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This post has some strong references to ED behaviors. Please don't read ahead if you are not in the mind to do to. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. I stared at this blank page for HOURS last night trying to decide how to start this blog and honestly debating on if I even wanted to post it. Time was fleeting, and I was struggling. It seemed as though all of my efforts to try to collect my thoughts were in vain because simply put – this is hard to write about. I tried to find another topic to write about today – I really did. But there was nothing going on that was worthy and being written down and this has been pressing on the forefront of my mind the past several days. I guess that’s my mind’s way of saying it’s time to deal with this and get it out in the open. It’s a funny little thing called emotional abuse. I know I spoke about emotional abuse in my last blog, but I didn’t really delve into everything that goes on in my household that constitutes as emotional abuse. I talked about how I have dealt with emotional abuse from my mother, but not so much what came from my father. My mother had more of an emotional neglect sort of abuse. My father… well, I’ll tell you about his. I’d like to say I’m very resilient and that words don’t affect me, but I’d be lying. Words hurt me more than physical abuse ever has. It has taken me a very long time to call this emotional abuse. My T has tried to explain emotional abuse to me several times, but I always deny that that is, indeed, what this is. I guess part of me bringing this up this week is because I’m finally admitting to myself what this is. I’ve always had a fear of talking about this – especially here. It’s hard to look at my situation and believe it has the same damaging effects as some of the trauma that people here have gone through. I was told growing up that I wasn’t allowed to be sad or upset because my biological parents are married. Because for some reason, that meant my life was perfect. So how could I possibly call this abuse when my life was so perfect all the time??? I developed an eating disorder when I was 15 years old. I was formally diagnosed with bulimia when I was 19. Part of me wants to blame this on my father, but part of me knows that he may not be the sole cause for my eating disorder. I know that I have other issues that factor into this, but I can’t help but think he planted a seed somewhere along the way. My mother and father both exercise regularly and eat healthy. I don’t. Not as consistently as they do. So, for that, there’s always a bit of shame around me for being heavier than them and for eating more fast food than they do. And any time I eat out, I get an ear full about it. About how I need to stop doing it because I’m wasting money mostly, but there’s also the underlying reason of ‘because you’re fat’. My dad wasn’t always the fit man he is now though. My dad was a lot heavier at one point in his life. One day he buckled down to lose weight, and he did. And ever since then, it’s been a lecture to me about being fit. But not only does he “encourage” (I use that term loosely) me to live a healthier lifestyle, he also makes unnecessary comments that drive me to a state of starvation and purging. One of my favorites is when I’ve not eaten all day and it’s 4 o’clock on the afternoon. I wander into the kitchen looking for some sort of sack or meal and I get welcomed with a, “Hey, little piggy. Coming to belly up to the trough?” To which I respond with a polite ‘no,’ and walk away hungry. He uses that one a lot. There was a time not too long ago that I had dropped a lot of weight. It was the smallest I had been in YEARS. But I was hardly eating. I was on an exercise program, but I was never hungry and furthermore, I wanted to be small. It was easier to not eat. So I would come in from a workout and grab something small so my parents would see me eating. But then it became, “Are you just eating that now so you can go eat in your closet later?” followed by an eruption of laughter from both him, and my mother. That comment lead into several jokes about eating in secret and purging. They thought it was hilarious. They had no idea that I was already hardly ever keeping any food down. There are more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Anything about food results in me being called fat in some way, shape, or form, or it leads to a string of jokes about bulimia. I can’t eat a proper meal without being judged. But my father gets mad if I talk about being nervous to eat in front of people. How does he not know that HE instilled this fear in me? The other half of his “jokes” aren’t any better. They’re more about how I also wasn’t the smart kid. His favorite line used to be “you’re a fat, stupid, loser,” but he hasn’t said that one in a while. Sometimes he just calls me ‘stupid.’ There was one day I was laying in bed, had just woken up but had my bedroom door open. He walked into my bedroom called me a ‘piece of garbage’ and walked away. All I did was exist. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet. While I realize these are all minor instances, when it goes on for years, it’s hard to “brush it off” and move on. To know that my dad feels so ashamed of me for being overweight and to know he thinks so little of my self-worth that he could actually tell me I would never amount to anything, hurts. I was never physically abused by my father. He’s never laid a hand on me. But his words have hurt me. So, in closing, I guess I should say that I don’t forgive him. Not yet. I’m still trying to fix the pieces of what HE messed up. The parts of me that he shattered with his words and his shame. I am trying to learn that I’m still valuable in some way or that I have some worth and hopefully one of these days, I will see that. Until then, I’m going to eat my pizza, and I’m not sharing. Hope you’re all doing well and thank you for taking the time to read. Hopefully next week I’ll have something a bit more exciting to write about! Sending happy thoughts, Poppy
I don't know the first thing about writing a blog. All I know is I survived. There is more of me broken than functional - but something small, somewhere inside me persists that that will not always be the case. So here I am, writing about it. (For all intents and purposes, and I still wan't nothing to do with them, my abuser will be called "X") I was with someone, who didn't care. I was with SEVERAL someones who didn't care, at least about me. However, this one in particular had brought me lower than I have ever been. We met under incredibly ordinary circumstances, nowhere I would consider special, and he was so handsome, confident, driven and direct. He knew what he wanted in life. He was charming and exotic, and I was definitely interested. He approached me, we exchanged numbers and I stepped on the path that many of you readers unfortunately have traveled. I like to think it was because I was young, or maybe that I was naive that I didn't see all the red flags. Down the road though I genuinely believed it was my fault that everything went down as it did because I wasn't strong enough and felt like I couldn't say no - even when I did. He used me however he pleased - regardless of if I said "no". He'd just go for it; wherever he wanted, however he wanted, and on his terms. Most of the time I'd go along with it because it was easier, less hassle and would be over with sooner. I felt obliged - I was with him. I remember searching for help and seeing articles of people staying in crazy relationships - but when you're with someone long enough, certain things become the norm, and you adapt and become numb. That's what I did. How could I leave the one I loved? The one I'd given up everything for? I was so invested, I left everything for him and his family. I spent countless hours helping his family run/build a business for free (which is still successful), writing their business plan, legalities, taking his siblings to school, getting things for the business, taking care of the animals, helping his mom with things around the house, working at a new job one of his brothers had finagled for me because he liked the lady who was later my boss(so I felt indebted to X's oldest brother). You name it. I had obligations, they depended on me and I began to live with them because I didn't want to let them down, and I wanted to matter so badly (This I chalk up to my home life as well as how X treated me). Also, I felt obligated. How could I say no? I was scared to say no. I fought endlessly with my mother about my living situation and defended him because I believed that I loved him, that he was really worth it, loved me and would treat me better when I deserved it. He still doesn't know everything that happened to me. Really, I don't think anybody does. Not even my therapist. I refused to admit that I was raped when coming out of the hospital because I didn't want to see X or deal with him or any of my other aggressors again and if I caused them real trouble they'd come after me. I refused to see his dark side! I countered it with good qualities or at least mentally altered his qualities into good ones just so I could get by. I tried everything I could to make us work because a committed relationship is something you've gotta work at right? I knew I was so helpful to these people, and that was good for me but I also knew I was incredibly disposable at the same time. I couldn't just LEAVE, could I? Well, X wasn't my first assailant and I hadn't had any REAL lessons in creating boundaries or learning to say no at this point in life. I was the perfect prey and I hated myself because I didn't know what I was doing wrong or what it was that I couldn't see. I was the pretty, caged canary forced to sing at his leisure...either that or he was the prowling cat looking to eat its favorite parts one piece at a time. He'd force himself on me, occasionally promising "just one more time" - swearing that it would be the last - but it never stopped and it only got worse. All the way until the only way I thought I could end it would be dying. Yes. Dying. "Dying? Isn't that extreme? Couldn't you just leave?" No. No, because in my mind there was no way out. I tried to leave, but he was so good at the mind games. He'd have me crawling back saying sorry, feeling guilty that I had left and grateful that I had returned, often turning to extremes to get me to come back. When things would get so bad he'd make grand gestures to show he'd "changed" and every damn time I'd believe him. There was no way that all of this was happening and he didn't see it as wrong. Surely he would change, wouldn't he? For me? For love? Spoiler alert: It got worse. He wasn't just sexually abusive and emotionally - physical abuse came swiftly after discussing marriage. You have to understand that THIS was my world of relationships. I didn't really SEE how horrendous this was because I didn't know any better, and I was numb. Whatever better there was out there just wasn't for me or didn't exist. I still grieve that I wasn't loved the way I deserved. For many a partner I was mistreated, abused, and expected to be fine. It was a never ending roller coaster of feeling strong and then weak on a loop from standing up after being broken. The day I decided to die, I had moved out, but come back to say sorry because I didn't tell him when I was leaving. I told him I was leaving him, but I didn't say when or how or where. I thought he was going to kill me. He glared saying "how could you do this to me, I loved you" while standing in the bathroom doorway because he came back while I loaded everything into my mother's truck. Do understand how messed up I was that I felt like I needed to go back to say how SORRY I was for leaving HIM??? I stayed the night, and he said he wouldn't take me back. If HE of all people who cared the least and yet the most about me didn't want me back - no one would. I officially lost my value and that morning I didn't go to work, I hid a large kitchen knife in my waistband and told everyone there (his brothers were living with us at the time for free and I was the only source of income because he refused to get another job after leaving his other one) I was going to shower. Blood can't clot if it's still wet. I closed the broken bathroom door, and went to work. The first few cuts were almost nice because the pain was better than the emptiness I felt and I felt alive, but my body shortly decided to numb the area and I was able to go deeper and farther running my arms and the backs of my ankles under water to prevent the clotting. One of our dogs pushed open the door because I was crying, I pushed them out and got blood on his face. X saw this and screamed at me "What did I tell you??? WHAT did I tell you?!" He told me that if I was gonna go die I should do it outside by the parking spot of our duplex. So, I proceeded to the door to go do so and he slammed the door in my face to prevent me from going out and hit me so hard across the face. The force that he hit me with registered, but I was light headed and numb from blood loss and filled with adrenaline and anger - so I didn't feel it and I hit him back - which I had never done, at least like this. I had lost so much blood in my arms that my hands were in fists and curling back to my body downwards, so hitting him was more like swinging a club or dead arm, and I couldn't feel it, but I know it was hard - and he hit back, even harder. We went at it for a moment as he continued to say that all he cared about was how much the blood on the carpet was gonna cost him, how stupid I was, how all this was gonna make him look, what he was supposed to tell people about what happened, etc. One of his brothers came to wrap me up and I wouldn't let him, I just kept screaming that I wanted to die. I had no value, I had no self worth, and the people that had ever claimed to love me did unspeakable things to me. I was nothing. I passed out from blood loss, his brother took me to the hospital because X wanted to shower and get spiffed up before going to the hospital. How do I know this? He said so "YOU go take her to the hospital. I need to go take a shower first." I just wanted to die. I gave everything I had and I had no will to live. I hated him. I hated that I loved him. I hated that I loved him and he didn't give a _____ about me. I did everything for him and his family, and he couldn't have cared less. Maybe he could have? He could have not come at all. He could have just locked the door behind me while I died outside, but as far as I'm concerned I was nothing to him and it was his appearance he was trying to save. It was never about ME, it was always about HIM. I had small moments of consciousness like being carried to the emergency room by his one good brother Q, being put in the wheelchair, getting my 20+ staples, seeing X & Q standing in the hallway, X looking and smelling like he was going to a formal event.... X never visited or called me in recovery/rehab, and his reasons for why were lies. I called him to see if he was coming, and he always said he would, but never did and had the cleverest of excuses which were validated as lies by S. I went to therapy and rehab and never admitted to being repeatedly raped, or abused. I didn't want to get him in trouble, nor did I want to get involved with the police, court, or with any of the other miserable people who had done similar things to me. I knew that If I caused problems, especially legal problems which would compromise their business and a dozen other things, I knew that they'd come after me. I blocked his number and cut as many ties as I could conceive and one day he called me from a number I didn't recognize. He wanted me back. He was making a grand gesture again for change that we could be happy and promising all the things I wanted to hear. However, enough was enough, and I said no. I said no and when he persisted I reinforced my no, with REASONS! I wasn't helpless anymore. I was done, I was out, and in my own little way I had won. in rehab and therapy I didn't want to confess or share my abusive truths because I wanted to escape the pain, block it out, pretend it never happened, and I couldn't do that if I ever saw them again, especially a court hearing or someone coming after me because X was in jail etc. Many of my exes were incredibly physical while others were strictly verbal and emotional and I didn't have a clue on how to get better. I just went into rehab as a depressed teenager who had a lousy home life, low self esteem, particularly bad relationship and break up, self harmed, and opted for suicide. My brain did a miraculously terribly thing which was block out all my traumatic events. Miraculous because there were times after my safety plan was made and I was released from the hospital's rehab facility that I was normal. I didn't have that darkness haunting or plaguing me. However, it created abrupt triggers when my brain made connections to real life and my barricaded memories, like it dug under the wall and leaked it out. Because of it, I get the worst PTSD episodes and I am back in the moments where I am not safe. I'm starting to master not suppressing, and learning not to be overwhelmed, but let's be real here, it still happens more than I'd like to admit. This caused me problems in my marriage which is now over - which is an entirely different can of worms as he was very mentally controlling and abusive - thank goodness and am now in the arms of the sweetest, most gentle man who is my best friend, know no bounds of building me up, making sure I know I'm his top priority, understands why I may react in strange ways, knows my pain and why I am the way I am - and I could never be more grateful for the love, and compassion he gives me without guile or expectancy. Dear reader, Just because hell was your romping ground doesn't mean you can't find your way to heaven. There is hope even when there is none and if you look you will always be able to find it. Dark times and hard times can make for a beautifully strong, unstoppable, unyielding spirit and mind. I am still healing, but I'm in a safe place, and SO much more of a person than I was. What once was a whisper is now a shout and the times that ensnared me made me who I am now. I can stand up for myself, I know my worth, I know more aspects of myself. I am weak no longer. I came out strong and I conquered. You can conquer too. I needed help, but ulitimately it was up to me to make decisions towards a better destination. Only I could save myself. I am my own hero.
I've never been good enough for my mother. Ever. First, I was fat. Always, save the eating disorder I developed in middle/high school, when I starved myself down to a "normal" weight range. She bullied me about my weight for as long as I can remember. She put me in dance with first my sister Ashley, who is 5 years younger, then my sister Sommer, who is 14 years younger than I am, joined as well when she was old enough. I hated it. I was no good at it. They laughed at the tape of my first recital, when I was 10. You get the picture. The things I was interested in, such as band, just weren't that important to them, ever. They never came to any events. My father never even came to so much as one band concert. They even made me skip solo and ensemble for band to go their stupid out of town dance competitions. Nothing that was important to me was ever important to them. I even had to spend my birthday weekend there one year, at a competition, on my birthday, and I got no cake, no card, no present, nothing. When my mother found out about the sexual abuse I suffered for 7 years at the hands of my father's (really stepfather's, story for another time) daughter from his first marriage's hands, she blamed me. I was 5 when it started, 12 when it ended. I got into drugs in college round one, eventually dropping out. That lasted through my 20's, even as I galavanted around the nation doing some really good things. She never realized that the abuse was what triggered the self-medication, or maybe she didn't want to, because then she'd realize that she had failed as a mother to protect her child in her own home. After a complete and utter breakdown in which I landed in a psych ward in New York, I came back home, went back to school, and graduated college with a computer science degree. I totally turned my life around, and now I have a great job, money in the bank, and I even do nice things for my parents even though they don't really deserve it after all they put me through. And, the thing is, nothing has changed. I was reminded of that on Friday. My sister and her fiancee own a food truck, and there's this event every third Friday of every month during the summer here called Food Truck Fridays downtown. Their truck is a part of it, and we all went this past Friday. It was really crowded, and when we were at one of the outdoor tables, a couple came and sat by us. When they started chatting it up, my mother immediately launched into how proud she was of my sister and her business, then, without being prompted, launched into her being assistant director of the dance studio, her job selling legal software, her getting her MBA, and the array of other things that make her so proud. That's when I realized that no matter what I do, how much money I make, I'll never be good enough for her. I never was. She'll never be proud of me as I am. She'll never brag to strangers about me. I'm the fat one, the gay one, the one with no romantic future she will ever brag about, the one with the job she considers "controversial" (I'm a liberal political writer, and I'm working on my first book). None of my successes matter to her at all. They never have, and they never will. She has never and will never beam with pride about me like that. Ever. I really have to work on not seeking or needing approval from these people. I'll never get it. I have to, on some deep level, realize that. I'll always be a fat embarrassment to them. Always. I wish I could disappear, but I'm doing the next best thing- planning to move hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles away, without warning them as to what my plans are. I really just wish I could disappear, but I suppose that's the next best thing.