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Dealing with childhood emotional abuse

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*********************TRIGGER FOR EMOTIONAL ABUSE***********************************





My father emotionally abused me as a teenager. From when I was 15-20. It was hell.

And now all the memories are starting to resurface.


Sort of.


Sometimes they're memories.


Sometimes, they're flashbacks. Reactions, maybe.


Fighting triggers the not-flashbacks but flashbacks. I'm just frozen in place. I can't really move. If I'm at work, I can deal with yelling okay. If I'm not at work, I'm screwed.  I freeze.  Or meltdown all over chat, if I happen to have my keyboard handy at the time.


I was talking with WinterRosie and I agree with her that all abuse is bad. And mine was too. But there's still that little thought process that's going "Yours didn't count because of  X and X and X" and I'm like SHUT UP already. Because it hurt, and it does count, but I feel like it's invalid. And that's an annoying, tough, and irritating feeling!



I'm calling Monday ASAP for a counseling appointment (with a new therapist who can teach me something OTHER than deep breathing).


In the meantime, I don't know how to cope with this. I'm a reactive, deal-with-it now person, and I don't know how to deal with these memories, flashbacks, and thoughts.  Does anyone have any tide-me-through advice?


Additionally, does anyone have any information on any good books about surviving emotional abuse? Everything is just popping up so suddenly, and I don't want to be totally overwhelmed and I'm starting to get there.



Edited by writeandshiny
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Hi Write - 


CEA is absolutely just as bad as any other kind of abuse.  And it comes with the added layer of complexity that there are no marks and nothing to really point to to help other people understand.  I am glad you are looking for a therapist - make sure you get one who is experienced in treating trauma.


One book that I often recommend is Getting Through the Day by Nancy Napier.  It is very inclusive of all types of abuse, and very gentle and basic.

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My father was unpredictable and would fly into a rage for no apparent reason.  He didn't drink at all or anything just got angry a lot.  He's a big man, too.  I used to try to be invisible and do what I was told to not upset him. I think I seemed okay but I was extremely anxious inside.  It's followed me into my adult life where I don't know how to make decisions because I was always told what to do, I get intimidated easily and I've always had a ton of anxiety. My mother would make excuses for him and say how wonderful he was to us.


I'm not trying to change the focus write, just that I have trouble seeing that as abuse too because there are no marks or anything.


I've seen John Bradshaw on tv talk about healing your inner child.  I haven't read his books, but that might be one place to look. And ACOA has groups that include Adult children of dysfunctional families- I haven't looked into that either. Maybe someone else can comment on those?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess this post is a little old, but I just wanted to offer my understanding and support to writeandshiny. I wish to god that my father's  words left a physical scar, so people would know how much it hurt. I think the sexual abuse was the worst, but feeling like shit, feeling totally worthless because of his degrading comments is what has always stuck with me. Not even just him, but the kids I grew up around. The names they called me, the things they made fun of me for, it all sticks. Never let anyone diminish your suffering. Words are one of the cruelest weapons humans possess  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Survivor of child emotional abuse here.

I used to sometimes pray to God that my father would beat me, so that people could see the damage he was doing to me. He said crazy shit to me. He would tell me that I'd done something wrong, and that he knew I knew what I'd done, so he didn't have to tell me what it was, but that he wouldn't speak to me until I apologized an then I'd spend days going over everything I'd been doing to try to figure out what 'crime' I'd committed, and he'd make a big show of ignoring me. And of course, I could never figure out what I'd done, because he was insane, but I would apologize anyway, and he would tell me I wasn't being sincere enough and that I needed to think some more and apologize properly after I did. 


To this day being criticized makes me panic and become physically ill. Thinking of my father makes me ill. Thinking about not doing what I'm told makes me ill. And what makes me the illest of all is that I'm seen as the bad one in the family, whereas this man tortured me and no one believed a word I said. 

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I was emotionally abused by my mom when I was younger, it really sucked. I brought it up to my pdoc and tdoc and they said yes, you can be emotionally abused, and then never said another word about it despite me asking questions. I'm like wtf, so this isn't valid? The stuff she put me through is all in my head and doesn't deserve to be talked about?

The past doesn't bother me anymore, I've made my peace, my mom stays off my back because she knows better now.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another emotional abusee here.


I think this condition fits in diagnostically as "complex PTSD" (as in, there's definitely trauma but it's not immediately evident).  It *IS* valid, at least from a symptomatic standpoint.  We CPTSD sufferers go through re-enactments, nightmares, paranoia, you name it... just like military vets with shell shock do.


If the pen is mightier than the sword, the tongue is pure evil.  I went through over 20 years of "down-your-throat-for-everything" verbal abuse from my mom.  I spent almost every day of my childhood just wanting to die because of it.  ::Trigger:: I really wish I had the guts to give her a knife, point to my throat, and tell her to kill me and get it over with if i were that much of a burden to her. ::Trigger::  Too bad I never had those guts as a kid.


Fortunately I'd since made a reasonable degree of peace with her (and Dad).  Mom will back off, but she's really clingy/attached so this is difficult, so I know how it goes.


That said, a threat of violence, a threat of deprivation, a threat of anything... to a child... could be the same as the corresponding action.  Phrases like "I'm going to [expletive] kill you if you do that again" are almost the same as stabbing the child, especially when used multiple times a day for years on end.

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