Itís never wrong to defend yourself and you should never be expected to take a beating without fighting back. As a practical matter, if your abusive parent is bigger and stronger than you, hitting back will only cause you more pain. You should only hit back if you think you have a chance at winning in a physical fight. But hitting your parent for payback is probably not a good idea. Try anything else to stop your parent from hitting you.

Know this: children always have the upper hand. In the end, people often have children so that in the end of their lives they are not alone. Parents need their children, much more than the reverse.

I know of one person who had a very difficult relationship with her father when she was a kid. He hit her often as a young child and even as a teenager. He did this because he was angry and resentful. He loved his children but had a difficult time overcoming his resentment at having to take care of them and provide for them. He lost his temper easily and took it personally whenever she did anything he felt deserved punishment. In his mind, at least ostensibly, he thought he was doing right by his child in disciplining her appropriately. She hated him and silently vowed to never speak to him after she left home. But as that day approached, her father realized that he would lose her forever if he didnít shape up. So he did. And for her own sake, and for the sake of their family, she decided to try to forgive him. But it was a struggle. It involved a lot of swallowing her dignity.

He never fully apologized. He acknowledged that he ďwent too farĒ occasionally, but always justified his actions by saying he did his best. She turned out well, so he likes to say he couldnít have done too badly. Throughout her adulthood, they had an uneasy peace. She had no desire to confront him because she knew he would not take any responsibility for his actions and she would hear his weak defenses. She knew that would probably cause her to lose whatever respect she managed to scrounge for him. As time went on, she had had a relatively good relationship with him. But she never felt much affection for him. Now he is old. He is lonely and would love to have her and his grandchildren visit him more frequently. She is dutiful, but does only the minimum. Instead, she focuses on loving her own children.

The moral of the story is life is long. Donít worry about payback.


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