Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)

  • 29 Replies
  • 3758 Views
*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Today, I read "Toxic Parents," and it was very validating for me because I could relate to many of the experiences of the victims mentioned in the book.

The book breaks down abuse and toxicity into different categories, like verbal, physical, sexual, inadequate parents, etc.
I already knew that I have endured verbal and emotional abuse as a child, but when I began reading the physical abuse section, my emotional reactions took me off guard. The author asks, "Did your parents use physical pain to make a point, teach a lesson, or punish?" (paraphrasing) At first, I thought, "Well, my Ndad didn't beat the hell out of me like some of these case study people..."

But then I had a lot of emotional flashbacks regarding how my dad used corporal punishment and other seemingly "covert" methods of physical abuse that I honestly brushed off.

When I think of "spanking," I think of NOT punishing your child when you are angry, and if you spank, then one or two is more than enough to make a point, although I'm more in favor of different forms of discipline. However...my dad never just spanked once or twice. I remember one time receiving 15 spankings in one session, and I can't remember what I did. He had a system of how he would "calculate" the number of spankings you would get, but I don't know how it worked. Some days he would just pick a number, some days he would take the offense (say, the number of a "bad" grades on a report card) and multiply it by a certain number of his choice. Other times, he would spank you based on the number of times he thought you lied or rolled your eyes. So one day you may get 7 spankings, but on another day you may get 10 or more (although I can't remember getting any more than 15).

My mother never let him use a belt, but his hand was enough. It felt like he was trying to spank us as hard as he could.

As I was reading the physical abuse chapter and its description, I felt myself going back to the times when I knew I was going to get spanked. I hadn't *really* thought about these things in a long time, and it was difficult. I felt terrified. I would beg my dad to please not do it, that I wanted to be grounded or I'd do extra chores; anything, just please, please, please don't spank me. Usually I'd get spanked, then *still* get grounded or have something taken from me. One time I put pillows in my pants. He obviously could tell and I got more because of it.

The worst flashback was the memories of hearing my brother beg and yell and cry. I'd be in my room, and I'd put a pillow over my head, and shut my eyes. I didn't want to hear. I wanted to help but what could I do? I wanted to cry and disappear. I'd hear the smack usually, even through the pillow. Brother would cry. Beg. My dad would give some reason, like brother shouldn't have done X & Y, or he "had to learn." There were more stupid reasons. He could have stopped, but he didn't. He would just spank us on the butt, but if we tried to cover ourselves with our hands, he'd either hit them too or give us an extra spanking for every minute we kept our hands there.

I always thought that spankings were just a part of being a kid, that everyone has been spanked. But when I think about the excessive amounts of spanking, and the terror, and begging, and crying...I know that's not normal. We were children, begging to not be spanked, begging to not be hurt, and he did it anyway. I remember a few times when mom would come and say "That's enough," but by that time the damage had already been done.

When my brother was too big for him to spank, he would push him around outside. He'd never punch him, but the pushing was enough. I did say something once when it was going on, and my dad told me to mind my own business.

I'm beginning to remember little things, like how he'd poke my shoulder really hard when he'd talk down to me, or how he'd "frog" my leg to make my leg jump. He always joked that he knew how to give "bruiseless beatings." If he frogged your leg really hard, it would never leave a bruise or mark. He seemed really proud of that.

I'm trying not to burst into tears, remembering everything. I haven't thought about the physical aspect in such a long time, but it still hurts. It hurts like he just did it. I feel so terrible, thinking about hearing my little brother cry and plead and beg, trying to get out of getting spanked. It breaks my heart. I want to give him a big hug and tell him I'm so sorry. I wish there was something I could have done. I feel like I could have done something.

I wish I could go back in time and rescue those children, and it hurts because I can't. I feel like I let my brother down. But what could I have done? I was a victim too. Still, I feel like the shittiest sister in the entire world. It hurts remembering.

Just had to vent.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 08:59:05 PM by Nostromo »
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

Inonepeace

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 194
Nostromo, I am so sorry  :bighug: (if OK)

There was nothing you could have done back then. Reading your posts, there's no way you are or could have been a bad sister -- I mean, you're here, you were abused and overly disciplined and you're questioning yourself and still worried you didn't do enough to protect your brother? Please let that go. It was not your responsibility, but I can understand your wanting to protect him.

Whatever you are feeling now is OK; it's OK to cry, let it out, punch a pillow, whatever you are feeling is OK. It took much strength to get to this place you are in and I promise you things will be even better as you work through this and come out on the other side.

Coming Out of the FOG, it can be really overwhelming to suddenly realize what we thought was normal was actually abuse. That the parent who we loved and respected when we were little deliberately hurt us -- that realization hurts so much, it's almost a shock to the system. You and your brother did not deserve that kind of treatment, none of us did.

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Thank you for the hug, Inonepeace.  :bighug:

It just hurts so bad. Thinking about it hurts more than the verbal and emotional abuse. Maybe I'm more desensitized to the other forms of abuse and haven't had to deal with the physical abuse in a long time.

Crying is so hard for me. I've been able to release tears, which I'm proud of, but there is something holding me back from just sobbing. I want to just sob, but I keep hearing in my head, "Don't cry! Babies cry!"

I know I'm not responsible, but I am almost 8 years older than my brother (he's a Senior in high school now). I feel like I should have protected him, even though intellectually I know I couldn't. He still lives with my parents and I wish I could rescue him. I feel guilty because he got it worse than me, everything worse than me, and I had a pillow over my head wishing it would go away.

Lately I haven't felt anything towards my dad, and even with these revelations, I don't feel emotion directed at him, like "I hate my dad."
I remember how I felt or my brother felt and I feel profound sadness. When I think about how my dad could have stopped, I feel sadness. But for him as a person...I just wish he would go away, and that's all.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 09:52:35 PM by Nostromo »
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

colourfulrain

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 212
It was not your fault. None of it. You were a child or at most a teen. You had no power over anything. You were traumatised, brainwashed, and conditioned by years and years of abuse to be terrified of your father. Who by everything you have said is a sick and morally empty person. The only thing you can do now is tell your brother what you remember if you feel he will listen. Tell him you feel you were both abused terribly.

As for crying being for babies that is rubbish. For one thing all humans cry (and elephants apparently) so it is a natural process like blushing, eating, etc. Yes we can suppress it but we can starve ourselves to: just as unhealthy. Also, I study mythology and in a lot of the Greek, Roman and Norse myths the hero (the big strapping badass muscle bound sword swinging heroes) would readily cry over loss and sorrow. Achilles, Thor, etc. So there!  :)

In seriousness though, I am so sorry this happened to you. This is the hardest part, the realising. It will get easier.
'Kindness is stronger than blood'
'I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become'

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
I let myself cry and get some sleep, and I feel a lot better.

I had dreams about my dad. One was my dad, brother, and I all in the car, and I said something really funny and we all just laughed and laughed. We were all having a good time, and everything was right in the world. I was happy. I have quite a few memories of moments like that.

The other dream, I was with a very close friend, and she was trying to tell me the type of man my father is and the accomplishments that he had achieved, but one of the degrees that she mentioned was wrong. I brought this up to her, and she kept telling me that since my dad told me that's what he earned, then it MUST be true, and therefore I am wrong. I said to my friend,

"You don't know him the way that I do. He can lie."
She replied, "I've heard all about your white lies, Nostromo."

Something in my dream mind reached a point of understanding, I think: it is not worth arguing, trying to make others see my point of view, or trying to make them understand my past with my dad. I know what I experienced, I know my feelings, and that is enough proof for me.

I walked away from my friend in the dream, climbing down this huge rocky hill in darkness. When I woke up this morning, I committed myself to climbing down that hill. I don't have anything to prove. I have my own journey for my own healing, and that is enough.
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

HealingMeFL

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 886

I walked away from my friend in the dream, climbing down this huge rocky hill in darkness. When I woke up this morning, I committed myself to climbing down that hill. I don't have anything to prove. I have my own journey for my own healing, and that is enough.


This is very true, and wise.  I have a similar situation except it's not a friend, it's my siblings.  They are stuck in denial.  And our dad has done many good things in life.  But the bottom line is that he terrorized us as little kids and he has shown little to no remorse for it.  He had a volatile temper and would spank or grab you out of the blue.  He's mellowed alot as he's gotten older, and it helps that we can walk away when we want to and he knows it.

My mom tried to justify it when we were young.  "He loves you."  "He has diabetes, he can't help his temper."  She never seemed to grasp what exposure to a volatile man could do to three little girls.   But now that we're all out of the house she complains about him like crazy. I'm ashamed to admit it but I'm glad.  Karma.


I'm trying not to burst into tears, remembering everything. I haven't thought about the physical aspect in such a long time, but it still hurts. It hurts like he just did it. I feel so terrible, thinking about hearing my little brother cry and plead and beg, trying to get out of getting spanked. It breaks my heart. I want to give him a big hug and tell him I'm so sorry. I wish there was something I could have done. I feel like I could have done something.

I wish I could go back in time and rescue those children, and it hurts because I can't. I feel like I let my brother down. But what could I have done? I was a victim too. Still, I feel like the shittiest sister in the entire world. It hurts remembering.



This is actually a highly effective torture technique that has been used throughout the history of human-kind.  It's meant to inflict emotional pain which can be worse than physical pain.  It can also induce guilt which is another great manipulation tool.  This happened to me, sometimes, where my other SG sister would get in trouble for something I did.

None of it was your fault.  NONE.  You were a kid with few, if any, options.

I'm sorry that you went through it.  Have you looked at any of the C-PTSD material?  It's been helpful to me.  And like you, my experience was not as severe as others - but it was still terrible to ME.  I'm done living in denial.

*

Bloomie

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 10333
Nostromo - recovering and processing is a deep and painful process!! I am so sorry you and your brother have been subjected to persistent, degrading, and abuse on every level.  :hug: I am so glad you posted and are getting this out!! Be very gentle with yourself and take breaks from all of this. Sending you strength!!!
Bloomie 🌸


"It's not what we don't know that hurts us, people say. Its what we believe is true that isn't, that does the damage." Melodie Beatty
"If the individual put as much effort into being a good person as they do into pretending to be one, they could actually be a good person." A. Brenner MD

*

VeryFoggy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 164
Nostromo - So many aspects of your story could be mine except intensity.  Ours was a belt, and bloody welts were a way of life. We were also punished after being punished.  I was always told that I looked angry afterwards, and that I had better not be angry or I would get some more. So I learned to hate my face.  I felt like my face was sending wrong messages out to the world.  I was sad and scared and felt unloved and even my own face was against me. I wasn't angry, I was terrified and then I was taught to hate my own face. That even my own face was going to betray me.

One thing I have done that may be helpful to you is to go back in my mind to that child, the child that is you, who is sobbing and sad after your spanking, and take yourself in your own arms mentally, and give that kid a hug.  Tell that little kid you love her, and tell her you know she is not a bad person, and just hold her and comfort her. Rock her gently and tell her when she feels better you want her to go outside and play and have fun and just be a kid. I have found this to be enormously comforting. To love and care for that little kid that was once me. To find that I now have the power to heal that child makes me feel very good.

Maybe doing something like that could help you too.

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
HealingMeFL,

Your story sounds similar to mine. My dad has mellowed some as he's gotten older, but that's because his health has suffered. He's not as strong as he was when he was "godlike" to us as children. Despite his mellowing, he still gets mad over the smallest things, jokingly criticizes our appearance, intelligence, character, etc., and is generally manipulative.

My brother has said multiple times to me that he can't wait to get out of there, but he has also said in the past that everything is not "that bad" because we did have good times as a family. But more often than not, those memories were dampened by our dad getting mad or not letting us be kids. I think it's because he's still living there and it's his defense mechanism, so I'm not really going to press it until he is out of the house.

Thank you for saying something that I think a lot of people (not here on the board, but out in society) overlook: people often associate abuse with either brutal beatings or specific types of sexual abuse only, and it minimizes the other forms of abuse, even the covert forms of physical and sexual abuse. It can make victims feel like it if their abuse didn't fit into a specific box, then it didn't count. My abuse might not have been the same as someone else's, but that doesn't mean it's any less important, or vice versa. There's no use comparing: abuse is abuse, and it has terrible emotional consequences!

I'm just now looking into the C-PTSD material, and I identify a lot with it. It's funny because I'm from a military family and I married a soldier, so I'm very familiar with PTSD, but I never thought in a million, gajillion years I'd ever have symptoms of it. In our world, it's very soldier and war-time oriented. For a civilian to have PTSD is almost laughable.

Nostromo - So many aspects of your story could be mine except intensity.  Ours was a belt, and bloody welts were a way of life. We were also punished after being punished.  I was always told that I looked angry afterwards, and that I had better not be angry or I would get some more. So I learned to hate my face.  I felt like my face was sending wrong messages out to the world.  I was sad and scared and felt unloved and even my own face was against me. I wasn't angry, I was terrified and then I was taught to hate my own face. That even my own face was going to betray me.

One thing I have done that may be helpful to you is to go back in my mind to that child, the child that is you, who is sobbing and sad after your spanking, and take yourself in your own arms mentally, and give that kid a hug.  Tell that little kid you love her, and tell her you know she is not a bad person, and just hold her and comfort her. Rock her gently and tell her when she feels better you want her to go outside and play and have fun and just be a kid. I have found this to be enormously comforting. To love and care for that little kid that was once me. To find that I now have the power to heal that child makes me feel very good.

Maybe doing something like that could help you too.

VeryFoggy,

I'm so sorry about your welts. :( That is absolutely awful. He tried several times to use switches and belts on us, but that was the one thing my mom did right when standing up to him. That was the only thing she threw an absolute fit about, and he didn't do it. But I cringe when I think what he would have done if she wasn't there to lay that one rule down.

I don't know why I keep saying "spanking," because it wasn't a spanking, not really. It was an ass beating, but he always called it a "spanking." I guess to make it seem not like a big deal. But I DO know what you are talking about in regards to getting in trouble afterwards!! He would get mad at me because I would "give him attitude" right after he just punished me, or claim I rolled my eyes (that was his favorite for years), so he'd ground me, tell me about a present he was "going" to give me, get me up very early the next day for a whole day of chores, take away an event I wanted to go to, etc.

One time I asked him flat out, "What do you want from me? Do you want me to be HAPPY?!" He grounded me for a month and the insults increased everyday for that month. Nothing I said he would let go without an insult, even if I mentioned the weather or breakfast. It made me MORE angry.

I will try your suggestion. I never got to be a kid. I'd like to do that for once in my life.
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Nostromo - recovering and processing is a deep and painful process!! I am so sorry you and your brother have been subjected to persistent, degrading, and abuse on every level.  :hug: I am so glad you posted and are getting this out!! Be very gentle with yourself and take breaks from all of this. Sending you strength!!!

Lately I've been trying to deal with a lot of this stuff at once, but I hear what you mean about taking breaks from it. I tend to try to take everything on and get it over with, but I don't want to push my husband away or drive myself crazy by talking about it too much. Any suggestions?
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

brownies

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1114
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 11:42:48 AM »
1. Therapist
2. church counselor (if you have a church)
3. good friend
4. this forum
5. spouse
6. sympathetic relatives
7. daily journal
8. goal setting journal
9. good self-care (hygiene, food, warmth, comfort, hobby or activities)
10. good self-talk, "I did not deserve this kind of treatment, I'm a good person."
If you like fireworks, just say "NO".

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2015, 12:09:15 PM »
Brownie,

Great suggestions, thank you!

My husband is a great support, I just don't want to dominate the conversation with these things, you know? I need to schedule a therapy session. I have recently started to get back into writing and exercise, and those have helped tremendously, especially with my mood. And of course, this forum has been a great blessing. :)
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

brownies

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1114
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2015, 12:58:26 PM »
Nostromo, You're welcome.
My H while very supportive, I realized there is no way for him to take all this in himself so I like to limit my 'need' to 15 minutes in a day, or for something particularly painful, a little longer. But here is the problem, why should this dominate our lives, isn't it just continuing the abuse wasting time asking 'why', and 'how' and 'what the hell were they thinking?" I may need to know but it is certainly my responsibility and not his to deal with. I keep the door open to him to talk about his own family dysfunctions and he does share them. In some ways it has only brought us closer and in more agreement on how to handle things.

I do love that he has my back, cares about my feelings, shares his own feelings and he knows I'm there for him too.
If you like fireworks, just say "NO".

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2015, 01:12:50 PM »
I think because so many of my revelations are new, it's easy to want to talk about them a lot. We started our journey at the same time, so there's a lot of "newness" in this for us. It's not that we don't talk about anything else, but the way we deal with information is different: he prefers to slowly and quietly digest and talk when he's ready, and I want to talk about rhings as I confront them.

But you are right, that it shouldn't be our (my) whole life, and I dont intend it to be. It just is a lot to process at once, and I think I'd feel better if I faced it. I just want to face it without disregarding my husband's style of communication.
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

lefou

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 36
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2015, 03:24:24 PM »
Quote
Thank you for saying something that I think a lot of people (not here on the board, but out in society) overlook: people often associate abuse with either brutal beatings or specific types of sexual abuse only, and it minimizes the other forms of abuse, even the covert forms of physical and sexual abuse. It can make victims feel like it if their abuse didn't fit into a specific box, then it didn't count. My abuse might not have been the same as someone else's, but that doesn't mean it's any less important, or vice versa. There's no use comparing: abuse is abuse, and it has terrible emotional consequences!

My family experience was pretty similar too. And it took me a long time to realize this very thing. I still struggle to go against society's expectations and fully accept that my mom's version of "discipline" was wrong.

Sending you a big hug.

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2015, 04:05:06 PM »
 :bighug:
Big hug to you, lefou.

It can be hard when society throws up barriers that can prevent you from healing.
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

daughter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 4147
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2015, 04:58:04 PM »
As an adult, I was often confronted with my npd-enmeshed parents snarling at me "after ALL we've done for you, you won't do...".  I grew up terrorized by my parents.  Oh, everything probably looked superficially ok, with my high-functioning parents capable of "putting on the show" to the outside world.  But as a young child, and as a teen, I was terrorized.  I was hit.  I was slapped.  I was screamed at.  I was punished for trivial matters, such as perceived "what's that look on your face" insubordination.  I was parentified.  I had household duties unsuited for a child, then rebuked for not executing them perfectly.  I was held responsible for my parents' emotions, and subjected to their rages.  I never knew when my parents would ignite, and because I was such a quiet and well-behaved child, I was rarely ever responsible for their rage directed at me.  They were stingy, financially and emotionally.  I feel I had a deprived childhood.  I feel my parents did the bare minimum for me, just enough not to raise serious concern amongst family and friends (and I'm aware of several "interventions" nonetheless).  But somehow, my parents felt I "owed them", for "all they've done for me".

What they've "done for me" is to create enough anxiety and angst in me to send me to therapy at least four times in my life.  When they thought I was seeing a therapist a decade+ ago, when I went NC for first time for several months, both my parents were outraged, offended that I sought help, angered that I was "telling stories" that revealed their true nature.  When I went NC for the second time, 2 1/2 years ago, my mother never reached out to me at all during the ensuing time, while my hovering father was outraged, livid, that I was "getting bad advice from someone".  The magnitude of emotional abuse that I endured was something I rarely acknowledged, probably as a self-defense tactic.  My current therapist thinks my parents are "high-functioning sociopaths", and she terms my case as one of the worst she's ever encountered in her many decades of therapeutic practice.  And there I was, enduring that cruelty for so many years, so many decades, passively accepting it as my fate and "my duty".  "Toxic Parents" was a good book for me too.

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2015, 05:35:17 PM »
As an adult, I was often confronted with my npd-enmeshed parents snarling at me "after ALL we've done for you, you won't do...".  I grew up terrorized by my parents.  Oh, everything probably looked superficially ok, with my high-functioning parents capable of "putting on the show" to the outside world.  But as a young child, and as a teen, I was terrorized.  I was hit.  I was slapped.  I was screamed at.  I was punished for trivial matters, such as perceived "what's that look on your face" insubordination.  I was parentified.  I had household duties unsuited for a child, then rebuked for not executing them perfectly.  I was held responsible for my parents' emotions, and subjected to their rages.  I never knew when my parents would ignite, and because I was such a quiet and well-behaved child, I was rarely ever responsible for their rage directed at me.  They were stingy, financially and emotionally.  I feel I had a deprived childhood.  I feel my parents did the bare minimum for me, just enough not to raise serious concern amongst family and friends (and I'm aware of several "interventions" nonetheless).  But somehow, my parents felt I "owed them", for "all they've done for me".

What they've "done for me" is to create enough anxiety and angst in me to send me to therapy at least four times in my life.  When they thought I was seeing a therapist a decade+ ago, when I went NC for first time for several months, both my parents were outraged, offended that I sought help, angered that I was "telling stories" that revealed their true nature.  When I went NC for the second time, 2 1/2 years ago, my mother never reached out to me at all during the ensuing time, while my hovering father was outraged, livid, that I was "getting bad advice from someone".  The magnitude of emotional abuse that I endured was something I rarely acknowledged, probably as a self-defense tactic.  My current therapist thinks my parents are "high-functioning sociopaths", and she terms my case as one of the worst she's ever encountered in her many decades of therapeutic practice.  And there I was, enduring that cruelty for so many years, so many decades, passively accepting it as my fate and "my duty".  "Toxic Parents" was a good book for me too.

Daughter,

I am deeply sorry for what your parents did to you. My first post here on OOTF, Bloomie quoted you, and it touched me because I related so much to your experience.

I wasn't hit on a daily basis in terms of being slapped and punched (although corporal punishment was pretty frequent until I was too old), but everything you described...I feel you. My mother was the enabler, though, while my Ndad stormed through the house. She was damaged by her own childhood (sexually abused), depressed, and it contributed to her Schizo Affective Disorder which was present my whole life, but we didn't know what to attribute the behavior to (she hadn't had her psychotic break yet, was just anxious, depressed, and paranoid). I was responsible for her emotions, especially when she was upset with dad, because he would get upset with ME. All my life, they have complained about each other to me. "Don't tell your dad, but I hate it when he does X & Y..." or "Your mom thinks she understands A & B, but she really doesn't. Don't tell her I said that or she'll get pissed, OK?" I never told because I was afraid of the consequences. I could talk to my mom about my feelings, and I do feel like she listened and cared, but in hindsight considering her condition, she couldn't give me the emotional support I needed because she was in need of support herself.

It kills me when I talk to my mom because she will go on and on about what a good and well-behaved child I was, that I never, ever gave them any trouble, and that I was just such a "pleasure" to raise...yet, like you mentioned, at the drop of a hat I was being screamed at or punished. It could be something so insignificant that it is psychotic, like a towel on the floor. My dad acted as if I was screwing up all the time, and he'd tell me to "GROW UP!", but I'd be in elementary school! I had to "earn" everything I got for many years, until my brother was born and a little older and I became the GC, then I would get gifts, but they always had strings attached, and would be taken away. When we did go on vacations, I wasn't allowed to jump joyously and laugh loudly and just be EXCITED (like at Disneyland), because in my dad's words, I was acting "like an idiot." As a result, I don't know how to let loose and have fun. Risks are not part of my vocabulary.

Yet, like you said, I "owe" my parents the universe, all because they could go to work, send me to school, feed me, and keep up appearances. No one would EVER guess what went on behind the scenes; they all loved my parents. I have been going to therapy off and on since I became a legal adult and could get the help they wouldn't support me in getting, so 7 years trying to fix what they did. And when they did find out I was going to therapy, there was a backlash. Not so much from my mom, but definitely from dad, even when I first got my diagnoses of the myriad of emotional problems I had. I'm A LOT better, but in no way 100% better, but it's not their fault. It's MY fault (in their mind).

I'm still pretty enmeshed, but working hard to get out of that dynamic since it recently dawned on me how unhealthy my family truly is and how it's hurting me and ultimately my marriage. I have barely talked to my parents this month, and my mom is the only one who actually reaches out to see how I'm doing. My dad? I thought he would be outraged, but so far has ignored me, which has shocked me. But I'm glad. Good riddance.

Thank you for commenting, Daughter. I appreciate your advice and perspective a great deal. I wish you luck on your journey. :hug:
"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."

*

OlderWiser

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 67
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2015, 06:23:26 PM »
 I have spent many years trying to come to terms with physical abuse in childhood.  I don't think I will ever get over it.   My father enjoyed the whole twisted experience and it was just violence.   FOO all were part if it also and never a kind word.   Still makes me angry.   

And my father was well respected with no one knowing he was a violent drunk.  And my mother is well respected even though she is NPD.

And they say I am too sensitive.   I hope you come to terms with it.

*

Nostromo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 173
Re: Trying to Come to Terms with Physical Abuse in Childhood (Trigger Warning)
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2015, 06:40:33 PM »
OlderWiser,

Sometimes things happen to us that shake us to the core and it's unfair for others to expect us to just "get over" it. The betrayal is intense. We were small and were to be protected, not emotionally and physically discarded. It was cruel and unfair. You have a right to be angry, especially when you knew the monsters that lurked beneath the surface, and I will keep you in my thoughts. It is maddening when you just want to shout, "THEY'RE NOT WHO YOU THINK THEY ARE!" but it seems like nothing comes out.

You're not too sensitive. You are a caring and loving individual who had needs that they refused to acknowledge. They were just cruel. I hope I can deal with it instead of pushing it back into the cobwebs, which at this point is a lot easier than dealing with it.

"Terrible people awaken all of the terrible parts inside of you."

"You should not have to rip yourself into pieces to keep others whole."