Apr
23

My Abusive Childhood Wasn’t that Bad because His was Worse

By

abuse was not that bad according to who?

Who says it wasn’t that bad?

It wasn’t that bad. What happened to me wasn’t “that bad” and I told myself that for YEARS.  When I was in my early twenties and struggling with trying to quit the coping methods of alcohol and drug use, some of my memories of child sexual abuse were coming up and I was trying really hard to get rid of them without resorting to alcohol or drugs. At that point in my life I had never told anyone (outside of family but they didn’t validate the abuse OR me) what had happened to me.

One day I was having coffee with a friend of mine who I had met in a 12 step program. In an attempt to mentor me and validate an issue that I was struggling with he told me that from as young as he can remember his parents sandwiched him in between themselves while they had sex. He told me that he can never remember a time growing up when he didn’t have sex with both his parents. He told me that by the time he was 5 he liked it and by the time he was a young teenager, he loved it. He didn’t know it wasn’t “normal”.  It was his normal.  And now he was struggling to learn what the truth about “normal” actually was and to overcome the damage that had occurred in his life. He was having all kind of relationship problems as a result of child sexual abuse.

Although I felt extreme compassion for him, I didn’t hear any of what he was trying to communicate to me. He was trying to communicate that it wasn’t his fault and that his body reacted to being sexually stimulated. He had been sexualized from a very young age. All I heard was how horrible his childhood was and how horrific the child sexual abuse that he endured was. And the biggest thing I “heard” was that what had happened to me did not compare with what he had survived.

 I remember thinking “what the hell do I have to complain about? It wasn’t that bad for me.”

I found so much comfort in that statement.  I told myself things like “at least my parents didn’t do ‘that’ to me.” It was as though I believed that because they didn’t take me to bed with them and have sex with me from as young as I could remember that the things that did happen to me were irrelevant. I could just forget the abuse I suffered because it wasn’t “that bad.” I could just be grateful that “that” didn’t happen to me.  I used the extremely abusive and dysfunctional family situation that my friend told me about to cancel any right I had to feel hurt by the dysfunctional family situation that I had lived in just because I decided that it wasn’t “as bad” as what he went through.

I told myself in an almost reprimanding way that If he lived through that, then I can live through the “little bit” of pain that I had in my own childhood.  Every time I thought about my own childhood and the abuse I suffered, I thought about his situation of horrific child sexual abuse and I minimized what happened to me. And I used his situation to trump mine and to discount and discredit my pain and my hurt. I used his story to invalidate my own story.  I told myself that I was a wimp, told myself to suck it up, told myself to be grateful that what happened to him didn’t happen to me. I invalidated my own rights, so I could stay in denial of the child sexual abuse that DID happen to me. 

I told myself “But it wasn’t every day”

I told myself “But it wasn’t both my parents together

I told myself “But there was far more emotional abuse than any other kind of abuse…”

I told myself “But it wasn’t “violent” sexual abuse”

And I told myself “but I deserved the beatings…

But but but…

People comment on this blog all the time saying “Oh my gosh Darlene, it wasn’t that bad for me.” Sometimes people tell me that they don’t think they have a right to call what happened to them “abuse” or that they feel as though they don’t have a “right” to feel as though they had been wronged in childhood. And these feelings are common! I had them all too. It wasn’t “that bad” for me either. In fact even today when people write to me saying that they are grateful that their lives were not as bad as mine was and go on to tell me of their childhoods, my first reaction is “WHAT? You think what happened to me was worse than what happened to you!!”

 Denial is a funny thing. Denial enabled me to avoid facing the damage that happened to me. Denial was one of my favorite survival tools.  When I hear these kinds of statements today, I think about my friend who told me his story of family dysfunction, incest and child sexual abuse and how I thought the same things. That what happened to me wasn’t “that bad”.

Most survivors of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and psychological or emotional abuse will all say the same thing when reading about someone else’s child abuse stories. They will say to themselves or to the other person; it wasn’t that bad for me. It wasn’t “that” bad. 

It was when I finally faced what that statement was doing for me that I reached a new level of healing and understanding.  Like a coping method, that statement allowed me to stay in denial of the truth that I had been abused, devalued, discounted, not protected as a person.  I had to set aside the story about my friend and the child sexual abuse that he lived with almost daily, and validate my own life experience. I had to face and validate that what happened to me was just as damaging to me as what happened to him was damaging to him.  It WAS that bad.

Abuse is abuse and for the record, emotional abuse, verbal abuse and psychological abuse is no less damaging then physical abuse or sexual abuse; the damage is done to the person ~ the value of the person being abused is diminished. The value of the “victim of abuse” is defined as not worthy of more, not lovable, not important.  The self esteem is squashed, tarnished, broken, harmed and torn apart.  And it is the damage that has to be validated and faced in order for healing from that damage to take place. 

There is no “not that bad” when it comes to being devalued or discounted. There is no “it wasn’t that bad” when it comes to helpless powerless children.

Please share your thoughts on this topic.  It might interest you to know that even while I was writing it I was still reminding myself that what happened to me WAS THAT BAD.

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

Related Posts ~ Sexual Abuse ~ Devalued, Discounted and Unprotected

I organized my world around trauma and abuse

Also see the colored words within the body of the article for other posts

Categories : Survival

133 Comments

1

I always think of it as “Room 101” – Every person’s experience is different but the consequences are the same – it breaks you. Each person’s Room 101 experience is not comparable to another’s. For each of us it was beyond what we could cope with. What happens now is up to us.

When I think “it wasn’t THAT bad” I remember that before the events it was in fact “my worst nightmare” – that which I feared most of all, MY “Room 101”.

These days life is easier – I’ve been in Room 101 and survived. Normal life is far less frightening…..

2

Hi Mike
I like how you put this “room 101”
I especially like how you end saying that Normal life is far less frightening! Isn’t that the absolute truth!
Thanks for adding your insights here today!
Hugs, Darlene

3

Hello Darlene
I do think there’s always danger in comparing one life to another. Even though we’re all humans we are individuals. Even though our stories of abuse may look alike it doesn’t change the fact that we’re individuals and need individual validation of our experiences without any comparisons. We can be encouraged and uplifted through the sharing of victories and we can comfort each other in those tougher times because of our familiarity with pain and suffering. There are times I have tried to run away from the truth because of the pain that came with it. But I did have to stop running, stop trying to find places in which to hide from the painful truths. In those moments of taking the courage to accept what happened to me, accept what the sexual, physical and emotional abuse did to me, I found freedom. Daily I have to choose to live in the moment of truth, and daily grace is given to me to live through the pain of it. It gets really, really tough at times, sometimes it feels like I can’t breath and it feels like the painful truth will over take me, especially when I have flashes of the rape and body memory. But amazingly grace keeps me in the moment, carries me through the day. As we treat ourselves as individuals, validating our own personal experiences we’ll have more to share with someone else who maybe having it difficult along the way. We need our individuality, all of it…God Bless

4

Powerful post. I’ve been re-reading it to let it sink in. Thank you, Darlene. Your post plus Mike’s comment:

“Every person’s experience is different but the consequences are the same – it breaks you.”

… are very profound. Wow, well said.

5

That’s something that abusive people will say: “So many other people have it worse. Stop complaining. Suck it up and be happy with how ‘good’ you have it.” This is meant to get people to discount their own experiences and view themselves as unimportant. It’s meant to keep the truth secret. When we buy it and stay silent, regardless of the magnitude of what happened to us, abusers win.

6

“He didn’t know it wasn’t “normal”. It was his normal. And now he was struggling to learn what the truth about “normal” actually was and to overcome the damage that had occurred in his life.”

I love that you said the above. I know this wasn’t the main point of the post, but it spoke to me almost as much as the main theme of the post. I have said something almost identical so often, yet have never heard or seen it written that I can remember. ‘Redefining normal’ is a huge part of the healing process, and not understanding ‘normal’ has so many different implications. I just wish I could rush the process along… I want to show the new normal to my children before the past repeats itself. But I’m not sure I can really recognize normal myself yet.

7

Wow, yes this is all so true. So many times I have tried to trivialize my own abuse and so many times people who know me, tell me to get over it. Get over it?

Get over what? Feelings of inferiority, inadequicy, deficient, brokenness, how do you get over these feelings?

8
Trying2Understand
April 23rd, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I’m so glad I found your site and continue to read your posts and articles. However, I’m looking for insight on having a relationship with a CSA. I’ve read the Laura Davis books, but am always looking for information on how to cope with the various issues that effect the relationship from the sexual abuse. I never know what I will get from one day to the next at times in the way of her reactions to anything, her need for control, her denial to seek help and understand what the effects are from this and how it affect everyone in your life. How it keeps you from having or trying to have a healthy relationship with someone.

I’m not like everyone else to her, but I feel like I’m constantly beat up for the sins of everyone else her life. The constant projections and I’m like I don’t even know who you’re describing, because what you’re saying has nothing to do with me, nor do I do things like that.

The never knowing what the triggers are that set her off and how to be able to bring it up to talk about it, the totally fear of intimacy in any way. It is like I get these brief fleeting moments of it, but it disappears as quickly as it comes and then I get the door shut back in my face.

I love her dearly…but I can’t take the “emotional abuse” that comes my way, but not allowing me to talk about my needs or feelings. I want to have something healthy with her and I know things wont change in weeks, months or years, but how can I help her trust me, how can I help her want to seek healing and truly understand the damage that has been done and give her the hope of being able to truly have a healthy sincere lasting relationship.

I just want to do the right thing because I love and care for her and I don’t know what’s the best. I know everyone is different, each deals with things differently, so it isn’t a cookie cutter fix. I am also in counseling to be able to take care of me in the aftermath of her every so often outbursts and wants to dump me, but then keeps coming back to me.

Would appreciate any information, links, recommendations that CSA’s might have. It is because I love her and the depth of pain I feel for her in what she has experienced – my own empathy of her plight – that I want to be the best person for me and for her.

9

WOW very powerful words. While contemplating when reading them I realise for most of my life I too have done that. What I went through was bad, but geez alot of people have been through worse. It took until after the death of my wonderful husband 11 years ago when I was left raising 2 small children on my own, dealing with this over whelming grief which pushed into the background all the childhood trauma. Then speaking with many different people at the time hearing various stories of situations they were facing then telling my own story a few of them said to me sorry for complaining about my trivial problems for a light to switch on and I said to them, “everyone has something happening to them that needs to be validated. We shouldn’t compare oh your story is worse than mine. It isn’t a competition you can win. If we are just listened and validated that no matter how trivial it may seem in comparison to what we are facing that it is important to someone else, just as our issues are important to us, the world would become a much more empathic place.

Thank you for your article it really touched me.

10

so odd to read this just now. i did not suffer sexual abuse at all—but i was talking to my niece who has had a difficult time growing up and she kept saying—-i have no right to feel bad, i didnt go through what you went through, etc. but i told her—–pain is pain–and if it hurt, it hurt. we do not need to compare our pain but just try to find a way through it—–and it isnt easy.

11

This was an extremely valid post. I’ve struggled with this feeling myself when I’ve heard about the experiences of fellow bloggers. I think it’s a common issue for survivors to minimize what happened, both as a coping mechanism and because many of us were told by our abusers, in one way or another that our perceptions were wrong. So, we question everything: our feelings, our memories, everything.

It’s very good to talk about this and I also thought that Mike put it well too.

12

Hi Debbie,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken; This site is all about HOW I got over those feelings by facing what the trauma caused me to believe about myself. It is possible to get over all of it, but when other people tell say that it is devaluing and really unhelpful. We are taught to minimize our own abuse by the abusers and I talk a lot about that too. Glad you are here.
(if you use the search tool for “get over it” I have written about that too.)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Trying2Understand, Welcome to EFB
Reading the articles in this site may help you to understand but this site is primarily about self healing for the individual. I am glad that you are seeking help for yourself. Bless your heart for you concern for you loved one; You are welcome to share here if it helps you and you are welcome to ask questions but I have found that I helped others by self healing more than anything else.
Hugs, Darlene

13

Hi Jacki,
Welcome to EFB ~ Exactly, it isn’t easy. We are taught to minimize our own pain by the very people who abused us in the first place. And we are usually blamed for whatever trauma we suffered, so it makes sense that survivors tend to feel this way. It was so important for me to finally realize that the abuse I suffered was just as bad as anyone elses abuse. Abuse is abuse is abuse.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kylie
Welcome to EFB Being validated is very important and I found self validation was even more powerful for me because I had never really been validated.
I am really glad that you are here,
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

14

Hi CimmerianInk
Welcome to EFB
Yes, that is exactly what this article is about. Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi LR
Welcome to EFB
Redefining normal was one of the biggest parts of recovery for me too and it took some time. My children were 7, 11 and 12 when I began and it wasn’t too late at all. I grew, my husband grew and then they grew. Two of them are adults now and our whole lives have changed. I worried that it might be too late and that I didn’t know enough yet, but I just kept striving to move forward and that was enough.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

15

Hi Cheryl
Yes, that happens too. The guy in this article was not minimizing me at all. He really was trying to help me to see it was not my fault but I got stuck on thinking how much worse he had had it instead of hearing him telling me that I was not to blame.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

16

Hi Will
Yes there is no point at all in comparing one abuse to another. It helps no one! Sometimes it is a re-abuse. in this case I was doing it to myself, discounting myself the way abusers taught me to. I too have found that facing the pain has been the most powerful thing I have ever done.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Drained,
Let me know what you think when it has all “sunk in” 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

17

Hi Darlene,
This post struck me when you said, you told yourself that your abuse was “Not That Bad”. I’ve done that over the years too & took on the shame & quilt of my abusers. No wonder why I suffered from depression & anxiety all my life!…My mom who emotionally abused me also said to me “I don’t understand your depression, you did Not have it Bad”. “You only remember the Bad things.” Well, I denied a lot of my pain & only recently discovered I was sexually abused by my uncle @ 12 yrs old. This incident was buried/denied!…I did not feel safe telling my mom- that is telling in itself…She would deny it, think I made it up or dismiss it as not that bad. My mom’s abuse was extreme like I’ve shared in other posts, her & her siblings were physically, sexually & emotionally abused!…She told me the stories over the years. She has never disclosed any specific incidents that personally happened to her, but could share what happened with her siblings. I don’t understand her reason for withholding that information from me because that would have explained so much about her behavior. Of course, I assumed she had similar experiences as her siblings and when I was over 18 yrs old, I told her that if her siblings had abuse then she did too. Well, she became teary eyed & said, “Yes, Someday I will tell you about it.” I took that as she wasn’t ready to talk about it but when I thought about it, she may have wanted to keep it from me. What reason would she have?…I came to the conclusion that she was protecting me but I needed to know the truth- it would have explained a lot about her & how she mistreated me. Am I on the right track?…This is confusing to me and I’m doubting myself. Was she protecting me or herself???…OMG,I don’t know what to think! As always, your posts trigger memories that are thought provoking to me & others as well.
Sonia

18

THANKYOU for this article Darlene! I realise this is exactly what I do – my abuse doesn’t seem as bad as others’. I’ll have to make an effort to remember your words.
xx

19

Hi SMD
My mom would say things like that too; the one that stands out the most was when she would say “OH Darlene, you think you are so hard done by”. she said that I only remembered the bad things too. When I think about that now, why didn’t she think that was odd? Why didn’t she try to help me with any of the bad things? My mother also told me how bad her childhood was… I think she couldn’t stand that I thought mine wasn’t so great either so she had to constantly remind me of hers. I don’t think my mother was protecting me from anything ~ I think she couldn’t face her own past, but her actions towards me cannot be excused that way. Her actions indicate that she knew better. The little that I know about my mothers abusive childhood caused me to discount all of my own sadness for years. Perhaps that was her real motive.
For me, trying to understand my mother was never the right track until I was well into healing. My understanding today never excuses her. I feel sorry for her but never at my own expense anymore.
Hope that makes sense. Hugs, Darlene

Hi Leanne
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! Glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

20

Hi Darlene,
Yes, I do have to stop trying to understand my mom and focus on my own healing. Her abusive past does not excuse her mistreatment of me! I’ve always felt sorry for her & like you said, most likely “at my own expense.” Her abusive childhood did impact me by denying & overlooking a lot of my own sadness for years too. Also, your comment struck me about your mom’s real motive. It made me think that my mom kept me in the dark on purpose, as another way to control me. She disclosed her secrets to my sister in law, which tells me she can talk about it! I was pissed when my s-i-l told me that because it tells me she will withhold from me just like she does with her support & love. She is manipulative & controlling and I don’t have sympathy for that! I’m seeing her true colors & it’s not nice or loving in any way! The revelations don’t stop with her behavior! I continue to hurt with each new layer of lies, but the pain is much less than it used to be, since coming out of the mom fog! I feel more anger than sadness now. I don’t like being lied to or manipulated!
Thanks for your feedback & support.
Sonia

21

P.S. I also feel stupid for having sympathy & understanding her. She has not been there for me & doesn’t try to understand me!…It’s always about her….

22

Sonia,
And that is exactly how this works.. the cycle of abuse continues even when we grow up because we have been trained to discount ourselves. Just as you are not “feeling stupid for having sympathy and understanding” ~ you are still in the spin of discounting yourself. Just as we have been taught to do. Always looking within to see what we have done that falls short. There is nothing wrong with having sympathy and understanding, but we get the cart before the horse. I had to set all that parent and family stuff aside and really concentrate on validating me and the people and events that caused the damage. Today I have compassion for my mother, but it was a long road first and I do not have any compassion or understanding for her at “MY expense” any more. Compassion was like a bonus product of the work that I did, and finally I was free to have compassion and boundaries at the same time. This “is” the process.
Be gentle…
Love Darlene

23

This was something that was very helpful to read, because one of the most bitter fights (besides the fight where I go back and forth between believing anything *really* happened) that I’m dealing with right now is pushing away anything that comes up and minimizing my reactions to those things because others had it worse, and I shouldn’t be complaining. It’s all about learning to have the compassion for myself that I didn’t get before, and that’s a hard thing to teach myself.

It’s scary to think that there will eventually be a day when I don’t deny my past through this pattern. I’ve been in therapy for over 3 1/2 years now, and I still have yet to come to terms with anything!

Thanks for wonderful posts. They’re always so validating.

24

Devalued, discounted, not protected. Yes, that was much of my childhood experience at home. My mother has told me bits and pieces of her childhood over the years – and they are mostly sad and painful memories. I remember her telling me some of those things in the wake of my complaints and protests as to how my father was treating me. The take away message for me was that I had nothing to complain about (in comparison to how HER childhood was) That angered me as a child, and I didn’t think I believed it (I was angry after all, wasn’t I?!) – but the way I’ve done life for years would perhaps say otherwise. I’m in the process now of trying to peel back the layers of years of losing myself, of trying so hard to be somebody else. It has occurred to me that maybe I should ask my mother to tell more of those stories of her childhood. To ASK her about them. I feel sorry for her – these sad comments have a way of coming up in our conversations quite often. She is elderly and in poor health. But quite honestly, I don’t think I want to. At least not now. I feel like for the first time in my life I’m focusing on myself. What you said, Darlene, helps me realize that understanding my mother can’t come at my own expense. Right now I feel that I’m not far enough over the line of “healthy” to risk that yet. I think that’s what you’re saying … and that it’s OK?

25

Darlene,
Yes, there is nothing wrong with having sympathy & understanding. Thanks for pointing that out! I didn’t realize that I was still discounting myself by saying, I feel stupid. That’s a hard habit to break!…I thought I was getting healthier, however I’m still discounting myself. So what you are saying is, that the discounting, second guessing & self doubt IS part of the healing process? So, be gentle with myself in the process……
Sonia

26

Hi Kristen

Yes, it is all about self validation and validating that things DID happen. It is a hard thing to teach ourselves. and thank you for mentioning the fight about questioning our own relaity! That is another very common problem most of us share!

Hugs, Darlene

Hi “I GardenToo”

Great point, thank you for sharing this. It is SO invalidating when we are hurting and someone tells us that “we don’t know anything about hurting” ~which is the message when someone trys to trump our story. I think you are on the right track with focusing on yourself. and yes, you understood me correctly!

Hugs, Darlene

27

Sonia
YES that is what I am saying! All of it is part of the process. Two steps forward one (sometimes 2) steps back. Becomming aware, making adjustements, gathering more self awareness and having more clarity as each day unfolds. that is why we call it a process! and it is OKAY to be IN the process!
Hugs, Darlene

28

Those words and the meaning behind them meant a great deal to me as well. I can’t think of a time I ever said or compared my abuse to any others, until recently. I was watching Dr. Phil on the tube and a young lady was telling her horrific story of abuse and how she ended up giving birth to several children via the abuse she suffered from her father. I do remember saying to myself, “How can I feel so bad for the childhood I had when this girl has suffered so much”.

It took me many years to convince myself I have a right to mourn myself as a young girl and all she went through. I have even allowed myself to cry for that child as if I was crying (as I do) for any child who is abused.

Thank you so much for your wise words you have all shared with us. I sure hope my words can in some small way help others with their struggles as well.

29

Hi Sherry
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for sharing this part of your story. It took me a long long time too. I had to go so far as to visualize that another child was telling me what happened to them (the actual things that happened to me) so that I could react to my own story without discounting myself. Your words will help others! I am glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

30

My mom always told me she wasn’t that bad & they did the best they could, so I sucked it up. Then she stepped up her game after I got sick with endometriosis and she told me it was her job to make my life more difficult and she basically started gaslighting me. So I turned it around; she’s not doing the best she can do anymore, I doubt she ever did. I don’t have the energy to manage my fatigue and her willful destruction of me anymore, so now she can suck it up. I’m not making any effort to be a great daughter anymore, I have to take care of me. She had her shot, she only had one kid, and she blew it.

31

I am still going back and forth back and forth, validating and then denying that I did not get the love and care I deserved. You are right, though, Darlene, it is a journey and it is good to know that the back and forth is part of the process. And yes, the bottom line is the turmoil I lived in for so long. That came from somewhere!

This is helping me to understand my dreams of late. The details vary, but basically in the dreams I am attempting to move or travel, but delays and derailments and dangers and sidetracks keep interrupting. But I see now the important thing is that I keep trying.

I sure am glad that my brother is a witness and that he validates and struggles with what was done to us.

Thanks again,
Sophia

32

Hi Kim
I wrote a post about that saying “they did the best they could” ~ I added “according to who” in the phrase!
Good for you deciding to take care of you. Learning to take care of me and learning all the false definitions of love, has been the key in overcoming all the pain that I have had. I had to face how wrong and one sided these relationships were, and that I should never have had to “suck it up”. Thats not love.
I am really glad you are here, thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sophia
I have had dreams like that! (I had a lot of those kinds of dreams in the process ~ and I found them very helpful at indicating where I am at ~ many of those dreams have positive indicators too! ) It is very important to keep striving to go forward, at the same time it is okay to have breaks for rest too.
It must be wonderful to have a brother who validates this! That would be fantastic and so validating.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

33

Hi Darlene, I told myself the same thing but the reason I told myself that is because it was taught to me. I was taught that my feelings were overly sensitive and I only focused on the bad things. This was my mother’s mantra and one of my siblings adopted it, also. Now I know that it was that bad, my emotional responses were normal. I wasn’t the ‘crazy’ one, they were/are. Denial is a coping mechanism that was taught to me and not one that came naturally. I’m glad the truth won our finally and I am able to say, “Yes, it is that bad!”

Pam

34

Hi Pam
Yes, it is all about what we were “taught” and how we were groomed to accpet things in a false way. Their way. It certainly was “that bad”.
Hugs, Darlene

35

thank you sweetheart for so powering post. O yes, yes, yes that sound so common and so familiar. Denial and rationalization keep us safe in case to survive but when we adults we don’t need it any more. But is not easy face the true that really WAS as BAD and its not only ….
I have told myself thousands times he didn’t rape me actually…he always love me …he was not bad as could be. I actually put all my anger to mom who abused me in emotional way coz she left me out of help. Inadvisable child without needs and emotion only with right to make parents happy ever after. NO MORE !!!
I am still struggling with that coz I never confront dad to my mom. She rejected me in many ways in my life so I was not able to face another betrayal. But now when I stopped contact them after confession to her I was sexual abused (didn’t said who did it to me 🙁 She told my sis “I really don’t understand why she blame me for her marriage problem she should blame her husband. Can imagine !! I don’t have marriage problem I have problems with my past. I still protect her from true…. persuading myself that was bad but I can make it worst but put that true on light. in meaning always can/could be worse…

I really love expression: – Every person’s experience is different but the consequences are the same – it breaks you. Thats true !!! Thank you for sharing

36

Hi Meerkat
Thank you for sharing this amazing example of what I am expressing here! These are the ways that we cope. Even telling yourself that he loved you is a way that we cope and try to deal with the horrors. All ways to avoid looking at the truth. All ways to pretend that it wasn’t that bad.. and it was. The truth is what set me free.
Hugs, Darlene

37

Hi Darlene
I found this post so powerful. I also always thought that my experience wasn’t that bad. It is only after escaping an emotionally abusive relationship recently that i started to look into why I had been vulnerable in the first place. My childhood left me feeling unloved and unlovable. I was trying to explain to my children why I have a very cold relationship with my parents and I realised how shocked they were that I started to think about being emotionally abused as a child.
Your point that abuse is abuse is abuse really helps. It still brakes you.
Evie

38

Hi Everyone,
I too heard the words, “you only remember the bad stuff”, or “oh, you think you’ve had it so bad”, and even, “you think you have it bad, let me show you how bad it can be.”

I am grappling with some anger again. I flounder and seesaw between anger, pain, a little compassion, and indifference. Even forgiveness seems unstable.

I wonder how far back the “silencing” goes. Was she silencing me even as an infant? Is that where all this need to be heard comes from? Is that where the anger comes from? Because I’ve literally NEVER been heard?

I’m ashamed to say that sometimes in my daydreams, I imagine hitting her. To shut her up and make an impact. Wow, it’s so shameful to admit this. But, it’s the truth and I know the truth will set me free. She stifled me for so long. Times when I was hurting so bad I wanted to die…. she still managed to discount it. To shut me up somehow. That still angers me. I had to hear her, but never the other way around. Now, I want to force feed it to her sometimes. I hope to get past it and I hope it’s just part of the processs. Last year, I cried so much. Now, no more tears. Just indifference dotted with anger. I cry at the revelation of my sisters following her lead. But, the inclination to cry over HER is gone. I suspect forever.

Your post is so timely Darlene. Just since figuring out my sisters’ motivations, I’ve had the thought AGAIN that maybe it wasn’t that bad. Others have had it so much worse. I keep telling myself that 16,000 comments here that describe me and my life in so many ways ~ cannot be wrong!! I’m so thankful to you and EFB!! You have literally changed my life and I’m hanging onto the idea that I’ll be free of “junk” eventually!! I am really looking forward to the days of that!! I bought a bottle of champagne yesterday, LOL!! I’m getting prepared to celebrate the coming of the day!!!

xoxo,
Mimi

39

Hi Evie
I can relate to realizing how wrong something was through the eyes of others. Because I had not told anyone some of the things that I didn’t think were such a big deal (like my mother taking me out to bars with her when I was only 17, or that she humiliated me in public) I was surprised (when I started to talk about it) about the reaction I got! I was telling my kids the other day about a few of the emotional abusive things, and they were just stunned. Up until about 7 or 8 years ago, I didn’t think those things were that big of an issue. I could have easily done the same things to my own kids because I didn’t know how awful and discounting of me that those things actually were, (but I am thankful that something told me my childhood was nasty and I didn’t want to ever treat anyone that way, so I didn’t do it to my kids)
When other people hear what we say and reacts to it, it can be very validating and healing. When our kids realize that it was wrong, then we have done something right!
Hugs, Darlene

40

Hi Mimi

I think about how far back the silencing goes when I see a parent being impatient with a crying baby. Or when a parent tells me that they put the crying baby in the crib and shut the door, because the baby was “just trying to get attention” or “manipulative” or “I don’t want to spoil the baby”… and I think WOW… crying is the baby’s only way to communicate when they need something. I think about the message that being ignored gives to the baby.

Anger is good Mimi, it has a purpose. I had to get angry to finally FEEL the injustice of the way that I had been discounted. The way that the rules and definition of love was always so one sided.

Thank you for sharing. I love your honesty!

Hugs, Darlene

41

Mimi,
Yeah, I totally relate to those daydreams, Mimi. I have the same daydreams and as long as you don’t act on them, they can help (?). I think they are just another way of venting. I’ve heard suggestions to beat a pillow with a bat to help let off steam. But others say that only riles you up even more. I’ve actually been tempted to print out a photo of my mother and use it for a dartboard. I don’t know. That may or may not be a healthy outlet. Just walking it off doesn’t do much for me.

If you’re a creative type, working out some of these daydreams in a drawing or painting (not necessarily a literal image, maybe intense colors for an abstract) or writing stories might be a good outlet. Many of the stories I wrote years ago usually featured a toxic mother in the plot somewhere! These days my focus is on painting and drawing. Sometimes they are moody, other times more escapist. Would love to hear other thoughts on these (and other) ways of letting off steam.

Personally, I think if daydreams of violence towards our toxic mothers are too obsessive or we’re tempted to act on them it would be a concern. I often have dreams at night where I just reach my limit and hit or choke my mother. I think it’s my subconscious desire to silence her toxic words.

42

This post touched me deeply. I grew up suffering emotional abuse, and – at nearly 30 years of age – I am now trying to face the scars left behind. (Emerging from broken has been SO instrumental in my healing process. Thank you!) I’ve grown up amid so many hurtful comments (spoken and unspoken) all the while being told that I “shouldn’t complain, because there are kids who have it worse” than I did. Because I was not suffering physical beatings, or sexual abuse – my pain meant nothing. To complain about the pain my parents caused was to instantly be labeled as being “Dramatic” and “overly sensitive” …
Though I’ve married and started a family of my own, I still have young siblings that are still living at ‘home’ in that environment. I’m tying to be there for my younger sister (who is still at ‘home’) but it’s painful, because it reminds me of just how truly abusive my family was. Any alluding to pain they’ve caused would meet with them telling us we were ‘being disrespectful’ and … ‘you think THAT’S bad? There are some people who have to deal with _____’ …
I now realize that is an unacceptable way to address your child’s pain, and I try to explain it to my younger sister like this:

If you were to fall and break your leg, but then you look across the room and see someone who has had to have their leg amputated … do you just get up and ignore your broken leg and the pain along with it? NO! Your pain is still pain. It hurts you, so it is important to address the matter. Regardless of how people react to your pain – it is STILL pain.

Thank you, again for EFB … it’s comforting to realize that it IS possible to work through these issues unfairly embedded in our minds …

KR

43

Darlene and Drained,
I only have the daydream of hitting my mom very very rarely. It’s always because I get lost in some thought about the way she belittled and badgered me…. backed me into a corner. I imagine that, and coming out swinging to shut her up and let her know I won’t tolerate it anymore. That she has no right to treat me that way, and that I have some level of power, even if it’s physical power.

It’s interesting what you said about your dreams (when sleeping) Drained. I’ve been having bad dreams about my mom for 10 years. They are never about me defending myself in the way you describe. It’s always me backed into a corner again, and usually in a crowd of people, usually family. I always end up crying in the dream, and sometimes in my sleep. My husband has woke me up before because I was crying in my sleep.

Thankfully, I can say I don’t obsess about it. It just enters my thought process occasionally. I imagine the relief I would feel in shutting her up ~ in stopping her dead in her tracks for once. I’ve tried everything else. In my imaginary thought life, hitting her is the last resort and the only way to get her attention ~ make her know I mean business. I suppose hitting is something I learned. My dad hit her on occasion when I was growing up. Although, I don’t hit other people or imagine hitting other people. Only her, lol!! It’s like she has an imaginary grasp on me where I can’t get loose. It’s still there to a degree. In part because she’s still doing the same thing. Talking crap about me. I’ve told her so many times in the last year that she needs to stop crying on my grandma’s shoulders because she’s almost 90 and it only makes her worry. She will NOT stop doing it. Selfish A-hole!!

Thanks for commenting!! I don’t feel so ashamed at the thought of turning the tables on her for once….. and, using force. I thought I was past the anger. When I realize how much impact she’s had on the people around me, how they learned I was less valuable, then I get pissed at her all over again. This too shall pass!!
Love and peace,
Mimi

44

Hi Kera
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Oh yes… the old “kids who have it worse” line! These are all the discounting things were used to keep me feeling guilty and ashamed for being in pain! These kinds of statements are a deflection tactic. Get the focus off them and back on you; they always made sure that I was looking at what was wrong with me and why it was never anything about them. I love your analogy! That is a fantastic comparison!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

45

When I first got into therapy I thought what happened to me was bad, I knew it has seriously messed up my life, – but not as bad as what happened to others….. I could hardly believe the reaction of my therapist when she affirmed that my abuse WAS THAT BAD! She was asserting strongly that what happend to me was wrong, that it was seriously bad, and that I did deserve to have been treated better. I was quite bewildered and didn’t know how to respond – she pulled the rug out from under my feet!
There are still odd things that I remember as being “just how it was” or even “funny” that she finds to be horrific – and I have realised that if I heard those same stories form another person I too would be horrified and angry on that persons’ behalf. But not on my own.
I have so few mental memories – but I now believe that I have clues about what has happened in the way I phrase certain things, how I prepare a story. For example, when telling about one place in which I was systematically abused, I have habitually referred only to the physical and mental abuse, and carefully added – “it stopped short of rape”. But my body is telling a different story… that phrase I, I now believe, is self-comforting, shieldng my mind from the truth – that, actually, I was indeed raped. My body tells other truths… and now I am learning the language of my body the truth is spilling out.
This is a tough journey…. but its easier than what I have already endured:)

46

Another amazing post! Darlene, you have such clarity, it is refreshing. I especially like this…

“Abuse is abuse and for the record, emotional abuse, verbal abuse and psychological abuse is no less damaging then physical abuse or sexual abuse; the damage is done to the person ~ the value of the person being abused is diminished. The value of the “victim of abuse” is defined as not worthy of more, not lovable, not important. The self esteem is squashed, tarnished, broken, harmed and torn apart. And it is the damage that has to be validated and faced in order for healing from that damage to take place.”

This is so true. Before my awakening, I always sought solace in the fact that “at least I was not sexually abused,” which now I’m not so sure about… But still, I am hurt. A child’s feelings being denied and repressed is the same result, no matter what the weapon. Not teaching a child to respond to its own signaling system of pain or danger, leaves the helpless victim open to abuse in the future.

It’s not only the abuse act itself that does all the damage, it’s the disregard of the child that annihilates the soul.

Thanks for your authenticity.

LB

47

abuse is abuse and health is health
if I perceive that my emotional and or physical health is being compromised/jeopardized, then this experience or relationship is over

48

Hi Libby
I can relate to that too, in fact I felt a fear come over me.. the fear of realizing that it WAS bad. I can realte to the feeling of having the rug pulled out from under. Those “odd” things that you speak of are what I call the things hidden in the fog. (and when we come out of the fog they suddenly seem clear and I question why i didn’t validate them as abusive before! And I found it so odd and yet so interesting that I could see abuse towards other people but not towards myself. A lot of those thougths go into my writing because they were so huge for me on the road out!
p.s. I have a few memories that “stopped just short of rape” too and I read an amazing book called “repressed memories by Renee Fredrickson” and in the book I found out that that is very common… the memory stops just short of rape or the mind cannot remember anything below the waist…. so I wonder now about those memories. I think that the coping and shielding is exactly what is going on for me too.
Great share Libby!!
Hugs, Darlene

49

Hi Ladybug!
Love your last line! “It’s not only the abuse act itself that does all the damage, it’s the disregard of the child that annihilates the soul”.~ I am going to use that quote for an “emerging from broken quote”
Thanks for your comments, I totally relate!
Hugs, Darlene

50

Ladybug,
I too loved your post. Eloquent and accurate.
Hugs and love,
Mimi

51

Hi Darlene,

I find myself doing the same thing. . excusing those who have abused me, making little of their part in all that has happened to me.

I tend to blame myself: but, the reason is because their blaming of me has somehow rooted itself into my mind so that I believe it without even knowing I am believing it.

Pretending the past doesn’t have any affect on me ; that it never happened: was one way I slid through life not knowing I was sliding with a very wounded person inside.

I wish I knew sooner that all the denial I did was only creating more problems but I didn’t .

I am glad though that the healing process has begun.

I enjoy your blogs, Darlene. I have been a little scattered lately..

(hugs)

JOy

52

Hi Joy!
Nice to hear from you! Being scatterd can be a very common part of the process. I found that I had to take breaks to re group my thoughs and discovery and kind of let them “gel” Don’t be hard on yourself for the things you didn’t know. This whole healing process is like coming out of brainwashing… or coming out of a cult; the rewireing of our brains and though processes is HUGE. Like you said; you believed it without knowing you believed it ~ and we can’t change what we don’t even know needs to be changed! You are doing great.
Hugs, Darlene

53

Hi Darlene.

Thanks, I really missed you and everyone here.. I just thought I would step back awhile and breathe… but I love coming back: you have a gift for writing.

I have so much “un-brainwashing” to do. I am finding out things about myself I never know. Sometimes I get very discouraged as it seems so much.

I say “wow” its an eternity of work to do to fix all that fixing inside but.. who needs to hurry? By nature, though I want to have things all fixed quick quick. It doesn’t work like that.

I sat back today and thought everything I am having to wade through is more than many have to and for all of it .. I am doing pretty good..

I see my boat coming in sometimes I wish it were a speedboat;)

It’s nice to be free but choosing freedom has its challenges to .. Those who choose to remain the old way tell me am heading straight to heJJ. .I don’t think I am though..

How have you been Darlene?

Glad you keep this going.

(hugs)

Joy

54

Joy,
I am doing really well thanks.
It doesn’t just “seem so much” IT IS SO MUCH! I love how you add, “but who needs to hurry?” I had to remind myself that all the time… I went from impatience to overwhelm… from “lets get going faster” to “stop the world I want to get off”… over and over and over… eeks.
hugs!
Darlene

55

Hi Everyone!
I published a new post related to being told to leave the past in the past, the real motive behind those kinds of statements.
You can read it here: “Being told to leave the PAST in the PAST”… http://emergingfrombroken.com/being-told-to-leave-the-past-in-the-past/
Hugs, Darlene

56

Hi Everyone!
I want to point out that we have a new page on emerging from broken. I am introducing a new EFB and survivor community event called “Freedom ROCKS” You can read all about it on the freedom rocks about page (button under header graphic) to see what it is, how it came about and how you can participate!

I have also created a new category (called “freedom rocks”) for this event and all the posts, stories and comments will be found in that category. I hope you will check it out. The first post by Larualee is published and can be viewed here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/what-freedom-rocks-means-to-me-by-lauralee-hunter-rivet/

If you belong to or run a survivor community or if you have a like minded blog of your own, please share this positive and self-empowering event!
Hugs, Darlene

57

I too thought when reading many of the posts that it was not so bad for
me. But at the same time can empathise with many here. Its been
life changing to realize that I wasnt born damaged, that my
childhood abuse damaged me.
Now my beliefs about myself have changed. I read my journal
from 4 months ago and see a shift in my thought process. It
will take time to get my life back and change my thinking.
I have to deal with my default belief that I am always in the
wrong and my bad feelings about myself because of that
automatic thought. Knowing why I get those thoughts has been
immensely helpful rather than just researching my symptomology.
Thank you truely for helping me start my journey to reawaken
ME!!

58

Hi Karen!
this is wonderful to read! Thank you for sharing this victory here. For me the whole key was in changing that default system and it took time yes, but it was very worth it. Today I don’t have to correct those automatic (false) thoughts very often.
Hugs, Darlene

59

I am glad to have read this as well, I have often felt silly for the things I went through as a kid in comparison to other children, but it feels good to hear that I have a right to feel the way I feel. Some people say “it could have been worse” but I always say “it could have been better as well”, also @Darlene, my mother also brings up what her mother did to her, for example if i tell my mother i felt she did not love me growing up, she will say “my mother never made me feel love either” she will express sorrow in making me feel that way, but I never feel like she is receiving what I am saying, only stating well my mother did this or that, smh

60

Dear Darlene … Fate must have sent me to you … I had thought I had done most of my healing knowing that you are never truly healed … you just learn to cope and forgive … When my husband went to jail I did the math to know how old my youngest would be when he was released … my kids will be adults but the time is coming up fast … turns out I haven’t healed as much as I thought … it’s truly a hard journey for me … 11 years of sexual, mental and physical abuse from my step father … a lifetime of mental and physical abuse from my mother … and 17 years of sexual, mental, and physical abuse from my husband … in one of my quests to leave this world I ended up in a coma … I awoke to find I could not make new memories … I am lucky if I can remember something for a few days maybe a week before it is gone but I can remember every day of abuse as if it was yesterday … I’ve learned not to hide who I am or what I went through … my mother has passed … although I made peace with her she did not … my step-father was kicked out of the Army and last I heard he was on trial for abusing another child … My ex is up for parole in a few years … I remarried and my husband is a child of abuse too … he is my Rock … my Memory … he knows everything and so do my children … I figured long ago MY first step to healing was to tell my story to everyone and anyone who would listen after all my life had been a “lie” a “secret” and it is hard to keep a secret if everybody knows … Thank you for letting me read your story … I hope to remember you

61

Hi Minnie
Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad you are here! This a place of healing from the roots and a place of hope. I believe that everyone can heal when we start at the beginning.
please share often
Hugs, Darlene
And check out our freedom rocks event this weekend. (the about freedom rocks page button at the top) you can make a new declaration!
Hugs, Darlene

62

Thank you for this. I was told that I was not abused in any sexual way, that everything that happened to me was medical necessity. As a very small child I was catheterized repeatedly for kidney infections due to a condition I was born with. I did not understand why my mother took me and held me down so a man could put something extremely painful into my private part. I did not understand why she punished me severely every time for not holding still. I did not understand why she told other people I was a “holy terror” and gleaned sympathy for herself by telling others about my badness. I did not understand why I was bad enough for her to hold me down when I was already sick and hurting. I could not understand the gleam in her eye when she told me it was time to go to the doctor, and I thought “the doctor” meant the same thing as “the devil.” I did not understand her smirks.
When I was twenty, this same “kind old family doctor” who delivered me, chased me around his office trying to catch me for sex when I went there to tell him about my studies, as part of a report I was assigned. I ran out and made up the report. When I told my mother, she said I should feel flattered that I was attractive to a doctor.
When I became a Medical Scientist, I discovered that it was not necessary to catheterize so often, that “clean catch” urinalysis would have been sufficient, and was recommended for children.
By the time I understood, the doctor had died. By the time I understood, I already knew there was no use confronting my saintly mother.
I told you in another thread about repeated enemas given by my mother with the same attitudes toward me.
In another thread I did a series of “my mama said” in which I think it is clear I was already dissociating as a baby, and kept it up as a “daydreaming” child.

This thread tells me I shouldn’t think it “wasn’t so bad,” because it “was for my own good and medically necessary.”
That I don’t need to devalue my trauma by comparing to other traumas.

And that is good. It is another truth.

63

You are right. It is that bad. Because as you explained the resulting injuries are the same regardless of the specific mechanisms that inflicted the trauma.

I am so grateful for this site. I thought I had understood so much and had come so far, but there is so much more to go. I hope I heal before I am too old to enjoy a fulfilling life. I keep having these hateful episodes because I’m so done! Anger is easy. I’m still looking for love though. At the end of the day, I really only want to be loved. Still waiting but learning to love and “grow up” myself. I hope I make it :/

64

Cat, You already have.

Be gentle with you. That’s what I try to do, to remember the me I was then, and be gentle to me. I know this will make sense to you, even it it sounds nonsensical written.

It is one way we can time travel, through memory. Some memories are harsh. But when I go back, when I time travel, I try to be the one that gives comfort and love to that little girl. She is the me I once was, and I am the grown up who knows her better than any other, and the one who truly loves that child totally unconditionally. Sometimes I think she finds comfort in it, in this older one who is always on her side, who always understands, and who knows absolutely that she will survive. May sound funny, but I think I am my own guardian angel.

Perhaps my even older-self is guarding me now too. What is time, after all?

65

Hi Cat,
It takes time and a lot of intentional effort and the thing that is so very important is that we learn to fill that love need ourselves. I had to learn to love me. I had to learn and practice self love and self care; I had to validate my feelings, and own my life again. I had to reject the way that I had been defined by abuse and neglect and by the actions of others.
Hugs, Darlene

66

Darlene,
Intentional seems to be the key word for me here. I forget my intentions to keep up with self care, reparenting, and self love. I forget to go back and make changes to the beliefs. I suppose it’s so engrained that the natural course of action is the old belief system. It sort of goes against the grain to try to empart a new and improved way. Such hard work…. sometimes exhausting and seems fruitless. I know it won’t be eventually. Staying the course is my hangup. Working on me, and not putting energy into “the others”, and the drama my mother creates. Not thinking about it period. Sometimes, it’s being in that stuck place of old training that feels most comfortable. Counterproductive, but comfortable.
Hugs and love,
Mimi

67

Mimi
Yes, it is such a habbit to treat ourselves the discounted way that we have been treated that it is very difficult to change the way we regard ourselves. But it is KEY. Self love is the beginning of real healing and perhaps I should say it is the fruit of healing… Validating the damage is crutial in order to get to even open the door to that self love, but that is what the whole re-parenting thing is all about; putting that self esteem back where it was missing all along.
Hugs, Darlene

68

I sure relate to what Mimi is saying. That old toxic belief system sure is deeply ingrained. I’m having trouble with the “self-love” part. There’s so much about myself that I don’t like that I still have to try and convince myself I’m worth liking. Still catch myself saying “Dumbass!” whenever I do something wrong. Still trying to break some bad habits but find myself thinking, oh, why bother. A long, hard process.

I keep asking myself, what would I have to do to love myself? Stop being stupid, lazy and unproductive. But, I feel like a big tired slug that just doesn’t care. I also hate the way I look and berate myself for still not being able to find a hairstyle that’s flattering. Just a vicious cycle of self-defeating thoughts. Then I have another glass of wine.

Right now I’m in the process of organizing the overflowing (overwhelming!) file cabinet of mother’s paperwork (medical, insurance, finances, etc.) so once I finish that, that will be a big load off my mind and may help me feel a little better. Then on to my own mess of folders and files spilling out of the file cabinet. Thanks for listening.

69

Drained,
I smiled when I read the part about having another glass of wine. I feel like you… a big tired slug that doesn’t care. I used to be much more motivated than I am these days. I hope it passes when I’m more settled into my new reality ~ further along in the process. I feel like I’m still a little immobilized by all I’ve learned in the past year. Sometimes I still need more sleep than I used to. I think it’s my brain needing down time. I’m hopeful that motivation will return. I liked myself more as a productive person. I don’t feel so productive these days. I’m trying to give myself a break and chalk it up to a mental/emotional vacation that’s lasted a really long time haha! One day I’ll have to get back to life at full speed. I’m only halfway there now.

I have a lot of things I don’t like about myself too. I think I subconsciously self defeat because somewhere way WAY deep inside, I assume I don’t deserve success at personal goals. I think I have to dig into that little area that says I don’t deserve to be what I want to be. It’s very very deeply embedded. Something to work on!!

Here’s to no more name calling…. of ourselves!!
Hugs and love,
Mimi

70

Thanks Mimi for all your thoughtful posts. I think it’s a phase I’m going through. Lots of ups and downs, steps forward and back during this healing process. I just learned about the toxic Narcissistic personality disorder a couple months ago and realized there were a few of those types in my family causing me so much pain, and reinforcing my feelings of inferiority. Still processing it all, taking me on a bumpy ride. I guess during the ‘cleansing’ process you have to go through many stages.

Your insight and kindness means a lot.

Hugs to you,
D

71

Drained,
I think you’re right. Lots of stages and for me, roller coaster emotions and even perspectives. I was back and forth so much at first. I just couldn’t decide if it was really abuse. If my mother really didn’t love me. I wore myself out with all that. The good part of all that was, I got it out, I picked through each and every piece of my life, everything I could remember, good times, and bad, and really cried so much at the realization that my mom prefers to be right over having a relationship with me. I cried so much at my life being a lie. I finally came to a conclusion that I’m fairly settled on. I don’t question If it’s “real” anymore. It’s real. This is my new reality. It’s painful, but even that has eased up greatly. At this point, the loss of my sisters is more bothersome than my mother. I don’t miss her, and the space between us is very welcome! I don’t want to see her. Not even in her casket ~ the way I feel at this stage. I know how cold that sounds. It’s my truth though.

It just occurred to me that if I ever question whether it was “real”, I need only to think about my sentiments toward her to know it’s real. Would I feel this way about her if she were the saint she pretends to be…. if she’d never deeply wounded me? I dont think so.

Anyhow, not sure why I got off on that little tangent, but thanks for listening and I hope things lighten up for you soon.
Love and Hope,
Mimi

72

Hi

thank you for this post Darlene. I’m still very much struggling with the “It wasn’t that bad”s, basically I think because I’ve ingrained the family message that I am difficult, I am troubled and unwell, I’m the problem. And it just strikes me as I write that, on some level with most family members the abuse and dysfunction can’t be denied–they can see everyone is miserable. It may be buried or avoided, but a sense of WTF is there somewhere. And if nobody wants to place responsibility on the parents, somebody has to take it on. And it feels like being sacrificed for the deeply longed for illusion of normalcy.

So my role as the problem has really affected how bad I have thought it was. I’ve gone through life feeling this ‘subterranean’ kind of anger, but burying it in chemicals. Therefore PROVING to myself and them that I AM the problem. Also turning to therapy for many years, well there you go, that proves how messed up I am, since nobody else goes to therapy.

I’ve sat in groups hearing horrendous stories and thought, “I guess I just want to be a victim in life cause I can’t compare to that”. I never got hit, I had toys and clothes. I’ve talked about the porn issue in the home, my Dad exposing himself ‘unintentionally’—(I’m thinking now, if there’s a pattern of ‘unintentional’ exposure, and if he wasn’t damned embarrassed after the first time, it WAS intentional, and this is the FIRST time I’m thinking that)—-but I wasn’t physically touched by Dad (that I remember anyway), and wasn’t impregnated by my father like I’d hear other women disclose in groups.

Honestly, I am feeling so damn mad right now, because finding a site like this, and spelling it out as I am, I can see it WAS that bad, it really hurt and my parents were really ill people, and yes I do love them but they were ill and so often treated me and my sister like garbage. One time I was a teenager, I asked my Dad could he pick me up a Vogue or some magazine when they went grocery shopping, soon as they come back home he takes the magazine, throws it on the floor for me to pick up and says, “Here’s your magazine” you don’t have to do that to your kid. He also started talking about me at 14 paying for my meals when we went out to eat. He’d buy me pop and charge me, including the tax, WHAT a fkjob, excuse me. And what really is bothering me is all the protection they have gotten while I’ve been pushed away by my sister. Mind you my Dad made good money but we always had to share the same room and the same bed and my sister had her own for the first eight years of her life, so maybe that’s why she resents me.

I just talked to her a few weeks ago and she said Mom wasn’t so bad, or some such BS, and how she (my sister) feels ‘too old now’ to think much of our childhoods. And I wanted to tell my sister last year that I thought I was molested, and my sister said, “Don’t tell me in case it happened to me”. I told her when she visited me about how I had in the past hooked up with strange men from the internet and she got a mad look and said, “Do you know how painful this is?” And I thought to myself, “Why did I say that to her, I fked up again, I’m just hurting people”.

And that’s the thing, if IT wasn’t so bad, YOU must be bad for being so screwed up.

Something in me cracked about 6 weeks ago after a personal rejection, I couldn’t take any more hurt and it’s like I felt the kid in me make herself known. The childhood WAS bad, it hurt me deeply and my feelings matter and I deserve respect. And I don’t want to take the family load anymore.

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Hi Doren
Something that helped me was looking at some of the things that I did that ‘they’ saw as proof that it was me; intead of me thinking that these things were proof that ‘they’ were right, I saw them as coping methods. I even saw my dissociation and depressions as coping methods and when I looked at what I was trying to cope with, I realized that I was not the one who caused the root of my probems. Seeing it that way really helped me to get out from under the way that ‘they’ wanted me to see it and see it through the grid of truth AND helped me to move forward with recovery and away from coping!

and YES you do matter and you do deserve respect and love. We all do. I am glad you are here and thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Doren…My sister used to say things like well we had a good life, mom and dad did the best they could and she would literally tone me out the few times I tried to go there with her, I should of know better, she told me I was crazy when I wrote them a letter years ago, she told me to commit myself to a mental hospital and take my therapist with me, I should of know looking back to just stay away but I couldnt, the hurt and pain that I endured all those years have left scares that just never and will never go away.
I think that mimizing is something that we do in order to live with the abuse, I once heard that the worse the abuse the more people wlll mimiize it and I totally believe that myself today. hugs Kimberly

75

I agree with you too Kimberly.

76

Kimberly,

makes me wonder if family members consciously say, “Let’s pick out a family member”—say the youngest—“and keep telling her she’s crazy so that she eventually wears down and acts it and we don’t have to look at ourselves”. I think this happens by unstated collusion…when I’d argue and rail against my mother as a teenager about her attitude, oh how everyone else was quiet and said not a word, not even Dad. Mom would spew at me while everyone was passive; they became more and more partners in her view cause it got the heat off them for a while.

Today I’m very hurt that my sister places mom above me, tending to her while I’m ignored and somehow punished because I want no part in looking after Mom. But I believe as I become stronger in myself, I’ll care less how my sister sees our family and the past. I realize she too is just trying to survive and I cannot make her a part of my healing, she will have none of it. It’s taken me a long time just to get to this point because I feel such a loss. We could have been allies to each other.

I am getting stronger in my conviction that it WAS that bad. It doesn’t matter that there was no bloodshed, the wounds are in the mind. I have bought into so much shit over the years. It’s been less painful for me to believe I am a crazy mess than to realize how great the injustice done toward me.

My sister knew mom was especially hard on me, we talked of it years ago. She chose not to get into the line of fire. Frankly, I think my sister would rather I drink everyday than bring up the past with her. It keeps me in a very familiar role. I’m not going to do either anymore. I don’t have to follow a family script now. And it is her life to interpret and to deal with things, or not.

I think the ones who speak out are the brave ones. I thought as a teenager I could drill sense into my mother; I didn’t have the life’s understanding to see it could not happen. But I spoke my piece, and I’m proud of that. It lead to a terribly crippling evaluation of me by everyone else in the family, but now I’m starting to see, I was breaking a big rule and you don’t do that in these families.

I was being an individual with a voice and calling my parents out. In their world that was not done. They literally thought they could do anything they wanted because they were the parents. There was no thought process to it, no logic, it was due to a simple matter of biology. They were wrong. I was right. What a great kid I was.
I was fighting to be treated with respect.

All I have to do is look at old photos of myself as a kid, some of them I’m teary, some so sad and dejected and sullen. No more wide eyes of the very early years. My sister sent them to me by email, captioning them with her style of excessive exclamation marks (Here you are are in one of Mom’s wigs!!!!!!!!!) She doesn’t see what I see, the teary uncomfortable face staring out at me from 42 years ago, the alcoholic man with the dirty fingernails pressing me into him for the picture. It’s a loss that I have no ally in my sister. But it is what it is. You fight losses until ready to accept. That little girl reminds me it really was that bad.

{{{HUgs}}}

77

Oh Doren…how sad! You know I have a sister just like yours…she choose our parents too…but remember we got out if that chemical pond…to stay in it is death! Yes we may struggle and have issues but think of how hard our lives would be if we allowed them to destroy us and yes…it is like some thing out if a book on how to target a person and ruin their lives! There is a very common underlying theme here that is so sick and universal to us humans… That us why it seems that our abusers are related cause in a very real way they di have similar ways if thinking and acting! Yes! I read many books on being the scapegoat and I have done a study on what most have in common and it is actually not what most think…it’s actually the people who have something that the others lack…something they want but can’t ever have…I believe most abusers don’t have an conscience and they hate that we do…hugs Doreen!

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Hi Auele! How are you?

79

Kimberly, thanks so much. (And I’m glad you’ve stayed, you have much wisdom and a tender heart!)

Yep I was the black sheep or scapegoat. I ‘acted out’ at an early age, sleepwalking and voiding into my pants before I was ten, and nobody investigated anything, it was merely a source of aggravation to my mother that she had to watch me or clean my pants. “Look what I have to deal with” kind of thing. They had no inclination to extend themselves and focus on their children, except as burdens.

I wasn’t able to bury things, I wore them on my sleeve. And yes that made me a target in the family. It was taken for weakness, when really I was showing character by calling out unjust treatment.

When I was 16 and went to Children’s Aid for help (not knowing I was now too ‘old’ for their help), I felt so let down but also, like I had nothing to complain about. When I saw a psychiatrist that year I was seeing a ‘shrink’ and it was shameful. No support. There has never been support from family. Just put up be quiet and forget it. I never could do that—well, I wasn’t in their shoes, though. I didn’t have anyone to point to lower on the food chain than me, and I deeply resented all that attention on my mistakes when nothing was said about our parents.

But it’s helping me to learn this is a pattern of behaviour in such families, and that they didn’t have special insight into me after all. I rocked the leaky boat and nobody was gonna pay attention to the leaks.

{{{HUgs}}}to you Kimberly

80

Hi Kimberly and Doren,

Sometimes I feel better and some days I feel so desperate.
I have hard times due to my neighbour. I just can’t bear anymore to live near a person who screams daily on her kids, waking up me early in the morning.
I have huge strong guilt feelings that poison me because these months, I haven’t seen my passive abusive family anymore as they asked me.

Doren, when you say “it got the heat off them for a while”, do you mean they were not the target of your mother anymore when you was, and that they were appreciated by your mother when they say nothing about the abuse ? Because I don’t speak English fluentlty.
If it is what I have understood, it really hits home for me. Because for me, it was the same, I was the only one totally crazy, who needs to go to mental health hospital, who needs to be thrashed because I was a bad seed. My mother was a compliant slave and my younger sister couldn’t do nothing. I was the only one my father was violent to.
I was the “rebellious” one but like you Doren, I think this totally sanity, because I fought for my life, to resist to this unfair treatement.
If I hadn’t escape from this hell (by myself with zero help from my mother or grandparents), I will be dead today because I surely would have killed myself or become totally crazy.
Because my life was hell, I was beated more and more often and more gravely in addition to the brainswhaing and psychological, verbal abuse.
My father made me belive that if he was so naughty with me, it was because I was too rebellious but that’s not the case at all.
He choosed me to adress his anger on me.
Even today, I have huge guilt feeling to be too rebellious, too “bad seed”.
I told me that I deserved all his punishement and moreover, told me that I made him suffer !!

My childhood and CPTSD ruins my life. I realise that I extremely fear everybody and that I have not even one person to understands me(except here) and to count on it.

Thanks to be here.

81

Sorry a revelator slip of the tongue, when I say “I told me that I deserved all his punishement and moreover, told me that I made him suffer !!”, I would like to say “HE told me that I deserved all his punishement and moreover, told me that I made him suffer !!” instead of I.

82

Aurele…don’t worry we understand! English is my native English and I still can’t seem to get it down perfectly ! I really identified with you so much that its scary! I am do sorry cause I know excatly how you feel about those good and bad days and being the scapegoat. What is cptsd? I have PTSD among other issues and I could do relate to the screaming mom! To have a neighbor like that can’t be good. I know when I see mothers like this in stores I give them dirty looks…I make sure they see me…one day I am sure one will attack me…I honestly can’t help it…I try not to but it like I am in tunnel vision. A few times I reported a few…through their license plates. I will not tolerate that! I won’t!

83

Doren…thank you! I appreciate that! I must control my tongue and I know we are all at different stages of healing…I need to remember that! Gosh that is horrible and I too always wore my pain on my sleeve too. I guess you just want someone to care but in our society when you do that..what most people hear is this..I am a target.you too can kick me to the curb. The only reason why my parents got me help at one point was because I pulled most if my hair out. I am sure the school insisted upon that…someone had too. I am sorry that family aid turned you away…nothing hurts more when you go for help and your turned away.
I personally don’t like psychiatrists but I love some social workers and therapists. I don’t appreciate them giving me drugs and assigning me a label. F&$@

84

Hehe, Kimberly, I do the same with the naughty mothers I see. And they deserve so much this hate looks !
CPTSD is PTSD, I made a mistake.

85

Hi Aurele,

yes, by “getting the heat off them” they weren’t the focus of my mother’s anger, I was, and they were silent. And there was never a situation where someone was hurting someone else verbally and someone else stepped in to say, “Stop it that’s wrong”. That was such a big part of the problem to me, mom was allowed to get away with anything for years, she was shocked when I spoke up to her as a teenager. I used to think, “Somebody should have told you stuff a long time ago”.

I’m so sorry Aurele for all you’ve suffered so unfairly. You never once deserved that treatment and you were let down by others who didn’t have the strength to do what you did. We had every right to resist mistreatment and speak out. We didn’t want special attention, we wanted to be treated with respect.

It seems in abusive homes children are not expected to have any control over anything. Your father saw he couldn’t control you like the others and that made him lose more control. And he chose to blame you the victim for his actions. Only a weak person takes no responsibility or makes a big show of control and power.

You showed a lot of personal strength and character and that broke a big family rule and you had to be punished. Sounds like your Dad also felt he had to make an example of you (“this is what happens when you break rules”). Control is not love. It is total self-interest and maintaining power. You never made him do anything, as you know. I’m so glad your spirit was strong and has never been broken by others’ weaknesses.

I also have CPTSD, Complex PTSD. So far my life has been all about survival but I have great hope for better days. Slowly I am taking back my life, from the inside of me out. I think we are all brave warriors and coming here is an act of healing.

{{{HUgs}}} thanks to you too Aurele

86

Yes they do…I can’t not let that go…I feel if I let it go then I am part of the problem…which I would be if I just let that go!

Hugs! Thanks for the good discussion guys!

87

Kimberly,

I’ve said this to Darlene, every single time I post here I worry about what I’m writing. I worry about using the right words and not saying the wrong thing. Oftentimes I think I come off bad. I’m very self-conscious about these posts because of my shaky self-image. It’s an exposure to write and I worry others will ‘see’ my ‘badness’, whatever that is—my (negative) difference from others. Darlene has reassured me but when I post again, there’s that fear! So I acknowledge that it’s there and how long I’ve felt it, and really, it just tells me how much I’ve been put down from a young age.

I’m like you, I don’t like psychiatrists anymore. Here they just give pills and put a label on you. The last psychiatrist I saw talked more about himself than me. I used to wonder what personality disorder I had, but today I just see myself as a traumatized person who reacted normally to years of abuse. I believe there’s a healthy core part of me that never got touched, or not too badly, by the abuse and distortions around me. That’s the part that never gave up and pushed me to get help.

Thanks for your posts Kimberly, keep up the fiesty!

{{{HUgs}}}

88

(((Doren))) I constantly worry too, Its hard for me as well, probably for the same reasons…I been told all my life that anything that comes out of my mouth is bad, afraid to have an opinion most of my life and learning how to balance that is a huge challenge, what a struggle that is indeed!

I had seen three of them in my lifetime, one told me that I must embrass my parents with my hairpuling and accused me of trying to punish them! there were two of them and one of me, I seriously think I was some lab rat to them, they were very rude and I Was only 13 years old, left in a room with two men who put me down and made me out to be crazy, yea I see right through them and what they were up too, my mom pulled me out but not because of that, cause I never told her that but because her and my dad deceided one day that I should stand on my two feet by myself, it was written in the medical record I had obtained from the hosptial, it said that we feel our daughter is too dependent on theraphy and should be standing on her own two feet…such wonderful parents I had!
The other two times was later in life, once when I was not able to sleep well at night, I was given trazadone which made me go into a comatose state, would never ever recommend that to anyone, he did not listen to me talk, he asked about my issues and said here take this and come back as needed…thankfully I was seeing a wonderful theraphist at the time who actually saved my life and was one of the kindest more caring people I ever met!
The last time was just a year ago, I went to see a t who was always 15 mintues late and said she may be late, but set my appt to that time she knew she would be late, I had to sit around and wait for her and if it were the other way around I am sure she would of booted me out of her office, no respect on that at all! She then went into a court case where she was summoned and gave explict detals of a child rape case and I got so sick I had to go and say I had to leave cause I had use the bathroom,, I ran home and had a full blown panic attack on my floor and had to call 911 caues I thought I Was dying….
so no…I trust very few people for a very good reason~!

89

Hugs to you guys and everyone else who is stopping by who needs one!~

90

Doren
And part of the reason that we learn to “accept” that we must be the one who IS wrong is BECAUSE no one else ever stepped in to validate that we were being wronged! That is what we are doing now; validating that there was wrong done against us, that there WAS damage caused.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

91

Thanks Darlene,

no none in the family has ever stepped in, not then or now. I did spend a lot of time trying to get my sister to see where I was coming from, but I’ve stopped that. Part of me automatically kicks myself for presenting her with information about childhood; last year I emailed her about some terrible porn I saw over 35 years ago and kept to myself. As with anything about childhood she never responded and I know now not to bring it to her. But at the time I didn’t realize this, I was so longing for support and understanding.

Even with that example, I’m trying to correct the balance and see things with more loving eyes toward myself. I recall doing something that did not consider how she deals with the past. Emotionally, I’m ready to feel bad and inconsiderate and a mess-up. But then I think, “Yeah, I didn’t KNOW better at the time, I wasn’t taught much about boundaries or communication”. Just because I make a mistake doesn’t mean I’m hurtful or a bad person.

Reminds me that something I heard a lot of in childhood, and from my ex, were sweeping general statements like, “You always this or that”, “You never this or that”. I learned to think of myself in those generalized black-or-white ways too. It’s a way not to look within I guess.

{{{HUgs}}}

92

Hi Doren,

Doren, thank you for your post.

In fact, I am questionning myself why my mother did nothing to help me.
And I realise slowly that she is as much dangerous for me and guilty as my father.

The reason I have found is that when my father was after me, she was relieved, she was out of his attention. She was happy I existed, in this way, she wasn’t attacked by my father.
And that’s horrible, how coward she is.

She prefered to see her own daughter attacked than herself.

I hate her.

I realized too that my mother didn’t want me because she feared my father. And my father used me to lie him to her.
He is the worst perverse ever.
So, she let me spend all day with this crazy freak. He took all the space and left nothing for a relationship with my mother.

93

I would add that my mother is not a victim of my father. I totally was and that’s tragic because I was a child in cosntruction, my brain was in construction and the relatioship with my father has more damaged bme than the relation she had with my father.

I don’t excuse her because furthermore, I remember horrible scenes when I was alone with this “mother”.
Maybe another reason she hate me when I was a teenager is because I was the problem, I made my father furious instead of letting him kill me.
Bitch !

94

Hi guys!
Anger is so important and has to be released! In healthy ways such as here! Keep expressing that! It took me A lifetime to allow myself to be angry! I was always afraid of anger and expressing it…was not allowed. Hugs!

95

I don’t expect people to step in cause they never have and rarely have I ever seen anyone stick their neck out fir anyone in such situations…all I know about humans tells me all I suspected to be true. Animals are better and more caring to each other than we are.
Very rarely has anyone ever proved my theories wrong. There are usually selfish motives behind what most people do. I think not expecting anything is best cause then you can’t be met down and hurt. I know what it’s like to pour your heart out to people and be told I am crazy and off and to just shut up…I watched people interact all my life always alone pretty much and observing them.
I really am not impressed. Not at all…I been to church watching the charades and phoniness and I been next to other moms at PTA meetings. I worked when a young girl and I spent most if my time just taking in how people treat one another.
Again…not impressed.

96

I used to blame my patents for not having a relationship with my sister…since we were pretty much pitted against each other…however she is an adult now and she could if choose her sister over the lies…she choose my parents and keeping the family lie over me.
She chose to sacrifice me.i get it now…I see what is what here. It’s them being who they are…and it’s me seeing fir the first time in a long time…the reality if it all..so it’s not me it’s just that they are selfish and cruel and they Re being who they are…I had to stop trying to make them something they aren’t…to stop expecting water from a Rock…water never comes from a rock. You can dress a snake up as a dove but the truth is…it’s still a snake…and when we realize the truth and stop lying to that old lie that we want to try to change or disguise…we then begin to live…to be free… To be who we are too.

97

I think one of the things that is so great about this website is that eveyrone supports everyone, and we can validate each other and even though we can’t change the family dysufnctional exp. we can change our exp. of support etc. This site proves that there are still caring human beings.
I have created a different world for myself and my family. I have supportive and wonderful friends and I no longer get involved with people who want to treat me like I don’t matter or that I am only on this earth to serve them. This is the greatet result of the whole process of emotional healing!
Hugs, Darlene

98

Aurele
re your comment # 92 and 93
Thank you for sharing; this is very often the toughest stuff to look at. This is the truth that is so scary and painful when we see it the way it really was. But this is also the beginning of a new view.
hugs, Darlene

99

Thank you Darlene.

Hugs

100

This form of denial is called minimizing. I did it for sooooooo many years. My cousin’s mother was more physically abusive than mine, I didn’t have it that bad. My mother was more stable than my ex husband’s, I didn’t have it that bad. I was never physically, sexually abused, so I didn’t have it that bad. On and on, about why it wasn’t that bad.

My childhood sucked. My mother sucked the life out of me. Not much good or fun happened. I don’t minimize today. And I am recovering nicely. I have recovered a lot, but more shall be revealed, I’m sure.

101

Hi Brenda
I had to finally realize that it was all relative; Abuse IS Abuse and it was when I looked at the message it gave me about me and the damage that it caused to me, I finally validated myself in the way that I had been looking for validation from others for so long. And like you, that was when I began to recover nicely!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

102

So very true Darlene! I’ve heard that too. Thank you for setting the record straight. Abuse of any kind is abuse, period. Saying anything else is not just invalidating to the abused, it’s also an excuse.

I think the reason that so many people say such insensitive things like that is because we’re taught to accept it by society. As though a survivor never really endured such painful or destructive actions caused by another (as if we don’t remember our past accurately with the abuser?). When you drop a glass into acid, it leaves its mark through etching into the once smooth surface. It’s forever changed! The longer it stays in the acid, the deeper the etching…so it is with the human psyche. Excuses let the abuser off the hook, & shuts the target down. Since the abused caused the abuse to happen. It says that our memories deceive us, & the abuse wasn’t so terrible just because we made it through to adulthood. Therefore, we ought to be unscathed by past events? How invalidating of anyone to say that…even when it’s about his/herself…that what was endured was not so bad. It’s not the abuser who suffers…in fact, most don’t even remember the “incidence(s).” I know those who abused me act as though they were the nicest people 100% of the time. I wish! My memories tell a completely different story.

It’s just sad that so many of us are taught from an early age to accept abuse. With that acceptance, especially when it reoccurs frequently, we start blaming ourselves for the abuse. This happens with abused kids & it happens in situations involving domestic violence. It’s not going to stop unless society across the board brings abuse out into the open. The longer it stays a “dirty little secret,” the sicker our society becomes.

103

Great post Darlene…

I think every single one of us has heard the common mantras of abusers that have the purpose to deny or minimize the pain we felt / feel. I know that it’s part and parcel of the whole misplaced ‘guilt’ I’ve been trained to feel and own as belonging to me.

I have begun my journey into healing – sometimes I feel good and other days I still struggle – it’s a long and winding road (as the song goes.

I too dream; the common reoccurring dreams from years ago including being driven with my family,various friends and neighbors (always different people) along a country road to a path between tall reeds where we would walk till we came to lake with tall reeds across it – magically each person would walk safely across to the other side – everyone except me as I would sink into the murky waters and wrestle giant snakes, sometimes drowning and other times not. Weird. The other dreams involved my parents being viciously murdered by robotic earth-moving type machines – they were very bloody and hanging lifeless in the jaws of these huge metal monsters. Again weird!

My latest dream was very different though – I was my adult-self in my old childhood bedroom, complete with same furniture / furnishings except for a chest of drawers in my home now – I went in to feed my turtles living in the top two drawers of the chest which was over flowing with water, bottom drawers empty and closed. There were so many baby turtles…I spoke to them lovingly and turned to leave the room. Two enormous crocs – one laying on the floor next to my bed – along where I had to walk and the other one standing upright next to the doorway. I looked the upright one straight in the eyes and said “I know you are hungry BUT do not eat me!!! I’ll be back with your food…Got it?” and pushed it hard as I walked past.

Analysis of dream –
the chest of drawers represents my subconscious with the turtles being new beginnings / creative aspects of the self / etc and these were overflowing!
The crocs – one laying down was my dad – passive enabler and also abuser none the less – the other one – my narc-mother ready to devour me! But I took my power back instead!
It’s amazing how dreams can tell us so much.

Anyways; thanks again for the great post. I no longer have to go over and revisit my pain quite as often as I did before – I know I was not to blame and more importantly I also feel much lighter inside.

104

Thank you for this post Darlene! I’m in a tough patch right now. Lots of anger and rage. I’m venting lots and crying to release. I didn’t realize how common this was. I watch Dr. Phil all the time which I find very helpful for putting pieces together. When I hear the horror stories of others I do the same thing. I minimize my own abuse and i guess it makes sense because isn’t that what our parents did. For them not to be accountable for their own behavior and make us feel wrong for our responses to them is so messed up.

It’s only recently that I have realized how abused my own parents were. Their abuse was not validated as abuse and they were in such deep denial that they couldn’t acknowledge us. I learned very inappropriate things at an early age and thought it was normal. My normal was so messed up that discovering the truth now feels incredibly uncomfortable. I feel how off everything was. It’s like being told the color red is blue all your life and then something else trying to convince you what red really is. My level of trust is very layered and it seems I get high for awhile feeling good about my life and then out of no where a new layer comes up.

I have to just vent this out….I hate this journey with a passion right now. My dad would say to me that hate is a strong word and yet my body was just screaming in pain and wanted to express what I was feeling. I thought my dad was the good guy until I realized that he was a spineless coward. he knew my mom was being abusive and he didn’t stop her. He himself was manipulated by her because of the sex. They were a very sick team. I was hoping at least one of my parents loved me but there was no love happening in our family, it was all rooted in sickness. Just because they used the word love doesn’t make it so.

I feel sick inside with all the anger that I have carried around all my life. i was afraid to let it out because I thought I would rip someone to shreds. To be honest I almost did want to kill my mom at one point and I swear I had an angel on my shoulder that held me back. To have that much rage inside is a very horrible place to be.

Today is not a good day for me but I know tomorrow is a new day and it’s another day that I take a step forward in my healing journey.

No one should ever compare their abuse to another. it doesn’t matter what happened, it’s how it made you feel as a person that matters most and everyone matters when it comes to being loved and cared for. I hope everyone no matter what they have experienced reaches out and receives healing. We all matter and I’m so grateful that we have all come together to share the journey. It’s because of all of you that I continue the fight for my soul. Thank you all for being the exceptional warriors you are. Love to all!

105

Hi January
Yes, we were all taught to accept unacceptable treatment! And then the mixed message of being taught NOT to accept the same treatment from friends or co-workers and round it goes! And we are taught to discount our memories. Abuse is normalized and on and on. That is the fog we are busting out of!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

106

Hi Dianne
Wow that is awesome! Thank you for sharing your dream and analysis of it!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lora
Feeling all the anger etc. has been so important for me. It was validating, even if I was the one validating it, it was healthy and necessary to feel it and to see the truth about it. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Hugs, Darlene

107

HI Lora-

I think that is great that you are feeling anger and rage. That was a really healing part of the process. Darlene told me about some of the old articles from EFB she said to google anger and emerging from broken. Those were really helpful in validating how ok it was for me to be angry and even a guide for how to be angry (I wasn’t quite sure how to do it!).

My mother too manipulated my father. She is very beautiful and spoiled (I know that sounds judgemental, but this is a woman who once didn’t tip because ‘the food was bad’). It’s your classic man marries woman for her looks, woman marries man for money. Neither will leave- she doesn’t want to work, and he doesn’t want to ‘look bad’. Neither love eachother really, but in some sick way, it ‘works’.
My father always got angry at us, because guess what? We didn’t have sex with him to get our way! I always felt that was unfair and I can relate to you on that. What a horrible thing to do for a mother to use that as leverage to abuse her children without repercussions. I know how men can be so nice when you get involved- blinded by lust, etc. It’s just, she’s a mother- that’s her entire identity- you’d think she’d at least put in some effort, responsibility. But it’s all about sleeping in, getting together with friends, getting her hair done (we get limited haircuts but she ‘needs’ to get her hair dyed every month). If she’s late to pick us up, or forgets us, locks us in the car for hours, takes us to school late, doesn’t cook dinner, and so on, oh well, because SHE COMES FIRST. “I’m busy” usually really means, “I’m doing something more fun than taking care of you.”

I’m so sorry to hear about that sick dynamic. But so happy you are finally recognizing the abuse for what it is!

Cheers,
Gillian

108

This hits home hard…I’ve been saying this to myself…. I need to think on this for awhile…
Thank you for writing about it..I needed to hear it.

109

Hi Michelle
Welcome to EFB
It is so very common for survivors of any kind of abuse to feel this way. I am glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

110

I am feeling my anger also and its been over 30 years!! coming out will cause problems, but I dont care anymore>>>>>>>>

111

I am feeling my anger also and its been over 30 years!!

112

Debra
For me it was time to overcome the problems that had already been caused; to me! I had nothing to lose!
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

113

Hi Darlene,

You’re amazing, thank you for this post and for being so involved in the comments section! I’ve read this post many times and while intellectually I fully agree, I still don’t feel it in my core.

I was shut down by my guidance counselor, the first time I talked about what happened to me. Since then I’ve seen many therapists and was always scared of getting the same response, so I usually wouldn’t even mention it. More recently I’ve been telling them, but I still won’t reveal details for fear that they will think it “wasn’t that bad” (what my first guidance counselor said to me).

It was sexual abuse, but every time someone asks me how long it went on for, I feel like an idiot for saying it “only” happened once. It’s as though it doesn’t qualify as sexual abuse if it’s not ongoing. I avoid saying whether it was or wasn’t rape because I’m afraid people will minimize my pain if they find out it wasn’t. Even though I know how much it has damaged me and I know my pain, I still feel guilty for it.

I keep waiting to finally find a therapist who will fully validate my pain, who will get angry and sad for me and tell me it WAS that bad as much as they would say so to someone who has been raped for years. And then again I feel guilty for wanting that so badly, because I wasn’t raped…for years…by my father… But while I have met some decent therapists, they haven’t done enough for me to make me feel as though my pain is fully justified. I feel like I’m chasing a shadow by always seeking that out, and I know that it’s only until I give myself that validation that I can start healing, but I still need someone else to validate me first before I can do it for myself, because I don’t trust myself. Is that the wrong approach?

Thanks and Hugs,
Sarah

114

And just to clarify, I didn’t mean to imply it was my father who did it. It was a relative of my friend. Which again, makes me feel undeserving of outrage. I hate this urge to compare. I try to fight it, and yet just knowing that it’s a natural human tendency that will always exist (even if I get rid of my own, others will still have their judgments) makes me feel so helpless. For so many years I wish I had been raped just so I could stop feeling guilty for my pain.

115

Hi Sarah
Welcome to EFB ~ I totally relate to what you are sharing! I needed someone to hear me too and when I found that, I started to really soar in my healing. (this is one of the reasons I started this site; I wanted people to be and feel heard since it was one of the first keys for me). I did have to validate myself of course ~ that was an even bigger key, but I couldn’t seem to do that until someone else validated my pain and the damage too. The fear of being told ‘it’s not that big a deal’ is huge and gets in the way of millions! (but there is hope!!)
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

116

I still have issues calling my mom an “abuser.” I think in her case it was just “ignorance” and like what someone said on a different article on Darlene’s blog, “the done thing.” I had this “way” of making her see her own issues, she didn’t like it, so she flipped it around and made ME the problem. Denial. Rose colored glasses. She wanted me to fill some need she had, instead of guiding me to be the best I could be.

Now, Darlene’s situation maybe wasn’t as bad as what that guy reported (HOW SICK!!!!), but I still call Darlene’s situation ABUSE!

And Sarah! Even ONCE is abuse the way I see it reading your story.

117

DXS
It was (and sometimes still is) way easier for me to call other peoples situations “abusive” and other peoples parents ‘abusive’ ~ that is part of the way we are raised. I had to look up a lot of definitions of abuse, to see the truth about it. It struck me funny that I could see other peoples situations as abusive and even illegal, when I saw my own mother as ‘just the way she is’ or “just troubled”
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

118

Thank you for your responses Darlene and DXS. Darlene, it’s nice to know that you can relate to my feelings.

And I am so so grateful that you started this site. Since the last time I posted here I’ve been discussing this denial/minimization issue a lot with my therapist, and while at first I didn’t think that was helping, now I feel like it’s starting to. It just takes a while for new ways of thinking to get through all the crap in my head. Plus I’ve grown more comfortable with my therapist (after a really long time of going through many I didn’t love), and now finally being able to be so honest and vulnerable with a therapist I trust can make all the difference.

Reading this post again today made me realize that I do FEEL your words more than I did before, and that’s progress! Lots of Love.

120

In a little over a month from now, I’ll turn 57.
For much of my life, I have minimized the significance the life-long damage I’ve had to bear, largely, because I’ve said “At least I didn’t go through THAT!” How unfair to myself…NO MORE.
Thank you all, for sharing.
My respect and admiration to you all, for having the willingness to FEEL.

121

Hi Jeff
Welcome to EFB ~ exactly! And freedom is on the other side!
hugs, Darlene

122

Thank you for this post. I’ve been struggling with these feelings all the time, helps to know others have too.

123

Hello,
I was in an automobile accident 7 years ago which left me with a PTSD diagnosis (I won’t go into details, but I watched a 10-week old baby die, had recurring nightmares, anxiety, avoidance, etc.). Anyway, I was just reading an article about PTSD and it spoke of how children who go through violent, traumatic childhoods also usually have PTSD and that PTSD can reoccur (never goes away, really) all through one’s lifetime. Am I the only person that did not know this? After some reading, I am finding that while I may not have been diagnosed with PTSD as a child, I did indeed have many, if not all the symptoms then. So the accident just re-awakened it. Now, as an adult, I am having to deal with this yet again. The good thing is that this time, I am aware that it’s not something that I am to blame for – which is what I thought as a child.
Thank you for your blog. It truly is helpful to know that I am not the only one in the world dealing with this or having these feelings. It helps to know that others feel this…that I am not imagining things or crazy.

124

Also wanted to say thank you for your current article. I also have compared my experience with others and said to myself that mine wasn’t so bad. But it was just as bad because I had no other reference points with which to compare it when I was a child. It was all I knew. I tried to hide it from others thinking that they would not understand or think less of me, and that only compounded it.

125

Hi everybody. I’ve experienced the same as some of you for years. I recently heard a comeback to the “what do you have to be unhappy about, lots of people have it worse than you” which is “What do you have to be happy about, lots of people have it better than you.” When I first heard that it made me realize how ridiculous it was for me to minimize my pain.

126

I have never posted here but have been reading the comments. It has been so helpful to know I am not alone, I have been down playing the verbal abuse by my mother, down playing the physical abuse because it didn’t happen as often. I know in my head it was a horrible, but others had it much worse…..I try not to think this way but it is hard not to. Thank you for listening

127

I don’t like that message either. It seems like in our society unless one was molested, beaten black and blue, or neglected with torn clothes and no food, then it’s not abuse. What makes this worse is hearing this from your own abuser. “I believe in spankings, not beatings.” “You weren’t abused. What goes on in movies and on the news, now THAT’S abuse.” “I thought my grandmother was mean, but I ended up marrying someone meaner than her.” (So, why did you end up with an abuser if you were raised so well?) Sigh. The senselessness of this.

128

For most of my life I thought I wasn’t being abused because it wasn’t as bad as some had had it. I wasn’t sexually abused, I was spanked but not beaten. I thought my ex-husband hadn’t raped me because he didn’t hold me down and penetrate me. I knew what had been done to me was wrong, and all the signs were there– low self-esteem, couldn’t remember most of my childhood, all the bad mental habits you learn as coping mechanisms. It’s good to finally be able to call it what it was, to acknowledge that I was kept in emotional starvation conditions for most of my life, that every time I tried to meet my emotional needs I was prohibited. My family hates me now, but I’m free.

129

I agree with what so many have said. I think we minimise our story, 1 because we’ve been taught that we don’t have the right to complain, but also, 2, because it’s all a part of the brain washing that Narcs and dysfunctional people do to their kid, it’s not as bad as such and such… I swear, it’s almost guaranteed, having to survive in a home of abuse, of any kind, makes the child really understand and value what’s right over wrong, good over evil. It’s a horrible way to learn perspective and how NOT to live.

130

Hi Kris
Welcome to EFB~ Yes exactly.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

131

Hi Stephanie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I found the validation that was missing from my life through seeing the truth about this stuff. Really seeing the truth about it went miles towards my progress in getting over it.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

132

Hi Raine
Welcome to emerging from broken.
yes exactly. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Lainor
yes, exactly. Abuse is abuse and all of it including emotional abuse and being discounted does damage.
YAY for being free!!!
hugs, Darlene

133

This makes so much sense. I’ve always been made to feel like I have no right to feel the way I do.
I’ve always been told that I have no right to share my story. I’ve always been invalidated and discounted.

Even my dear husband is sometimes guilty of saying stuff like “be thankful because other people have it worse”…um, not helpful. I know that many others have suffered far more than I have.
But it pisses me off to be constantly told that MY pain doesn’t matter. I used to believe that narrative and it kept me feeling ashamed, like I was some ungrateful jerk whining about nothing.

But the truth is that I WAS hurt deeply. My experiences ARE real. I am a person, no less than anybody else, and I matter just like everybody else does.

Abuse is abuse…pain is pain. Our experiences shape who we are. We can acknowledge that others have their own struggles, but that doesn’t take away what we’ve been through.
Part of my journey in trying to make sense of it all is confronting reality and not living in denial the way people want me to.

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