That's what people say, and in their minds, no it's not abuse.
But to me, it was.
It really started when I was about six years old. My father started making life hard for my mother financially. I remember her trying to reason with him, trying to get him to help out but it seemed like no use. When I would ask, she'd simply say we couldn't afford it and no other explanation was given. But I was curious. It didn't make sense when we could before. I later overheard a telephone conversation between them and figured out why things were now more difficult. It was all his fault. I grew angry with this. How dare he make my mother's life harder when she did nothing wrong to him.
I held this anger until I next saw him. I wasn't in the car for more than ten minutes when I looked at him with cold eyes and demanded an answer for what was happening. He was taken aback by my knowledge of the subject but this was soon replaced with a terrible rage. He slammed the car's steering wheel with great force and spun to face me. He yelled at me for a long time, not sensoring anything to my child ears. Screaming obscenities and gripping the seat in front of me with a force that turned his knuckles white. When I gained the courage to look into his eyes, I saw a hatred and anger that chilled me to the bone. An emotion so strong, I am still surprised to this day that he did not hit me. I later found out my mother used to threaten that if he hit me, he'd never survive to tell it and I think that it was that thought that kept him hanging in the balance. I grew submissive, apologizing for my behaviour and eventually, he stopped and began to drive again.
That incident scared me more than anything I had ever seen and I learned to grow fearful of my father. It was then things grew worse for me. His forms of discipline were no longer verbal. He moved onto innovative ways like poking and jarring me. Oftentimes, he'd grab my shirt's collar and pull me close to utter a threat of discipline before shoving me away again.
If I didn't heed this warning, I'd quickly receive the reinforcement. Many of it being pokes in the ribcage or finger hooks to the hip bones that caused some sort of bruising but if it wasn't to be noticed, he'd use the all-famous tickle torture. If this happened, I knew to be frightened. He'd often tackle me and tickle me until I would nearly faint from lack of breath. I'd beg for him to stop but he never did.
In that instant of discipline, I saw a sort of glee in his eyes, like he enjoyed to watch me suffer. I later confirmed this idea when he began to do this randomly when I'd done nothing wrong. I remember asking for help and asking for it to stop but it never did. It kept going on until I was strong enough to fight back and deliver real blows. When I finally did this, I was twelve and had nothing to lose. I saw the anger return and that tension from when I was six but I stared back at him with dead eyes. Make my fucking day it seemed to say to him. He backed off and the poking disciplines faded away. After that, I barely associated with him anymore.