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11/16/2010 12:12 PM

hi, I'm new

Justasmalltowngirl
 
Posts: 3
New Member

Hello all.

I'm a 20 year old in college and just beginning to realize I was emotionally abused by my step-dad since as long as I could remember. I've never thought of myself as a victim, or what he did as abuse. I thought that it was just life and how things worked.

My mom married him mostly because she couldn't support me and my sister by herself. This man was very controlling. From the moment I met him as a kid I knew I didn't like him. The hurt in my stomach still hasn't gone away entirely. I was always tense and felt nervous by just by his presence in the room. Nothing I did was good enough. He supported me in extra curricular activities,as long as he told me about them first. The only way I was able to get away from him in high school was to stay at friends houses for hours until I *had* to go home, but at a great cost of a world filled with the guilt of leaving him alone. But when I did stay home there was nothing but silence.

I am no longer living with him, and in fact have not seen or heard from him in months. Like I said before, I'm now getting used to using the term abuse victim on myself. I know that's what happened, but I just don't feel like it fits me yet. I guess I just need help healing. I'm rather unsure how to even start.

I'm starting to date someone, first time since high school. I've had many one night stands since high school, but all unfulfilling. Now I want to be able to give him the support he might need as well as making sure my needs are met. Any advice or support would be amazing. thanks.

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11/16/2010 02:23 PM
Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14596
Group Leader

Hi and welcome to the group! I am so sorry to hear what you've been through. Healing starts by talking about it, so you've come to the right place. There are a lot of great people on this board who can relate to just about anything you've been through so please feel free to speak openly. I am glad you are out of the situation. Below is a link to an article I think you'll find very interesting. It's all about emotional abusers and while it's geared mainly toward couples, their tactics are the same regardless of the relationship to their victims.

http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/ emotional_abuse.shtml


11/16/2010 02:54 PM
Justasmalltowngirl
 
Posts: 3
New Member

Thanks. The site is helpful. I am in a much better place now. I understand many people have a hard time getting away from the abuse, I know I did. But I'm surrounded by love and people who support me unconditionally.

Reading these aspects of an abusive relationship just solidifies that this is something serious that happened to me that I've never realized. I find myself thinking, isn't that just how relationships are? I don't know anything different. I can't take compliments and I'm very defensive. I just don't want to continue the cycle of abuse. some of the things and ways of manipulation I've read about have made me afraid that I've used them and I want the abuse to stop with me. I guess I just want to know how to catch myself and stay in healthy relationships.


11/16/2010 07:58 PM
Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14596
Group Leader

Well, as they say, knowledge is power and I think just being aware of these things and knowing how they work can help you catch yourself when you see yourself doing it. It's easy to think that's how all relationships are when that's all you've seen, but that just goes to show you how pervasive abusive relationships are. Chances are that if you haven't been in one yourself, you certainly know someone close to you who has or is in one. A lot of people think physical abuse is where you draw the line, but emotional abuse can be just as damaging and life-threatening.

11/17/2010 06:54 PM
LadyLoralie
LadyLoralie  
Posts: 452
Senior Member

Welcome, and I also second what Meg said. Some people say also that emotional abuse can be worse because sometimes the victim repeats in their minds the abuse the abuser caused. You have taken the first steps which are great. You are aware of what you experienced, and aptly recognize it as abuse as it is. The next part is education, healing, and safeguarding. It is a process and it comes in your own time when you are ready. There isn't a set period of time to feel healed. It is an individual experience as far as that goes. What you will learn are the red flags to look at for in future relationships, and finding strength within yourself.

Again Welcome to the group..

LL


11/17/2010 07:39 PM
Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14596
Group Leader

Another thing you will learn from this group is how to trust your own perceptions again. So many victims of abuse have been told over and over again that they imagined things, said/did the wrong thing or underestimated/overestimated a situation. We also are told that we are stupid, can't make good decisions or don't pay attention. Over time, it takes root and we slowly begin to stop trusting our perceptions of people and situations. That's how abusers get you to believe that YOU are the one with all the problems and without them to guide you and straighten out your messes, you'd be completely lost.

This is probably one of the most damaging things abusers do to us because the effects can last for years. I remember being paralyzed by having to make dinner reservations for one night. I was so worried that I got the time wrong or that they didn't write it down or we would get a bad table. I imagined all the things that could go wrong and what I should have done to prevented them from going wrong and then I berated myself for not having done them. I actually agonized over it until I felt sick. When the evening came and everything went off without a hitch, I was so relieved I nearly cried. It was like I downloaded my abuser into my brain so that he could abuse me further even when he wasn't around.

That's one of the most important things we have to re-learn ... that our perceptions are accurate. That can take years for some people (I still suffer occasionally from it myself), but it's a crucial step.


11/17/2010 08:14 PM
Justasmalltowngirl
 
Posts: 3
New Member

One thing that I am worried about is talking to my mom. Or to my sister. My mom is in a healthy relationship now. I trust the guy and he makes us both feel comfortable. BUt she hasn't even hinted at the thought that we may have been abused. Do I want to talk to her about it? She's more sensitive and she's under a lot of stress as it is. She's going back to school and helping raise me and her bf's two daughters. And now the bf has lost his job, so no one is working. I just feel that maybe now isn't the right time to bring it up, but I feel that maybe I can help find closure by understanding where she was coming from. Who do I worry about more, me or my mom?

And my sister. I haven't talked to her in over a year. She's living with friends, but because of her aspburgers, she doesn't leave the computer and hardly contacts the outside world at all. Maybe talking with her about it and getting help for her as well would help her situation.

I'm trying to find a counselor or group therapy to join, but so far it's all out of my price range and/or religious. Really not looking for religion...


11/18/2010 01:48 AM
LadyLoralie
LadyLoralie  
Posts: 452
Senior Member

Hey Hun,

You might want to see if your college provides any kind of therapy or free counseling it may be an option. Or, you might want to see if a local hospital has a free group or something like that to help your situation. Perhaps now isn't the time to talk to your mom, but I do think you need to talk to someone about it other wise it will consume you still and that isn't good for you.

LL


11/18/2010 08:23 AM
Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14596
Group Leader

Loralie is right about the counseling. That can help a LOT. I have several years of counseling under my belt and I don't know where I'd be now without it.

You should follow your instincts about your mother. Maybe this isn't a good time for several reasons. You are just starting to learn about abuse, explore your own feelings and undo some of the damage that has been done, so this would probably not be a good time to add the whole situation with your mother on top of everything else. I think it could end up being a distraction from your own healing right now. If you waited until you were stronger, you could be more supportive and guide her better through her own feelings.


11/18/2010 08:40 AM
john4114
john4114Posts: 225
Member

The bizzare thng is that my wife is training to become a counsellor, you would think she would know better. the strange thing is she seems to have empathy with everyone else, they all see her as a lovely helpful woman who is so careing

They rarely see the side of her that I do where I am expected to be perfect all the time in every way (maybe she should have married Mary Poppins) while any mistakes she makes are ignored.

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