Don't Be Stupid, Candis
During one of my podcast episodes, I touched on emotional neglect. Growing up, I personally had to deal with being emotionally neglected and now as an adult, I struggle with certain behaviors.
Growing up I was always made to feel responsible for any of the treatment or the things happening to me. I would hear things like, "if you would just do what I told you the first time Candis!", "Just tell us the truth and you wouldn't be in trouble all the time Candis." , "Your opinion doesn't matter as long as you live in this house.", "I love you because I have to but I don't like the person you are.", "You are not someone I would talk to if I wasn't your dad.", "Are you stupid?", "Don't act like a whore."
In my abusive marriage, I internalized those messages and I had the view that no one else was going to want me so...ya.
In families, emotional abuse can also come off as humor; someone always would seem to have something demeaning to say and everyone around would think that it was funny. As I grew up I did too at my own expense.
As the years went by and my sister and I got older, I would watch my dad and her "gang up" on mom and shut her down. Her opinion and feelings didn't matter. They always had the final say. She never stood up for herself and allowed all of us to walk all over her. She is currently struggling right now and regardless of how much I do not agree with how she is handling things, I get it. Although my opinion on this will piss some people off, I was a bystander watching these things. By no means am I saying I didn't take part in the disrespect, but my mother took a lot of it. She was always so sad and angry when we were young. That's all I really remember her being. My father is very black and white, there's right and there's wrong. Addiction is something he feels is a choice and if someone chooses to go down that road that's on them. My sister turned into the female version of him, only a lot worse. It's weird cause our parents raised us to be this way and now they seem to have a problem with it. The way she would talk to our mother at times disgusted me, but I could be just as bad. Speaking for just myself, my disrespect came from a place of anger when not getting what I wanted or feeling like I wasn't being heard. With my dad and sister, there were times it almost looked like they enjoyed doing it though. They always seemed to have something negative to say to her or they would put her down. Mom had no backbone though, she let both my sister and I walk all over her and she never did anything about it. To live in the home you had to be emotionally strong. My mother and I were not. Voicing your opinion or feelings in that household was a no-no. My sister got angry and mean. Don't get me wrong, she had reasons, but after so many years, I checked out. She was invisible growing up. Everyone knew from a young age she was self-sufficient and she was genuinely a good kid. So no one really worried about her. So much so that, it was like everyone forgot her. We both grew up with behaviors that stem from our childhood. There is a reason we are the way we are.
My views and feelings were always invalidated by, "you're exaggerating Candis" - my truth was never enough. I'm always lying, no matter what I'm saying. What's the point in clearing up the truth anymore? I've spent my entire life defending myself from people who don't listen. So many important people to me were so dismissive of my feelings and concerns that those people started to become not so important to me anymore.
These same people attempted to define how I "should feel" according to them - I would be belittled over the way I chose to heal the parts of me they tore down. I get so angry looking back on those times that my family would look at me and say I was stupid for feeling a certain way over something that genuinely hurt my heart. I have two daughters, so I know how overly dramatic and emotional we are but I have never and will never tell them how they "should" feel about a situation. I watch my youngest daughter go through that with her own father and I hate it. The only emotion that was acceptable was fear. Fear of my parents. Fear of consequences. My mother will tell you to this day that a kid is to be seen and not heard and should be scared of their parents so they won't do wrong. But isn't that how we learn to become productive adults? All I ever wanted was their approval, my dad's approval, but nothing I did was good enough. I finally got to a point where I didn't care about anyone's approval anymore. What good would it do?
One thing I battle within myself is accepting the fact that some people will never tell the truth. Denying having done or said something in question is another form of emotional abuse. I have watched with my own eyes someone lie about something they did and put it off on someone else, with no remorse at all. It's happened to me. There were many times in my life that I dead-faced lied to people, especially out of fear of consequences, but there have also been times that I have genuinely been in the right but was accused and assumed guilty because of who I am. My daughter recently told me that she had a conversation with one of our cousins about how she doesn't get a lot of support now that she is a mom when she was always so quick to help everyone else when they needed it. I'm not entirely sure how it got brought up but something was said along the lines of "you know they are that way because of who your mom is." Are you freaking kidding me?? I don't even know what to say to that crap anymore.
There is a reason why I am distant now, my family and old friends made me be okay with them removing themselves from my life. I learned where I truly stood with a lot of people. So now I have boundaries. Now I have a little more respect for myself. Now I know what types of people I deserve in my life. Now I'm the one to draw the damn line. #TheMighty #Depression #BipolarDisorder #innerchildhealing #Healing #AnxietyDisorder #Childhoodtrauma #MightyTogether #MentalHealth #Addiction