I was emotionally abused

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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.

Comments

Hi kurisu, :)

Hi kurisu, :)

I am new here and this is the first entry of yours I have read. I have to say, while reading your entry it was like reading about myself. It almost brought me to tears. I have known about the emotional abuse and neglect from my own mother for a while now. Just this morning I asked her to please listen to me and that I needed her emotionally because I am very depressed and am going through a lot. She took the opportunity to blame me, criticize me and make me feel I was wrong for wanting her help... that she "does enough" for me already. I declared that it would be the very last time I attempted to open up to her. She expressed no concern or care. I have told her that I felt she was emotionally abusive in the past and she said something like "Well at least I don't hit you. That's real abuse. What I say to you isn't abuse at all." You are right, if it's not physical abuse or extremely severe apparent emotional abuse displayed publicly, people act as if it's nothing, like it can do no real damage. I too have experienced the loss of identity and social anxiety-like issues.

It's undoubtedly contributed to a lot of our issues. I'm sorry that I can't really offer you any advice, but I just needed to let you know someone read your post and that I feel for you. I will be thinking about you and I'll try to read some of the other entries in your blog when I have some time in the next few days. I'm curious to see if the way our addiction developed is similar or if there are any other similar patterns.

Best wishes. I hope you find the strength to break away from her and start enjoying life how it's meant to be enjoyed. Find your happiness. Please keep updating.

-Natsuki

Hey Natsuki!

I'm guessing you are also a Japan-o-phile. Got any favorite anime / video games?

Your reply shows a lot of compassion, something I don't have enough of in my life. Thank you. I think the worst kind of abuse is when it's from one's own parent, because it makes that parent into a walking contradiction. Part of us loves them, part of us hates what they do, and the conflict is overwhelming. I'm 30, a little older than you I think, and one thing I learned when I was a teenager was that I couldn't rely on my mother for any support at all. She would only belittle my concerns and make me feel guilty for having them in the first place. "Teenagers can be so stupid and immature...Don't you ever act like that." etc. Like...Thanks, that's really what I came to you for. It's not like I could have used a #$%^@# HUG or anything. :/ Sounds like it's the same way for you and your mom. Oh, and do you ever get the guilt-trip about how "you should be thankful that you grew up in such a happy, healthy family"? I grit my teeth and try not to roll my eyes at the dripping irony with that one...I mean, who even says that!?? The statement contradicts itself because what happy, healthy family would guilt their own children over having a happy, healthy family?? :P

Anyway, ranting aside, I've found the best cure is to commit part of every day--if not the whole day--to rediscovering yourself. Or, if there is no "self" to rediscover, then create one. I mean, it's your personality, so you have the right to become whoever feels most natural to you. That's something our abusers would never want us to know, because if we truly become who we are, then we become immune to their abuse. I don't think my mom intends to be abusive, I think it's just some deep-seated insecurity she has that causes this behavior. But regardless of the cause, I don't have to put up with it. And neither do you.

If you would like to read my other posts, check out my previous one about Dr. Baars and Affirmation Therapy. You might find something valuable in there. Thanks for offering to read about me, most of what I write here is mundane blog entries but you might find something good.

You guessed correct. :) I

You guessed correct. :) I sure do. Some of my favorite anime are Ano Hana and anything by Key: Kanon, Air, Clannad, Angel Beats. I have a lot of favorites, but the ones that really stick with me are ones that can really move me. And yourself?

You are most welcome and I'm glad it could help you a little bit. YES, I get the same sort of stuff from my mother as well. When I was a teenager I got similar treatment. When I'd dress differently or hang out with people who were "not attractive" or were a little eccentric (my true friends) she'd say "No wonder why people make fun of you at school. I would too if I saw you dressed like that or walking next to _____." As for the guilt trips, they used to really bother me and make me feel like the most useless thing in the world. That is, until I realized it was emotional abuse. Does it tend to spiral too, like a non stop train once she starts? For me, if she drops a glass and it shatters it's also automatically my fault because I talked to her 5 seconds before. An example of how the conversation would go: "AHHH! Now see what you made me do? If you didn't talk to me when I was busy I wouldn't have been distracted and dropped this. Now the floor is scratched. The whole house looks like a cyclone hit it. Why don't you help me out more often? Oh, because everytime you try to do something I need to show you how it's supposed to be done, like I have to babysit you. (She needs everything done to be her specific way). Everyone else gets to sit on their ass while I'm working." And that goes on for at least a half hour. Sorry, looks like I'm starting to go on a rant too! :P That wasn't an exact story, but something similar to give you an idea. It all comes down to, she never made me feel proud of who I was or truly loved. When she did say "kind" words to me they were said in an unloving tone just to make me stop I assume. We never had long meaningful conversations. She said her problems were worse than mine when I came to her with an issue a lot of the times and she'd say she had it much worse... as if it would make me feel better to know being a part of this family was such a burden to her.

I will take your advice. For a while now I have been trying to build my own identity and find who I want to be and who I actually am deep down. Sometimes I feel more lost than when I started. There's a girl who is buried underneath all the insecurities and doubts. "Dr. Baars and Affirmation Therapy" I will look for that one.

You seem like a really kind and intelligent person. I'm glad I decided to read that entry. :)

Thank you, Natsuki

Yup, my mom also goes on those tirades, especially the "Oh poor me, why am I the only one who does all the work" thing. (Of course no matter how much I help out, it's never enough.) I could come up with many more examples, and I'm sure you could too, but the main thing is that we can end this by simply leaving the house. Okay, that's not simple at all in this rotten economy, but sooner or later, we will move out.

Some of my favorite anime series' are Cowboy Bebop for its amazing quality all around, Escaflowne for its touching and mind-blowing story, Azumanga Daioh for its shameless goofiness, and pretty much all of the Studio Ghibli films.

I'm sorry your upbringing was

I'm sorry your upbringing was difficult Kurisu. It can really be useful sometimes to get a deeper understanding of the root cause of problems. I've been realizing in my relationship with my father, for example, that he gave me approval when I was analytical, discerning, directed, able to debate, not easily won over, sharp, and always ready with a quick response. The downside of this is being perceived as combative, judgemental, arrogant, and unable to listen to others. I think he did his best without realizing what he was programming. I'm sure your mother, however skewed or limited her worldview might be, thought she was doing the best. And who knows what environment she was raised in to do such things to you. My father grew up in a strict military family. I try to remember this when I start to criticize him.

It can be very, very dangerous to take on the victim role. You don't want that to become your identity. At our core, all of us are complete. The task becomes, I believe, to wade through the programming and get back to that core. Nothing that your mother or anyone else does can touch your basic wholeness, or make you feel whole. That's entirely up to you. At some point, I think that anything else other than taking responsibility for this fact is a major distraction. I know I've been very distracted by my own interest in the sob story, at the expense at times of my own liberation, which was available if only I had chosen it. A meditation practice helps immensely.

So I really want to affirm your recognition that "Healing from emotional abuse involves a long process of redefining and rediscovering yourself, the very core of who you are, independently of the abuser." But I don't think that that realization logically leads to your conclusion that you "Will need to break off almost all contact with my mother in order to maintain my own sanity." Of course, as a temporary action these things might be necessary, but integrating what is rather than rejecting what is will more likely lead to sanity. A life estranged from the person who gave you that life is not sanity, if you ask me.

Just some thoughts. I wish you health and joy on your path.

The stronger affirmation of

The stronger affirmation of certain behaviors inherently de-affirms others. Is there some model of parenting that escapes that reality? Or is this an inherent limitation of each human and thus a benefit of more communal living whereby children are exposed to many adult/parent figures?

To be clear,

What I'm talking about is not affirming certain behaviors vs. de-affirming others. I'm talking about something deeper than just behavior, affirming the core value of a human person vs. affirming that he is NOT valuable. That's where the abuse comes in. I take the controversial position that truth and morality are absolute, and that means I believe a child will feel abused to the extent that his parents affirm things in him that are contrary to reality. I believe that every human person is absolutely highly valuable, and for a parent to affirm the opposite creates deep, deep conflict inside the child. When the parents affirm the child's inherent, absolute value, then that child tends to turn out pretty well-adjusted. So it has been in my experiences.

I understand your position. I

I understand your position. I was addressing Bianca's comment. 

[quote=kurisu] I take the controversial position that truth and morality are absolute, and that means I believe a child will feel abused to the extent that his parents affirm things in him that are contrary to reality. [/quote]Can you give an example of what you mean by this?

Absolute truths

Aha, I see. Sure, I'll try and give an example: For one, I believe that God is real--not just an abstract concept or comfortable belief that we Westerners have compartmentalized him into, not just 'an existence' but THE existence, the source of all existence. That means, if God 1) is good, and 2) he made us in his own image and likeness, then 3) we are good, too. If a parent then raises his child to believe that he is not good, then the child will be at great conflict with himself because his experience contradicts this underlying reality. I hope that makes sense? It's hard to articulate without falling into tons of loaded religious terms.

Let me try to dance around

Let me try to dance around the religious angle. You began "I believe." That is subjective. What if the parent doesn't believe that? Or is unable to put that belief into practice? Or feels not good and projects that out?

I agree that there are often mixed messages in homes and this can be very confusing for children.

Perhaps we place too much blame on parents while giving society as a whole and schools too much slack. Parents and society are responsible for the decision to over-rely on schools. Schools is more normalizing than home could ever be. It might be school that is confusing children more than home.

Emotional abuse can be quite

Emotional abuse can be quite devastating, and really, the other kinds of abuse really are emotional abuse, aren't they? Just a different way of getting to those emotions...

Its funny when you have those moments, isn't it? Like you'll think, "wow, it really pissed me off or hurt me that he/she did that, but -- you mean that's actually considered abuse?

There are people out there who, much like a martial artist who concentrates all his energy into one punch to break a stack of bricks, have learned to concentrate this energy into their words like precise arrows that can hit home like you wouldn't believe. Using just the right passion and negative energy, and choice of words they stab you and leave you bleeding inside or bring out an intense rage that, you can just feel something isn't quite right about it and other people hear the story and are like, "So... That doesn't sound so bad..." And you may not even understand why or what it is about them that gets to you like that. But, it is their very energy, their aura that is fighting you with killing intent. And I mean killing intent. I don't think you can do what these people do without having complete malice and callousness for the other person filling your aura, at least during that moment. Some people will destroy something beautiful like a flower(or someone beautiful like a flower) simply because they can. I think they get some kind of perverse pleasure from it...

I have one such person in my family. Actually, more than one, but this one takes the cake. I was stuck living with her for a few months, due to economic reasons, and she made me feel as violated as I ever felt in my life... But perhaps she couldn't have gotten to me as easily had I grown up in a non-dysfunctional family....? With all the personal issues I had? I think that sometimes, but, truthfully she deliberately and systematically removed all my defenses and then systematically attempted to destroy me, there was no choice but to get out... No matter how strong I was, she would have kept trying until she completely destroyed everything I was. No matter who you are, If someone really wants to kill you on the inside, they will succeed eventually due to complete attrition. These fairy tale stories you see on TV and such where someone finally breaks and says, "I'm so sorry I hurt you and even though you kept being nice to me...." just don't happen. Sometimes you simply have to cut people out of your life.

And, by the way, when Jesus says, "turn the other cheek" he really meant "take your dignity back". The way that passage is worded, it doesn't mean what you think it means.

You should read Who's Pulling Your Strings by Harriet Braiker. This is the only book on the subject of dealing with manipulative, controlling, and/ or abusive people that I have ever seen that actually has a lot of useful information. It's like going into battle with a complete tactical manual rather than absolutely nothing. It has real coping strategies and stuff to deal with these people and not just stuff like "express your feelings" "use 'I' messages" "Learn to control your anger through meditation and de-stressing techniques" "They only do it because they get a reaction from you, so, learn not to react" and other stuff that does almost nothing to stop it.

By the way, is Kurisu japanese for Chris?

Wow,

Thanks for your detailed reply my friend. You obviously have a very good understanding of the kind of abuse I have been through.

You got it, Kurisu is Japanese for Chris, it is the phonetic spelling using the Katakana alphabet in case you didn't know.

That book you recommended just went onto my wish list. It looks like a must-read for me. It's true that people who grow up with abuse are denied their own dignity. That's exactly how abusers do their thing, isn't it. A person who maintains their dignity, though I haven't experienced this myself, I am convinced would be immune to such abuse. The abuser is interested in making sure their target never learns how to stand up for himself. When the abuser is your parent, well, you can see how terrible that turns out to be.

As for "Turn the other cheek", THANK YOU--if I hear one more person quote that the incorrect way, I am going to slap 'em crazy and see how they like turning the other cheek! :P

If it weren't for economic reasons for me as well, my mom would be kept at a very healthy distance. I fantasize about moving 2000 miles away after I earn some money--and I've already taken measures to prepare for this big move.

And yeah, all that "express your feelings" junk, all that does is place the blame on the victim and further victimize you. Thanks for your very insightful post.

Thank you everybody

Everyone, I just wanted to say thank you for posting your replies. I've read and re-read them over the last few days, and you've all given me a lot of things to think about as I work on learning how to overcome the consequences of abuse.

Part of me still doesn't want to believe that I was abused. Yet as unbelievable as this sounds, the more often I admit that I was, the more of a sense of self seems to be appearing to me. It is still very small, but for the first time in a long time (if not my whole life), I am beginning to feel signs of truly independent thoughts and ideas--thoughts that originate solely from me, not embedded into me or colored by the intentions of somebody else. It's hard to describe the sensation without experiencing it yourself, but it is as if "the veil has been lifted" or at least is starting to slowly lift.

It's a very, very bizarre sensation to go through college and switch your major three times because no matter what you study, you feel like you're an imposter, like you're somehow denying the truth of who you are by studying X major. I remember when I was 12 years old, I really wanted to make a video game. My mom subtly and repeatedly discouraged this, probably because she didn't understand an ambition like that, but who knows exactly why. Now that I am admitting the abuse, that old dream of creating a video game is starting to surface again. Maybe that is part of my real self? I can't be certain at this point, just thinking out loud here. Part of the fun of this whole process is that it has all the excitement of meeting and getting to know a new friend, only that friend is you.

I am so happy and forever grateful for this forum, for allowing me to blog here and of course for the responses I get from you, because writing my thoughts here has undoubtedly helped lead me to come to this discovery. How this all ties in with PMO, well, I'll have to worry about that in a future post, because right now I am clueless as to how it is related beyond a basic human hunch.