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What It's Like to Be Bullied Online By Your Abusive Mother

Your bipolar is really starting to show. 

You’re a toxic child, Mia. You lie so much. Especially to your partners who you can’t even keep. You’re the toxic one, Mia, not your mother. Seriously, you’re the one that needs help.

Welcome to the comments (that have been edited with the correct grammar and punctuation because, ew) that yours truly had to read upon waking last Sunday. These comments were posted on my public Instagram by a fake account that turns out to be by my mother and her boyfriend — both of whom I have no contact with for obvious reasons. As I read the comments, I cried from fear and hurt because of what the comments contained — my personal history, things I did as a child, threats and various insults that were meant to hurt me — they were successful… at first.

I’m sharing this because I do not want anyone else to be ashamed of their past. I want everyone to know you can move forward. In fact, you deserve to move forward.

Remember how many times you tried to take your own life? Remember Canberra how much family helped you. And yet you tried to take your own life again. And yet you give advice to others?

I have no reason to be ashamed of my past or my previous suicide attempts. I will not be ashamed of the actions of my child self nor of my tantrums or mental breakdowns because I was a child and I did not have the skills, therapy or the support I needed when I was younger.

I used to hate myself, I used to think I was a horrible, toxic child and for so long, I was consumed with so much guilt, regret and disgust at myself, at my past… I put the blame on me, thinking there was something wrong with me.

From what everyone else has said about you, you were a shithead of a kid … You really need to look at your shitty self before you put down.

It is only recently that I was able to look back and realize I was a product of my environment. I was unable to identity how my mother was harmful so I just turned inward and put the fault on myself. Often, the reaction was not proportionate to what I had done so as a result, my feelings including my anger and frustration were not proportionate. I hadn’t learned any different.

It is known and proven that moments of abuse, neglect, violence or any event that causes emotional pain, otherwise known as adverse childhood experiences (ACE), can disrupt a child’s development (psychologically and/or otherwise) and cause harmful, negative effects on their future. In fact, it’s even been linked to increased likelihood of adolescent suicide attempts while also being linked to a risk of mental health problems.

I was beaten as a child and teenager. Unfortunately, getting punished or beaten is normalized so often in households that you do not realize what is actually going on until you’re much older and removed from the environment. I used to wish that all the slaps, grabs, pulls and pushes would result in bruises but unfortunately, they never did and so I thought it didn’t count. It wasn’t until I was living in a different city that I realized, “Hang on, being grabbed by the neck so I would look my mother in the eye while I sobbed uncontrollably isn’t normal.” And that was when I slipped into a three year-long depressive episode.

I’ve been accused of being a compulsive liar and stealer when I was a child. I will not deny that was the case but it is not fair to bring up the actions of a child and put blame and shame on an adult. I used to lie — I would lie because it was the only way to get the attention of my mother. I would lie because child-me thought that she wasn’t worthy of attention or love and so she would create outrageous tales like winning the spelling bee… as I got older, I would lie when caught out because I feared my mother’s punishment, I feared being seen as a failure in her eyes, I feared my mother.

I also stole — food out of the pantry, food out of the fridge and money from my mother’s purse… to buy more food. I stole because I was hungry. When I went to my dad and stepmother’s for visits, I would eat them out of the house because I was hungry. Please do not shame me for something I did as a kid that was out of pure necessity, out of neglect.

The real concern is that you out yourself to be educated in mental health.

I have a duty of care to report your past to the WA Medical Health Board. The chair of that Board is I’m sure he would be concerned that, given your past, you giving advice in the future would be a great concern to the public.

I want everyone to listen very carefully — you are not less of a person because of your mental illness.

I am not any less qualified to provide advice and mental health support just because I have lived experience of mental illnesses. In fact, because of my past experiences, I am now a Peer Support Worker in a mental health ward where I use my lived experience to inspire hope and support young people on their pathway to recovery. It is because of my past struggles that I am equipped to provide hope, compassion and understanding to others.

I’m on my way to becoming a counselor and I am not afraid to say I’m going to make an amazing counselor. I believe I am more empathetic, understanding and aware of external and internal struggles than counselors without lived experience. As someone with mental health struggles, I can say, with all my heart, that I’ve been there. I get it, I promise recovery is possible.

I will appreciate how far I have come, I will appreciate my own personal growth even if you cannot see it.

I’m not letting my past demean me. I’m not letting my past define me.

I will not let anyone take my recovery away from me.

Unsplash photo via Fabian Irsara