Parent Abuse

Regina Cano

Photo: Caridad

He shouted, “How the hell do you think I can do that now…,” communicating violence in his gestures – his head turning from side to side, his arms waving like fan blades and his eyes bulging out.

The words of this 23-year-old boy went full circle as he told off his 50-something mother. Later the attacks went beyond the verbal and became physical, to the point of trying to strangle her.

Bringing a child into the world and into your own is apparently a great thing. Everything in this realm is related to love. The love of the mother for her child is unconditional — according to Cubans — as are the child’s feeling toward its mother.

Yet in more than an insignificant percentage of instances nowadays, this image is broken and the pieces of the picture go flying.

“He broke the radio that his sister gave me. It’s in pieces. And now look; do you see that mark on the refrigerator (a new Chinese Haier), he threw a chair and hit it. All of this cussing and shouting, it’s like constant psychological warfare,” said another mother of a young man who was about 30.

Well, unfortunately for us, young adults and adolescents and children in many homes develop this violent manner of communicating with their mothers

“Slave … my slave, bring me my food!” said a 9-year-old boy to his 36-year-old mother, with the crystal clear intent to humiliate her. This wasn’t the first time his voice uttered such abusive words with the intention of making a hurting joke.

Later he said to his grandmother, who wasn’t able to serve him his yogurt at the instant he wanted: “Listen you ooold crazy woman, I hope you die.”

The first woman I referred to in this post is an attorney with a certain level of prestige; the second is a retired sports coach and the third is a nurse who teaches nursing.

The truth is that the first two women belong to a generation that grew up a little after the 1959 revolution, and after that they each dedicated themself to their professions as “liberated women.”

The third woman developed a feeling of guilt in relation to her child, since she had wanted to offer him some of what she herself had once enjoyed, but which now doesn’t exist. She wanted him to have what has been lacking since the crisis of the 90’s. To do so she worked long hours while leaving a large part of his home training in the hands of an over-indulgent grandmother.

Motherhood is the unconditional love of the mother for her child and vice versa — according to Cubans — only sometimes the image is broken and you’re left with picking up the pieces.



Regina Cano

Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

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One thought on “Parent Abuse

  • This is not just “according to Cubans.” This is happening around the world. This is an international problem, a global concern – women are being abused by their children, who have often learned from their fathers, despite the unconditional love of their mothers. There is no easy answer to this problem. Respect for all people, regardless of age, must be paramount, as should equality, regardless of gender.

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