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Can you ever move on after violence at home

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  • #205501
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I have been raised in a family where I was a witness of a domestic violence. My father was an alcoholic but it’s not that he was always an aggressor. My mother was too. Sometimes he didn’t do anything and she started a fight. I watched them fighting, yelling and beating many years since I was „old enough” to see and hear. Cant remember how many times but seems like it lasted for ages, so I guess it doesn’t matter if it lasted 6 years or 10, not sure. Seems like ages, seems like hundreds and thousands of nights. During the days I was walking around my house alone, sometimes talking to myself or talking to a cat I had. Sometimes riding my bike to a place and sitting there or just standing there, going numb. Sometimes I stood somewhere for hours. I just stood and stared. Sometimes I was praying myself to sleep, there was a tradition of believing in god in my house so „god knows” how I believed in him and trusted him to not do this to me again, not again. But they always did, they always woke me up every night. Sometimes my dad came back drunk and my mother on purpose locked the door so he would yell and make noise, or he would come through basement. I remember myself asking her „please open those door please open them please ”  I was so terrified because I knew what it meant. she never listened. Sometimes she opened them. But then it started. Sometimes I tried to separate them. Sometimes I just watched my mother beating my dad. Sometimes I watched and heard them yelling. My idea of hell, when I think „hell” is only one picture: me sitting in the room watching them beating and yelling. I can’t imagine worse thing in the world, a thing that would terrify worse. When I think about it I think  I was in hell on earth, and I survived hell. There was no escape, no hope and no help.

    What amazes me the most, is why did they do this to me. I know they probably didn’t hate me. No, they didn’t see me because I became numb and transparent. I „wasn’t there”.

    When I was 8 and I was in hospital I couldnt sleep because I wasn’t at home to protect my parents from themselves. I had to be there to help them and to take care of this family and this home. I developed behavours like I ran home to hide when I saw a car passing by. I shook my head and my legs because of neurosis. I developed a partly loss of memory, there are things I cant remember from my childhood. Plus many other.

    My mother moved to my room at some point. She used me as a „shield”. Although they both started those scenes. Sometimes she started them when he just came to a room drunk. Sometimes he did. I dont remember. I remember being terrified and numb. I never cried. I just tried to be transparent and disappear, I remember when praying I had this feeling I’m almost dissapearing. But it never worked and they always woke me up after an hour or two. I remember my father looking at me, or  I should say looking in my direction like looking at a chair or a table. I remember my mother specifically telling me to CALM DOWN.

    So can you really survive it and live after this, can you get rid of haunting thoughts or memories or can you get used to them and accept them. You can fight with pain and thoughts with mediation, that often helps at some point, sometimes helps very well, sometimes a bit, but it does. But can it help when you survived hell. Surviving may not be the best choice of words but, can you live with those memories. I can’t say I survived it, I would rather say: they didn’t kill me.

    #205609
    anita
    Participant

    Dear joanna:

    Glad you started a new thread. It’s been slow today. I am bringing up your thread to the top of the list of Topics hoping you get some replies.

    Take good care of yourself.

    anita

     

    #205611
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Anita

    Thank you. I hope you are doing okay.

     

    #205623
    ally
    Participant

    Joanna,

    Your post touched me and I am so sorry that was the childhood you endured. You didnt deserve any of it. What has helped me through an unhealthy and toxic upbringing is trying to find compassion for the people who hurt me. Compassion is not saying anything they did was okay but its acknowledging that they are very unhealthy themselves and did the best they could with what they knew. You are so deserving of love and happiness. You are deserving of a good life. I read a quote that said “It is rarely our fault what happens to us, but it is our sole responsibility to overcome it.”  I have a couple of questions for you.

    1. Have you been to a counselor?

    2. What is your relationship with your parents like presently?

    #205631
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Ally

    Thank you for your response. I have gone through compassion to my parents, I think I had too much of it for them. I have a lot of sympathy and understanding  for them, in a way they would never repay me for the care and concern I had for them. I am aware they both didn’t have enough love in their homes so they ended up being occupied with themselves rather than noticing me. My dad’s parents are bad people. They hated him and hate me too although they barely know me. He once said his mother told him that she regrets she didn’t kill him before he was born when she was pregnant. I can imagine what his life looked like when he was a kid. I sometimes thought I have forgiven my father but it’s not true. I’m angry at both of them for failing me and putting me through hell. I wouldn’t hurt my own child after what I’ve been through.

    I have plans to go to a therapy this or next month, due to some other issues too but mostly those scenes from my childhood haunting me.

    I moved out from my my father’s house when I was 12. He died 10 years ago, without ever apologizing or making it up to me. Never wanted to fix our relationship or keep meeting me. I lived with my mother until 21, recently she moved out again because she broke up with her boyfriend. She then started to treat me really bad. I’m planning to move out soon. In last weeks our relation has worsened because I told her it’s her fault her boyfriend bullied me over the years and my life was a nightmare, also I told her I want him to give me back money he took from me to renovate his house. She barely speaks to me, I guess because of the fact they had the argument because of me.

    When I think I’ll be living alone I have a hope the nightmares and haunting thoughts will vanish. But I know it may not be that easy. There are days I remember sitting in that room and can’t move, can’t get out of the bed. I have to but I have this feeling how can I go on with my life with THIS in my head. How would anyone go on. I have faced a lot of things in my life lately, a lot of painful things. Trying to overcome it, to fix myself. This stays and fills me with so much anger that they did this to me and none of them were ever sorry or felt responsible. Anger but also pity for myself, sympathy that no one had for me then. Then or ever.

    I have been to a counselor many times in my life but it was never a success. I was either ignored, not got enough attention or was prescribed meds that made it worse. But I’m giving myself another chance, looking for someone who may help me this time.

    #205637
    ally
    Participant

    Joanna,

    Let me give you sympathy and empathy then because I truly do feel it. I lost my mother suddenly about 10 years ago and have an extremely strained relationship with my father so my heart goes out to you with our similar/ reverse situations. I absolutely understand the anger, it is so painful and it can consume you. Do you have any other type of support system around you? extended family, family friends, friends, coworkers, or someone else you can trust?  By what you said above it seems like you have been a very forgiving person and a helpful person to your family still. You said youd never treat your children the way you were treated and you need to know that because of your upbringing as awful as it was- you came out wanting better- wanting to not continue the cycle. Some people fall trap to the cycle and you are strong and self aware. I hope you give yourself credit for this because it takes extreme strength.

    #205645
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Ally

    Thank you, for those kind words. Yes I’ve read your posts about your relationship with your father. It amazes me how children care about fixing and bringing family together and how parents don’t need that. We are adults but we are stuck with being those children of theirs, we can’t let this go, and they don’t even try. Yes, I’m trying to be aware and not hurt other people, although I have worked with kids (teaching them) and I’ve been fighting with the feeling of anger, illogical anger with no reason, I feel it because I was taught and shown anger for many years. This anger consumes me and there were times when it was really hard for me to understand it and to calm myself down. I now know not to trust my own feelings and urges, be more mindful and have control over what’s coming to my head. But the anger is here anyway, I control it and resist but I feel illogical rage sometimes towards children and I hate it because it’s not me who creates it. I like kids I teach, some of them I really adore and this anger comes to me anyway, because someone put it in my head and programmed it. Mind works in twisted ways. Thank you for appreciating this I’m really trying, I mean I never act on anger, I would never. It destroys me only, not other people.

    I have a friend, a grandma, few members of family, not much. Not much of a family to be honest. I’ve lost two friends recently.

    #205657
    ally
    Participant

    Joanna,

    I feel that as well, I truly dont understand not wanting to be close to your children or close to your family. I think that anger is normal as long as you are aware of healthy ways to deal with it. You seem very self aware of your feelings which also shows great strength. Is there anything that you do for yourself that is an outlet for your feelings? I know you mentioned that you will be going to counseling which I think is great, sometimes it takes a few different counselors to find one that truly gets you so Im really happy to read youre not giving up on that. It took me a few people and now I found someone who has helped me immensely in the last few months.Also,  I do a fast paced yoga class twice a week which also helps me release some of my built up stress and anger. (I have moments as well where it overwhelms me- so I deff understand). Is there something that you love to do?  Have you ever thought of writing both your parents letters about how you feel? I know your Dad passed away- I am very sorry- but writing him a letter is for you- not him.

    Im asking so many questions so I will stop and let you reply 🙂

    #205669
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Ally

    Thanks for asking questions, I really appreciate it. I did running for some time, it worked really well, I was exhausted (in a good way) and slept better. Now I try long walks, I would love to run again. I watch a lot of movies, helps me sometimes. I used to take pictures. But I can’t think of any other way to release anger and emotions. How does yoga help you?

    Yes I did write letters to my dad, very angry letters. Helps me in a way that it helps to acknowledge my hurt, that I don’t deny or justify his guilt. I talked to my mother but it’s hard to talk to her and change her way of thinking. When I told her I’m moving out she made herself a victim. She started drinking sometimes and making me feel guilty. That I caused her argument with her boyfriend and I want to be far away from her, because it’s her who is number 1 person here. Like it’s not about me, this life, my life, is not about me being happy but it’s about her, and how I hurt her with my decisions. I thought about writing a letter to her about all this.

    #205791
    anita
    Participant

    Dear joanna:

    I hope you will receive more replies. I was thinking as well that if it is helpful to you, you can post on your thread anytime, as in journaling, express your thoughts and feelings. (I read so far all your posts and will probably keep reading).

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by anita.
    #205803
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thank you Anita, that means a lot. Thank you for reading this, that’s really a lot for me if someone reads it, especially you. Yes, writing helps me.

    I often write on my laptop when I’m overwhelmed and then when I finish I read it again, it loses its power then, if it makes sense. So yes, writing as releasing emotions is good when there’s no one to talk to.

    I feel more free since I don’t suppress, hide or deny what happened to me. I feel like all my childhood I was living in hell and then during the day no one ever talked about this within family. I am not sorry for blaming my mother that she started arguments. I know my father was drinking but a child knows only what she or he feels, which is fear, and she caused it and he watched me there and let this happen. He let this happen and she let this happen. Doesn’t matter who was right or wrong in a fight, what matters is you are hurting someone. They both failed me in their own way. I am not sorry I made our relation worst than it has even been because I said openly that her boyfriend  bullied me for years and he owes me money for renovations in his house 10 years ago, and now I want them back, because I will need them for my own place. I realize I started a “war” and it will never be the same again but it’s them who did this to me, it’s not me who did this to them (as she claims). The only reason for this situation is that no one is standing on my side, and she says she has to be “in between” which is not true, she’s not in between, she’s just forced to behave like she’s in between. But she’s against me. When I told her I want my money back she told me”why are doing this to me, you want me to jump off the bridge why are you so mean why are you so stubborn just let it go” and that she’s not going to “survive” it, whatever that means. I told her I’m not doing doing this to her, or to him, I’m doing this for me. Then she started drinking after a fight with him. It showed me how much I am important in all this, and how much she “cares” about me. It gave me an important lesson, one of the most important lessons in my life. I can’t specifically say what it was but it changed a lot, like it has ended something forever.  I feel it’s overwhelming and it’s too much, but it also feels like releasing from chains a little bit. They say to lose everything means to gain everything, and that gives hope. I think I’m handing it quite well given what I’ve been through last months. I know there’s a hope in the end.

    #205859
    Sarah
    Participant

    Hi Joanna, First let me say your brave. You’re reaching out. You took the first step toward walking away from that violence toward the light. I’m a victim of long term childhood violence and have PTSD but I decided a year ago at 61 years old to not live in that part of my mind any longer. For me it meant getting a good therapist I could learn to trust and talk about it and learn about all the things that triggered me. The triggers are getting less and less, and even though it’s been hard I learned new ways to live my life. I also walked away from my mother and have not seen or spoke to her in 3 years. I have forgiven her but she would be unhealthy for me to be around. I’ve learned to meditate, pray to my own version of a higher power and place myself near healthy people. I’m starting to really like me today and you can too. Just keep talking and looking for a better way to live love and learn.

    This year I wrote this

    To My Little Girl Inside

    A Day To Fly

    Time to come out now,
    There’s no need to hide,
    The raging storms are over,
    God has stemmed the tide.

    Let us fly together,
    Feel the wind upon our face,
    The doves will soar right with us,
    With Gods amazing grace.

    The endless nights are over,
    The daylight comes at last,
    A brilliant light surrounds you,
    You’re free from all the past.

    No more crying tears of loss,
    You can smile, laugh and dance,
    Musical sounds will sooth you,
    You’ll sing your songs at last.

    The fears of life that surrounded you,
    Can fade and drift away,
    Come take my hand and walk with me,
    Together we’re strong and safe.

    So let us fly together,
    Feel the wind upon our face
    The doves will soar right with us,
    With Gods Amazing grace.

    #205907
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Sarah,

    The poem is beautiful, very emotional for me. Thank you for that. I woke up today and read this, made me smile. I can’t say I’m brave, I would rather say I’m afraid of everything. But someone saying this to me, like you, gives me strength so thank you for that. Yes, the triggers, I kind of notice them but I’m not sure exactly what they are. I guess the moments when I felt fear and someone’s aggression towards me, similar situations now trigger me. Like kids being weak, people’s silence. My mother used to yell at me for being silent and passive. Still very confusing for me. What are your triggers? Can you tell me more, of course if you feel comfortable to, if not, that’s okay. I’m a bit afraid of psychotherapy after my experiences in the past, talking abut it which is hard, and getting nothing in return. But I want to try, this month perhaps.

    #205977
    Sarah
    Participant

    Look for a therapist that has 10+ years of experience with PTSD and childhood trauma and choose a male or female the gender your most comfortable with. I found triggers by keeping a journal and reading it to my therapist.  If I see a child being slapped in the store, it maybe just something I taste in food or a smell in the room. I write all these things down. The hardest for me was talking about the shame. It took almost 8 months to tell him my darkest secrets. Secrets were the things that most troubled me. I trusted no one but if they did not come out I knew I would stay sick. These were not just bad things that happened to me but what I did to others. What I have learned is I must live only in the day. Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery so all I have is the here and now. Remember you can start your day over at 2 in the afternoon. Today I must learn what I’m grateful for now.  So I’m sending you rainbows. Give yourself a hug.

    #206017
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thank you Sarah, those are the small things that matter the most.

    I am glad you have trusted someone, I know how hard it is. I can’t imagine I would tell anyone what this aggression “tells me” to do to myself over the years. Maybe there are people whom I would tell this but not sure if they would want to listen (not my parents, that’s for sure. people who I trust(ed), not many of them though).

    Recently I feel much more strength, writing helps me, but also my own thinking. I’m starting to feel like I don’t want to be this (their) child anymore. I know it may sound bad, but I feel like all my life I have been living, re-living and re-playing those scenes from my childhood, sitting in this room with them, being exposed to violence, not being able to stop this (despite asking them) with no help from anyone. Sometimes I imagine myself (now of course because it’s not the past, it’s present – me sitting there with them) leaving this room. I imagine getting up and leaving. Not caring if my mother will kill my dad, or if my dad will kill my mom, as those were my everyday problems when being a 5 year old child. I’m thinking I’m letting this go. I’m thinking they came to me with this problem to help them solve it and to look after them. I remember being 5 years old and I knew I had to take care of them because I thought I had this responsibility. On the other hand I was sitting there unable to do anything, and they wouldn’t even listen to me. So I wasn’t there to protect them or to help them. They don’t need it and I can’t help them. So I imagine getting up and leaving them, and letting go of this made up responsibility of mine.  The only thing that keeps me in this room is my fear that if I leave something bad happen to them, so I have to be there and look after them. But they didn’t even ask for my help, so what am I still doing there. Being able to imagine getting up and leaving countless times gives me a bit more freedom, and insight. I hope someday I will be able to do this without hesitation and for this I need to be caring about myself more than I care about them, which I think I’m getting used to this idea.

    “Remember you can start your day over at 2 in the afternoon.” – Thank you for that sentence, I sometimes beat myself up for ruining my day with doing this and that which I promised myself I wouldn’t do, and now there it is again.. Still have to tell myself everyday again and again to be gentle and forgiving to myself.

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