I can remember as far back as 10 years old or so when my Mom would verbally abuse my brother and I daily. Although it felt like I got the brunt of her rage most of the time because we shared a room. I remember her calling me a fat cow and stupid constantly. She was also extremely controling and it got worse over the years, especially in high school. She never taught me anything valuble during those most important times of growth and vulnerability. She would expect me to already know things with out teaching me and get angry and abusive when I would not know.
When I recall these memories, I noticed that it started around the time she divorced my father. She clearly was angry with the situation she was in because she had to go out into the work force and she wasn't used to holding down a full time job. My father didn't pay much child support if any. Anyhow, I'm 28 years old now and I pretty much thought that I was over the years of phsycological abuse becasue now the relationship between my Mom and I is a lot more healthy then in the past. She never talked about the abuse or even acknowledged that it happened. I feel so helpless sometimes because I can't seem to move on from the trauma it caused. I suffered from very low self esteem because of this. I was never sure of myself and that resulted in a string of bad choices and relationships. I've come a long way since. Through self counceling , mantras, inspirational articles etc and sharing my experiences with my husband which before I met him I had never shared this with anyone, I was able to improve my self confidence. I just still feel angry at her, some days I still feel like that helpless child with low self esteem. I feel like it's nagging at me all the time in the back of my mind and I don't know how to get rid of these feelings. Sometimes it's so bad that I can't focus for the whole day and I just watch tv or do nothing at all. This is the first time I've shared this other than with my husband because I feel like I have no choice but to seek help this way. I have so many issues because of the abuse and because my father dropped out of my life after the divorce around age 9. All these issues have affected me to the point that I don't trust people and I have a hard time keeping friends because I can't open up on a real level. My Mom and family are not good at verbally expressing their feelings and if I didn't feel so weird opening up to her I would have talked to her about how much I am bothered by this already. I think I know that one of the first steps is getting my feelings out there like I'm doing now and also seeking out some professional counseling. I have always pushed the thought of counseling away off to the side but I really think I should consider it. Thanks for reading and allowing me to vent through this amazing website. I know I need to be free of this heavy burden so that I can become healthy. Comments or advice are more than welcome. Thank you.
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Two other books to consider:
"Stop walking on eggshells ... " by Paul Mason and Randi Kreger - and -January 14, 2010 - 8:22pm
"Surviving a Borderline Parent: how to heal your childhood wounds & build trust, boundaries and self-esteem" - by Kimberlee Roth & Freda Friedman.
Thank you both for your wonderful feedback. It comforts me so much to know that there are many out there who understand what I'm going through. After my revelation of what happened in my past and finally owning it and not denying that I still felt pain, I felt a huge amount of relief but also a weird sense of guilt for coming out and letting things off of my chest. I felt as though I was betraying my Mom, which I know rationally, that's furthest from what I'm doing by talking about everything. I think because my Mom and my relationship has come very far in a good way, even though she's still manipulative in ways, I felt a sense that I shouldn't "complain" about my childhood because others had it a lot worse. I realized though and will continue to realize through therapy that I can't compare my situation to others and what they experienced. I have to focus on what happened to me and work on healing. Thanks again.January 11, 2010 - 10:14pm
I identify with what you're saying about somehow feeling a little like you're "betraying" your Mom, even though you know rationally that it's not the case. I think it's smart that you realize that this is a sensitive area, because it will continue to be so during therapy, especially if and when you choose to talk to your mom about the past.
Yes, others had it a lot worse during childhood. That's absolutely true. I often fall into this thinking trap. I had a very loving, but dominant father who would say "I'll give you something to cry about!" and I fall into the trap sometimes of thinking that the universe is out there saying that too. But the universe only wants good for us, and healing. But we only heal when we pay attention to it. If we ignore it, it doesn't get better, whether it's a broken leg or a broken psyche.
It may help you to always remember what you are grateful for, even while you are working through the things that caused you pain. It's all about keeping perspective. If you become a whole, complete person without this pain, you will live a happier life and you will extend that happiness to others you love -- including your mom. You will behave differently toward your own husband and children, if you have them. Most of all, you will be able to take some of the burdens you carry and set them down. The first time this happens, you will be amazed at how it actually feels as though you have set something down physically. You will feel pounds lighter when you can set something to the side with understanding and compassion.
You're in such a good place for this work, Steph. Thanks for writing back.January 13, 2010 - 8:26am
Hi Steph. I, too, was verbally abused during my childhood. I made a of bad choices in my life to try and fix things, but I finally got on a better path. A good therapist is the best suggestion. It is amazing how many things stay with you and still impact how you deal with things on a day to day basis. You will be shocked at what you realize in therapy & it will help you tremendously.January 11, 2010 - 1:58pm