I don’t know what it’s like to be hit everyday by a parent or a sibling. Or a partner for that matter. I don’t know what it’s like to be sexually molested as a child.
My father used to sit around on the couch in some sort of thing that wrapped around his waist. It was made from terry cloth, the same as towels. But he wouldn’t wear underwear underneath them. I’ve been told that that is a type of sexual molestation, by more than one person and one of the people that told me that was a therapist. It certainly is a crossed boundary and something no small child is prepared to see, nor should ever see.
But at the risk of sounding like those who minimize, that was nothing in comparison to what was done to me psychologically and emotionally. And I think when it comes to parents abusing kids (at least in my case) in ways other than physical and sexual, the psychological and emotional go hand in hand.
Take the example above, of my father sitting around with his junk hanging out. Any little kid is gonna wanna look. But there is this shame about it too. As an adult, I know now that it’s dad’s fault for putting his shit out there.
But even worse, when I confronted him and asked him to stop, around the age of 10, because I wanted to bring friends in the house, he said, “It’s my house, I’ll do what I want.”
There were lots of messages in that one statement. He was telling me that what I wanted didn’t matter. He was telling me that it wasn’t my place to ask him such a thing. He was also telling me that my friends weren’t welcome. In fact he treated most of my friends like shit, while welcoming most if not all of my brother’s and sister’s friends as if they were family. My father particularly had a soft spot for my brother’s girl friends. Once my brother had been dating someone for a while, my father would treat them better than he treated his own daughters. During my and my brother’s teen years, my parents allowed a male friend of my brother’s to live with us temporarily.
If memory serves I was 18. My boyfriend at the time caught this kid spying on me as I changed my clothes. So obviously my father didn’t give any fucks about keeping me safe.
Months ago, I went through my posts in my dashboard and marked them all private. I must’ve been feeling ultra vulnerable that night and just didn’t want any of that public, despite no one really reading.
But recently, I’ve been going through them one by one. I’ve been reading and editing them before I publicize them again. And as I read each one, I’m more than just reminded of how horrible it really was. It’s like learning about it all over again because it hits a part of me that’s even more aware and awake than I was when first writing about it.
The realization isn’t new exactly but it’s…I don’t know…maybe someone can help me.
It’s UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE is what it is, that someone could do such horrible things to their child, whether in childhood or adulthood and they fucked with me during both, throughout my whole life.
Thing is it can be literally unbelievable to some people. Because it doesn’t leave visible wounds. But what it does, is leave a mind that does not work to full capacity. And a brain that is lacking in all it needs to work to see the world in all its’ proper colors. I remember experiencing during bouts of depression that the world looked completely dull. So dull it might as well have been in black and white.
What they did was fuck up an organ of the body that is known to be connected with MENTAL illnesses. Not physical. So when it’s mental (and let it be known that I believe it is physical) then it’s somehow the sufferers fault. We are the crazy ones.
When you are psychologically abused it is brutal. Your mind is fucked with, so you learn that anything about you isn’t right. You learn that doubting yourself is the best thing you can do, because it’s probably you that is fucked up.
Psychological abuse may not involve literal hitting and kicking, but there is a kind of pummeling that can feel physical just after an interaction with an abuser and long after you get away from it.
Psychological abuse will fuck you up. It will leave you chronically depressed and get you labeled lazy and stupid. It will cause learning disabilities. It will cause self-doubt in every single area of your life. It will cause sleep disorders. The stress of it will cause nutritional deficiencies even if you are fed and knock your hormones out of balance at the time they kick in and to be working correctly to feel well. It will cause you to seek love and acceptance repeatedly, from those who don’t get it at best, and those who will hurt you more at worst.
You will land in the laps of gas-lighters and blame-shifters and they will piss you off so much it will cause even more stress, making things worse. It will sabotage you so much that you land in a deep ditch that is difficult to claw your way out of because there is always someone or something at each foothold to step on your fingers, sending you back down to the bottom of the ditch.
You will grow up to think yourself stupid, lazy and unlucky. It leaves you questioning years and decades later about specific incidents that the abusers and manipulators say they’ve long forgotten. You will question yourself as to why you can’t get over it, why you can’t move forward and why everyone else seems to be progressing in life, but you stay stagnant, stuck and feeling trapped.
You are the one told to lighten up when you don’t laugh at something the rest of the family finds funny, even if it’s not at your own expense.
Even when you wake up and figure it out, there are still so many questions…and anger. So much anger and frustration to want to go back and see it for what it was all those years ago. And stand up for yourself. It leaves you pissed off and frustrated at the life wasted because you didn’t do what you really wanted to do and some of that was because you didn’t know how to go about it. You didn’t know where to start. And still don’t.
Because you were left on your own, once you became an adult to figure the world out for yourself, you just did nothing but numb yourself at every chance, even though you had no idea that was what you were doing. You actually believed that eventually everything would work itself out, despite not even knowing what you wanted, only what you didn’t.
It’s difficult to put psychological/emotional abuse into words. I’ve been lucky and blessed enough to have some people who read and have read here, understand and even provide insight to further my awareness. I thank you for that.
I think what happened to me is a big deal. I think that the absence of the more obvious types of abuses makes it even more insidious and easier for it to be minimized. It’s difficult to put into words sometimes. But I am proud to read myself back and see that I was able to do it.
I had a psych eval done by a therapist who made it seem like it was nothing, the way she transcribed what I told her, because there wasn’t any emotion behind it.
I’m not at all minimizing other forms of abuse, let me make that absolutely clear right now. Any kind of abuse is horrendous and I am one for helping the abusers or better yet those at high risk or as you might say, potential abusers, so that people stop being abused.
I feel like it’s really important for people to understand how psychological abuse works and happens. In fact right now I feel like it’s important for me to understand it as well as possible because it has effected me and my life in ways I never thought would be possible. I look at myself now and I think, “This is not how I imagined my life would be.” And here I am.
Going back and reading all of my past posts (still working through to make them all public again) I am seeing how much gas-lighting went on. I am seeing how manipulative both parents were. And how they set my siblings and me up to end up just like we are…not speaking, borderline traits, narcissistic and emotionally immature. My parents did not teach us how to resolve issues we had between or among each other. When they got between us, it was just to punish one or both, depending on the situation. That was it. Kids/humans don’t learn how to solve problems/disputes/arguments that way. And as we got older, that shit just got worse. We began to fear confronting each other. We began fearing any sort of adverse issues. My sister’s way was to call my mother to get in the middle for her. My way was to bitch about it to someone else and my brother could go either way, to either rage or just keep his mouth shut. That being said, my sister and I were not above the rageful fits ourselves. I punched and kicked inanimate objects like doors and walls. My sister threw phones across the room.
This type of abuse causes a lot of stress and anxiety. It makes the adult children physically ill, addicted to shitty foods, which in turn stresses our bodies. This thought comes from not just seeing my self in the mirror everyday. I’ve gained a lot of weight in recent years, but also from catching a glimpse of my brother as well. He is bigger than ever and I’m not talking muscle. He looks older than he is and I know he is probably still hurting inside.
But he is unaware and is one of those people who says, “It wasn’t that bad.”
Before I wrap this up, I also want to clarify something else I find really important. Emotional and psychological abuse is not always the same as verbal abuse although it can be. When I think of verbal abuse, I think of directly being called nasty names. Blatantly being called stupid or nothing or ugly or fat.
In my case those words were never said by my parents. They never called me any nasty names. I was told I was selfish in some cases when I attempted to draw some boundary or say no to something. But that’s a little different. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fucked up too, but still different than what I’m referring to.
In my case I came out of my family environment feeling stupid, ugly, without confidence, without self-respect and without self-esteem. But not because I was told I would add up to nothing. In fact I was told I was beautiful. I was told I could be anything I wanted to be or put my mind to. My father was appropriately affectionate and told me he loved me all the time.
But all those words and even displays of affection, contradicted so many of his actions.
So emotional and psychological abuse is not always done with words. It’s what is said by actions and the way someone is treated that speaks much louder and has much more impact. It can also entail what isn’t said or done.
Psychological abuse is some insidious and evil shit because there are no wounds on the outside of the body to see. But you can bet there are wounds, deep inside.