So I’ve had some huge life events lately. It’s been a bit overwhelming and I don’t even know what to tell you guys first. [content note on this post for… heavy talk about all sorts of things that are personal to me, like my grandmother’s death and my mother being abusive so read at your own risk.]
Category: Child Abuse
[Content note: discussion of multiple forms of abuse including physical, emotional, child, spousal, etc]
Back in January, I shared my first My Abusive Mother Won’t Leave Me Alone post, complete with a transcription of a voicemail message I received from her.
Allow me to transcribe a couple other messages she’s left more recently, like in August 2016, just for your benefit.
Starting off in a kind of bored tone of voice, her typical “I’m calling because it’s a thing i do but I know you never will reply” thing she does… Also for what it’s worth my dad’s first name has been changed and is listed here as “Joe”, and I’m not sure if she is just a substitute teacher at an elementary school or if she has a different school teacher related job or what, because honestly it’s been almost 7 years since I really knew anything at all concrete about her life and back then she wasn’t working.
So yeah she said:
Hi Emily, it’s me. Look um… Tuesday… (Extra long pause) They were- At work, they were talking about um… how parents don’t read to their children anymore, and… I got a little choked up. ‘Cause I remember… I remember reading to you, in bed, all those times. And then, um, today… Uh… My neighbor – he helps me out all the time – he did this stuff with my dryer and… there’s… Something. I don’t even know what it is but it had ‘Emily’ on it, it’s a metal thing, slowing?(I’m not sure what word she said) it down, and I just… started crying. And just cried, and cried, and cried. And um… you were a really nice kid. You really were. You were a really nice child, when you were young, you were so sweet, and… If there’s any of that left in you… (Her teariness sort of fades off here ish) look me in the eye. Look me in the eye, and tell me it’s okay that- that Joe beat me. And then we can say goodbye! How’s that? Ok. I love you. Bye.
This is part 3 of a series of posts I’m going to be writing on the topic of gaslighting (& my personal experiences with it).
[Content Notes: Discussion of my mother and her abuse, mainly her emotional/verbal/psychological abuse. Use of a NSFW curse word and discussion of a NSFW body part.]
Part 1 talked more about her abuse, specifically, and that post can be found here: Gaslighting & Crocodile Tears
Part 2 focused more abstractly on society with some undercurrents of my mother. Gaslighting & Santa Claus
I cut off all contact with my mother when I was 18 years old, but for another year-and-a-half or so my brother still was visiting with her, and he also was forced to endure something which I never had to, since it started after I was legally an adult: reunification therapy where he, our mother, and a psychologist would sit in a room together.
My brother didn’t like to talk much about his unpleasant experiences at those sessions, but when he did, he recounted my mother being a woman who would complain about our father the entire time, despite the therapist’s best efforts to get the conversation to be focused on something beside our dad. My mother felt the first two therapists were biased against her, so they switched to different psychologists for continued reunification counseling. My mother would insist my father was relevant because supposedly he had “brainwashed” me and my brother into thinking anything negative about her. Supposedly my father was evil. Supposedly there was no way my brother (or I) could have valid reasons of his (/our) own for having the strained-at-best relationship he (/we) did with her.
At one point, my mom started going too far with the third therapist, and he flat-out said to her, in the reunification session between her and my brother, “You’ve already lost your daughter. Do you really want to lose your son too?”
I have a lot I want to say in reply to this post:
which, to try to clarify, is Coyote blogging about their reaction to a certain tumblr post, and more specifically I want to reply to epochryphal’s comments too (and Coyote’s replies to co as well).
This is not actually a real blog post. This is basically a mess of jumbled thoughts
type way-too-long comment on someone else’s blog post, a way-too-long comment from luvtheheaven. (Whoops that didn’t make sense, did it?)
(To clarify:) This is basically something that started as a comment on someone else’s blog post and still basically is a REALLY long version of yes, a comment on someone else’s blog post.
And then because I was turning it into its own separate blog post, yeah, I made it way longer and just kept writing. Feel free to move along as if there is nothing to see here.
Wow. This is a lot to take in, you guys. Side note for Coyote: Because you linked it, I’ve just now (re?) read your “Models of Conceptualizing Morality” post and even if I did read the post itself before (and I do think I probably did?), well, for probably the first time I have now read the comments there too.
When you first posted this Coyote, epochryphal hadn’t commented yet. And I read just the post and tried to appreciate what you were saying. I went back and forth between the linked tumblr post and your blog post reaction to it here until I got through the whole thing, but of course I first looked at #12.
[Content Note for mentions of publicized news stories about gang rape:]
This is part 2 of a series of posts I’m going to be writing on the topic of gaslighting (& my personal experiences with it). This particular post in the series is more general and doesn’t dive into any specifics of my mother’s abuse, not really. I am not putting any trigger warnings on this blog post. If you think I need a content note/trigger warning, let me know.
Part 1 talked more about her abuse, specifically, and that post can be found here: Gaslighting & Crocodile Tears
Christmas was only a month-and-a-half ago, and every year, it brings its fair share of memories, both positive and negative, and also plenty of memories that just “are” – neutral memories, as well.
Something just hit me one morning a couple of weeks ago, though, and that’s just how much gaslighting was involved in things my mother did around Christmas in my childhood.
In the past, when I would read posts like this on the signs of emotional abuse: http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/138652549987/what-are-the-signs-of-emotional-abuse, I always thought my mom didn’t engage in the particular abusive tactic known as “gaslighting”. I’d been reading posts like that for a long while now, and I always though that if gaslighting is defined as:
A form of psychological abuse involving the manipulation of situations or events that cause a person to be confused or to doubt his perceptions and memories. Gaslighting causes victims to constantly second-guess themselves and wonder if they’re losing their minds.
then, well, I didn’t experience it. I never really second-guessed my experiences, and I definitely never thought I was losing my mind.
But then, a few weeks ago when I started the draft of this blog post, which I actually started writing before my post on Crocodile Tears, I did a Google search for more explanation on the abuse tactic that is gaslighting, and the first thing I clicked on was this Everyday Feminism article on the topic (“10 Things I’ve Learned About Gaslighting As An Abuse Tactic”), and… the degree to which I can relate to multiple aspects of this post when I think back on specific things with my mom is… um… actually a little scary.
Look at these quotes from the article:
Gaslighting does not require deliberate plotting. Gaslighting only requires a belief that it is acceptable to overwrite another person’s reality.
I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that this is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality.
You can see it in the media constantly.
For instance, every time an obvious hate crime is portrayed as an isolated case of mental illness, this is gaslighting. The media is saying to you, What you know to be true is not true.
The quotes will become relevant soon.
In order for me to explain the relevance… I’m going to recount my experience with Santa Claus, because my lovely abusive mother (note the sarcasm dripping from my voice as I call her “lovely”) left me a voicemail on my cell phone on December 28th saying she remembers my reaction when she told me Santa wasn’t real.
She remembers that?!?
This is part 1 of a series of posts I’m going to be writing on the topic of gaslighting (& my personal experiences with it).
[Content Note: discussion of emotional/verbal/psychological abuse from a mother.]
I had this stuffed animal when I was young that I slept with every night, that I even vaguely remember playing with. It was this teddy-bear-sized yellow thing that I believe was supposed to be a “chick” (baby rooster, probably, judging by the bow-tie sewn around his neck, very odd stuffed animal honestly), there was a little tag on the animal which said “chick”, but I, as a young kid who didn’t know how to read, called it (her? I don’t think I thought of the toy as a he but whether or not I gave it a gender I am unsure) by a name that clearly implied I had misinterpreted which type of bird it was. Lol.
I called my stuffed animal Baby Ducky.
And last night, while at a local atheist meetup, a man mentioned how his 16-year-old son is still very emotionally attached to his stuffed animals, and how he told his wife that they can never get rid of those, he knows it would crush his son. I mentioned how I was pretty upset when my mom told me I was too old to sleep with my stuffed animal.
What I didn’t mention though, was that my mom was my abuser. What I didn’t mention was that last night, for the first time in a surprising number of years, I remembered the fact that I had actually used that stuffed toy to sop up my tears on multiple occasions. I remember crying in my bedroom in the house we moved into in 4th grade, so I must’ve been no younger than 10 or so, lying in my bed, using that stuffed animal as a very poor excuse for comfort, and also using it much like people would normally use a tissue in these situations. Using it for both purposes.
[Content Note: NSFW/explicit language used (one word), discussion of an abusive parent… let me know if I should’ve warned for something specifically but didn’t. I can add it up here.]
It has been 8 years and 9 months since one particular fateful evening, at the end of April 2007, when my younger brother and I decided to take our mother up on her ultimatum that if we left her house and went with our father on a Wednesday night, went with him to a get a doctor to look at my brother’s broken hand, well… the ultimatum said we wouldn’t be allowed back in the house. We would literally be kicked out. She told us if we went with him, we better pack our bags. And so… we did. Then she made us give back our keys to get into the house.
It has been approximately 5 hours less than that since she has been trying to get us back. Around midnight that night, she started pretending she never uttered that ultimatum in the first place. Or perhaps by then she had become deeply delusional and truly did not remember that she spoke those words. I tried to remind her. Tried to tell her to just look at the keys she now was in possession of as proof of what had happened. Regardless, she did deliver that ultimatum. Many times. That had just been the time we decided to take her up on it, because that time — with my brother’s hand’s well being being at stake — it was worth it. Clearly our mom never imagined we’d ever actually take the “leave the house” option.
I’ve written about my mother being abusive on a number of occasions, most notably in a 3-part series of posts that starts here: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/figuring-out-my-mother-was-an-abuser-part-1-of-3/
And you may want to read those to understand some of the context of what in the world I’m even talking about.
On my 18th birthday, in January 2008, almost exactly 8 years ago now, I cut my mother out of my life completely — putting all phone conversations and visits to an end — and I haven’t regretted it, not for one moment.
I started writing this post well over a year ago. It’s been in my drafts the entire time. I wanted to finish it and post it today.
Here’s a post that really ties together the two main words in the title of my blog – a post heavy in both discussion of family (namely my own family life) and heavy in discussion of fandom. 😉
Content warnings for discussions of personality disorders, bipolar disorder, child abuse, brief mentions of violence and suicide.
This is a late entry for the October 2015 Carnival of Aces on Aromanticsm and the Aromantic Spectrum, which I myself was hosting here on this blog. Sorry for the delay. The full round up will be posted within the hour!
First things first: I must update you loyal readers of my blog. Some of you may remember I identified as wtfromantic. That still accurately describes my feelings toward romantic and platonic “feelings” and “attractions”, even the whole relationships aspect of it… It still describes my place on the aro spectrum pretty accurately, I think. But I’ve slowly started to ease into identifying as aromantic lately. For a lot of reasons. I feel like the more I think about it, the more it’s just easier to embrace being aro ace (meaning “aromantic asexual”) — that my life is playing out that way. I’m aromantic in a practical sense, in the way I live my life, in the way romantic… relationships, feelings, anything — just aren’t a factor anymore. I consider myself both wtfromantic and aromantic, while also being asexual. It felt freeing when I realized I could claim both aromantic & wtfromantic at once, that I didn’t have to choose.
I could write a whole blog post on the subject, but today I want to address another topic. I want to talk about being an aro ace, yet desiring to become a parent.
Allow me to backtrack.
Like many kids raised by a single mother who was abusive, I often felt drawn toward fictional stories about orphans. About children struggling, or even children whose parents abandoned them and made them practical orphans despite their parents being alive. For me and my younger brother, growing up was living in a constant state of fear that Mom would “get mad”. It meant us constantly walking on metaphorical eggshells and my dad commenting that the extreme ease with which something might startle me is because living with my mother made me hypervigilant. I was always hoping that maybe if I was prepared enough, careful enough, etc, I could prevent her rage. I was always hoping that maybe I wouldn’t have to spend hours crying, so many tears running down my face I would wonder if this might be why I’d get dehydration headaches sometimes.
I fantasized about her disappearing, about a life where she didn’t exist, and I didn’t care if it was death or what because it was all so abstract and just focused on me, and my brother, and not needing to live in this environment anymore.
I also fantasized about being a mother one day. Continue reading “Being an Aro Ace and Desiring (Foster and/or Adoptive) Parenthood”
This was a post written for the May 2015 Carnival of Aces, which was hosted by elainexe and has a topic of “Identity, Labels, and Models”. For more information on this ongoing blogging carnival, check out the main page by clicking here. Consider participating sometime soon, or even hosting a future month’s theme yourself!
The Wikipedia page on “Identity” in a social science context — specifically in psychology, sociology, and anthropology — is fascinating. The idea of what makes something a part of someone’s identity is such a complex one.
In the ace blogosphere and community we tend to discuss identity fairly often. Mainly, most of us in this community prioritize asexuality as an identity, and if it’s not “identity” worthy levels of importance to a person, if it’s more just a description of how they “don’t find [many/any] people sexy” or “don’t care about/want sex”, then they probably aren’t going to bother staying in this community for long, or may not even search for/find the community at all.