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Does anyone know the psychological name for this.

Community Member

I am trying to find out a name for these behaviours so
I can do some research. My father would tell my mother
lies about me to my mom that were absolutely a
distortion of the truth. My mom would then use physical
violence on me. One time I actually avoided a beating
when I told her wait, stop. She found out my father lied.
I can't remember what happened after that but it was a
regular thing he did with me. I don't know which parent
to hate more and it still messes with my head today. I
want to understand so I can heal my mind and not carry
out behaviours I even understand.

If anyone has a name or some information for me as a
starting point to start my healing and recover that would
be a great help to me.
7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion


thanks for this question. I am not a medical person just someone with lived experiences so I don't know what this behaviour is called and if there is a name for it.

I am so sorry you experienced this and it does sound very manipulative.

My answering your post will help it go further up the list of topics so more people will see it.

Have you spoken about this to a psychologist?

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi 2quik,

Thank you for your post. I'm really glad that you are here asking this question because it shows how much you really want to heal from your past. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that and you didn't deserve it.

With your question though, sometimes it's just referred to as abusive behaviour. There are different types of abuse, including ones like gaslighting or emotional abuse. There are also types of behaviour that are known as defence mechanisms - such as displacement, where people feel angry but take it out on someone else.

You said 'I don't know which parent to hate more and it still messes with my head today' - is this the part that you want to answer for yourself? Is this what bothers you the most? Or is it more-so trying to understand your father and your mom a little more to see where they might have been coming from?

Resources wise, I'm not quite sure what you are looking for here but I do think the best step is probably finding a therapist that clicks with you. They can help unpack some of these behaviours a little more to get the insight you need.

Hope this helps


Hi Quirkywords,

Thank you for the thoughtfulness of responding so it bumped up a bit. Manipulative is one word for it. I have not spoken to a psychologist about this. I have been in and out of therapy for many many years and have learnt so much through that. Some of the things I wish I had known prior to therapy. These days now I have employed other ways instead of therapy, yet still have a focus on therapy if that makes sense. Thank you for acknowledging what I went through.

Hi RT.

Thanks for your reply to my post and for the compassion of some of the things that I experienced. I looked up displacement and read about what is in a bit more length. I then thought about one specific incident where what I described happened. In that case I do not feel it was displacement that my mother was doing. It was pure rage when I finally got home. I knew she had been out in her car looking for me and could not find me. That specific incident I managed to avoid physical harm. Only because just before she went to hit me I said stop wait. I think (not sure) from my memory I told her the truth. She was even angrier then and went inside where an argument ensued between both of them.

I am aware of gaslighting and emotional abuse. I know what both types are and what is considered for both of those forms to be occurring. Both parents (whom I no longer have any contact with) basically because they have not changed abused me. Sometimes it involved both of them at the same time, sometimes it involved only one parent and sometimes it involved both of them on the same day separately. I at this point feel that trying to understand my parents reasons for doing things together and individually would cause me more harm than good. Some of the abuse and abusive incidents would require delving very very deep into their history and their psyche. Basically I am not interested in them. I am interested in me. It was 34 years of continuous abuse. Till the age of thirty with my father and till the age of 40 with my mother. I cut my dad off at 30 years old and my mother off shortly after I turned 40 last year. It was in my best interests for me. It messes with me a bit psychologically still what they did. I will never get the answers from them.

It's very confusing when you were abused by both parents and over a very long period. I guess I am trying to sort things out because yes I don't like remembering it often and I also am mindful that it might be playing a role in trying to have interpersonal relationships with others. I cannot stand lies or being lied to. My response is a bit more full on than what would be usual for some people. I am not sure if I can ever fully heal this one. Deep psychological damage is very hard to overcome.

As for therapy, I personally feel that therapy is not the best step for me. I have been in and out of therapy since my late twenties. They already robbed so much of my life from me and sitting in therapy trying to fix their damage makes me feel even angrier and annoyed. It is also very hard work finding the right therapist and also finding a therapist that can assist me. C PTSD is not commonly understood. PTSD is just not C PTSD. I got diagnosed with it in 2014 and since then I have learnt a lot about this specific mental illness. I feel angry that I have it because I was not born like this and yet just another things they have left me with in life to contend with besides the 34 years of horrific abuse. So, no these days I do not really care much to understand them, nor why they did it, nor how messed up their lives must have been. This is all about me now.

Thanks for the assistance anyhow. Take care.

Hi 2quik,

It's good to hear back from you and thank you for opening up more about what you went through.

I just wanted to try and clarify a bit by what I meant by understanding them, even though it's clear now this isn't something you're interested in doing. This is because therapy is 100% about you and working to understand your parents should not take away that focus. I also don't think this is about delving deep into their history or psyche either. More so the idea of what might be helpful to know to ease some of those feelings. As an example, I learned through therapy that a big part of why I was abused had to do with the fact that I was a very effective outlet for anger. I won't go in depth about this but it was such a small snippet that helped me let go of some of that shame in knowing that I wasn't 'targeted'. Again, this is just my experience and I understand that you're not interested to go this way but I did want to clarify what I said because if you did, it would always be 100% about you.

I do believe though that recovery is possible, in the sense that you can have healthier interpersonal relationships. Yes - it's tough, and a bit of a long journey, but you aren't chained to your past.

Can I go back to the resources question - what do you think would be most helpful for you at the moment? I will steer away from the therapy idea as this is not for you now, but are you looking for things such as books?

I feel like I'm not being very helpful or supportive for you, but I'd like to be - and either way I hope that you get some benefits from being here on the forums.


Hi RT,

Thank you for writing back and clarifying what you meant about therapy as well as sharing what you meant by example. I do understand where you are coming from. As I mentioned I have spent many many years in and out of therapy. I have tried various types of therapy. CBT, Narrative therapy, Gestalt therapy, Somatic experiencing therapy and probably a few others that I cannot recall right now. I have gained something from each type of therapy I have done. I am also an avid reader and I am also a writer. That has been my profession for many years now. I am currently undergoing couples counselling with my partner in order to work on ourselves and our relationship so I am having therapy really, just not entirely on my own.

I grew up with a mother who told me everything and most of it none of my business. I was my mothers spouse, confidante and therapist. So basically a parentified child. The relationship I had with my mother is very complex. I do find it very hard to talk about, however I will talk about it. I find therapy very exhausting personally. Sometimes I need regular breaks as it truly does have a huge toll on me and my health overall. I am just a person trying to find my way through it all. There is also the difficulty of finding the right therapist for me who is trained in specific areas.

I am happy for you that therapy helped you to release a lot of things you were feeling. I do struggle to sit there and talk about how I feel because I never did get asked about anything I was feeling or thinking. I get agitated and bit scared. Being vulnerable sometimes is so scary. These days as I am getting older now I am trying other things I have not tried before. In answer to your question, yes I buy and read books that I think may be helpful. I practice mindfulness. I am starting to surround myself with things I love. I have never really done that before and it feels so good. I don't engage with very negative people and choose very wisely whom I do spend my time with. Reading and being an avid reader has helped me immensely. At this stage intensive therapy is a no go zone. I am not stable nor strong enough. I have so much grief, terror, anger, sadness etc to deal with and my health to take care of. So for now I just work on things day by day to manage and to work towards living a happier life.

You are being helpful. Engaging in dialogue, sharing experiences and ideas is always helpful.