I am a survivor of childhood emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse. I became the family scapegoat. I ended up feeling weak, wrong, terrified, ashamed, self conscious, hyper vigilant, disgusting, empty, and hopeless. I was allowed no boundaries. I had no sense of the space my body occupied. I felt awkward, as if I had no control of my body. I became numb. I believed I was unloving, and unlovable.
My mother was the most violent one in our family. She had issues with her brother, mother, and father that she had never resolved. She had a “cold” mother, and an unfair father who praised his son while his daughter was neglected. She was threatened with abandonment, and was very jealous and contemptuous of her brother. Because she felt inadequate and defective, she took every opportunity to make me feel that way, so that she could feel powerful and righteous. She was a rage-aholic, so the violence and extreme shaming were an everyday occurrence for many many years.
When I “escaped” my family, I could not realize how angry I was, but it was easy for me to see how fearful, and depressed I was. Later, as I worked through the feelings, I found a pool of sadness that I didn’t know could exist. I saw I was fearful in every area of my life. I had crushing self-consciousness. Finally, after years of swearing I was not angry, I found a pool of anger as well, that I didn’t know could exist. I was very angry for a long time, and very sad for a long time. As the feelings undissipated, I ended up having no feelings for my mother at all. She hadn’t changed, and even though I have “arrived” at forgiveness, she is just some other person to me, and I’m OK with that.
My father either stayed distant (most of the time) or was explosive (occasionally). He modeled being self conscious, socially inept, somewhat alcoholic violent/withdrawn. I believe he had a hard time seeing himself differently than my mom saw him, and she had a problem seeing any good in males. Recently I have come to see more good in my father. I remember my mom putting him down all the time, in front of my sisters and I, and in front of him! I can only imagine that he felt shame, anger, self consciousness, and loneliness. He stayed in the relationship even though it was an abusive one. Being put down all the time must have made his pool of rage increase. I am sure that had a lot to do with the few times he exploded at me. His need to have a family, exceeded the abusive put downs that he received. He was abandoned to a relative, then an orphange, by two parents who were still living. I can empathize with his shortfalls now, AFTER going through all the anger I had from his “explosions”, and, most especially his inability to express how he felt to me.
When I was 14, I was molested by a pedophile, who spent nearly 2 years setting it up so that my parents trusted him enough to take a bunch of us to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. While we were there, he tried to drug us, (but I didn’t take the pill). That, and other incidents, set me up to use physical gratification like a drug.
I grew up in a rural, farming area, and that helped me survive. For over 20 years I lived almost in the wilderness; it fed me, and inspired me, and provided the safety and quiet I needed to heal. When I was a boy I had a grandfather who gave me paperback books when he came to visit, and that helped me survive. Now I love to read, and learn, and both are important to me . I had an aunt and an uncle who told me I was special, and had a gallon of clams in their refrig, especially for me each time we came to visit. In Maine, I dug clams for a living for over 15 years, and I ate them whenever I wanted.
As a young adult, I self medicated daily using pot and alcohol until 1985. Quit cigarettes 6 years later. Had my first child abuse flashback two weeks after I had stopped drinking and drugging.
I have 2 sons,Shawn (1979) and Francis (1983). I was a much better father to them than my father was to me, although there were still lot’s of things I didn’t know how to do, or was unable to do. (I raised them on my own). I now live in The Lowcountry of South Carolina, and have a web design and computer repair business. I also write about child abuse and recovery issues.