Emotional/Verbal Abuse is Abuse

I have expressed a hatred of teasing and emotional/verbal abuse to my parents and my siblings all of my life. My parents and some of my older siblings gave us children very abusive nicknames. Some were given to my older siblings when they were teenagers. Mine was given to me when I was three. My siblings around my age were given their nicknames when they were older children. Just based on the age when abusive nicknames were given,  you can see they started after mine in age and in time. I was named two nicknames filthy and abusive and my siblings had very less damaging and abusive nicknames and they were done when they were much older than I was

My mother, who I used to confront often on this issue, would gaslight me and say, well all your siblings have nicknames they don’t like either, like well they are all being treated like shit and I am normalizing shit, so you can’t complain and have no right to complain and have no rights  that you can appeal to, because this is normal, they are all treated like you are treated, it is not mistreatment, it is normal, it is okay, no one is going to stop. And if you want to stop them, if you want this to end, then what you have to do is not be hurt or complain or say anything. They are getting a reaction and that is why you are to blame for the perpetuation of their treatment of you. My mother was a master at blaming victims for being abused, even while she abused them.

When the only person that I could go to for relief from emotional and verbal abuse against me by my siblings was my mother, who was my sexual abuser and my emotional/verbal abuser and who encouraged and perpetuated sibling emotional and verbal abuse against me , that made life very hard for me. Still, I was very determined that they should stop and that I deserved better treatment by my siblings, that I persisted. I don’t know where I got this strong belief in myself and that I deserved good treatment, but I had it, all my childhood. I think that is very strong of me and I am very proud of myself.

I knew that I deserved better from them all, even though none of them agreed with me. I knew that none of them should be called nasty and vicious and filthy nicknames. Some of the nicknames were not very bad, compared to mine, though they were all emotional and verbal abuse.

I didn’t just ask my mother to intervene and stop abuse. I asked other siblings as well. I don’t recall any of them trying to stop.

I don’t remember ever asking my father to stop. I don’t believe that I thought that he would, since he was the one who gave me the nicknames and the one who spread it all around the family and who allowed it to continue without ever once commenting about it or ever once trying to stop it.

When I was ten years old my father retired and was at home all the time, all day long and all night long. That was when the two nicknames about me stopped. I know that he did nothing to stop it. I just think that having him around, as a witness, is what stopped others from abusing me as much as they were. I suppose it was a shock to him to see how bad it was, how much of a scapegoat that I was, and how much I was being verbally abused.

I know that he enjoyed mistreating others, especially with words, especially with his children, but the bad nicknames stopped. I don’t believe that he ever lifted a hand to stop it. In fact, he started verbally abusing my brother more directly, who is 18 months older than I, during that time period.

It’s hard when this is the closest man in your life; someone who cruelly enjoys mistreating you with words and mistreating your emotions. It’s horrible that this was the closest example of an adult man that I had. It’s sad and pathetic that this is the best that he could be for his own children. I didn’t have a male teacher in my life until sixth grade, and that was a physical education teacher who was verbally and emotionally abusive to students. So not a good man or a good human being either.

I never felt that my father was on my side. I never believed that he would protect me. never felt that he loved me, though there was a time in my childhood when he would say that, though that had been some time before that.

If only there had been one person in my family who loved me and was good to me through my childhood. That would have changed my life so much. But none of them were willing to stand up for me and to suffer the consequences. With my mother, there was always consequences. I know that I deserved their love and loyalty.

I Still Don’t Know What to Do With That

A huge part of my healing has been healing from what I believed about myself due to the abuse and what others thought was true about me.

Most of my worldview was formed by those who sexually abused me. I went from loathing to not loathing. I still had self-hatred. I went from hatred to no hatred for self. It took me a long time.

My inners gave me someone in my life, for the first time as an adult, who saw me and loved me, who saw all the good in me and found me lovable. As hard as learning I was multiple was and as hard as integrating that awareness into my life and my life history was, it was hugely empowering due to their love of me. I still feel so ashamed that they look at me and feel love, I wish I didn’t, I wish I believed all the good they see in me.

I think that having survivor friends and their ability to see me differently than my family has been a huge part of my ability to change my views about self. At times I have noticed that my online survivor friends saw me in ways that no one in my life had ever done. I can’t say that I was able to immediately take in their new views, not at all, it took years and years to slowly let that they saw me that way.

My family has always told me how depressed and depressing I am, how negative I am and how much I need to think positive, ignore my past and all it’s abuses, and focus only on the good things. Yes I was under a mountain of horse manure, but I didn’t think it was accurate to say that I had major depression. Yes I had a lot of needs and no one to help me meeting those in my life. Yes I had not ever been parented or loved by my mother. Yes my father was an alcoholic. So for me I always thought that I had a lot to be depressed about, not some unattached depression, but a huge measure of grief to feel and overcome. I know that it was easier for my family to see me as the problem, as the one with “mental problems.”

I know that my family of origin was always heavily invested in scapegoating me. I don’t think that you ever see a person accurately that you are scapegoating. You are putting all the dysfunction and blame of all the family and abuse onto a member of the family, usually one member.

So no there is no way they could see me accurately. But their worldview was pervasive, at times it still is. I still get caught up in it all, feeling down and ugly about myself, until I have to remind myself that is their image, their view, and that it is not accurate. Well it is a process. It takes time.

About five years ago one of my best friends told me that I was so positive, so focused on healing and the knowledge that healing would happen. Well I almost fell over. It took me a while. I had to think long-term on that one. I am still trying to integrate that into who I am. So recently several other survivor friends have mentioned my being positive. Okay, I am resolved not to argue about that. I’ll try to see it. I’ll try to believe it. But I still don’t know what to do with that.

It might take me some more time.