Verbal and emotional abuse can be handed down from generation to generation without anyone realizing it and the damage it causes can stay within a person forever. Sometimes we are victims of things we don’t even know are happening to us. We are carrying a weight that is not ours to carry and it is slowly eating us from the inside.
During my entire childhood, my mother was verbally abusive to me. I couldn’t realize this at that time, because verbal and emotional abuse is hard to detect, especially if you are young and you never think that it may come from your mother – the woman who gave birth to you, the one that is supposed to love and take care of you.
When I start thinking about it now, she treated me as someone inferior. She never cared about my thoughts and feelings. Her words were cruel, and they cut like a knife. Her behavior has diminished my self-esteem and self-confidence because she preconditioned me to feel as if I don’t matter.
Her neglect and failure to respect and love me as her child have made me a very lonely adult. I am still struggling to find my place and I have a horrible feeling that I don’t belong.
All of my romantic relationships were intense and filled with drama. They were often one-sided, but I didn’t care because that was the type of connection that I was accustomed to my whole life. I was desperate to belong. To love and be loved.
And then, after the relationship would inevitably end, I couldn’t let go. I was feeling like a drug addict desperately trying to get their ‘fix’ and it was all because I didn’t have a clear perception of what is healthy and what is not. I was blaming myself for everything and I was trying to fix the broken connection, but instead of fixing it, I was becoming more and more needy and clingy.
And my toxic ways of behaving were not limited to my romantic relationships. I also had toxic friendships. I was the clingy friend that always felt left out and was terrified of being abandoned. And it was all because I didn’t love myself.
On the other hand, my father was a flake. He was constantly in and out of jobs because he was so sure of himself and his abilities that nothing was ever good for him. Nothing I was doing was ever good for him either.
His judgment and overly aggressive character were terrifying me. He was quick to make everything to be someone else’s fault because he couldn’t accept responsibility for his mistakes.
The relationship with my father taught me to be an over-achiever and to not give up. I wanted power. I wanted control. It wasn’t about the money. It was about how getting something I wanted was making me feel. I, too, as my father went from one job to another, nothing would satisfy me.
The pain from the abuse still lingers inside my heart. Even though my parents had different problems and traumas they were going through, the end result with me was the same – they both made me experience a loss of identity. Because of them, I’ve become needy, lonely, and craving for attention and validation from others.
I didn’t realize until now, but everything I was trying to run away from when I was a child – the fear, the desperate need for love, the loneliness, the sadness, the isolation – all these things have become the foundation of all my adult relationships and they all crumbled down.
I know now that my parents’ mistakes are not my fault and they shouldn’t shape my reality. I know that I must liberate myself from the traits and behaviors I learned as a child. It may take me years to do it, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to heal myself.
You see, my mother was also abused and neglected as a child. My father was always cast aside and overlook while he was growing up. But they had no right to pass their pain and trauma onto me. Their pain was not mine to carry.
I forgave them, and once I did that, I was free. I embraced myself as I am. I took responsibility for the actions I did when I was unaware of what was happening.
Now, I’m on the path towards healing. I am starting to love myself and accept myself as I am – flaws and all. It is a long and difficult path, but I am willing to go through it for my own good; for the person I aspire to become one day.