me. I would be lying if I said I don't feel controlled due to my parents morals, but I just want change in my family it's been this way for so long. I care about my parents and love them but in other areas I cannot trust them and am tired of the arguments and the ways they act towards me. I understand this is might be a family dynamic issue as well as issues with myself. I'm currently in the process of seeing if I can be recommended medication for my anxiety and possible Depression. My father has Depression and so because of that and my half-brothers having Depression my mother and father automatically think I have it as well inherently. Being a girl is hard during my age with the changes I'm going through but try my best to deal with them, but I feel deeply I'm developing worse symptoms of mental illness over the past year and it's not getting better.  I'd like more advice to help me make the right decisions for myself and hope you all can help me.
First, some reassurance.  This won't sound true until a couple of years from now, but you're about to be 15.  That means in 3 years you won't be living at home anymore, and given your family dynamics, this might be good for you.  Also know that at your age, you change a lot in a short amount of time.  When you're a few years older, you'll stop changing like that, but at your age, there's a lot of personality development going on.  It's traumatic but also really fun.  The other thing about to happen is your family will stop being your focal point.  But that can only happen if you make friends.  Is there a reason you don't have friends?  As I mentioned, at your age, friends truly become your family and your family starts to recede in importance.  Later, family will become important again.  Life goes in stages.  Do you isolate yourself?  Do you have trouble making connections?  As for medication, that's a very fraught road to start going down.  At your age, your brain is still developing, and using drugs that affect brain neurotransmitters can affect this.  Sometimes it's necessary, most of the time it isn't, but you can always find a doctor who will give them to if your ask.  My own preference for you would be to find a way to see your therapist without your parents being there; a good psychologist will tell you if they think your problems are getting so great as to need medication.  But I see no way someone of your age -- frankly, I don't see how it can happen at any age -- can get a true experience of therapy if your parents are sitting there with you.  What you can get is family counseling, which might be what your parents had in mind for you.  Did they say that?  Because if that's the case, you should be discussing these family dynamics in your sessions more than your personal mental problems.  If that doesn't happen and the discussion is just about your own mental state, your parents have no role there.  You have to feel free to let it fly in therapy, and no child will do that if their parents are there.  It just isn't going to happen.  I really don't understand how this therapy dynamic is working and why your therapist is allowing this to happen unless your therapist does feel this is a family counseling situation.  I'm not there, I don't know.  I know people who were in therapy at your age and no parent was there.  You could use this to turn it into family counseling, as it seems some of your problems are related to family dynamics.  You don't say the level of corporal punishment that was used on you.  You're right, it used to be common, but that was a really long time ago.  I'm in my sixties and it wasn't being used much back then, it was already being frowned upon, but I was raised on the coast and life is different in other places.  I'm wondering if your parents have very strong religious beliefs that might influence their view of the world and of raising kids.  That also happens.  But look, no matter what, life was going to throw you curves.  It does to everyone.  Our mental predispositions are important to how it affects us long-term sometimes and sometimes it's trauma.  You sound like you might fall in to the trauma category -- being punished for an older more powerful person taking advantage of you has to hurt.  I can't fix you, but I do wish something could get you therapy alone with your therapist, because again, if you don't tell all, the psychologist can't really know what's happening and where to go with you.  Don't know how your parents would react, you seem to indicate they have been open to some change over the years, but any chance you can get them to look at this forum?   But here's the key -- you have to advocate for yourself, even if it's hard.  These things are easier to deal with when you're young than they are after simmering for years and years.  Write down what you need to say to your parents if that will help you avoid dissembling and read it to them.  Listen to an old Crosby, Stills and Nash song called Teach Your Children.  It's a simple song, but it might help you see that your parents are having a tough time too.  All the best.
Thank you, I honestly do just need someone to listen to me and understand me. The Therapy was set for my own personal mental health, again my parents believe me to be Depressive due to my self esteem issues. I don't think they honestly know what's wrong with me and just want me to get some help. Perhaps the blame is due to hormonal imbalance but I've gotten recent tests that show everything is fine. As for not having friends, I simply can't find anyone with common interests as me or who don't take advantage of me. I don't have a lot of extra curricular activities or places I go where there are peers my own age. This is mostly due to myself being home schooled as well as some of my parents religious beliefs. They aren't strict or completely eliminate my independence but it has just been like this. I know I only have a few more years until I finish school and I hope to go on to a career in the Medical field. I just feel too tied down, as if my parents are holding my hand all the time. I've always been seen as mature for my age able to talk to adults better than most but this hasn't allowed me to interact with people my own age. It is a standard for me to act mature and wrong for me to act childish at times. But I guess I'll have to make the step to let them know how I feel. Thank you again for your help and advice.
This can be a problem with kids who are home-schooled and also kids who have very religiously dogmatic parents.  Part of being a kid and especially a young adult is failing -- doing things that turn out to be stupid.  It's how humans mature, because it takes forever for humans to do that.  Animals mature very quickly, but humans take forever.  I'd venture to say most of us never mature.  When your life and your thinking is very controlled, as you get older and start to think more "out of the box" there are inevitably conflicts in every family, but this can be very hard when your life has been so controlled by others.  In the religion I was born into, and my folks weren't dogmatically religious but we definitely identified ourselves a lot by our religion because it wasn't the dominant one in the US, there's a teaching that says almost all young people stop believing and then start up again when they start to have families.  But there's a gap that's important for developing.  For you, that might take longer, but I believe there are programs at school for home-schoolers, aren't there?  So you can have some social mixing with others?  Anyway, I think you can work this out.  I think you'll figure it out.  All the best.
15695260 tn?1549596713
Welcome to MedHelp's forums.  We are sorry you are feeling this level of anger and do encourage you to get help with it.  At this time, it would be best to allow someone else to care for your kitten for its safety.  

Anger is a normal emotion but can be destructive when expressed in inappropriate ways.  Here is some information from Mayo Clinic with regards to controlling anger. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/anger-management/art-20045434.

It would be best to be fully honest with a doctor and or therapist for your safety and that of others.  Please let us know how we can help.
Avatar universal
When I was 18 my bf had a dog that drove me absolutely crazy.  I just wanted to kick it whenever it came near me.  I realized that these feelings were not normal because I loved animals!  So, I told him to keep the dog away from me and out of my apartment because seriously I was afraid I'd hurt the poor little thing someday.  I also realized that I was super, super ANGRY at by bf and my life situation.   And none of this anger had anything to do with the dog.   It was me and my pent up anger.  

You got a kitten hoping it would relax, calm, and offer you love.  I'm so proud of you for admitting what happened.  To this day I still feel ashamed at the raging feelings I had whenever I saw that poor little dog.  My issues had nothing to do with the dog!  

Like me, you are taking responsibility for your feelings and that's a very good thing.   The solution, unfortunately, is for you to give the kitten up.   Kittens are not easy to take care of.  You need to focus on taking care of YOU.  So take it to a nearest shelter and feel no guilt about doing so.  The kitten will be adopted out again and be ok.  Don't worry about that.  Know that you're doing the right thing by giving it a safer place to thrive.

You need time to work on yourself and in identifying what's making you enraged and angry.   If possible, please make an appointment to see your doctor and ask for a referral to a professional therapist.  Therapy actually does a person a lot of good!    Once I broke up with that idiot boyfriend of mine (he was a real jerk and had no business owning a dog), got a new job, and moved to a new place things started going better for me.   There is no instant fix, but you so sound like a caring, intelligent, smart person and I'm sure you'll gete the life you deserve if you just take care of yourself (you and you alone).

I've cared for two cats since then (adopted them at the age of 1 - no kittens for me lol) and given them super cool homes.   I've also cared for a dog (my amazing husband's dog).  So, I know what is going on in your life is only temporary, but it's best to give the kitten up for now until you feel strong again.
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