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Dealing with Trauma from Neglect

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Dealing with Trauma from Neglect

Postby hopey » Fri May 04, 2018 2:06 pm

I'm in my first year of college, and a couple months ago I had a severe mental breakdown because I realized I was severely emotionally and verbally abused and severely physically and emotionally neglected. And that it was all unnecessary. I had grown up thinking that everything that was happening was normal, because my parents would tell me that I had caused it or that it was normal and that every family isn't perfect. My dad would scream at us almost every night over the littlest things, like one night because there was a dirty pan in the cabinet he screamed at us and told us that we were lucky he even fed us and that we were lucky he loved us. There were days where we didn't have food in our house, not because we couldn't afford it, but because he just didn't want to grocery shop for us. Or we wouldn't have dinner because he didn't feel like making it, and this was happening as far back to when i was six. If the littlest thing happened he would scream at us and then send us to our rooms for hours on end. And if he wasn't yelling at us, he usually would just stay in his room, and we weren't allowed to come in. But he would walk into our rooms and sometimes even search our stuff when we weren't home. I would be left in places waiting for hours for him to come pick me up after afterschool activities, even though we lived five minutes away.
I thought this was all normal because no one told me otherwise and I was always told it was my fault. i never realized it was abuse and neglect until this year. I always thought we weren't neglected or abused because he didn't regularly beat us, and that sometimes he'd go on a big grocery shopping spree and we'd have a lot of food for a week. Or like we'd have clothes that were too small for us for long periods of time, but every now and then he'd let us buy a whole bunch. I feel like I'm in a complicated situation because this all happened and it was all unnecessary. He recently told me that he earned in the top 5% of salary, so we are rich. But I feel guilty saying we never see any of that. Even in college I have to pay for my own toiletries and food as well as a portion of my tuition, because he doesn't want to pay for it. I feel guilty talking to other survivors or identifying as a victim of child abuse because we had lived in such a big house and that when he did spend money on us he would spend a lot. But it would always be on things we didn't need. And then whenever he was angry at us, he would hold that over our heads.
I now have severe depression and anxiety. My depression causes me to have auditory hallucinations of my friends and family telling me I'm worthless or constantly criticizing me, I even hear them yell at me sometimes. And my anxiety can cause me to go into a panic attack whenever I do something slightly wrong or I feel like someone could be angry at me. These go away or are lessened when I am on medication, which I currently am, so I am safe. I also have a pretty severe speech impediment where I can't say a lot of words properly and I often mix up first letters when I'm talking or mix up certain words. I can't help but feel like this is all related.
Why I'm reaching out on here is because I feel like I can't relate to anybody. A lot of my friends have depression and anxiety, but they don't have it with as much intensity as I do. So, I feel bad when I talk about mine because they can't relate and I feel like it diminishes theirs, which I don't mean to do. And they don't understand what I've been through, or they'll try to relate. Like when I tell them about my dad screaming at constantly over the littlest things, they'll try to relate telling me about how their mom got upset one time because they got into a fight about what outfit they were wearing. And I feel like I can't relate to a lot of survivors because in the really rare instances when things were good, they were really good. But it was all financial and those times were very rare.
I'm just want to know if anybody can relate
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Re: Dealing with Trauma from Neglect

Postby quietgirl2538 » Fri May 04, 2018 3:03 pm

I can completely relate. Each person's personal journey through life filled with some sort of abuse is unique and it is abuse no matter if you feel it is less than other's suffering or not. It still impacted you in a big way. I didn't get beat much. I would get slapped and that was enough physical abuse to count as physical abuse. She would slap me and it would be hard enough to make my nose bleed. Then she would send me away to clean myself up, never feeling bad or apologizing. Instead I was a worse kid and she'd scream obscenities all the while.

I never told anyone while I was in high school. I have had a rude awakening finding out some things about my past. If I had it my way, I'd never speak to a single one of my family members. They are all toxic. For you it was your dad, in my case it was my mom. She hoarded money and would spend on herself and we didn't even have a decent bed. I shared a twin size with my sister at age 15 and she was 17. The bed was used and so was the mattress. Yet she would buy herself $50 blouses. Back then, over 20 years ago, $50 was worth more than it is now.

We can chat here if you want. I am very sorry you went through all that while you were growing up. I still call my mom a monster. Just not to her face. And I don't see her any longer. Only on the rare occasions like a wedding and other times when I can't avoid her. She is there. I am married and I have a life of my own. I used to be dependent on her for everything under her roof. I ran away the day after I got out of high school. I didn't tell her where I was going to for about 3 months. I regret calling her when I did. I was hurt, angry, and spiteful. I had lots of reasons to feel that way. I hate my mom.
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Re: Dealing with Trauma from Neglect

Postby avatar123 » Sat May 05, 2018 9:22 pm

I'm very sorry you're having to deal with this. Your assessment of your family life not being normal and being abusive is absolutely correct. I'm glad you are in therapy and are taking steps to help yourself deal with this. One of the most common outcomes of critical abuse is that the person loses the ability to see themselves as worthy of, or even the possibility of, happiness. So I give you great credit for overcoming that and working to improve things for yourself. Please keep doing that, you absolutely are worth it.

It may help to realize that your father is mentally ill, his problems actually dwarf yours. He needs help far more than you do. But he is sufficiently high-functioning that he can conceal it to the outside world, as long as he can be his true self with his family. That too is common, only the family sees the bad behavior, because the abuser is aware that it wouldn't be socially acceptable.

On the speech impediment, you should be aware that too is a common result of critical abuse. The survivor has trouble speaking because of the fear of instant criticism. Your mind learns that speaking may open you up to abuse, so the focus is on that rather than learning to speak well. Or you may hesitate because the involuntary breathing that is associated with speech, is interrupted or held back subconsciously. This pattern forms as a child instead of the normal speech pattern, and it can be difficult to undo later in life,

I can relate to much of your story, as my father had similar behavior. He would buy food for himself, which we were not allowed to touch, but not for us if he was "in a mood". He sometimes refused to pay for things like haircuts or routine school expenses. When he came home from work, we would make ourselves scarce as any contact might trigger a critical tirade. He too would isolate himself in his bedroom for days, which we actually didn't mind as it meant some degree of freedom from criticism.

My first year of college, he refused to help so I worked and used a bike for transportation. Ultimately I didn't do well, until I got out of that environment and then went back to school several years later, with a far better foundation and chance for success.

So you are not alone, but this type of family abuse is often hidden. Only my mother's relatives really knew, and they did what they could to compensate. But to the outside, we were a family like any other. My father was well thought-of at work, they had no clue. And your observation about not understanding this as a kid is very true, you don't fully realize it until you get out into the world, as you now have.

My advice to you now would be to continue in therapy and keep working toward your independence. That's going to be the ultimate solution, for you to have a normal and happy life. That is possible, you just have to keep foremost in your thoughts that you deserve it. Even if it wasn't created by your family, you can create it for yourself. I really hope you will.
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Re: Dealing with Trauma from Neglect

Postby Terry E. » Sat May 05, 2018 11:31 pm

Agree with everyone else.

one of the things we (survivors) get is the " well I bet you were a bit of a handful as a child" or "we all had problems growing up". Some of these are extremely hurtful. These people have no idea. They think they do but they have no idea.

The place that told me "I must have been a bit of handful when I was growing up", when I tried to warn them about her, rang a few months ago about mum being abusive and belligerent to staff when they were helping her after a fall and could I come up and help ?? One of those staff as payback threw away her lower dentures (more cost more time)

So if I have say one thing that hurts more than it should is having to keep all this inside, knowing that people just don't care.

Why this place is so good. We care.

Some very good advice above, you are among friends here.

Take care.
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