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I was really young when the abuse started, and I was far too young to understand what was really happening. I look back at the traumatizing moments I do remember and wonder how my mother could deny abusing me. That is until I read this:
"Abusers typically want to control and dominate. They use verbal abuse to accomplish this. They are self-centered, impatient, unreasonable, insensitive, unforgiving, and they lack empathy and are often jealous, suspicious, and withholding. To maintain control, some abusers "take hostages," meaning that they may try to isolate you from your friends and family. Their moods can shift from fun-loving and romantic to sullen and angry. Some punish with anger, others with silence – or both. It’s usually 'their way or the highway.'"(1)
My mother did all of these things. ALL. OF. THEM. I never really got to see my extended family, I was never allowed to see my friends outside of school, I wasn't allowed to have any social media, any complaints I had were always undermined and came second to her, and so many other ridiculous things that have completely baffled the people and parents I've told them to.
It's no longer a surprise to me how she denies abusing me because most, if not all, abusers deny being an abuser. That has been one of the harder things to accept, but I'm slowly getting there. What's the hardest thing I've had to accept? The fact that I will never get a genuine apology from my mother for any of what she did to me growing up. I've gotten an apology, but it was one of her go to "I'm sorry I'm not perfect" apologies that she'd give to end arguments with anyone over anything.
I very, very, very rarely dealt with physical abuse, but it did happen. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe it happened no more than four times. I'm going to put it out there that quantity has nothing to do with how traumatic physical abuse is, but it just so happens my mother's preferred method of abuse was verbal; she turned to physical when she lost complete control of herself.
"The definition of physical abuse, according to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, is: 'Non-accidental use of force that results in bodily injury, pain, or impairment. This includes, but is not limited to, being slapped, burned, cut, bruised or improperly physically restrained.' Physical abuse is not limited to children and can happen to adults of any age. Neglect is also considered an aspect of physical abuse and this type of abuse often happens when one adult cares for another [...]." (2)
Today, 21 months and 23 days after I was shown I was no longer welcome in my parents’ home, I am more mentally and emotionally stable than I was trapped in the prison my mother made for me. I can go out with my friends, stay the night with my boyfriend, and be who I want to be because I no longer have to live in fear of rejection. I control what decisions I make, and I've never felt more independent and free.
I'm also happier; I smile for no reason and my negative thoughts don't bother me as much as they used to. The only things that do worry me are things like getting a job where the company want me for a week because they knew they were going to be swamped. (Venting because I don't know what I'm doing wrong in finding a job, but that's a rant for another post).
So long as you put in the effort to change what habits you learned from and abusive parent, you will get the outcome you want. I'm learning to see the positive side of things as well as the negative, and choosing to not let the negative rule my attitude.