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Was I severely abused?

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Was I severely abused?

Postby Coralie » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:28 pm

I feel that throughout my childhood I was abused by my parents and elder brother, as wel as putting up with bullying from friends, classmates and teachers.

What I want to konw is if I overreact or what I construe to have been abuse was just 'tough love' or discipline?

Both of my parents were highly intellectual people, not very much in tune with their emotions. We never talked about emotions. I was born 6 weeks prematurely and had to spend an entire month at the hospital in an incubator as a result. I was a needy, clingy child and I used to throw tantrums, even well into my teenage years.

My earliest memory is of being anxious. My mother used to beat me regularly. When I knew that a beating was coming (she only used her hand), I ran into my room and tried to forcibly keep the door shut with my body. That never succeeded. In she stormed and gave me a thrashing. Afterwards, she gave me the silent treatment for hours, sometimes for days. I always had to apologise and many times the silent treatment would go on inspite of that. She never once apologised to me.

My father rarely beat me, but when he did (with his hands), it was more brutal than the beating of my mum. Additionally, when I was about 18/19 I didn't want to help my grandmother in a chore, he got angry and ripped of my new favourite dress, so basically my entire body was naked, except for my knickers.

My brother beat me quite brutally at multiple occassions, once with the tube of a vacuum cleaner. (He was also beaten as a child). My parents never did anything to intervene, they supported him in doing that. Once my brother caught me smoking in our shared room, he got up, came up to me and used my arm as an ashtray. My parents didn't really chastise him. They let my brother tyrannize over me, limiting my internet excess, beating me, making fun of me, openly rejecting me.

My grandmother always used to harp on how much better a child my brother was, how much more helpful he was around the household. What I should mention is that he is 8 years older than I am. Behaviourally, academically, I was always made to feel inferior to him, which has resulted in my compulsively reading as many books as I could. I am very successful academically, I have three masters and I'm enrolling next semester to become an interpreter and translator. But I never feel smart, educated, or well-read.

What would have made the whole of it a lot easier was if my parents had shown affection. The words "I love you" were never spoken in our family. When I told them I loved them, their answer was to stop being kitshy and stop watching American movies. I was very rarely hugged.If I tried to hug my mother, she would push me away. I was never rewarded whenever I did something good or achieved something, whereas I was always punished and often for no reason. I didn't feel loved, I felt like a burden and a failure.

I was bullied from the age of five till I finished highschool. My mother's best friend's daughter relentlessly tore down my self-esteem and her mother assisted in that. My mother's answer wasn't telling the girl never to bully me again but she said it was my fault because I still associated with her. When I was bullied at school my mother never interved, except for once.I never told her about the rest of the bullying, because her advice was 'you should ignore them', which didn't help.

To this day I harbour deep resentment towards my family, and I can't even confront them, because with the exeption of my brother, they're all dead. I feel ashamed of having been abused by my parents, I think I'm unloveable, will never account for anything, and I'm really hopeless. I was later on at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with BPD. Now I'm 33 and about the start therapy because this is no way to live a life.

Was I really abused or am I just overreacting? And if I was really abused, why I am the one feeling so incredibly ashamed of it that I have never told about it to anyone.

Thank you for your help in advance.
Coralie
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Terry E. » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:56 am

It sounds like your parents were immigrants and very aspirational ??

Each culture has it's own level of discipline and is rationalized away. They may say "well we may have been hard but look at how well you did academically.. if he we had not done that you would never have succeeded so well".

I am quite successful by all normal social barometers, yet I still lie awake at night wondering at all the things I missed as I was damaged in so many ways and have spent a lifetime fixing it.

Are you a workaholic ..you are obviously quite bright, but that is a hell of an academic resume... seriously a hell of a resume ?? (and that comes from someone who at times has worked to collapse - in a job he does not like no less)

Not sure you will ever feel successful. When you have been treated that way, not sure it is ever fixed. My advice really work at taking pride in your accomplishments. No one will ever know how hard it has been, I get that, but really try and work on the self love. (still doing that myself)

Can I ask how you are in social situations ??

How does you #$%% brother relate to you today ??
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Coralie » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:43 am

Thank you for your reply.

My parents weren't immigrants.
I am an English as a Second Language teacher, but I want to become a translator and interpreter. I'm not a workaholic at all, I am extremely demotivated most of the time. I don't really find pleasure in anything, apart from sleeping and petting my animals and chain smoking. I read a lot because of my self-esteem, not because I truly enjoy it.
In social situations I am quite weird. I say outrageous things, mainly because I have a very messed up sense of humour and because I want to shock people. I know it's messed up. Most people like me but think I'm crazy. However, I don't let even my closest friends close to myself, I don't talk to them about my struggles, they don't know what I went through as a child / adolescent.

I've had three relationships, all three were abusive to varying degrees, I haven't had a boyfriend since I was 24. (So for ten years.) Having a prospective love interest reject / ridicule / humiliate me is something that I wouldn't be able to cope with.

My relationship with my brother is good, I guess. We meet every week, we regularly talk on Messenger. However, our relationship is very shallow. He is very unemotional, emotionally distant, and I don't ever really talk to him about things that matter to me.
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Terry E. » Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:40 am

Coralie wrote:. I don't really find pleasure in anything, apart from sleeping and petting my animals and chain smoking. interesting .. I have excessive caffeine consumption which invariably leads to significant fatigue, breaking the cycle.


I read a lot because of my self-esteem, not because I truly enjoy it.
Not sure I understand that one .. read what sort of stuff ?/

In social situations I am quite weird. I say outrageous things, mainly because I have a very messed up sense of humour and because I want to shock people.
Many of us here describe our humour as quite black. We can laugh at things that others find shocking. Part of that in some case can be distorted empathy. We can empathize with things others can't (small animals - and even plants in a well know case) but not with ordinary things. Their misfortunes can often be seen as humorous.

I know it's messed up. Most people like me but think I'm crazy. However, I don't let even my closest friends close to myself, I don't talk to them about my struggles, they don't know what I went through as a child / adolescent. and they would not understand

I've had three relationships, all three were abusive to varying degrees, beleive it or not that is very common with us

I haven't had a boyfriend since I was 24. (So for ten years.) Having a prospective love interest reject / ridicule / humiliate me is something that I wouldn't be able to cope with.
ahh yes,

My relationship with my brother is good, I guess. We meet every week, we regularly talk on Messenger. However, our relationship is very shallow. He is very unemotional, emotionally distant, and I don't ever really talk to him about things that matter to me.
in these situations it is unusual for one child to be scarred and the other fine



Hope the above does not disturb you in any way. Not sure about the outside but I think you will fit in here (whenever you drop) in fine
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Coralie » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:59 am

Terry E. wrote:
Coralie wrote:. I don't really find pleasure in anything, apart from sleeping and petting my animals and chain smoking. interesting .. I have excessive caffeine consumption which invariably leads to significant fatigue, breaking the cycle.


I read a lot because of my self-esteem, not because I truly enjoy it.
Not sure I understand that one .. read what sort of stuff ?/

In social situations I am quite weird. I say outrageous things, mainly because I have a very messed up sense of humour and because I want to shock people.
Many of us here describe our humour as quite black. We can laugh at things that others find shocking. Part of that in some case can be distorted empathy. We can empathize with things others can't (small animals - and even plants in a well know case) but not with ordinary things. Their misfortunes can often be seen as humorous.

I know it's messed up. Most people like me but think I'm crazy. However, I don't let even my closest friends close to myself, I don't talk to them about my struggles, they don't know what I went through as a child / adolescent. and they would not understand

I've had three relationships, all three were abusive to varying degrees, beleive it or not that is very common with us

I haven't had a boyfriend since I was 24. (So for ten years.) Having a prospective love interest reject / ridicule / humiliate me is something that I wouldn't be able to cope with.
ahh yes,

My relationship with my brother is good, I guess. We meet every week, we regularly talk on Messenger. However, our relationship is very shallow. He is very unemotional, emotionally distant, and I don't ever really talk to him about things that matter to me.
in these situations it is unusual for one child to be scarred and the other fine



Hope the above does not disturb you in any way. Not sure about the outside but I think you will fit in here (whenever you drop) in fine


Thank you Terry!

What I meant by reading, is reading a $#%^ ton of books compulsively (philosophy, science, history, the classics, the history of science, intellectual history, religious history etc) because I was brought up to believe that if you don't read, you are not worthy. I was chastised so many times for not reading, whereas my brother did. Mind you, he was eight years older than I am, he was constantly harping on his favourite things (the fall of the Roman Republic etc) and my parents looked at him adoringly. So I read a lot, I buy books compulsively, but it's been a really long time since I enjoyed reading.

Yes, I am weird. I only listen to death and black metal, stuff that people find offensive, given the violent / gruesome nature of the lyrics and violent sound of the music but I find infinite relief in it, and it's grotesque humour makes me laugh. And it's a problem that I can't really emphatize with people. I do emphatize with homeless people, but I find it hard to emphatize with any other sort of people. And obviously animals, I love animals more than anything. I volunteer at animal shelters, and I hate people who abuse animals.

And yes, my brother is not healthy mentally either, he is just better at coping.
Coralie
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Terry E. » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:40 am

Books - One of our compulsions is hoarding and shopping compulsively. Others are drug addiction, alcoholism, and gambling. The problems with compulsive shopping is it can in worst cases be as bad as gambling leading into debt (does not sound like it is in your case) or as in mine lead to a room full of books (ran out of shelf space and were boxes in the middle of the room, hallways, two other cabinets under desks and all the time I just told people I am a collector.. ( my son gave me some clarity with that as he described a collector as someone who believes their junk is worth something. ) the only saving grace was what I described took place in my business office not my home.

Another compulsion is an unrelenting thirst to understand ..

and I don't believe you are weird .. you have just reacting to a weird life.

took me along time to find peace with that
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Coralie » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:04 pm

Just talked to my brother. He denies that we were abused and thinks that instead of therapy I should just hit the gym as often and for as long as possible. Why does he deny having been abused?
He also says that if something happened many years ago, it doesn't matter, you just have to forget and move on.
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Terry E. » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:03 am

Denying abuse is for many a way of coping. One of my brothers-in-law, " G", has no memory of the bad stuff from his childhood. At a social function I saw what his dad was like when he threatened to bash his wife there in public for her offering a different opinion (the right one). My other brother has been so effected that he is almost homeless despite two University degrees. My wife is somewhere in the middle.

The reason " G " has no memory is, it is a defense against all the pain these memories can bring. In worst scenarios there are suppressed memories. Again the mind trying to protect.

Right about now I will go to my default advice. Try and find some joy in the world. Music, fiction writing, film, following sport, doing gym, whatever. If we can find happiness, then that is a win.

The other is look at yourself and try and improve something about yourself. Improves self esteem, health, anxiety etc.

We never really get over it, but some of the most accomplished people I know and have met are survivors.
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Re: Was I severely abused?

Postby Coralie » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:46 pm

Terry E. wrote:Denying abuse is for many a way of coping. One of my brothers-in-law, " G", has no memory of the bad stuff from his childhood. At a social function I saw what his dad was like when he threatened to bash his wife there in public for her offering a different opinion (the right one). My other brother has been so effected that he is almost homeless despite two University degrees. My wife is somewhere in the middle.

The reason " G " has no memory is, it is a defense against all the pain these memories can bring. In worst scenarios there are suppressed memories. Again the mind trying to protect.

We never really get over it, but some of the most accomplished people I know and have met are survivors.


Yes, he probably suppresses bad memories but I think after I was born I bore the brunt of my mother's abuse. He was the favourite, my mother for example left him a significantly bigger amount of money when she passed. What exasperates me is that he has a huge amount of money from my mother's inheritance, he has a ridiculously well-paying job, where he literally doesn't have to do anything, he works for approximately two hours every second day, yet he tells me that I should be glad that I earn the amount I do because others have it worse. He earns about five times more than I do, and I work incredibly hard and as you can imagine being a teacher what I earn is basically a pittance.

What's more aggravating to me is that he is so incredibly judgemental of my mental illnesses. I sent him articles about BPD, depression and anxiety to read because he doesn't know anything about them and doesn't understand me at all and his reply was that he might read them but he won't be more understanding and compassionate anyways. He maintains that working out is a panacea and if only I worked out more, I would have no problems whatsoever. I'm seriously pondering cutting ties with him.
Coralie
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