Hi everybody. First, I am not sure how exactly this ties in with PMO addiction, but I feel that it does, somehow.
To the new folks - I've been a member here for a few years now, but it's been awhile since I've posted. In my previous blog entry, I wrote about how I grew up lacking emotional affirmation and how that fact has damaged my life. Today, I come writing with another discovery--the things I suffered as a child actually qualify as abuse. This is intriguing and terrifying to admit, because I'd never thought of my childhood as 'abusive'. But when you look at it objectively, it certainly was! I have a mother who would say things to completely invalidate my feelings. Whenever I tried expressing anger or disagreement, it was always "You're being too sensitive"; when I was frustrated or upset enough to cry, it was "Oh, just get over it"; when I expressed how upset I was with school and my teachers (who were also emotionally abusive; sadly abuse opens us up to more abuse), all I got was "It's probably not that bad." This is called invalidation, and it slowly taught me that my feelings, thoughts, or ideas don't matter. Already at a young age, I showed many of the signs of abuse. No one in my life recognized it because frankly, society thinks emotional abuse isn't that bad and the school I went to was absolutely incompetent at recognizing such things (I mean, the teachers there were abusive themselves).
The consequences of emotional abuse are the same as for other kinds of abuse. That means I began to lose my identity, or more accurately, feel like I never had one and didn't deserve one like everybody else. I struggle to form relationships, I am left guessing at what "normal" interaction is, I have no self-esteem or confidence (and even though I am good at faking both of those things, faking it does not bring the real thing about), I find it difficult to interpret other people's emotions, I have this inherent fear of facing the world which sometimes has manifested as social anxiety, etc... and finally, I have always related very well to other victims of abuse, who most of my friends tend to be. I always found this strange, having 'never' been abused myself--well, now I know why...
At last, I have FINALLY come to learn this truth, which explains perfectly why my life turned out the way it did. With PMO, I think some people suffer the addiction as a primary cause, and when they quit, their suffering ends. But for others, PMO is not the primary cause, and quitting it does nothing to end their suffering. When I was away from PMO for 44 days, my lifetime record, only to see absolutely no improvements in my life, I started to think there was something else going on.
What makes me really happy about this is now I know exactly what monster I am fighting. Now I know which tools I need to reach for in order to heal. Healing from emotional abuse involves a long process of redefining and rediscovering yourself, the very core of who you are, independently of the abuser. I think that ultimately I will need to break off almost all contact with my mother in order to maintain my own sanity. That will be a very difficult day for her, and I'm not going to do it lightly. We all have the right to be who we are, and if that's what it takes, then that's what I'll do.
I'm not really sure how to proceed right now; I only recently found out about all this. I guess one good step would be to learn how to respond assertively to abuse (yes, the abuse still happens and I'm never sure what to do when it does). In an ideal world, I'd have enough money to just move away and get a therapist, but this isn't an ideal world.
Finally, if a certain friend happens to be reading this, then I would really, really like to talk to you. Your insights would be so very valuable at a time like this.