16th April 2017 at 10:29 pm #41015
My recently ended abusive relationship cast light on abuse I have suffered from my family my whole life. When I was in the relationship I had cognitive dissonance about my abuser – on the one hand I thought he was this lovely guy because that’s how he presented at the beginning. But as the abuse started to build up (teasing, mocking, laughing at me, inability to accept responsbility for his actions, quick to anger, making everything my fault, humiliating me, gaslighting, monitoring me each day, rough with my body causing my bruises then saying I must bruise easily, lying, cheating, joking about killing me, threatening me etc) I started to realise something was wrong until it suddenly, painfully clicked in my brain that he was abusive and fit the profile of a psychopath.
I am now questioning whether I am in denial about my own family. For years I have struggled with anxiety and depression and have symptoms of an adult survivor of childhood abuse. I’ve had therapy but had to stop working and currently live with my parents because of my mental health which made holding down a job very hard.
My dad gives me the creeps and I have to cover my body with baggy clothes otherwise I see him looking at me in a way that makes me feel super uncomfortable and it makes me want to die. I even feel guilty that I find him creepy and for years have tried to talk myself out of thinking it but he always does something else creepy so I just can’t ignore it.
My mum was emotionally, verbally and physically abusive to me as a child, was for years trying to make me ‘tougher’ (I was very sensitive and shy) so I internalised that I was ‘wrong’ and ‘not good enough.’ She would scream at me if I cried. She then changed and we got on better and I considered us to have a good relationship as adults. She often seems to help/support me now but daily she steps over my boundaries and does things without asking like moving my things, throwing things out etc then down plays it and shrugs her shoulders despite me telling her repeatedly to respect my boundaries and not do this. It makes me so enraged I could scream from the highest mountain at the top of my lungs, perhaps it is triggering memories of childhood boundaries being violated. It makes me feel like a helpless child and I cannot bare feeling like this. She’s often said she ‘doesn’t know how to love’ and I know that I never got the love or affection from her as a child I so desperately needed.
My brother verbally, emotionally and physically abused me as a child and I remember one incident where he simulated sex with me when I was about 7. He fits the profile of all my abusive exes – arrogant, charming, good looking and (detail removed by moderator). When he visits he is all charming and my mum fauns over him. He acts nice and like he’s interested in my life but then suddenly flips and is rude and snappy to me so I never know which side I will get, it is exhausting and I often feel depressed after he’s gone home.
I feel trapped here by my circumstances. I desperately need to get my own place to make sense of my life. I just feel absolutely terrified at the thought of losing my family. I would be all alone in the world. I have friends but nobody who loves me. How do we survive without love?
But how I can continue with people who treat me like this and disrespect me? I feel so depressed and angry right now. I am waiting to hear back to find out what benefits I am entitled to and then I will look into housing. I’m just terrified I’ll end up in a rough part of the city all alone with no support surrounded by emotional predators with little money, no car and no nearby friends. I’m not sure what the point of my life is if I have to live like that.
Thanks for any advice. Feeling kind of suicidal, I don’t know what my future holds and I’m scared but I know I need change and I need it now.
17th April 2017 at 8:18 am #41021Peaceful PigParticipant
Hi sunshine, your family dynamics sound very similar to mine. You describe it the way I did for years before I started counselling and began to realise how much I had minimised which was actually sexual abuse. I also had repressed memories return to me. I think you should take your feelings very seriously, you feel them for a good reason and have no need to feel guilty for that. I really think your mental health will deteriorate the longer you stay in this environment. You have emotional predators around you now, in your own place you get to decide who comes there. I know it feels terrifying to be alone but you will have the freedom to start loving and parenting yourself.
Do you have any friends at all you could move nearer to? I think counselling would be so beneficial for you but I say that with the knowledge of how frightening the process was to undertake with only a little support. Perhaps your first priority is moving, then building up a support network. This could include organisations who deal with childhood abuse.
Coming to understand the truth about my family and my ex-husband has been such a hard journey but I don’t regret it at all. I have no family, no partner and I’m slowly learning to do friendship, but mostly I’m alone except for my kids, but I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. I have lost all the shame, guilt and self-hatred I felt all my life. I love and care for myself and my body. I still don’t know what my future holds but at least I’m at the start of a life free of abusers. That’ll do for now xx
17th April 2017 at 11:28 am #41048
Thank you Peaceful pig I really appreciate the response and validation. I think I was sexually abused as a child but can’t remember much apart from that one incident which I guess is enough in itself, and some strange things I question, plus all the symptoms of survivors of sexual abuse. I’m glad that if I suffered it the memories are repressed for now because I feel suicidal at all of these problems and issues turning up all at once and couldn’t cope with the memories surfacing right now – domestic violence, familial abuse, unemployment and housing problems are more than enough 🙁
I feel suicidal each day. I wish it wasn’t a bank holiday and I could go to citizens advice and housing and find out what to do. I keep ringing helplines daily to help get me through this. I’m not sure that I can, or want to. The only thing that keeps me going is my wonderful cat who I love with all my heart. I would like more than anything for me and my cat to have our own place together, somewhere safe and calm where I can wear what I like without people looking at my body and not have my boundaries walked over constantly.
I’m just worried about what I can afford because I don’t have a job at the moment due to my health and having no children and being relatively young means I’m not entitled to much housing benefit. I guess I need to stop fearing all this stuff and go and find out about it and find out facts and hope that there will be a place out there for me where I can start building a life.
I have referred myself to counselling for domestic violence/sexual abuse and I cannot wait to start it but it’s a 6 month waiting list. I rang my old therapist attached to my GP’s surgery but she sounded annoyed with me and said she only had time for a brief phonecall. She was good at helping me last year but it’s like she’s had enough of me, she said at the end of therapy that I was very capable and ‘didn’t need all of this stuff’ and sounded sort of frustrated with me, so I don’t want to go back to her. I’m waiting to attend two support groups. Easter has been really frustrating as everything is closed for the holidays. I am going to try and get other things done so I am ready once everything opens again to get moving.
I’m so glad this forum is here as I feel so alone at the moment and like I’m living in a nightmare!
It’s good to know that you are feeling ok about life now, that gives me some hope that I can too in the future.
17th April 2017 at 5:16 pm #41062LisaMain Moderator
I’m sorry to hear about how you are feeling at the moment. Abuse is painful and even more when its people who are supposed to love and support you.
It must be distressing for you to be seeing repressed memories, what kind of support do you have at the moment?
As previously mentioned, building up a new social network may be the best aim for the future. It may be of little comfort but to be around a lot of negativity , but still able to show kindness and compassion is truly amazing.
17th April 2017 at 7:42 pm #41065
Thanks for your message and support. At the moment the support I have is coming from friends. They are not particularly close friends, only a few live locally so most of the support is over the phone from them and I feel bad offloading all these problems on them. Otherwise I ring helplines. My GP has been kind but they just refer me to counselling or IAPT. My IAPT therapist doesn’t want to help me anymore and is about to leave, the counselling I was referred to is so inundated it’s no longer accepting new people so I found another one but it’s a 6 month waiting list. I had an appointment with Mind but I tried to reschedule it due to a conflicting medical appointment. The receptionist snapped at me and was very rude to me for asking to reschedule so I don’t particularly want to go there now.
There are two support groups I can try but they don’t start til later this month. I’m also waiting for a domestic violence support worker. So there is support available but it all seems hard to access with long waiting lists when ideally I could do with it now as this is the worst time for me.
I’m not sure what other type of support to try to find? I feel so sad that I can’t rely on my family but I am realising they are part of the problem. I always thought I was lucky with my family but I think I’ve been in denial about underlying issues with them.
I’m worried about becoming even more lonely and vulnerable and isolated if I separate away from them. I feel like a sitting duck for emotional predators so don’t feel safe to make new friends until I am in a better place because it’s hard to figure out people’s motives. Life feels very hard and scary right now.
18th April 2017 at 4:42 pm #41087LisaMain Moderator
There are a lot of waiting lists for support, the groups you mentioned sound quite positive. The helplines are there for a reason as well.
It is sad that you can’t rely on your family, but from what you said it doesn’t sound like you ever could. Sometimes we can’t choose our family, and if they are abusive it may be more damaging to rely on them if you are feeling vulnerable.
Building up networks can take time, maybe you could start with those support groups you mentioned? When your domestic violence support worker contacts I think it may be worth discussing housing options with them.
Take care and keep posting
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