Remembering My Childhood Emotional Abuse
If you have experienced emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
I was abused as a child. Not physically, but mentally. Out in the open, as well as behind closed doors, for about 14 to 15 years of my life.
My father had a very type A personality. He was an angry man who smoked and watched Fox News. He was a narcissist. He would watch porn in the house while my older brother and I were awake. He only cared about his opinion most of the time.
I did not have the best of childhoods; instead of running on soft grass with scrapped knees all day with my friends, I walked on eggshells. Not literal of course, but I walked on eggshells every day. I had no idea what kind of mood my father would be in.
But, I did know what kind of day it would be as soon as I woke up in the morning. I could feel the tenseness in the house on bad days. Even on good days, we walked on eggshells. “Don’t make Dad angry. He’s in a good mood, so don’t make him angry.” Instead of being excited when my father got home from work, I would put on a fake smile and hold back a sigh at the age of 8.
I remember asking my mom, “Is Daddy in a good mood today?” This usually happened when he was on vacation from work and I would worry for my mom. When he was home alone with her he didn’t hit her, but emotionally abused her. He would belittle her. He also emotionally abused my brother, who is four years older than me. Sometimes he even targeted me, telling me I was just like my grandmother because I was a sensitive child. I had a huge fear of storms and really any type of weather because of a traumatic incident on a trip to North Carolina when I was 6 years old. He and my brother would make fun of me for it.
My dad and my mom would fight sometimes; I remember the yelling and the crashes of stuff being thrown. I remember my mother crying. I remember her sleeping on the floor of my room some nights or sometimes she would sleep out in the living room. I remember tense Sunday mornings. I remember how bad I felt for coming out of my room just to get a snack. I remember how bad I felt just because I wanted to be a normal kid. I remember being scared when Dad would raise his voice, even if it was out of amusement. I remember my mom’s holiday stress and how Mother’s Day was always stressful for her. I remember that at one point, I wished my brother and I hadn’t been born so my mother did not have to be a mother. I remember wishing my mom and dad never had us so then my mom could divorce and leave him. I still wish that to this day sometimes.
But the traumatic scenes I remember most clearly were after his death in 2011 when I was 11 years old, about to turn 12. All of this happened between fifth and ninth grade.
I remember my brother becoming just like him. I remember my mom and brother’s screaming matches against each other. I remember not being able to bring my already few friends home with me. I remember getting the confused looks from them as to why I couldn’t come over or they couldn’t come over, and people asking if I was OK the next day at school after a full evening of fighting. I remember my mom’s tears. I remember being embarrassed of my own family. I remember contemplating running away from home. I remember screaming with my mom for my brother to stop.
I remember my brother telling me I was “crazy.”
I remember the day we moved away from my home. I remember moving to my new home on the other side of the country. I remember my mom and my brother screaming at each other while I wished he would graduate and leave home already. I remember him coming inside from the shed, high out of his mind, only to be even more paranoid. I remember him telling me I was going to be nothing in life, that I would be just like my grandma. I remember my first day of freshman year, he and my mom had an argument and it was a screaming match in the backyard after school. I remember crying my eyes out.
I remember the day my stress ended. I remember my mom driving my brother to the recruiting station on the day he was supposed to leave for boot camp.
I remember days after feeling odd and not being super stressed out. I remember not always being scared. It wasn’t until that day that I really started to heal. I lost my dad when I was 11, but I was finally allowed to fully heal when I was 15.
But I remember the day I met my father’s brother and learned that my dad had always been like that. My family learned about all the lies he told us. I found out my father was a liar and made his own family miserable; it was not just us.
I still have bad days. I have a lot of them, actually. I still think I’m “crazy” most of the time. I have days when I don’t want to leave the house because I think that my dizziness is some sort of brain tumor. I think my deja vu is a epilepsy, psychosis or schizophrenia coming to take over. I think I am weird for not being able to tolerate loud noises without getting scared. I think I am broken for being scared to meet my friends’ dads and be around men. I think my boyfriend will stop loving me because of my anxiety and my friends will all abandon me because I don’t always want to go out. I fear on my graduation day I won’t be able to get my diploma.
I do not want pity, I want understanding. I want someone to tell that I’m OK and that I will be alright. I want people to understand that kids who were emotionally abused are not “special snowflakes.” I want them to know that we are strong. We are just trying our best to heal and it will take time. I want everyone to know that the abuse we feel does not go away with age and we still have our moments of fear. The abuse will always be in the back of my mind.
But we are still strong.
This story originally appeared on HealthUnlocked.
Unsplash via @mximecaron