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Abusive Parents / Music

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  • Suzanne Vega's "Luka". The child is questioned about the scars he has, and he blames himself for being clumsy and that he "walked into the door again" to hide the fact that he is being abused.
  • Jason Michael Carroll's "Alyssa Lies".
  • Martina McBride's "Concrete Angel" is about a child who is abused by both her parents. It has a Downer Ending.
  • The main character in Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" is heavily implied to have been abused by her alcoholic father.
  • Disturbed:
    • "Down with the Sickness" tells about child abuse as a metaphor for "mother society" beating down the freaks.
    • "Tyrant" is a bitter rant directed at a blame-shifting parent. The song mentions screams and violence and "breaking a family in two" in the past, and in the present, the narrator tries to repair their relationship, to no avail, and wonders if he can ever heal after the abuse.
  • "Crawling" by Linkin Park is about Chester Bennington's experiences with abuse as a kid, albeit not from his parents but an associate.
  • John Michael Montgomery's "The Little Girl," where the title character witnesses her father beating her mother ... and then one day witnessing his murdering her before turning the gun on himself.
  • "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" by The Offspring. The song is meant to be an apology to a girl that lead singer Dexter Holland, as well as his friends, knew was sexually abused during her youth by her father, yet no one ever brought it up.
  • "Amy in the White Coat" by Bright Eyes is about the life of a girl who is being sexually abused by her father. The song is told through the point-of-view of her father and some of her classmates.
  • "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith is about a girl who murders her father because he sexually abused her.
  • Pearl Jam:
    • "Alive" tells the story of a young man raped by his mother. Although the story is very much a grim one, it was seen as a survivor's anthem among victims of Parental Incest, as fans commonly interpreted the chorus "I'm still alive, hey, I'm still alive" as being a triumphant declaration of survival, rather than what Eddie Vedder called a curse. In 2006, though, stated that the fan response changed his view of the song, and that the "curse" had been lifted from it.
    • Their song "Daughter" also counts. It's about a girl with a learning disability being abused by her parents for being "difficult".
  • Take a song by Korn. Any song. Usually it's more about neglect than direct abuse, but to the children in the songs, it feels just the same.
  • Regal Pinion has a song called "For the Best" is about a daughter at her abusive father's funeral. His actions range from locking her in her room for hours on end to telling teachers she "bumped into the chair". Regal has stated that he wrote the song as a Take That! to people who ignored the signs but did nothing of it.
    "Teachers saw her as that god damn "one kid" / The one you fantasize in mind's eye you'd rid
    "Oh if only I knew then I'd do something different." / Well you did nothing, so congratulations"
  • Voltaire's song "The Chosen". The protagonist says "First time I had sex I was three/ First time consenting was thirteen", and claims that his mother "once left me in a supermarket".
  • Sufjan Stevens has several songs dealing with various manifestations of the trope, from "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!" (emotional abuse) to "Pitssfield" (neglect) to "Wallowa Lake Monster" (Missing Mom leaving her children "in the rain").
  • Beartooth's song "Beaten In Lips", which spares no expenses on abusive parents and straight-up tells the abused children to not get brought down by them.
  • Alanis Morissette's "Perfect" is a song from the parent's perspect, about parents who live vicariously through their kids and humiliate and berate them for not meeting expectations.
    "We love you just the way you are / If you're perfect."
  • Referenced near the end of the Pink Floyd song "Dogs"
    "Who was born in a house full of pain"
  • First Born by The Plot In You is a Concept Album about this.
  • Pat Benatar's "Hell is for Children", about the utter hell that kids with abusive parents have to live through.
    "Be a good boy and you'll get a new toy/Tell Grandma you fell off the swing."
  • Invisible Circles by After Forever is a Concept Album centered on this theme, inspired by some of the children guitarist/vocalist Sander Gommans encountered during his previous job as an art teacher. In this story, the workaholic father refuses to compromise his chances at his dream career to help raise his daughter, leaving the mother to give up her job completely to spend time with the girl. This progresses for several years with the father rarely around and the mother taking out her frustrations on the daughter, who retreats into an escapist fantasy online in search of positive attention she doesn't get at home. But things go From Bad to Worse when an argument ends with the father walking out on both of them...
  • "Prison Sex" by tool.
  • Quite a few songs by the Mountain Goats, due to John having been abused himself. The entire album "The Sunset Tree" was about his abusive stepfather, particularly "Dance Music" and "This Year". A special note also goes to the soul-shattering "Song for my Stepfather".
  • Not quite Played for Drama, but definitely present in "Amos Moses" by Jerry Reed. Amos' surly demeanor is explained by Amos' father using him to bait alligators while hunting when Amos was a child. This, err hands-on approach to gator hunting at one point cost Amos his entire left arm up to the elbow.
  • Although the parents in Tommy appear to mean well, they take Parental Neglect so far that it's a matter of opinion whether it amounts to this. Their attempts to cure their son include paying a gypsy to feed him acid. They are also known for leaving him alone with his abusive cousin and/or his drunk rapist uncle. According to Word of God re: an early interview with Pete Townshend, Tommy's dad hits him for being deaf, dumb and blind (never mind that his own actions—killing a man in front of Tommy and then forcing him to keep quiet—actually traumatized the poor kid enough to have caused these disabilities in the first place). While it's perhaps not intentional, the way both parents refer to him simply as "the boy" comes off as fairly sociopathic.
  • Genesis, "No Son Of Mine".
  • In the Evillious Chronicles, there's the song Blood-Stained Switch. In the PV, the diary of the featured girl shows up and describes her father beating her... among other things...
  • 10,000 Maniacs' "What's the Matter Here?" addresses the issue of neighbors abusing their child, and the protagonist wanting to act, but not daring to intervene:
    If I'm the only witness to your madness
    Offer me some words to balance out
    What I see and what I hear.

    All these cold and rude things that you do
    I suppose you do because he belongs to you
    And instead of love and the feel of warmth
    You've given him these cuts and sores
    That don't heal with time or with age.
  • Skillet has a few songs reflecting Cooper's relationship with his father. He says his father wasn't physically abusive like "Open Wounds" suggests, but he was emotionally abusive. All of the songs involving Cooper's relationship were written and performed by him.
  • "Oh Father" by Madonna, which combines the parental abuse with a dark religious aspect, the child confessing their "sins" against his or her "father", making this also a Religion Rant Song. The video for the song combines this trope with Domestic Abuse as the adult version of her character has a relationship with a male character vaguely resembling her father that just slaps her for no reason, suggesting that children who grow up in abusive homes end up being in abusive relationships themselves.
  • "Little Bird" by Imogen Heap seems to be about this trope, although it could also be spousal abuse. Either way, the narrator of the song gradually discovers the abuse and asks the little bird of the song's title to help rescue the victim, only for the little bird to abandon them at the end of the song.
  • Ludacris' song "Runaway Love" is about young girls (the oldest only being 12) who run away from neglectful and abusive homes.
  • Three Days Grace's song "Home" is about feeling ostracized in your own home because of verbally abusive parents.
  • "Fire On Babylon" by Sinéad O'Connor tells of her own abusive mother.
  • "Endless Cycle" by Lou Reed:
    "The man if he marries will batter his child
    And have endless excuses
    The woman, sadly, will do much the same
    Thinking that's it right and it's proper
    Better than their mommy and their daddy did
    Better than the childhood they suffered
    Truth is they're happier when they're in pain
    In fact, that's why they got married"
  • "Dear Mr. Jesus" by Powersource, sung by a 6-year-old Sharon Batts about another child who has been abused by a parent.
  • Heavily implied in "seven" by Taylor Swift:
    I think your house is haunted
    Your dad is always mad, and that must be why
    And I think you should come live with me
    and we can be pirates
    Then you won't have to cry
    Or hide in the closet
  • Tears for Fears: "Tears Roll Down" (the B-Side of "Sowing the Seeds of Love") and the single "Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)" mention an abusive mother.
    And when your mother's violence
    Sent your soul underground
    Where tears roll down
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's father Johann was an alcoholic who initially taught his now famous son harshly and intensively. He would often beat Ludwig whenever his son makes a mistake in playing a musical instrument.
  • Much of the Russian band Kis-Kis's video for their song "Molchi" is about this and domestic abuse. The song itself seems to be more about Bystander Syndrome.
  • Verse 2 of Meatloaf's "Objects In The Rear View Mirror (May Appear Closer Than They Are)" reminisces about how the protagonist's father used to beat him while ranting vitriol towards everyone the man knew.