I read an article all the way back in June that has lingered in my cobwebbed mind. I was searching for some notes and discovered where I had made notes for this post to be written. And here it is over six months later and I am just now writing it.
I think it has something to do with the subject matter, and how it rang bells in my subconscious. I think because I had never considered the repercussions of emotional abuse or mental abuse. We are all too aware of the lasting effects of physical abuse and the scars it leaves behind. I just never took the time to consider the scars that happen to someone’s psyche after dealing with years of emotional and mental abuse. How you compartmentalize each incident into a small crack that has formed with each whip of the acid tongue or each tug on the emotional landscape of your life.
When you stop and think about what those moments created within in you, to make you do certain behaviors. To react in a way someone who hasn’t been through the torture would react. I decided to put my own thoughts in about what I found in this article. I hope that you won’t see similarities but I know for most, you will find yourself doing what I did. Shaking my head yes with each behavior listed.
If you want to read the article, I will have a link at the bottom to check out.
One of the first things that rang a bell was you are quiet. I have been told as long as I can remember that I was too quiet. I am sorry but when you have been yelled at and called names for being loud and boisterous. If you perchance, god forbid, answer back then you have the physical abuse to follow. I learned early to disappear in full sight.
In the habit of being quiet, you find yourself having issues of getting close to people, to form an attachment. In your mind you feel if you do either, they will abuse you or worse yet ignore you all together. You get to the point where you form attachments to things and in my case animals. They can’t berate you or beat you.
You find yourself feeling nervous, always worrying. You are afraid to upset anyone. You might find yourself sensitive to loud noises. One, because you have spent so much time being quiet, but also you associate loud noises with being yelled at and identify the sounds with the abuse.
In the same vein, you find yourself defensive, you find other people offensive or negative because you have been abused. You find it hard to maintain eye contact. You will become anxious and/or afraid that the other person will be upset and take it out on you.
I have moments of indecisiveness, afraid to make a decision because you feel if you choose wrong you will suffer in some way for choosing the wrong thing.I found myself running away from conflict to keep from being hurt in any way. You come to the point where you feel like you need to be bubble wrapped to keep anything from breaking you. You find it easier to avoid conflict than to deal with the situation.
Survivors of any kind of abuse have low self-esteem, you don’t feel validated. You reach a point where you feel nothing you do is good enough or even where your own feelings become something you don’t trust. You trusted your abuser, and look what happened by doing that. I find myself second guessing any feelings I have. I wonder what I can trust in every situation. Be it emotions, decisions, actions.
You find yourself apologizing for everything. Whether it is your fault or not you feel this deep need to apologize. You have been conditioned that no matter what has happened somehow it is your fault. I actually hate the phrase “I’m sorry”. I find it just another thing not to trust.
As with other people who have suffered abuse I found myself fighting addictions to drugs, sex, alcohol.Any placebo to erase the pain, or in some cases to make true some of the slurs hurled at me as a child. I sought to punish myself because in some ways, although my abuser was gone, I felt the need to abuse myself. I had been conditioned to react to life a certain way and needed to keep feeling those emotions. I never got into cutting but I abused myself in so many others ways. Self-harm finds a way.
I also became a perfectionist. I was so used to being told that I was worthless or would never amount to anything made me strive to get everything right the first time because I hated hearing those words thrown at me when I failed at something. I still to this day get uncomfortable when someone compliments me. I never learned how to take a compliment graciously. I always felt like no matter what I did I would in some way screw it up and fail to complete it.
You find yourself living on auto-pilot. You just move through life not really striving for anything. To save your mind and heart, you have learned to drown out the hateful words and slurs. If you don’t attempt anything, you won’t be berated if it doesn’t turn out the way you planned. I have found that I can blank out a whole conversation and when I hear my name, I am brought back to reality. I come back to the situation in full defense; afraid of being admonished for “wool-gathering” or daydreaming.
I learned when I finally sought therapy that the way we react to a situation is in some ways a repeat pattern within your family history. Such as my parents were abused by their parents, which made them abusive to us kids. It was all they knew and even when they thought they were being better than their parents sadly they were failing. You have to learn to break the cycle of abuse. It just doesn’t happen, it is a daily struggle to go beyond what you have been taught.
In those same therapy sessions, I discovered something that startled me to my core. I was angry, no, angry is too nice a word. I was furious at myself, my parents, to all the ones who I trusted and was given nothing in return. I hated those people I thought were there to protect me but stood idly by or turned their head as the abuse happened. I wanted some form of payment in the way of acknowledging that what I suffered wasn’t made up or a lie. I searched for validation but found none.
You may ask do I still feel this way. And the answer is yes. Even after all of these years, I search for that which I know will never happen. For different reasons. The person I wish for apologies from is dead, or no longer in my life. The people who are still in my life, I have grown apathetic too. I know that they wish me to forgive and forget but I just don’t have it in me to give them what they need. I mean they never gave me what I needed.
I know that this has been a depressing post but I have felt it building in me for awhile now, and this is my way of getting the pain out and not letting it eat me up inside. I hate that this is the first post of the new year but in a way, it is good to banish the negative to look forward to the positivity that can now take its place. I am looking forward to this new blank page to making my life better and brighter.
I hope you will join me on my journey for 2018. Maybe in some small way, I will help someone else along on their journey. Remember if you would like to check out the article that prompted this post. You can find it here. I hope you love fully and laugh often in this new year.
This will take you to the article.