October 17, 2016 at 9:34 pm #118387
Hi! I found this site whilst googling some stuff for schoolwork. I got distracted, clicked on one of the forums, and it seems to be filled with support; thought I'd share my story, in hopes of helpful suggestions.
To start off, I'm 15 – my birthday is in two days. I'll get to that later. I've been going through the most stressful years of my life (yes, yes, boo hoo, “you're a normal teenager, get over it”, I understand, but hear me out.) My mother has been dating guy after guy, and they only seem to get more and more unkind. She's been dating this current guy for nearly 4 years, and I've been crying constantly for nearly 4 years. He moved in after they dated for a month. He's nearly every single trait of an emotionally abusive person. He insists on making hurtful jokes aimed at me until I cry.
I used to sit in the living room every night with the family, but now, I spend about 23 hours a day in my room (I'm home schooled). It's been this way for the past 2 years. When I sat in the living room with them, I would tremble with dread when he got home. I knew what was coming. Sometimes, I'd try to go to my bedroom early. It's easier to completely avoid him, and live in my bubble. He still shouts passive aggressive, indirect comments about me in the hallway, though. I had my first breakdown right before I started permanently living in my bedroom. That's when I decided to get help. My mother showed concern, and yelled at him for his behavior, but it's only gotten worse, since. I've been going to counseling for about a year and a half now. It's alright, but I don't see it as extremely beneficial. She says if she were to try to file a report, nothing could be done, since I'm nearly 16. During the end of one of the last counseling appointments, my mom left her phone home to charge, and she was driving on the way to pick me up. I didn't know that though, so I called her phone a few times. He took her phone, and texted me to walk home. I thought it was her, so I started bidding the counselor goodbye, until he told me that she's on her way. I was extremely upset, because I would've walked home.
So, since I spend most of my time in my room, out of fear, I don't help out around the house. This means that I get yelled at, even more. I was never taught how to do chores, so I'm not sure how to do simple things. Even washing dishes and cooking are difficult for me. He throws huge tantrums when he comes home first, mainly because of the dogs, who like to make messes. He calls me names from the hallway. I've learned to just wear headphones and listen to music on full volume. If I don't, I start doing self-harm, again, because the words get to me. The other day, around 8pm, he started whining from their bedroom because I turned on my only bedroom light. I don't know what else he expects me to do, besides mope around in the dark.
This isn't the first abusive one, either. The last one threw my mother across the kitchen, after a heated argument about a car. A car she bought him, but he shouldn't have even been driving in the first place, since he was on probation, after being in jail for possession of a large amount of drugs. After that, the cops were called, he started driving that car around our house and her work, and we had to live in a hotel for a week. The current boyfriend finds that hilarious, and makes jokes about it all the time. It really unravels a lot of healing I've gone through.
I try to eat as little as possible, because I feel like a financial burden. I don't feel like I deserve to eat; but I feel guilty when mom takes the time to prepare a meal. I always try to make as little noise as possible, and raise as little attention to myself as possible. I don't leave my room if just him and I are home; no matter how bad I have to use the bathroom, or how hungry I may be. There's been times where I've been outside of my room when he came home, and I had to hide until there was a clear way to my bedroom. Oh god. I'm trembling, just by typing this. The past few nights have been hard to get to sleep. I lay down, in the dark, for 20 minutes, something clicks, and then I have an uncontrollable tremor that keeps me up for hours.
A few Sundays ago, I started crying uncontrollably. I didn't want that Monday to come, because I knew he was going to start screaming again. Mom found me before I could clean up my act again. She asked me what was wrong, so I told her. I told her that I didn't feel safe where I am. I told her what he calls me. She says she calls him names sometimes too, and I just shouldn't take it so personally. She said I need to “get over” feeling like a financial burden. She said the entire situation was surreal to her. I simply apologized and told her I would be fine (because at that point, I knew she wouldn't be able to understand. She's emotionally unavailable). I've never felt so hopeless before. I even went through the trouble of finding domestic violence grants and cheap 2 bedroom apartments for us. That night, I headed to the bathroom, only to hear them quietly arguing in another room. I trapped myself in the bathroom until they were done, which was a little over an hour. He stated that he's only ever yelling at the dogs – which is complete bull. The dogs aren't “failure”s, or “lazy 15 year old”s. He said that he doesn't care about me, at all. He's waiting for the day I move out, so he doesn't have to put up with me anymore. He said I have no aspirations or dreams in life. He said that I'm gonna come crying to my mom when my first boss yells at me. (Which isn't true. I would fix my mistakes, because I would be being paid.) That night was spent trembling, crying more, while enduring a fever.
So, my birthday. I was more excited for my counseling appointment a few days ago, than I am for my birthday. It feels like a huge inconvenience. On every birthday, my biological father loves to spam me in any way he can. I haven't met him in person, for the past 8 years. And I can't remember a time, before that. I've been ignoring his Facebook messages, just because I really don't want to deal with it right now. I was out with a friend, and my mom gave my father my phone number, so I was forced to reply to him. He's begging me to hang out with him, but I told him the thought made me a little uncomfortable. He offers dinner with my mom and him. The thought makes me tremble, but I didn't reply. He makes me feel guilty for not interacting with him more. He was asking me for my social security, last year. In the past, he stole it (we might've changed it since) for extra government money. I also hate birthdays because more is to be expected of me, each year. Now, everyone probably wants me to get my permit and find a job within the next two days, when it's much easier to just cry in bed all day.
I had a disturbing realization, the other day. I never do anything for myself. Every day of the week is spent pushing through. Though, I don't know what I'd want. I don't know what to do. Life just feels so bland, and I have to put up with this for 2 more years, before I can move out. I like to listen to music and draw, but nothing's been coming onto paper, and finishing old art pieces feels like a chore. I just don't know. The only thing keeping me going, is the thought of moving out, and starting life how I want. If you read this to the end, thank you.October 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm #118442
Your birthday is tomorrow then. I am sorry it cannot be a better birthday.
Your mother has arranged for you to have counseling so to not take her live-in boyfriend's abuse of you so seriously? Ridiculous. It is her job as your mother to NOT have a person who abuses you live in the home with you! Before counseling, remove the abuse, for crying out loud!
Too bad you are in this situation. I am so sorry. I too wish you could move out already. It is possible, is it, to go through the courts and legally emancipate yourself and move out, with some government help.
I would vote for your legal emancipation and arrange for your living away from your mother and her current live-in boyfriend as well as any of her series of boyfriends in the past. You need a safe home, one where you feel safe, not scared.
I wonder if there is an agency (depending where you live) that can help you. Maybe one of the “Free Resources” on the home page of this website?
I am so sorry. I too grew up in a home where I wasn't safe. Post again, anytime.
anitaOctober 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm #118457
Hi Anita! Thank you for taking the time to read and respond thoughtfully!
Yes, my birthday is tomorrow. It's only one step closer towards a brighter future, I'd like to think.
Thank you for your sympathy and support, I truly appreciate it. Emancipation is a thought I've gone over many times before, but I just don't think I could do it all by myself. Any housing around here is well over $1000 USD, and not very many of them would take emancipated children, either. Any job I could get right now wouldn't be nearly enough to cover what rent and bills would add up to. Traveling out of state would only be more money down the drain. I don't think it's an option right now, as much as I wish it was, and as much as I wish I had the motivation to go find a job, and work. Being in public alone is a scary thought, and being stuck at a job alone, surrounded by strangers, is another scary thought. I think my best choice is to stay put, and take advantage of having a roof over my head for free, for the time being. Change is scary, though well-needed. I just worry that if something does change, I'll end up in an even worse situation, or a situation where I can't contact my friends/boyfriend. I wish my father was a more trustworthy person, so I could just request to live with him. There's just not much to be done right now. And I'm sorry that you had to grow up in a similar environment. How did you cope? How did you get through it?October 19, 2016 at 11:03 am #118501
Happy Birthday, as happy as it can be in your circumstances: make some of it good…
I didn't think you can make emancipation happen all by yourself, of course. You will need help. If there is help available for you, as an abused child- an agency or program available for you, in your situation, I hope you can contact such and be helped.
As to your question: how did I cope and get through it? Not well. The cost to my well being was severe. I lived an adult life of dysfunction and further misery for decades after leaving the actual home-of-origin.
You mentioned friends and a boyfriend- I had neither when I was a child, so I am hoping life is a … bit better than mine was, that you are somehow in a not as-bad a situation as I was (so that the severity of the consequences in my life will not be your own).
Post anytime- if it helps for you to do so and receive my replies, I am very motivated to reply to you every time you post (when I do have internet at home, which I haven't for days and am using a business location).
anitaOctober 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm #118507
I am sorry that you are in such a bad situation. The boyfriend of your mother sounds like a horrible person, I would hide in my room as well! No matter what your mother says, it is not and should not be normal behavior to call people names.
You wrote: “I lay down, in the dark, for 20 minutes, something clicks, and then I have an uncontrollable tremor that keeps me up for hours.” This statement worries me. Are you afraid he could come into your room? Can you lock your room?
I don't feel qualified to give you advice, but I had some ideas while reading your post so here it is anyway.
1. Get a new therapist/counselor. From what you wrote she sounds useless. for starters she had 1 1/2 years to file that report. I'm also curious what she suggested how you deal with your mothers boyfriend.
2. I think you need to get out of the house more. Options that come to mind: doing some of your studying at the library, joining clubs/ volunteer groups. Getting a small job. I know especially the last one might be daunting, it certainly was and is for me. But anything you do that gets you in touch with other people is great and you can learn something (even if it's only those cleaning skills 🙂 )
October 20, 2016 at 2:22 am #118531
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Peppermint.
@anita: My birthday was surprisingly alright, besides my father's constant harassment. He'said really trying to get me to meet up with him, and he won't take no for an answer. And maybe I'll ask my counselor about some options for help, but change is still very scary.
I'm very sorry to hear that you didn't cope well. I can only hope that you're better now, or will become better soon. My boyfriend and two other close friends do help me out a lot, and I'm so very thankful for them.
@peppermint: Thank you for taking the time to read through and reply. I'm not too worried about him breaking in at this time of night, just because he's usually in a deep sleep, since he has to get up early. I don't have a lock on my bedroom door, but at times I've stacked up a few full boxes in front of it, just in case. Usually when the tantrums are extra noisy.
Thank you for the suggestions. I really do appreciate any opinions on the situation, because I'm at a loss.
In regards to #1, I don't know. I have a bit of an attachment to my counselor, and I'm not sure if I have the energy to open myself up to someone else, all over again. She doesn't ever have many suggestions besides getting out of the house, and meeting people at certain gatherings – basically your second suggestion.
I always contemplate leaving the house for a little bit (I live across the street from a mall, and a lot of shops and such) but I never know what I'll come home to. The thought scares me too much to leave. Even if it's just him and I home, and we pass eachother with silence, it's still painfully uncomfortable and awkward. It ruins my day, even. I've gotten to the point where when I'm in the same room as him, I have a natural tendency to turn the other way. Or whenever he talks, even if it's on the phone with someone, I need to play some music to just block out his voice. Jobs are scary, and just a wittle too much stress for right now, especially with school breathing up my neck, and such.October 20, 2016 at 7:04 am #118537
As the father of a 16 year old girl I am In touch with your age group. I can tell you that your writing skills are very strong. You are clear thinking and I can see you working your way through this situation and coming out unscathed.
You are an intelligent, evolved, insightful person who unfortunately has to try to survive a bad situation with an abusive person. But you are really okay. In all of this, you are evolving and he is not. Think about how sad and pathetic he is. What lies under his abuse is fear, past abuse, and who knows what else. That will never change. If you were to go visit him x number of years from now when he is on his deathbed (not that you would or should) you would find the same unevolved bitter man. He will take these problems with him to the grave. You will not.
So look at it this way- while you may be stuck in this bad situation with him for a few more years, you are also free and evolving in a way he is incapable of. You are doing the right things, are very healthy mentally, and have surrounded yourself with as much support as is available to you right now. And most importantly, you have some ‘distance’ on the problem, that is, you have it in perspective, which is exceptional for your or any age.
Try not to let it take all the joy out of your childhood- something that should be your right, and something no one has a right to mess with. Down the line it will be important for you to keep a vigilant eye and make sure you don’t ‘repeat’ the phenomenon, meaning that it doesn’t find its way into relationships you have since we humans often defer to things that are familiar to us, or repeat the patterns of our parents (despite our better judgement).
And by the way – you do have another skill – something that will serve you well. It is your writing and clear thinking. So think about incorporating writing/communications into your future. I realize none of this is easy but I have no doubt that you will come out of this situation okay, and that the inner strength I see in you will win out.October 20, 2016 at 8:36 am #118542
I am glad your birthday was alright. I can relate to something you wrote in your last post: being afraid to leave home because you don't know what you will be coming back to. As a child and onward, your age, I too was afraid to leave the apartment where I lived with my mother. I was anxious being away because I didn't know what was going on there, in what state she was in. I hated THOSE surprises, that is returning to an angry, violent mother. I preferred to stay and be in some sort of… control, a sense of control in that I controlled NOT getting terribly surprised.
Thank you for your concern. I have been healing from my childhood traumas in the last five plus years, ever since my first psychotherapy with a competent, empathetic, hard working and professional therapist. Doing well.
anitaOctober 20, 2016 at 8:45 am #118544
I see that you indicated you are home=schooled, which can be quite isolating in itself. Hard to make friends or a social life, if isolated like that. Is the home-school situation a choice or is there a reason you could not attend a neighborhood school instead of the isolated life you have. Just curious, as the social interactions in a usual high school may or may not help you to cope with things. Also the counselors at the local schools are well-versed in teenage issues and are helpful also.October 20, 2016 at 7:05 pm #118580
@mitchellspielberg: Thank you for taking the time to reply! You made some very great points, that I haven't even considered before. Also, thank you for your kind comments.
I think I'm doing the best possible things I can in this situation. And I really appreciate that you can identify mistreatment, as a father. I would hate for someone else to go through this. Though it's inevitable, that doesn't mean there can't be some prevention.
As far as childhood goes – to me, it ended very long ago. The magical, innocent feeling we all know is not something I've felt for quite some time. I went through other abuse when I was very young. I'd rather not bring it up, just because I don't want to make anymore of a sob story out of myself than I already have. And mentally, I've always been a few steps ahead. I'm reaching that point where I have this urge to spread my wings, and I feel like staying around the nest is pointless. In reason, I know it's irrational, because I really wouldn't survive a day on my own. Oh dear, I rambled a bit.
And as far as writing goes – it's an old passion. School's kind of killed any interest I might've had for it. Writing bland prompt after bland prompt for years has made it more of a chore, and doing it as a hobby is just kind of a dreadful thought. Though, I still love grammar and editing (just because it reminds me of first grade literature classes) and I edit some of my friend's work from time to time. It's nothing special, really.
@anita: Hi again.
I can completely agree. Even having control over little things like that is pretty comforting. I'm always trying to plan things into ways that'll bring me the least amount of discomfort. When I did manage to work out, during the summer, I would always make sure that I would be home by 1pm. He comes home around 2pm or later. I always make sure to grab something from the kitchen around that time too, or after everyone is asleep that night. I walk my two dogs daily with my mom, right after she comes home. Sometimes, he comes home first, and I usually wait for him to go to their bedroom for whatever reason, before I go to the livingroom to put on my shoes and leave. He's caught onto it though, and likes to point it out. I've managed to take a deep breath and just quickly get my stuff and go, while he's still in the livingroom. I have a slip-on pair of shoes I put on daily, just so I spent as little time in the livingroom as possible. I almost think it's ocd-related, just because I have some extremely compulsive habits, and excessive planning has become one of them.
I've been thinking, to soothe my worries of coming back home a little, I can leave to go to the mall while everyone's still gone, and then text my mom to pick me up when she gets home. Though, sometimes, she's stuck working late. Well, I probably won't be able to go for a while, just since I have my online classes in the afternoon, and everyone is home all day on the weekends.
I'm very glad to hear that you're doing well! I can only hope that I can heal after all of this is over, too. My counselor said that with the cortisol(stress) surges I get daily from him, it can lead to PTSD. It's a little unnerving, but I'm always trying my best to de-stress as much as possible. I do aromatherapy, listen to soft music, and take brisk walks, daily.
@nan: Thank you for your reply.
I've been homeschooled for the past 2 years, by my own choice. I was miserable in both elementary and middle school. Being around people, mainly people my age, only makes me feel more isolated. I've heard from a former middle school classmate recently, and she apparently thought I was so miserable that I could've easily been suicidal. I wasn't, by the way, I just really didn't like being there. I prefer isolation, or being surrounded by a few very close friends. (Two of my middle school friends come over on the weekends.) I can't be around people all the time either though, I get drained and grumpy after talking to people after a few hours.
In my opinion, online school is a lot easier on me. That doesn't mean it doesn't get stressful though, but what school doesn't? It's just convenient and extremely flexible. If I want to paint at 9am – with the morning sun shining in – instead of being trapped in a classroom, I can. I'll forever be grateful for that. Plus, it's a long story, but I've moved to another city and moved back after a few years, so if I were to transfer to the local highschool, I would have to encounter former best friends, who cut me out of their life. I don't think I want to endure that. Also, as mentioned previously, I don't know what I'd come home to. And the bus ride home would be unimaginably horrendous.October 20, 2016 at 8:10 pm #118582
I like your writing as well. I see how planning helps you to exert control over your situation best you can. Didn't think about it till this moment: did you tell your mother how you feel? Is it at all an option, that if she knew how her boyfriend is harming you, that she will initiate getting him to move out???
anitaOctober 20, 2016 at 8:54 pm #118588
@anita: Thank you. 😀
I've told my mother before, as I briefly mentioned in the main post, but she doesn't take me seriously. I've told her nearly everything (I've left out unhelpful details, like my self harm and such), and she just can't wrap her head around it. From what I've heard, she's grown up in a worse enviroment. She always goes on about how much better I have it than she had it growing up. I've suggested moving out multiple times, but as I mentioned before, rent is pricy. Though I've provided many cheap options to her, and potential financial aid specifically aimed at mothers and children fleeting domestic violence, she said no. She doesn't like change, she's been working the same job for 10 years, with no raise. I don't think she understands the difference between good and bad treatment. I didn't either, until people around me started making it more apparent.
Important little detail: She was actually planning to start dating the past guy again, once he got back out of prison. Even after the physical attacks and stalking. I'll never be able to understand her choices.October 21, 2016 at 9:51 am #118626
I see. No hope there, then. That is unfortunate, for you. Wish she saw your distress and took it seriously.
anitaOctober 21, 2016 at 10:07 am #118633
You bring back an early memory for some reason. When I was very little, a kid came over to play and we built a little city in the dirt with roads, and little mud and stone buildings. A little jewel of a city, a miracle of engineering to me when I was five or six. He then asked me if I liked the city, and when I said yes, he said ‘Oh yeah…? ‘ and proceeded to kick it back to the stone age until it looked like a bombed out desert city, a pile of dirt and sticks. A whole civilization destroyed! What a hurtful violation of what I thought was a joint ‘creation’ Obviously I will never forget this betrayal as even back then it crushed me both in terms of trust, and also creatively. (He later went on to become a major ass in high school. Now, in retrospect I think ‘What an unhappy child he must have been.’) But at the time it made me wary of other kids, not without reason – and that was just abuse from a kid!
When someone is abusive, they are constantly trying to pull at your foundation stones for subconscious reasons of their own. And the healthy reaction (which you have had) is to keep constantly replacing the foundation stones to keep a sense of self and sanity together. However the fallout that occurs from constantly having to rebuild to ground level just to maintain, is that you often don’t get to build your ‘house’, to go further with things just for yourself. And this can lead to not placing the proper value on yourself and in things that are your right. Unfortunately this can become an ingrained habit long after the abuser is out of your life and no, that’s not good enough.
Part of that fallout is chronically undervaluing yourself and things you do. Not in an overt way – it just kind of creeps in. It is very subtle.
Just because something comes naturally or easily to you doesn’t mean that it is less valuable. Putting stock in yourself and in your talent/s is a skill to be learned, like anything else. (Trust me, I am still learning it.) This ‘effort’ is doubled for us ‘creative types since our emotional issues/low self image can spill into not fully valuing those skills we use to express ourselves, whether they are painting, writing, acting, dancing or whatever. Don’t take yourself or your skills and talents for granted. They are the building blocks. It takes time, but learn to take yourself seriously (I mean this!).
School, for many of us (my daughter’s major complaint), can be a great killer of inspiration. So don’t let that color your view on your writing which, I will point out, you do call a passion! That’s not to say you have to become a ‘writer’ per se for a living, but valuing and building on that skill will lead you other fulfilling places be they college, a graphic arts or writing internship at an ad agency, who knows…? (I am planting this seed – pursuing these or other things are your right! You can do this.)
One of the reasons I have time to write all this right now is that I’m waiting to hear back on a job that involves my skill and creativity. There are a lot of moving parts, but one person wants to hire me based on my talent and experience. They hardly know me – and guess what – there’s that little voice in me that STILL says “Who me? Nah…aw, shucks folks, I’m really nothing…it’s just something I do…” The difference is, now at 54, that little voice doesn’t hold sway anymore, and I’ve learned how to ignore, tame, or ‘work with’ it, and to value my talent. But it's an ongoing process.
So there you go, I’ve just suggested yet another burden, and that is to start finding little ways to value the skills and talents that come to you naturally. Even if it’s just in tiny ways that you find affirming. Even if it’s baby steps, really try to figure out how to do it – it’s really more of a slight shift in your thinking than you might think. (Start doing it now, so you’re not one of regretful grown-ups looking back on their lives going ‘I used to x,y,z… I’d like to get back to that..” )
To be clear, there is nothing I am writing just to be ‘kind’ to you. Your intelligence, insight and talent is clear to everyone who reads what you write, and it will be recognized. Trust me on this. So please- make sure it’s clear to yourself as well.
The good news for us creative types is that we kind of get to be kids forever in certain ways.. so the (sometimes lost) magic of childhood finds its way back into our art.
-MitchellOctober 21, 2016 at 12:51 pm #118649
@anita: I know. Whenever I do seem a bit under the weather to her, though, she likes to throw money/candy at me. A few years ago, she actually paid me some amount of cash, and told me it was just for putting up with him. After that last breakdown, she gave me $100 USD. She just doesn't know how to deal with things emotionally, so she likes to fill that void with gifts and perishable items. I've tried to deny her before, but she never does let me. I tell her it's pointless giving a teenage girl money, because it's going to be gone the next day.
@Driftwood: Thank you for your reply. I appreciate that analogy, and it really gets the point across. I'm sorry that someone decided to ruin your architectural masterpiece.
I feel like I'm giving the few last pats on the grave where my passion for writing now lies. I don't know, I just don't see it becoming much more than a decently enjoyable fallback, for now.
And as far as the “I should do ___ again”, I understand. Art runs in the family, and it's something my mother gave up many moons ago. I really enjoy drawing and painting (and photography, though it's a bit out-of-reach right now), but I'm not very sure if any of them could become an income, as much as everyone I know insists. They're something I wouldn't mind doing full-time, but I struggle with finding inspiration and motivation. I think that might be a given, just with how the home life is currently going. Friends tell me that times of crisis could lead to better art, if I just put my feelings onto canvas. It's easier said than done, though, I think. And when I do have some motivation, I'm stuck dealing with schoolwork until 2am, when all my motivation is gone.
Also, thank you for your kind words! Though your intention may not be specifically to be “kind”, it's still kind of you to go through all of the trouble to give me hearty advice.
Oh, and I really hope you get that job, it sounds like something that could really help you appreciate your talents more. I'd be greatly honored to be able to have a job that solely revolved around my creativity.