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Abuse Detected. Recognizing I was in Hell. Positive Experience #15

January 25, 2013

I recently wrote about how I was in abusive relationships and how those relationships helped me learn that my Mother had been emotionally abusive to me. Children who come from abusive homes usually don’t know they have been abused. These kids go on to find partners who are very much like their abusive parent or parents because they are drawn to what is known and familiar. Emotional abuse is harder to uncover and figure out than physical abuse. It doesn’t take as much work to discover that hitting and beating are abuse. It is harder to recognize that verbal, mental things are abuse. We are all taught that sticks and stones can break the bones but words can never hurt us. Yeah, right. Words can kill the soul. Words don’t leave marks that can be noticed by doctors, nurses or teachers.

It is really tricky and complicated. I knew I had issues with my Mother all of my life. I didn’t realize she was emotionally abusive until I was much older and long out from her home. I knew I dated men who made me feel bad. Just like with my Mother, it didn’t really occur to me that the problem was with my Mother or with the men I was dating. I was the common denominator so I took responsiblity. Feeling sad, hurt and depressed were feelings I experienced with my Mother and they were the feelings I had with men. The emotions were the constant. It was my problem. I was the one feeling the bad things. People would say mean, unkind things to me and I always thought I did something to provoke that so the problem was me. It never occurred to me that someone could just be mean to me for no reason. I never believed that about my Mother or my boyfriends. Then the lightbulb went off somehow. Counseling, self-help books, lots of education etc etc finally all fit together and I finally started to wake from the nightmare of emotional abuse. Actually it was a nightmare that woke me up. I had a dream about a horse that had fallen. It was a beautiful, strong horse that just fell. Nothing was broken. The horse was fine but everyone around it decided it should be put down. They were trying to kill it in horrible ways. I was screaming and trying to get everyone to leave the horse alone.

I was that horse. It was a nightmare but it symbolized my life. The horse was just being a horse. It happened to fall. It also got up and ran away. The people were too stupid to recognize that the horse was fine. They weren’t trying to help it or comfort it. They didn’t even try to find out if there was something wrong with it. They just wanted to hurt it. Destroy it.

Ding dong….it was about the time of this nightmare that pieces started to really fall together with me. The problem was not with me. I don’t know if I will ever be over the emotional abuse I experienced but recognizing and being clear about abuse was critical to getting out the cycle of being victimized.

I am sure there are a lot of people still stuck in this cycle of suffering from emotional abuse not really knowing they are being abused. Both men and women experience emotional abuse. The symptoms are depression and misery and not knowing how to change that. I do think the first step is to fully examine self and see if the responsiblity is within oneself. I finally came to realize that while I have many flaws and weaknesses, I do not provoke people in some pathological sort of way that would justify the treatment I received. For example, for my Mother to tell me I was un-loveable, it might be the result of me telling her I had lunch with a friend. My Mother would just get angry at me and make fun of me for any reason. She didn’t like how I wore my hair and would laugh. She made fun of my school pictures. I had a boyfriend one time get really angry at me because I was successful at something. He would make fun of me if I mispronounced a word. He would tell me I was an idiot or retarded. I have had men get mad if I fixed them dinner. I have had men get mad at me if I offered to do them a favor. You get the point. Some people are just looking for a reason to get angry or to go off. It had little to do with the recipient of the anger in cases of emotional abuse.

It really is a lot of work to discover that the problem is not you when you grew up in an emotionally abusive environment. My Mother used to laugh and make fun of the way I cried. I could not even cry right. I really believed that. Getting to a healthy space requires not only learning what emotional abuse is, but unlearning everything you know and assume to be true about self and others. I had to teach myself what a loving Mother should be like. I had to teach myself what a healthy relationship should be like. I had to learn that I did not do anything to trigger or provoke the anger and the humiliating, hurtful, insulting, ridiculing remarks I received on a daily basis. I didn’t do anything to receive the looks full of hatred.

I am not trying to say that I am perfect. I am sure I goof up and upset people. An emotionally healthy person would call me on whatever I might be doing that is upsetting. An unhealthy person responds with cruelty without ever explaining anything. I am happy to correct myself if I do something that is hurtful. It is never my intention to be hurtful. If I do something that is hurtful, the only way I can learn and correct it is to tell me about it. Emotionally abusive people seldom do that. The reason for that is that seldom do they really have a reason for their cruel behavior. Just my presence, the act of breathing, was enough for my Mother to fly into a rage. Ditto for boyfriends.

Recognizing all of this was critical to getting out of abusive relationships and healing my life. Of course, it is not easy. For me, I had to go through a long time of having few people in my life and being tested hard by those who did come into my life before this phase ended. I think once you recognized abuse, you get tested. Abusers will keep coming to make sure you recognize abuse and to make sure you will not accept it. Loneliness and the fear of being alone made me stay too long in some bad situations. This aloneness and testing period led me to finally giving in and accepting my aloneness in the world. It was the period that happened to me before my husband entered my life.

  1. Great post! I’ll be back for more!

  2. Thank you for sharing these insights. So helpful to identify with someone else with similar experiences. I hope you have bliss these days 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your post. I am sorry you had similar experiences. I also hope you have bliss now. God Bless.

  3. Good post! As someone who is currently processing & writing about my own experiences with being emotional abused by my mother & having been through an abusive relationship as an adult, I appreciated your insight.

    • Thank you for your note. I am sorry you have been through abuse too. It really sucks.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Guest Post: Reasons For Hatred: Getting Free From Abuse | Rhachelle Nicol'
  2. My Experience with Emotional Abuse | Sometimes I hear my voice

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