Our Emotions Growing Up and Now
We remember grade school teachers were all cruel teachers, and kids, except for one teacher who was kind to us. Junior and Senior high school were so lonely, miserable, full of being made fun of and mocked all the time. Teachers were the only nice things there, usually, and even they could be cruel..
We grew up feeling unloved, unwanted, disenfranchised, depressed, unlovable, depersonalized, incompetent, defective, abandoned, worthless, insignificant, and more. The memories we have are all skewed with the abuse. We know how we remember things, and these feelings don't seem to fit, until we remember the abuse. Then it all meshes. We still feel this way.
No one in our family said I love you to us. It was something I,we, never heard. Other kids may have, but not us. Hugs were rare after our great grandmother died. It wasn't until we had gone through nursing school and were working in psychiatry that we started telling our grandmother and mother we loved them. They slowly started responding to this. We were very careful who we said this to, as we had mixed feelings about some relatives and didn't know exactly why. Now we know why. We still feel unloved most of the time.
When you get shuttled around like we did with constant baby sitters during the day, and on the weekends, you know fairly early on you aren't wanted aroud. When the only time your parent is around you are told to go outside and play, and leave the grown ups alone, you feel unwanted. The only alone time you get with your parent is a token of tucking you into bed at night, and getting you up and making sure you are dressed in the morning. My mother learned her parenting skills from a mother who worked two jobs and didn't have parenting skills. They did the best they knew how at the time. No extended family asked to take me along with them except my mother's cousin and her husband. They always complained about how I didn't listen when we got back, even though we did. We could never figure out why they took us along just to complain. We still feel unwanted.
You learn fast enough that when you can do something one day but not the next, you have no rights or privileges. Nothing is guaranteed or taken for granted. The rules changed without warning or reason. And you had better be prepared for it! It was ok to be out to play until supper one day but the next you were supposed to be in and ready ahead of time. You could play here one day but not the next. Wherever you played you had to be able to hear your name called! And come running fast as your feet could carry you! If it took longer than the adult felt like waiting, you got punished. If you fell cause you were running, and got banged up bad, you got yelled at for making a mess they had to clean up. The same was basically true when you were older, only it was phone calls and fast walking distance. If you were late for supper, you went without. No excuses. All the rest of the rules were subject to the same kinds of changes. Our stepfather said we did nothing to earn the right to eat the food he bought, and he was serious as a heart attack. We started eating after he went to work so he wouldn't see us eat any food. We lost weight at that point in our life, and kids couldn't call us fatso anymore! This was something that affects us to this day, we wonder if we deserve the food we eat. We still feel disenfranchised.
We remember being sad most of our life. We remember being 5, and one of our child insider's praying for God to let us die and go to heaven to be with Him because it was too hard here. We often felt it was too hard here on earth, that life was too much to ask of anyone. We kept on going because we didn't know any other way. We figured everyone felt like we did, and that was just how life was. When we were an adult we had some high's and more low's. Most of the time we were depressed but managed to get by without people knowing. Then it got out of control when we got hurt at work when we were 41 and the depression let to the symptoms of multiplicity becoming obvious the next year. We are still depressed. We are no longer suicidal or preoccupied with suicidal thoughts, but are still very sad all the time. But, we have no energy or low energy. We have few interests. We are still isolative. We have other symptoms of depression as well.
Feeling unlovable is different from feeling unloved. Feeling unlovable is feeling like no one could or would ever want to love you for any reason on earth. We felt this way growing up, although we longed for someone who would or could. We daydreamed about it. We wondered why family didn't do this. After a while we came to the conclusion that for some reason, unknown to us, we were just totally unlovable. We still have these feelings today. We have not met anyone with whom we have had a lasting relationship in real life. We have maintained some long online friendships, but only one in real life, and that one is tenuous. We miss this aspect of life greatly. It causes great sadness for us. We have never figured out the qualities required to be lovable.
We feel we have been robbed of our individuality in all the abuse and everyone having to "cover" for the host personality from little on up. There are aspects to us that would have come about through normal growth and development that were stifled having to hide so much as we grew up in that abusive world. We don't persue our artistic and literary talents people say we have because we find it hard to believe them, that we are any good. It has stifled this aspect of our learning abouat ourselves, and more.
We felt worthless. When no one wants you or loves you, you have no intrinsic value. Our only value was in the work we did, but it never got any praise or even an ok. It was accepted silently. We were expected to get good grades, and anything less was punished harshly. We had chores to do, and without reminders. Reminders meant we were brain damaged or something. If we saw something that needed doing we were expected to do it, whether it was our job or someone else's. "It won't kill you." But we never saw anyone do any of our chores. It was just one more unfair practice that went on. We were told we were worthless. Heaven forbid we should have any doubts about it. "You aren't worth anything," "You're not worth the room you take up," and more. This still haunts us today. We are not able to do the work we did before, and it tears us up inside. We could not hold down a job right now at all, and it is shameful to us to live with this knowledge.
We could never do anything right as a kid. What was acceptable one day was not the next. They kept changing the bar on us. This made us feel incompetent and like a failure. When everything you do is criticized, you feel like you can do no right, like why should you try anymore. This is how we felt. But try we did, just on the off chance they would say something nice. And once in a while they would. When I scrubbed and waxed the hardwood floors once a year, it was, "they look ok." A whole day of back breaking work for an "ok!" (We took turns doing it and most of it was covered with a huge rug.) We try very hard to do things in the right way now, but who is to say what the right way is? We decide now, and that is scary to us also.
We were insignificant. We didn't matter. Our wants, or needs, did not signify as having any importance. And when we voiced them, we took our life in our hands, literally. We got beaten for voicing our opinion without being asked. When asked, what you said depended on the uncle's mood. He said "jokingly" that he was a democratic dictator. You didn't make him mad. When you spoke the truth, you were either being brave or stupid. We still feel we are insignificant in so many ways. We just don't matter.
I think by now you get the idea. It served their purpose to keep us submissive to the maximum. In being submissive, we were more easily controlled and manipulated into doing what they wanted, whether it was in their abuse rituals or just in life in general. The bad part is it has carried over into our life today. We still have not recovered our individuality - our art work is only sporadic because we don't really believe it is good, the same as our poetry. Others say it is good, but the opinions of the past still speak loudly in our mind. We hesitate to try new things for fear of failure, again the past haunting us now. We fear making friends only to lose them for reasons we don't know. We are unlovable. All these old feelings of childhood carry over now.
If I could say one thing to parents today, it is be careful of the messages you send your children about them. The unspoken ones as well as what you say. They have life long consequences. You have just read how they affected one life. We are in our mid fifties, and still suffer from it.
But we are working in therapy to try to overcome these things. We believe it is never too late to be set free from the past and it's unwanted influences on our life today. So we work, and hope for better times to come.
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