Weird bad memories flooding back in

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of puzzledatlife puzzledatlife 9 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #52201
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    I seem to be having new memories come to light since Christmas about things my mum, dad and brother have done to me over the years. I have been writing them down in my phone to talk to a therapist about when I can find one, because I’m worried I’ll forget them and go back into denial. If it’s ok it feel like it will help to share some examples on here of weird/disturbing incidents that happened involving my mother:

    – Once when I was quite young, maybe (detail removed by Moderator), for whatever reason she needed me to walk to school by myself whereas normally I went with her or other children. I’m not sure why the other children had already gone but either way I set off and went alone. I didn’t get very far because I started to feel really sad and scared. I returned to the house and asked if she could walk with me instead (I used to get bullied a lot by boys at school so that was probably partly why). Instead of being kind and understanding, she went into this insane rage, her face went bright red and she started screaming at me ‘SHADAAAAAAAAP! SHADAAAAAP!’ after I said I was scared and had started to cry. She then tipped over the kitchen table in front of me, a large wooden table that seated 4+ people. I remember feeling really upset and confused that my own mother would rage at me and be so angry she would tip over the table when I just needed some warmth and kindness, it was awful and has stayed with me my whole life.

    – Another time when I was about (detail removed by Moderator), I had outgrown my bike and she put it for sale in the paper. Some friends had been round and as soon as they left she came up to me and said a pervert had rung up about my bike. I remember just saying ‘oh, gross’ or something like that and expected that would be the end of the conversation. But she proceeded to tell me, in detail, what this man had said down the phone. It was a really creepy disturbing description of him sexually assaulting a young girl and I remember feeling really uncomfortable hearing it and not understanding why my mum had to tell me the details. What was even worse was that the bike was mine so it was like it was me in the story. I have thought about this since and feel her telling me this story could be classed as childhood sexual abuse? Because she is exposing me to a sexual story when I was (detail removed by Moderator) which in my mind she should have protected me from.

    – Another memory is when I went to a holiday club one (detail removed by Moderator) and one of the activities was to make a popup paper flower. I think I was probably about (detail removed by Moderator) years old. I remember enjoying making this flower and thinking that mum would love it and be so happy with me. I came home with it and showed it to her, my dad and brother who were all sat around the table. Suddenly they all smirked then burst out laughing. I was very young but picked up that they were laughing because they thought the flower ‘looked rude.’ It was so awful and I felt so ashamed and embarassed. I remember appealing to her trying to explain that it was a flower and she just kept laughing with my brother and dad. I also think this is super inappropriate behaviour because it is basically telling a child that a creative craft object they made looks like a sex organ/act? Is that not totally wrong? It really makes me feel uncomfortable remembering this.

    My whole childhood I felt weird, stupid, ugly and like nobody liked me and I can see now that I was surrounded by awful, horrible people who were constantly bullying me, teasing me, putting me down and telling me I was wrong all the time. Am I right in thinking the incidents described towards a child is pretty terrible and falls into the category of abuse? I would never do any of these things to a child. My mum has often said that she ‘doesn’t know how to love’ and has said that she thinks I act strange towards my cat, when really I am just kind, loving and non-mean towards her which seems to make my mum feel uncomfortable. My cat doesn’t like my mum and always cowers away from her or hides when she is here, it makes me worry that my mum has hurt her when I wasn’t at home or something. Luckily I don’t live with them anymore.

    It would be good to hear your thoughts on these incidents, it is very confusing because on the one hand I have all these memories flooding in, but on the other hand they have also supported me my whole life and rescued me from difficult situations so I feel guilty, but this Christmas reminded me that something is really not right within my family. I feel like I’m starting to understand why I have ended up with abusers and why I have suffered with depression, panic, anxiety and OCD my whole life and always lacked confidence and self esteem.

  • #52210
    Profile photo of KIP. KIP. 
    Participant

    I agree with you that these incidents are cruel. But it’s great that you can recognise these memories may be upsetting you. Have you ever tried to talk to your mum about these memories? Unfortunately we cannot choose our family. Good that your writing them down, this often helps to get the thoughts out our heads x

  • #52211
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Thanks KIP. Yes I have brought these memories up with my mum before, not the sexual ones but the one about the table. She always goes into victim mode and says things like ‘I’m sorry I was such a bad mother when you were a child, I had post natal depression’ or ‘that was how we were taught to raise children.’ Sometimes she starts crying tearless tears (I’ve just realised I’ve never once see her shed an actual tear) which makes me feel bad and guilty so the subject is dropped. If my dad is around during these conversations he goes into a dark angry mood and defends her saying ‘your mother does such an awful lot for you’ and shuts the conversation down. I am always left feeling wrong, guilty, bad, invalidated. The recurring pattern seems to be:

    – One or all of them does something cruel to me
    – I call them out on it/protest/get upset
    – If it’s my dad he will then bring up something I did 6 months before that apparently annoyed him, deflecting blame onto me and putting me on the defensive
    – If it’s my mum she cries crocodile tears
    – If it’s my brother he gets angry and cruel or just ups and leaves

    No true apology because none of them ever seem to think they have ever done anything wrong, it makes me feel so uneasy in my stomach thinking about it, it’s so frustrating having a family who cannot ever take responsibility for their actions and must always blame shift.

  • #52220
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    This all sounds like abuse. I am wary of saying this about parents, because I live with mine, and they really aren’t abusive, but I am still hyper sensitive and sometimes I overreact if they are arguing. My mum’s behaviour is also controlling. But I think that is more that to an extent she really does see me as a child still – so she will do things like comment on my eating habits or ask where I am going all the time. But I am working on new boundaries and it’s getting better though. Saying that, the incidents you describe sound really extreme. The sexual incidents in your childhood are definitely not normal – and you are right, parents should do all they can to shield you, not expose you to the kind of details you describe. And I speak as someone whose mother worked in healthcare and explained how babies were made when I was very young – there are details that you don’t need to know then. As demonstrated by my mother’s excellent sex talks which I got about or 5 times through my childhood with differing levels of detail based on age and required knowledge. I think that distancing yourself from them will definitely help you gain confidence and I hope that you find a good therapist soon.

  • #52249
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply Tiffany. Yes I just really need to distance myself from them, I just feel very upset about it because before everything came crashing down this year due to my ex I had always kept telling myself that I was lucky I had a good family. I’m also very worried about money due to my work situation, and feel angry and worried wondering if they will disinherit me if I distance myself from them and leave everything to my bully of a brother.

    For years I kept feeling like my mum preferred my brother over me and I asked her about it a lot and she always denied it, but I feel like all my suspicions about them were right, the same way I kept trying to dismiss that I saw my dad look at me in a sexual way thinking ‘why would he do that’ but it’s hard to keep denying these things when they keep happening. I think I’ve always tried to convince myself that my mum loves me and she tells me she does, but like my abusive ex, they often say the right things but then things don’t really add up and you wonder if their love really is just control.

    I see my brother now as unfortunately just a pretty horrible person. Vain, shallow, n**********c, contemptuous, angry, holier than thou, unpredictable, a cheat, aggressive, regularly mocks and teases and is disdainful of a lot of people and things. He has a very good well paid job and drives an expensive car and came home one time and called the car I drive ‘rubbish’ like he wasn’t even hiding his disdain.

    The only positive thing is that now I am seeing all this more clearly, as sad as it is, it gives me a glimmer of hope that I can break my pattern of abusive relationships and start choosing healthy men to date now, because I no longer look up to my brother so won’t be looking for someone like him anymore (I always seemed to choose men who were just like him).

  • #52292
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    It’s weird how abusers look so much like knights in shining armour. I said for years that I was so lucky to have my abuser – I thought he was protecting me for my Mum as we had been going through a rough patch in our relationship, and from having to move back in with them. Turns out moving back in with them is the best move I have made in years and that it was my abuser that I had to protect myself from. I am so sorry that this is happening to you with your family, after everything else. I hope that a bit of distance will help you gain perspective and confidence. You are obviously a lovely kind and intelligent lady, and I think that once you get out from the shadow of abuse that you will shine in ways you can’t imagine.

  • #52352
    Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
    Participant

    Thank you Tiffany, that is a very kind thing to say. I hope you are right. I’m feeling very low at the moment. Have only left the house once this week, the snow then headaches and feeling low and exhausted have kept me in. I was feeling like I was on the mend physically before all this happened with my family on Christmas day. I have spent the last 3 weeks completely alone apart from seeing my family a few times and hanging out with my cat, thank goodness for my wonderful, loving cat. I would like to get on with everything I need to do to make my life better but struggling with feeling ill and low. Sometimes I feel all I can manage is to cook, eat, wash up, do my washing, look after my cat then rest. I keep having a shower at night as I feel too tired to have one during the day, as I am going to sleep really late. Going to try to reset my schedule to go to bed earlier and get up earlier and hopefully my mood and energy will come back up then.

  • #52379
    Profile photo of Tiffany Tiffany 
    Participant

    I have been feeling like that too for the last week. There is probably a bit of the time of year in that too. It’s cold and dark, and that makes us feel tired and down, even without all that you are contending with. I spent most of the last three days in bed. And I am not even cooking because I am with my family and they have been doing it. It also took me almost a fortnight to get around to washing my clothes. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

    On the making things better front, I found for times when I was very tired or low it helped to have a list of things I could do to feel better. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to think of how to look after yourself when you are alone. Mine ranged from the easiest things like drink a glass of water, to full on yoga routines, and also covered a wide range of activities like read a book or bake a cake so I could look at it and pick an activity that suited how I was feeling. Might it help you to write a similar list?

    The other thing I do on a bad day is to write a really easy tick box list of things to do in the day, and on a bad day that could read something like:
    Get up
    Feed cat
    Eat breakfast
    Have bath
    Wash dishes
    And then you score off everything that you manage. I try and sneak in one or two things I need to do, like phoning the bank, but I find scoring things off really satisfying, so scoring off the easy things gives me the boost to tackle a couple of harder ones, and then at the end of the day you can have a full list of achieved goals, instead of thinking all I did today was phone the bank. This is probably slightly insane, but it works for me. And the advantage of living alone is that you can try as many crazy systems as you like and no one will know!

    • #52421
      Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
      Participant

      Thanks Tiffany, it’s funny because this is exactly the same organisational system I use when I am very low too. I write a super simple list and tick it off, and usually try and fit one extra task in like the bank one you mention so things don’t build up.

      I am practicing being kind to myself and sort of pep talking myself all day, to be my own support network rather than inner bully.

      Today has been a bit better. I went to bed earlier and slept better, I think tiredness was making everything worse. I had put my washing on the night before so I hung that out, showered in the morning (which was a big achievement!), had breakfast then went out to a supermarket to buy some food and pick up some parcels. The supermarket as I had predicted was notat all fun, I always think they have a ‘quiiiiiiccccck!!! Buy all the thiiiings!’ apocalytpic mood on bank holidays, people seem to panic buy and rush around barging into others as if the world is going to end.

      I am not sure what the urgency was today with everyone in there, maybe they are all hosting new years eve parties. I struggle to feel patient with crowds and wonder why they all needed to be there today but kept telling myself I could leave whenever I wanted and accepted that it was just an especially busy day with it being both sunday and new years eve. I would normally have avoided it today but snow this week + illness meant that I needed a few supplies. I think I will aim to go weekday mornings as busy supermarkets have such a bad effect on me I literally start to feel like I wish I wasn’t alive, they seem to be full of people who don’t give a **** about me, a sort of apocalytpic ‘every man for himself’ stressful atmospshere.

      Like you said, having some sun helps me a lot and grey days make me feel much lower. I like gardening so I will look for a new gardening project as that tends to pick me up, being in nature is like antidote to being a in a busy supermarket! 🙂

      Thank you very much for your kindness by the way, it is really helpful talking to someone about this and makes me feel less alone.

  • #52384
    Profile photo of duvetday duvetday 
    Participant

    Hey SunshineRainflower,
    Really sorry to read your post about your family 🙁 I think it’s really positive and hopefully therapeutic to be writing all the memories down. I definitely agree that the way your mum and other family members have acted is abusive. Im sorry that you experienced this. It sounds like you are setting healthy boundaries tho. This is so hard I find. I’m actually quite bad at this but am starting to work on my boundaries with people who are abusive or toxic. x♡

    • #52422
      Profile photo of SunshineRainflower SunshineRainflower 
      Participant

      Thank you duvetday. I’m still not really sure how I cope with my mum and set boundaries. We haven’t spoken much at all since Christmas day. I didn’t tell her I was upset with her and my brother because I know she would just turn it round and accuse me of being badly behaved in some way and say that they were upset with me! She won’t hear a bad word said about my brother, no matter what he does (including some really terrible things) and she never seems truly apologetic or remorseful if she does apologise. It’s usually a sort of ‘sorry but…’ apology.

      On the other hand they are currently helping me to pay my rent and bills, so I am really scared that they will suddenly stop. I need to work out a bugdet and save what I can. I have started a job application to a well paid interesting job I could do part time. I feel extremely doubtful about even getting an interview but I am trying to at least apply. If I can support myself financially it will enable me to take back a lot of my power and distance myself from them more. They have said that they are giving me money to buy a house from their house sale (they said they sold up to help me and my brother buy property), and I am scared that they won’t and I’ll be stuck trying to pay a high rent by myself, but I am trying not to worry too much and just deal with each day as it comes, which is much easier said than done!

  • #55339
    Profile photo of puzzledatlife puzzledatlife 
    Participant

    Hi Sunshine. You made me think about a couple of things I hadn’t thought about. You know when you say you are affectionate with your cat? My mother always protested because I have always been very cuddly towards my son. Since he was a baby I smothered him with kisses. She would put herself between me and him, saying I soffocate his and he doesnt like it. She never held me or hugged me; I think our mom feel awkward because they see in us what they don’t have in themselves. As with the sex; where I grew up it was common for kids 14 and over to have small motorbike, and common to go in two people on one. Normally a guy would drive and even if the bike was yours you’d seat at the back. She used to accuse me of stroking my legs and causing erections to these boys. As we were living by the sea, it was common to go to the beach in the afternoon or Sundays. She used to tell me not to sit in the same towel as guys, because they lose sperm and you can get pregnant. Once she caught me with a boy just hugging on the beach; I was (detail removed by Moderator) I think. She still to this day, (detail removed by Moderator) years after, reminds me with disgust how I was next to this boy whose penis was erected. She shamed me in the car in front of my sibligs and my auntie not just for something that was totally normal at that age, but even for a physical sensation that belonged to someone else. I don’t know if these incidents fall under the category of ‘abuse’; but from my point of view they are extremely cruel, hurtful, sick, and I begun to realise this only after I had my son, like…I could never say these things to him. I also understand how these things affect the self esteem. You get shamed for things that are natural to you; you make a flower. I imagine this was a big hammer over your confidence – how would a child move on to draw or create something else after being laughed at in this way and for these reasons? There is certainly in my view poor parenting, lack of sensitivity and a degree of cruelty. Easy said that it is their problem and not ours…in principle that is how we should see it, but I know it hurts so much and is very disabling. Let’s keep reminding ourselves it is their problem and our awareness is the first step to create a new horizon for ourselvesxx

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