26th April 2016 at 10:22 pm #15455
I was physically, emotionally and sexually abused and neglected by my parents. No-one ever knew or asked. I didn’t know I was a victim of child abuse. I just knew my family hated me and it was my own fault. I grew up in a ‘normal’ suburban neighbourhood and I never said anything about what was happening at home because it was my fault. I was very easy prey for my husband who took over where they left off. I have a slightly clearer picture of my life now, but I still have lots of ‘missing time’ in my memory and I can’t get memories into an order that makes sense. I have spent most of my life pretty much dissociated from my body and feelings. I still get random flashbacks and new memories from time to time. I continue to have counselling and do lots of meditation and yoga. I feel my body is slowly thawing and waking up. I’ve recently discovered how my toes feel from the inside! I know that sounds crazy but I’ve never felt them before, I keep wiggling them! I’m also making great progress with self-regulation of my emotions which makes life so much easier to deal with. I have only minimal email contact with my parents now and there are still manipulation attempts. I don’t feel ready to make any long term decisions about contact. My current challenge is to express my emotions with my counsellor. I can tell her terrible things with no emotion, it’s second nature to keep my feelings hidden, but I really want to share how it felt to have those things happen to me. The little girl inside me has been very good at being invisible or morphing into whatever others wanted her to be, but now she wants to be herself and be heard. I opened this Pandora’s box in seeking counselling to understand my husband’s abuse of me. Has anyone else experienced this? X*x
27th April 2016 at 8:50 am #15488White RoseParticipant
I just wanted to say how pleased I was to read this and to hear about your toes. That made me smile but I really get it!
I started some counselling well before I left and that was one of the things that got me to realise I was being abused I had to stop as “he” was funding it through private health care and as soon as he realised it was empowering me he cut it off. The councellor helped me open my Pandora’s box and once all my financial side is sorted I’ve earmarked money to go back to him and get more help with dealing with it.
I’m so sorry your life to date has been abusive but sounds as if it’s on the up now!
Much love to you and your newly found toes xxxx
27th April 2016 at 1:55 pm #15513
Thanks white rose! It was depressing to realise my whole life had been abusive, but I absolutely do not regret realising it and getting help to process it all. It’s a long, hard process which will take a while yet but sometimes I really feel joy at coming alive. I’ve been so lucky to get donation only counselling through local agencies. I am so, so grateful to WA and rape crisis.
I’m sorry to hear you have your own ‘box’ and that you also get the opportunity to heal from it. It’s a double whammy when you realise you have to lose your family and your husband, plus his family, the house and possessions. When you step back and realise the enormity of loss it’s no wonder we grieve for so long x*x
28th April 2016 at 11:54 am #15626SerenityParticipant
My counsellor says that I keep ‘disappearing’ during sessions, and morphing into a provider of others’ needs. She says it’s really obvious that I felt invisible during my childhood and marriage – I set myself aside and allowed others to dominate and abuse me.
It’s hard getting out of that mentality. A few times this past week, I have been told that I let people take advantage of me. I thought I had learned. I must hold on to those precious boundaries which I learned in Pattern Changing.
I had a huge box to open during counselling this past year, tales about my childhood and adult life. At first, I cried the words out, then I became strangely factual and unemotional, I think as a coping mechanism. Recently, I began to be tearful again during sessions, as I think things were getting on top of me again. I needed to ask for that extra element of emotional support.
I think it is good even that you are talking about the abuse. Once it’s out, it’s out. That is huge achievement. Keep on talking.
Now my counsellor wants me to try to focus on who I am. It’s the hardest thing ever. Trying to assess who you really are. I am looking forward to finding that one out, with her help! X
8th October 2016 at 9:00 pm #29770Escaped not freeParticipant
Hello, I am so sorry to hear of your experiences but just wanted to say I really relate to this thread. I have started counselling and since I have it’s as though a lightbulb has gone off, shinning light on the abusive relationships in my life. It sounds crazy and although I knew these relationships could be difficult it’s taken until now to realise they are in fact abusive. Starting with my mother who terrorised me for most of my teens and large chunks of infancy I can remember. I’ve since tried to talk to my mother calmly about some of the things which were still going on which were toxic to my psyche and as a result I have been cut off and she has taken my sister with her. She has tried to cause divisions with my children as well but thankfully has not succeeded. My children’s father as well I now recognise as deeply abusive and controlling and still is. It’s a pattern that has just kept on repeating until things came to a head with my partner. I realised when people talked to me about self care and compassion and my needs and being myself I could not really understand or relate at all as I had never saw myself worthy of any of these things. It’s only now I’m trying to work out how this is actually done. The more boundaries I put in place the more my mother and ex husband verbally and emotionally abuse me. My mother is quite possibly one of the most manipulative people I have ever encountered. I have literally felt guilty for existing and being a burden to her all my life despite the fact I have been taken complete advantage of most of my life by her. It’s totally opened up a whole pandora a box as you say and I’m not sure where it’s going to lead. Feeling a bit detached at the moment and unsure of myself. The more boundaries I try to put in place the more anxious I get as it’s totally new behaviour for me. I don’t know how I got to my age not realising what was being done to me or who I actually am. X
8th October 2016 at 9:58 pm #29779
Hi Escaped, I’m glad the thread was useful. It does feel weird to have to review your whole life and realise that so much of your ingrained beliefs weren’t ever true. I think it makes perfect sense that your anxiety increases as you attempt to put boundaries in place. They have conditioned you not to do this and to expect punishment if you try. My mother and ex are also incredibly manipulative. I am totally no contact with my parents now, since confronting them earlier in the year and confirming that my flashbacks were telling me the truth of what happened to me. Funnily enough I had a sad day today where I was really feeling the loss and thinking about how my ex’s current harassment attempts are ao similar to my mother’s mode of operating. He saw me struggle with that for years, he knows how to affect me. But he doesn’t know I’ve stood up to them now, he doesn’t know how much stronger I’m becoming! Are you able to cease contact with your mother and ex husband? Any contact is so harmful to your progress. You need to stop feeling at their mercy and give yourself a safe space in which to heal. The lack of worth is deeply rooted and progress is slow but sure. But I no longer seek anyone to save me, I know I can mother myself. Keep going and stay strong xx
13th October 2016 at 6:15 pm #30092Escaped not freeParticipant
Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately I have children with my ex husband and since trying to talk to my mother she has “cut me off”, so doesn’t help with childcare which means I need to be in touch with him. He however hides his income, lives in his families house so has no bills but doesn’t contribute to his children financially. I have no option but to work full time and when I need his help with the children to allow me to work he tells me I’m selfish and I have no business working and I should have stayed at home where I was supposed to be. He controlled me by not allowing me to work and still tries to do so. I have just had to block him from my phone as he has continued over the last week to send me vile messages telling me I don’t have a proper job, I’m a w***e, I’m selfish, I don’t care about my children, I’m s**t mother, etc etc, I’ve been with two men in my life, (removed by moderator). He gave up his well payed job when we split up as he didn’t want to contribute financially and now tortures me for working. My mother has said she is “willing to help when I stop this nonsense”, this nonsense being, please don’t undermine me and talk down to me I front of my children. So I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. My ex partner who was the final straw for me is now in therapy and definitely showing signs of change, he’s the only one in my life who is actually saying sorry for how he treated me and is taking steps to try and put it right. It’s crazy. The guy I got away from is now the only one not giving me verbal abuse and trying to control me. I get no time to myself, I don’t have support, I have three children and a demanding job. I’m happy with them but I’m scared and lonely. I just want a normal life with people who treat me normally. I think I do overreact now to a lot of things and my emotions are hard to control. I catastrophise. I’m trying to stop but the constant wearing down and being told I’m a bad mother when the people I care about most, by a long shot and are always my first consideration are my children. It’s not a nice place to be. I wish I had more strength and conviction. I find my mothers voice in my head all the time telling me I don’t deserve anything, I’m selfish, I’m not clever, not pretty like my sister, no talents like my brother and sister, yet it was always me that had to do everything for her and my siblings. It’s a horrible thing she has done to me and she is in complete denial about it now. Would never admit to any of it. Thank you for your words. It makes me feel less alone. X*x
23rd December 2016 at 4:56 am #34814NovaParticipant
Ladies these are emotional & insightful posts, your sharing.
PeacefulPig you have such heightened self awareness to enable you to address your past with such clarity of mind. That is powerful and has prompted an in depth discussion, which must help us all to speak out.
Abuse is on so many levels, as we are all aware, and has lots of difference and lots of similar threads which we can identify with.
I too have for a long time have been aware, there are emotional issues throughout my siblings, power and control dynamics, and each member playing their role.
Although I’m from a large family, I don’t consider, in reality, that I have a family at all, most of the time. To me the word family,means support trust sharing & love…that’s just not evident with my siblings, with my family in general.
They are words, and personally it’s the deeds which speaks volumes. I understand a few words of comfort are helpful, but neither word nor deed are in my life. Sometimes when I’ve reached out to them, to say, I need support (a even though I’m the youngest I am still considered the one who does not need support or is so independent that they don’t need to help…cop out on their part I say)..there is no one there.
I feel emotionally neglected and practically unsupported.
Any achievements, educational or otherwise have been totally disregarded, I feel like I just don’t exist in their world at all, on purpose, to ignore me…and when one of our parents needed support they just left me too it, as if she’ll deal with it, she can sort it, who cares about her, her life or needs.
It’s tough having siblings who also have their own children now, and not being part of the group, we are all splintered in different places.
I’ve really tried to be there for them and to keep us together, socials etc, but since my parents died ..they haven’t made any effort at all.
All this has impacted greatly on the abuse control ‘relationship’ in general, especially with him. He knew I was alone, and vulnerable, I let him in as a close partner in my life. I thought we had a good thing together, I trusted in him, and now I am faced with this empty life. I will re build it, unsupported.
It has to be said, I’m surrounded by narcissistic people, leeching off me for their own selfishness, it’s ugly, and painful…& difficult to describe. It’s like the stronger I try to be, the more they want to pull me part, I’m in a constant battle. Why do they want to do it at all? Why not just focus on their own issues, and leave me alone. Mys sister texts occasionally, only to complain about the other sister, how she doesn’t care about her, and how she doesn’t care (obviously she does care!) that they don’t speak. She also talks to me like I’m not part of the family, just likes she’s talking about her family, really really odd. She’ll say ‘my mum…or my dad…used to say’
I reply ‘don’t you mean our mum & dad!!’…it’s soul destroying why does she exclude me literally like that? Odd bunch seriously odd, my parents were lovely people,in a loving home… I do wonder how my siblings turned out like that!
My box is open PP!
23rd December 2016 at 9:54 pm #34845
Hi Cuppa, thank you so much for your kind words, they mean so much to me. It was actually really helpful to be reminded of where I was back in April and how far I have come this year.
I’m sorry that your siblings are so unkind to you. Family dynamics can be so complex. People have a need to put you in a role that suits their agenda and makes them feel comfortable with themselves, but you don’t have to accept their versions of history or of who you are. You don’t exist to make them feel better, you don’t deserve to be their scapegoat, but letting go is hard. I totally get the feeling bombarded by abusers on all sides. Boundaries have been a complete revelation to me, as we’re having any rights to have them!
I was actually thinking of posting about my total no contact with my parents. I was planning on contacting extended family and explaining that I no longer have contact with my parents but then it got too close to Christmas and it felt wrong to tell people. I didn’t even send them Christmas cards because it felt like I’d be rubbing salt in the wounds if wounds of my parents (they have sent a couple of emails which I have ignored and deleted). I obviously still havent let go of caring how they feel and taking responsibility for them. Maybe I’ll do it in the new year, I have faith that I’ll know when it’s right. Overall my feelings of pride in myself for facing all this and being strong are far outweighing any sadness. Healthy friendships are developing for me slowly and I feel very safe with myself now.
11th January 2017 at 6:00 pm #36009AyannaParticipant
Peaceful Pig, this discussion is really encouraging.
I have never had the strength to completely cut out my parents. The longest I did that was a year.
Now that they are old and my mother is very ill I feel it is impossible to cut them out of my life.
They have the same attitudes, although there is no more violence and even the emotional abuse is very low.
All the horrible situations I experienced in my life are down to my childhood. The feeling of insecurity and worthlessness never left me.
I have never been able to assert myself.
My sister behaves as if she knows everything and she sends me lecturing emails, that are full of nonsense and patriarchal miseducation.
I have no friends whom I can trust. I meet a lot of people and they are keen to get close to me. I do not allow this anymore. It always ends that they try to get something out of me and I get nothing in return. For this reason I avoid close contact to people and keep everything at a distant level.
It is proven that an abusive childhood drives women into the arms of abusive men later in life.
This is something that needs to be much more emphasized in any discussion about domestic abuse. As long as child abuse exists, domestic abuse will remain.
All the government cuts to social services, health care and victim support organisations enhance child abuse and therefore domestic abuse.
If we want a better world for the generations to come we need to make noise about the importance of anti violence and relationship education in schools, about the need of plenty social workers available to help abused children, a much better mental health service that supports children and abused women.
13th January 2017 at 6:58 am #36125
Hi Ayanna, I wanted to reply yesterday but couldn’t quite dredge up the energy! Going no contact with parents is often even harder than with our ex’s. There are deep childhood conditioning and obligations at play. Don’t be hard on yourself for not quite achieving it. It’s taken me until this age and still I get random little emails as if nothing has ever happened, how thick skinned and in denial can people be?! It astounds me. Ive been ignoring but I think I’m going to send one more brutally honest response spelling out no contact and then if I need to get tougher I’ve laid the groundwork. I’m planning my name change soon which will be my way of psychologically divorcing them.
I could not agree more regarding the link between child abuse and DV. Cuts to services make agencies insular and protective so they work together even less. It’s a major public health emergency that needs to be faced. Services need to be trauma-focussed and appropriate therapy needs to be provided to children who have suffered abuse and to all adult victims also. We need to stop the taboos and the shame that make no sense given the prevalence of abuse. Social Care/mental health services need major reform xx
2nd April 2017 at 5:02 pm #40203NewWingsParticipant
I realise that this an older thread but I just wanted to say that my experience with my own family has been one of abuse too. Only when I realised that my abuser was only carrying on where my family left off did I understand or rather begin to understand why we stay with these men for longer than we should. I think I thought if I stick around and do my best to make this work he’ll believe in my love and return it. Fat chance of that bug then that’s where the cycle would kick and he’d be nice for a while. Exactly the same as my mother. Niether my ex or mother would listen to me, I was shut down immediately, my social worker told me I should confide in my sister not realising she was in cahoots with him. She too knew he was abusive to me but seems to think it’s ok but then she’s my mothers favourite and therefore very like my mother. Towards the end of my fathers life my mother delibrately isolated me from him and he from me. Eventually he ended up being sectioned she used this weapon before with my brother. Now my father was a very strong man but when eventually retired he lost a lot of his joy for life. I did try to tell him that my mother didn’t treat me right but he didn’t see it until the end. He made the mistake of telling her that he had been very disappointed in the marriage and that he married the wrong person. I can’t imagine what she said but it’s interesting that neither my brother or father have a headstone.
If her behaviour isn’t that of a covert n********t I don’t know what is. (Detail removed by moderator). My mother never said a word about it, but later after my father died she told me “you know I loved your father don’t you? ” well to my mind actions speak louder than words. She said the same thing to me recently. ” you know I love you don’t you?” Years ago I might have been taken in but all her dealings with me over the years have been less than what a mother should be. It’s so taboo to say bad things about your mother but she has been a monster to me. The scars were all to obvious to my ex and he delibrately aligned himself with mother and sister to carry on the abuse. Their cruelty has to be seen to be believed people who know me have been absolutely dumbfounded by it. Others have just not seen it as they are both pretty charismatic. I now loathe charmers probably because I was taken in. We have all done so much hard work on ourselves to heal and part that halting is realising that we are survivors of abuse on top of abuse. Getting us to believe we’re crazy or hysterical means they get off the hook. Like I asked to be treated like dirt. He knew instinctively that I’d been hurt by my birth family. My mother can’t give love and neither can he. It’s hard to bear the truth at times that those who are abused by family are further abused by their partners. It’s like a double whammy and leaves us with a lot more to deal with psychologically. I know now that I truely am worth it, some days I don’t feel it but other days I can see that I am now free from still wanting them to love me back. Yes I wasted my love on them but you know what that’s ok now too. They don’t have the power to manipulate that they did. The littlest contact I have with any of them the better. I’m polite but that’s all I share nothing but trivialities with them as they too manipulative and therefore dangerous to share anything but the wether forecast with. Lol
3rd April 2017 at 6:45 am #40239
Hi newwings, I’m sorry that you’ve experienced abuse from your family and your ex, like you say a double whammy. It’s easy to believe that we must be the common denominator and the problem when all our significant others abuse us, so it really helps when we realise that actually our ex’s deliberately used knowledge of our childhoods against us to replicate the abuse as it’s such an effective tactic to control us. You’ve done so well to limit contact and give yourself boundaries with your family. It is a taboo, we’re told as children to honour our parents, and I felt a lot of shame telling people I don’t see them. But I don’t now, I’m proud to have done the right thing and can say so assertively without worrying whether others will understand.
By the way, as an update to my initial post, I can now feel, experience and enjoy my whole body (not just my toes) and I love it! I went for a walk yesterday and was just enjoying feeling so alive, real and present in the world xx
3rd April 2017 at 7:04 am #40240AlicenotichainsParticipant
Ah yes I can relate to this PP. I have just started with a counsellor and she told me I was relating stories of gut wrenching lifelong abuse as if I were a news reader. She says I am dissociated and we are going to try and work on sparking some memories and emotions. She said it will be hard at times but I am glad we have started the process.
I am numb from my childhood and I became addicted to abuaive men. I think I have made a good start- I am a bit apprehensive about what we are going to unearth but anything has got to be better than abuse.
I am working on self soothing- I might try yoga also.
3rd April 2017 at 8:36 pm #40288JupiterParticipant
I can relate to lifelong abuse too and wonder why undesirables make a beeline for me!? Mean men–like other women, I have worked on myself in counselling for years and yet people still sense I am somehow vulnerable.Its a horrible feeling as if it cant be shaken off. There are so many effects but I notice one at present which stands out: assuming rejection quickly.This can be any situation.For example, today I expected an e mail from someone and the reply came late.Despite trying to be rational about it I thought that the person couldnt be bothered with me,as if of little value etc etc. Can really hurt feeling like this, but it happens, even though I know about low self esteem .This happens with adult kids too,especially as they are probably the biggest triggers,being in contact with ex.
I wonder if we are a bit like that tree with scars on its trunk,yet it still grows big enough to blossom in the end?
3rd April 2017 at 10:25 pm #40299
Alice, I’m really pleased you’ve found a good counsellour to work through this with. It was a really tough and terrifying process for me, as repressed memories of sexual abuse and extreme violence came back to me in flashbacks. It was almost too hard to bear at times. I say this not to put you off but just to say that it’s important to have a support system or plan in place for the tough times. I worked with two counsellors, the second made sure I had enough strength and support in place before working on things but the first time I wish I’d been more prepared or better supported. To be fair to me and the counsellour we had no idea what what would be unearthed as I was also extremely dissociated and minimising. Now I’m out the other side though, I don’t regret it at all. I’ve been given a self, a life, a body and I am so grateful.
Jupiter, I can relate to the rejection thing. I would always jump to the immediate conclusion that the person didn’t like me. My counsellour kept assuring me that people are very busy and if my friends are spending time with me it’s because they really want to.
I know I’ll always be vulnerable and there are far too many people (men) who find vulnerability irresistible. But at least now I react by taking extra care of myself, like a curator of a priceless antique that could be easily broken!
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