It took me twenty-one years to realize that I was being abused, and the abuse still continues today. An infinitely expanding void fueled by my constant need to apologize for things out of my control, feeling like something is wrong with me, being emotionally detached, and withdrawing from close friends for months at a time, being sensitive to the smallest things which are unnoticed by others.
Looking back into my childhood with a grain of doubt if I remember things the way they actually were. My father was constantly walking on eggshells around my mother, which I learned from him was the best way to keep things calm. When my mother was able to hook him into a useless argument no matter how hard he tried to stay calm, he was able to leave. I was not.
All it took was a look, and the tears would swell in my eyes. She would lock her eyes on me as if she was in a trance, storm over biting her fist with a grunt and start screaming threats of how she was going to harm me. While I thank god she never touched me, her brandishing anger would come to an abrupt halt, following a silent treatment, and whenever father would come home it was as if nothing even happened. I used to tell my father what my mother would do and the things she would say but he never believed me. Even when he would be home for the beginning of her tantrum, he wasn’t.
When I hit my very early teens, about twelve or thirteen, I naively tried to talk to my mother about the way she had and continued to treat me. I brought up how I remembered her yelling at me as a child for stacking couch cushions on the carpet which ended with me getting kicked by the coffee table. Apparently, that didn’t happen. How me spilling milk while pouring cereal turned into her slamming cabinets and screaming about how all I do is ruin things. Apparently, she wasn’t mad and I misunderstood. All she does is deny deny deny.
As my father was out of the house more and eventually left, I was the only other person in the house. Now the main target. Constantly being trapped into meaningless fights that made the next few days miserable. Every interaction continued, and continues to this very day, to suck all the energy out of me along with any positive emotion.
As I get older I get more and more resentful. All the continued years of “grey rocking”, burying my emotions, not giving a reaction or any fuel for future confrontations…. Being forced to do everything on my own even when I am struggling to breathe because I learned early that when you ask for help it will only be held against you and over your head in the future….
I now get extremely overwhelmed and even a bit scared even when I am not home. Anything in a house slamming, people (even friends) talking loudly or trying to engage me.
Both my friendships and relationships have been impacted by these behaviors I learned to deal with how my mother is. I am unable to accept help from anyone, I get extremely uncomfortable with gifts of any kind even on special occasions. I am unable to talk about any topic that was a trigger for my mother.
I am filled with resentment and anger, have no idea what to do with myself, and even when my mother physically attacked me in front of members of my family unprovoked, everyone else seems to be blind. Everyone expects me to love her because “she is your mother”, some even expect me to feel bad for her. It all just fuels the resentment and anger. I am convinced I will always be this way, and it fuels my depression and widens the gap between me and anyone I care about.