Thursday, April 20, 2017

It's Just A Prank, Brah!

When you start getting notifications from Blogger about new comments that all turn out to be bots taking advantage of your comments section on years old blog know it's been way too long since you last blogged.

I was going to do what I normally do after a hiatus and post a 'ketchup' blog detailing what has been happening and what has changed, talking about some events with the dubious promise to regularly update (thank you for anyone that is still subscribed and or paying attention to this blog). But there have been a bunch of videos I was introduced to in a Facebook group I'm a part of that was talking about the awfulness of these parents. I have been following this for the past couple of days since it exploded and it has been absolutely consuming my attention. If you already know anything about it, the title of this post should indicate that it is about the DaddyOFive controversy that has been hitting the mainstream media in part thanks to Phil DeFranco calling attention to it on his channel.

I had to think long and hard about even writing anything about it longer than a passing opinionated paragraph to call attention to the heinous acts done by these so called parents and a rant about the failings of what my state calls Child Protective Services, because while this post is probably mostly going to be just a log of Youtube videos done by other people talking about the facts of the controversy since so much has already been said, I also am going to be talking about my own past of abuse. Since I like my privacy and I'm trying to repair relationships with one of my relatives who was my abuser, please forgive me when I remain slightly vague and do not name names or even relationship titles for the most part. I also kind of want to write this just to get it out of my head space where I have been stuck thinking about it. Like it's just stuck in there now.

I absolutely commend Phil for remaining, or trying to remain, impartial in the way he presented the facts of the situation with DaddyO. I try to be that type of person but I am not usually and being impartial is something I have to sometimes fight to be. I have been filled with so much anger and sadness reading about this that I do not have the motivation in me to be impartial. So if you want to read this, read it. Or wait until I post something that is funnier and more light hearted because this is going to be a long post I can already tell.

I was first introduced to DaddyO's channel through the related videos that popped up under Phil's video about them:

After watching this video I had to check out DaddyO's channel myself because the clips I saw were very alarming. They are not in the spirit of a simple prank at all. I also wanted to know more especially because of the clip of the 'Blocking All The Haters' video the parents made where they ask the children if they are being abused and the reactions from the children is very, very suspect to me. If you have been abused, especially as a child, there are red flags that just pop up in certain situations and smack you right in the face. That clip has a few that made me want to head over to their channel.

Most of their 'pranks' do seem to be geared more toward Cody, who is the youngest and smallest of the children besides his sister Emma. When asked if the children are all right it is Cody who does not meet the 'eye' of the camera and is looking off to the sides, he is also the last of them to respond yes. One of their children chimes in, 'At least you're not beating us like most parents'.

Let me just say that when I was little I got the belt among other things. I would get hit to the point where I did that pathetic hiccup cry where you feel like you can't breath. Then I was told that if I didn't stop crying I would get hit more and harder which is a special kind of asshole move because you cannot control that in an instance like that when you are a child and to me it is just an excuse to continue the abuse. It is a sick game to give an excuse to continue hitting. Throughout my childhood I was constantly told, especially if I was watching a video or reading a book with my abuser present that had instances of child abuse, that I didn't know how good I had it. That what I got was nothing compared to how some children are treated. I didn't know what abuse was. I was reading a Child Called It when it first came out and was told, 'And you think I abuse you. Now that is abuse. At least you don't get what that boy got.'

These would sometimes come out of seemingly nowhere with no provocation and to me is more of an admission of guilt. I also hate, and I mean hate, when people say shit like that. Abuse is not a contest of who had it worse. My experiences do not negate someone else's experiences just because I had it worse than them nor are my experiences negated because someone had it worse than I. It does not take away the anger and fear they felt at the time or the emotions and the impact it had on them that followed them into adulthood, if it followed them at all. My abuser did not hold my hand over a burning stove but when I was around 6 or 7 I was smacked in the face so hard I got a bloody nose. I was not starved to the brink of death like some children, but when I was around 11 or 13 my abuser tried to help me with homework in my worst subject, math. I was forced to sit right next to them on the couch with my homework and every time I got a question wrong I was smacked and yelled at. I was so scared and nervous and crying so much that by the end of it I legitimately could not tell you what 2 plus 2 equaled. I know this is not an exaggeration because my abuser yelled and asked if I was a retard before hitting me while asking me this exact question as I was walked through a long division problem.

I would never in my life say that someone didn't know what abuse was or try to negate their experience and turn abuse into a pissing contest just because someone did not go through my experiences. Hearing a child say that makes me think that it's the parents that told them that to assuage any guilt or consequences from treating their children like shit. Because after being told that so many times for a while, as a kid, it's exactly what I would tell myself when I got angry about my abuse. It wasn't until I was in my preteens and teen years that my friends, some of who were also abused, helped me out of that thinking by telling me it still was abuse and just because it 'wasn't as bad' it still didn't make it right. DaddyO and his wife may not do to their kids what happened to me, but it doesn't make what they're doing right in any way, shape, or form. What they are doing is still abuse. Abuse does not just fall into the physical. There is emotional as well, which sometimes I think can leave the worst scars. Screaming and yelling at your child until they are having huge tantrums and breakdowns and not leaving them alone because you think it's funny, is absolutely abuse. It's also fucking disgusting.

As I looked through their catalog of videos I was horrified to find out that most videos seemed to be at least 15-30 minutes long. To prolong a 'prank' like that for that long while your child's anxiety and stress levels get cranked up and up with no pause is so reprehensible. I have almost no words for it. And traveling back to the 'at least you don't beat us' point, maybe they don't but I absolutely find that hard to believe. Perhaps the children do not get beat by the parents until they are black and blue to the point where even the children would identify what was happening to them as abuse, but they are absolutely pitted against each other for the parent's enjoyment. And the kid's, especially Cody in some instances on his channel that the camera caught, is hit.

Now DaddyO has been taking down and deleting his videos, especially some of his videos that I am going to talk about. But there are clips still within Phil's and Grumpkin's videos that I will be putting up on this blog for you to see, that will show these instances. Also, because nothing can escape the internet, people have been saving these videos in case they do get deleted. One of the first videos I saw after I left Phil's channel was about some slapping game the father invented. The children were set on opposite sides of a small table and given a water bottle half filled with water. They had to flip the bottle and if it landed right side up they were safe. If not the other had to smack them in the face. This culminated with his daughter Emma getting slapped so hard she was sitting in a corner crying and holding her face while the father screamed at the kid for doing exactly what he told him to do. Now in the father's 'defense', as if he should deserve any, he did tell the brother not to hit her that hard. Yet before that he also told him, 'You don't hit girls! But that's your sister and she doesn't count.' The children are also allowed to hit and beat on each other with seemingly no true repercussions to their actions. Never once does the father put down the camera to correct the situation. There are instances where Cody is punched in the head by his brothers, or face slammed onto the ground and yet is still being filmed. Screaming is all that is done it seems. There are also videos and clips of Cody being pushed by his father so hard that he falls into a bookshelf and gets a bloody nose, and of his dad punching him in the arm for trying to mess with the camera while they were at the computer together.

The father says in an interview with Keemstar that Cody tried to run on him and that's why he pushed him away and he didn't mean for it to happen. But when I watched the clip all I see is Cody trying to run out of the room to get away from everyone only to be pushed back in for the abuse to continue. Once it starts there are never chances for it to stop until it seems that his emotions are at their peak and he is exhausted. He also says that the blood on the pillow is ink, but there is no way in hell that you are going to get me to believe that at all.

To allow your children to go through this and even take part in doing this to each other is absolutely despicable. It also helps the cycle of abuse to continue. In one of the videos I watched two of the brothers were chasing Emma around and hitting her with a belt to get back at her for 'snitching' on them. At first it just looked like they were lightly hitting her and only doing it to annoy her. But it ended on a smack that sent her to her room crying with the brothers jeering at her and laughing telling her she deserved it. This accompanied with the instance of one of them face planting Cody only makes me wonder what they will be like and what their romantic relationships and relationships with any future children will be like since they are basically encouraged to do this. Will they grow up to be abusers themselves?

I have three siblings, all of whom are younger than I am. Because hitting and lashing out in anger was normalized in my household and I was the oldest, when they would act up I would hit them much like how I was hit. It was always with my hand and never with a belt. I'm very ashamed to admit this and my siblings were so young that when I told them about it since it came up in conversation once, they were surprised because they didn't remember it. They don't hold any hard feelings against me at all and for that I am grateful. It greatly eased the guilt I had carried for so long whenever I thought of it. I would get mad at them for doing something bad or for angering me and I would spank them, and then get in trouble for it because I was not the parent. I was angry at myself for hitting them and angry at seeing them get hit. I learned extremely early on that the cycle of abuse has to stop at myself and I stopped myself from hitting them until it became normal for me to not do so. That's not to say that we didn't still get into fights like siblings do, or rough house, or push each other around. But at 12 years old I had to make a conscious decision to not treat them how I was treated and instead to fight back so that they weren't treated like how I was treated. They did not have it as bad as I had it. I made sure of that even if it meant that anger was directed at me instead. As long as they were forgotten about in that instance that was all I cared about. I was constantly confrontational in my house hold.

For so long I was afraid of the concept of having children because I was afraid that I would treat my kids like I was treated. I do not have children yet but I am no longer afraid. As survivors of abuse we have to take it upon ourselves to realize that the cycle of abuse stops with us because it most likely won't ever stop with our abusers. It would be so easy to make excuses like, 'well this is how I was treated. This is what discipline is.' which is also something I heard growing up. There has to be a conscious decision to not go that route and to recognize how horrible it is to inflict that abuse upon another person.

I love my siblings so much and I was so guilty for spanking them that I can not even fathom how I would feel if I had hurt them even more by punching them in the head or slamming them to the ground. I do not know how I would be able to live with myself. Children should not be pitted against each other and children that are much older than their siblings should not be allowed to freely hurt them like that. I really hope that the children of that household wise up and instead of fighting with each other, fight for each other and protect each other like how siblings and family should protect each other.

I have almost no faith in Child Protective Services, especially in Maryland (yes I share a state with these people). The fact that CPS investigated the house and cleared them due to people calling about the channel does not at all surprise me. I have seen and heard so many stories of children falling through the cracks in our system. A friend growing up was abused more than I was. When I went to spend the night once her sheets were stained with blood from her dad punching her in the face. The neighbors heard the screaming, and probably the screaming from times before, but when CPS came over, because she had no obvious  bruising they cleared her parents of wrong doing. They also announce when they are coming over, which gives abusive parents time to prepare. Since this story is blowing up so much, I believe that this is most likely why the videos are getting taken down as well. They're probably preparing for if something happens again.

I also saw in another Youtube video from someone, and bear with me because I have watched so many at this point I don't know who said it, that CPS was not aware of the videos. Yet the mother said that they were called because of the channel. To me that's just not doing your job. How can you be called because of abuse allegations on a Youtube channel and only base things on what you see at the house instead of looking at the videos as well. You announce when you're coming over so of course people will be on their best behavior.

As an adult, I now work with kids in Scouts. Some of who have been abused and who have emotional problems and disorders stemming from that abuse. I am still friends with people from my childhood who have gone through abuse. I know what I went through just to get to where I am now in life. I legitimately worry for these children and how this will impact their lives when they get older and how it is impacting them now. In one of the videos there is evidence that the youngest self harms. I have no clue how much or anything like that, but he gets yelled at because he scratched his own arm at school.

If you don't know how to react to a child that is self harming, yelling at them is not something you should do. Let's clear that up right now. Yelling at them and making them feel guilty does not solve anything and in some instances it makes it worse. I started self harming when I was around 12 years old, maybe a twinge younger. I started cutting when I was at the end of age 12 to the beginning of age 13. I had a relapse a couple of months ago at age 30 in 2016. Thankfully I did not cut. I just bit myself until I had bruises and swelling that I had to hide at my job. I work hard to find constructive ways to release my sadness, anxiety, and anger. I do this through meditation, artwork, writing, driving, sometimes going for a walk, or listening to music. These are things that child should be learning, and if it's from their parents that is even better because that just solidifies that parent is the rock and support that they need. If that child does self harm, if any child self harms, it is imperative they get help and support early on. If it's allowed to continue it can get worse and worse until it can become a full blown addiction where you have to actively take steps to not fall back into harmful behaviors.

I'm going to end with this paragraph and then I'm going to put up the rest of the videos that I watched, sans DaddyO's videos because I don't want to give him any ad revenue or anymore traffic than what he's already getting. I know some people are saying that these children are not being abused. I myself can not say that. What I am seeing is abuse to me and I can't understand how someone could defend this at all. I recognize some things in those videos that have either happened to me or to others who were abused. Physicality is not the end all of abuse categories or ways to abuse people. Manipulative tactics, screwing with some one's head repeatedly, egging them on to show anger and then admonishing them for that anger that you caused, emotional abuse such as cussing and screaming at someone, humiliating them. All of these are absolutely forms of abuse. I really hope that this family gets help. I do believe that people can change, and while I personally find those parents deplorable, I hope they get their shit together if only for their children's sake. I don't really care about the parents at this point. I don't really have pity for them when they say they are receiving death threats. I mean, I wouldn't send one and I don't condone the threats either, but I completely understand why they are getting them. The only reason why I would even care if it stopped or continued is because of the possible adverse affects it would have on the children. I applaud Phil and everyone else that has covered this for bringing attention to it. Much like Boogie2988 said in his video, no one stood up for me. I even out right tried to tell members of my family some of what was happening and nothing was ever done and no one ever acted like they cared that much to the point where I stopped reaching out for help and I stopped telling people what was happening unless it was friends of mine that I went to for support. I still sometimes fall into this behavior of staying quiet even as an adult.

Here are the rest of the videos I watched so you can come to your own conclusions. I know that there are saved videos of DaddyOFive that he has tried to take down out there on the web if you want to find them and see them for yourself beyond the clips presented in the videos. I promise the next blog post will not be this heavy, nor will it be this long. If you were abused as a child I feel for you and I hope you got help of some kind. If you are a kid or teen that has somehow stumbled upon this page, know that things do get better. They really do but sometimes you have to fight to make it better and it feels like hell while it's happening, but in the end things will get better. Don't stop fighting, don't stop reaching out or seeking help. Do what you have to do to survive as long as it does not hurt yourself. Above all, try to forgive when you are able to. I know that sounds crazy to say that but forgiveness is not for your abuser, it is for you. While you are in torment they sleep easy. You might never get them to see the light, but you can find peace for yourself. It is very hard and I have no easy way to tell you how to go about doing that. What worked for me may not work for someone else. But you have to find a way to give yourself peace because you do not deserve to be walking around in torment with hell following behind at your heels after all you did to get out of there in the first place. You deserve better than that!

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