I wrote a bunch of other stuff recounting the awful but I just hit “backspace” for a few paragraphs. I changed my mind. I want this to be… in a different tone.
Tag: abusive mother
[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?”
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.
[Content Note: The post below, as well as part 2 and part 3, contain discussions of physical and emotional abuse. The focus, as you could probably infer from the title of this post, is on abuse from a parent toward children, but I did include some discussions of spousal abuse as well.]
If there’s anything else I should be adding a content note for, please let me know. I’m not sure. It’s a long post, and a lot of things get brought up. Triggers, Menstruation, just a lot of random things. I use an explicit word at some point so the post is probably NSFW.
I told you all that I wanted to blog about abuse? Well now, here I finally am, doing that.
Growing up in an emotionally abusive environment was… confusing.
I had somehow learned what child abuse was at quite a young age. Continue reading “Figuring Out My Mother Was an Abuser (Part 1 of 3)”
I’ve been reading a lot about various types of abuse lately. I am in the mood to write some sort of blog post to put on my blog here addressing some of these issues… but I don’t know where to begin or what the real topic of my post would be. 😛 I want to write about some of my very specific experiences being abused as a child by my mother. I want to write more theoretically and philosophically about power and abuse cycles and what we need to do to protect all people from all sorts of types of abuse. I want to write about victim blaming in cases like my own. I want to write about the complexity of my dad being a victim of my mother’s abuse, even after he’d been separated and essentially “common law” divorced from her for over a decade! I want to talk about specific types of abusive actions. I want to talk specifically about cluster B personality disorders like NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) in many abusive people, and I want to better understand so many of these issues. I want to talk about reading these non-fiction books that have flaws – flaws of sexism or assumptions of not-even-studied hypotheses being treated as likely true. I want to talk about statistics and how flawed and misleading they can be, and how difficult it is to make sense of these things. I want to talk about how the US court system is ill-equipped to handle abuse, but I’d be so out of my depth that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I want to talk about how my experience as a survivor of abuse has affected my life, my desires, my choices, who I am as a person today, but I feel like my experiences were much too minor compared to the horror stories I read about, and I’m not even sure the abuse I faced did damage me much in the long run. I want to do something tangible in the world to help children who are being abused the way I was, and of course all of the people abused in much worse ways too, and I don’t even know where to begin.
FYI, on tumblr, I got a reply to my thoughts here, and then I answered my tumblr fandom friend’s comments:
k8video said: I think its best to start from the beginning and build up from there. Find a way to link each topic within the topic and create chapters/posts that flow from the last. Maybe create a flow chart – if that makes sense? Interested to see what you write.
luvtheheaven replied: Thanks!! 😉 I really appreciate the encouragement and knowing that I’ll have at least 1 reader… 😛 I think that is a good idea… I’ll see what I can do. I have an ace meetup event to go to all day today lol but maybe within the next few days I can find time to come up with a plan. Just outline a bunch of different blog posts I want to do eventually, then decide on an order and a way to sensibly tie them all together.
This is my entry for the December 2014 Carnival of Aces. Please consider writing something too! There’s still time – the beginning of January is okay too. 😉 Or… consider writing something for whatever the current month when you’re reading this is, since the Carnival of Aces likely is still going on! Hopefully it will continue to go on, into 2016, and beyond!
Content Note: Around the middle of this post, I discuss my mother’s physical abuse toward me when I was a child/teenager.
Soon after I learned what asexuality was from AVEN’s website, I also discovered terms for other types of attraction, rather than sexual attraction.
To be honest, to this day I still don’t feel like I fully grasp what most of the other types of attraction mean. I’m not 100% sure how much I have in common with people who do and who don’t experience varying types of attraction. Some days even the concept of sexual attraction can continue to confuse me. Lmao. It’s hard when people don’t have concrete definitions for these things!! It’s harder when most of it is based on describing feelings one already has, so when you likely lack the feeling… you’re never going to fully get it.
When people speak of aesthetic attraction, for instance, I imagine this magnetism to LOOK and well for me, while I can judge people on a scale and decide who seems prettier than most, and while I can appreciate certain looks, I don’t feel drawn to stare most of the time, so I wonder if I experience aesthetic attraction for people at all.
Since the theme of this month’s Carnival is “Touch, Sensuality, and Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy”, allow me to focus upon sensual attraction.
Sexual attraction, as it’s typically depicted in media, often includes aesthetic attraction and sensual attraction mixed in as if inseparable, as they are for many people. Nonsexual aesthetic attraction is sometimes treated as believable, especially between women. However, nonsexual sensual attraction is treated with a little more skepticism, a problem not helped by the fact that some people use the word “sensual” as a euphemism or synonym for “sexual”.
Sensual attraction is a feeling pertaining strictly to touch, creating an impulse to initiate contact with the recipient. A nonsexual example of this would be touching someone’s face or embracing them in a hug. Since this is a type of attraction, it’s not the same thing as wanting to cuddle someone as a way to comfort them when they’re sad, or as an expression of affection, or because you’re craving contact in general. All of those are valid, real feelings, but they’re not what I use the term to refer to. The best definition for it I’ve ever seen — and I can’t find the source where I found this, unfortunately — is that sensual attraction is “the feeling you get when you see a fluffy kitten”. For me, this term is a useful description for how I sometimes feel a random and inexplicable (but controllable) urge to touch people.
And it fascinated me. I walk through clothing stores and see a fleece jacket or something else that’s a cool texture, and yes, sometimes I want to touch, I want to revel in how soft these pajamas would be and oh I wish I had the money to buy them because they’re so amazing to touch. But… toward a PERSON? Wanting to reach out and touch them just to feel what they feel like? No… I’ve never felt such a thing. I’m fairly sure of it.
Pretty much the only times I’ve ever initiated touch of any kind toward the people in my life have been toward my closest 3 family members – my brother, my father, and one of my cousins. I’ve reached out to try to comfort with a hug or a gentle touch in a time of their grief, briefly. I’ve playfully/casually leaned my feet on laps or rested my head upon a shoulder while watching TV. I don’t do it very often, especially recently, though.
And I’ve never actively craved touch. I remember being comforted by a hug a total of one time in my life – and yes, this hug felt SO amazing, at the end of a day that was probably the worst day of my life in many ways. There was something so special about that form of touch, for me. But it was just one instance, and in other times of being upset, I’ve felt pretty comforted by other things, instead of touch.
I am not touchy-feely; on the other hand, I am not touch-averse either. If I got into a close relationship, and my partner wanted to touch me a lot AND had respect for my boundaries AND communicated well with me, I don’t think it would be hard to find a mutually-satisfying arrangement. What I’m averse to is people touching me without permission or insisting that I must touch because touching is good for me.
I feel like her words describe me too. I’ve been on dates with 3 different guys, and all of them have touched me in different ways.
When the first guy I’d ever tried dating kissed my cheek, it felt SO intimate and amazing, like a rush of wonderfulness. When we tried holding hands, it was uncomfortable and awkward and did nothing for me. When guy # 1 & I kissed… I ended up in tears, so needless to say I did not enjoy the experience.
I found all 3 of these guys via online dating, btw, so when I first met guy #2 in person and the first thing he did after stepping off the train and us recognizing each other from our profile pics was embrace me in a hug… I wasn’t comfortable.
Guy #3, my first official boyfriend… I enjoyed leaning on while watching TV. I didn’t really like the awkwardness of having to shift from growing hot/sweaty/uncomfortable over time. There was something special about cuddling with him, perhaps because he was getting sexually “turned on” by it, and I’d never had that effect on anyone before. I had never cuddled in quite this intimate of a way before and it was a new experience, and overall pretty nice. Really, though, I didn’t “love cuddling”. What I loved more was being able to talk openly and honestly with him. Enjoying TV together. Him teaching me to play Magic the Gathering. Him giving me a homemade gift. Him actually watching my fanvideos I’d created and enjoying them. Him letting me make one of my favorite recipes for him. If I had never once touched him throughout our entire relationship, I wouldn’t have been longing for it. I’m fully satisfied by non-sensual and non-touch-related pleasures. Touching can be nice, but I can take it or leave it. I certainly don’t feel drawn to it. And I don’t need touch on a regular basis.
My mother was abusive toward me growing up, and some of that abuse certainly was physical. I consider her abuse to have been mainly verbal/emotional… but to give you a taste of the physical…
It didn’t often leave marks, but on a few occasions I did bleed a tiny bit from small scratches caused by her fingernails onto my forearms or hands. More often, though, she’d use her body to trap me in a corner, and I’d try to push her away, but being a child I wasn’t strong enough, and all I’d succeed in doing was bruising her arms, which she’d later yell at me for, blaming ME for hurting HER. Or she’d violently push down my arms when I was using my hands to cover my ears as she yelled the loudest she possibly could. She broke a favorite, expensive bracelet of mine by ripping it off my wrist, while I was still wearing it. Or my hair was in a pony tail and she’d move my whole body by pulling on it, not even pulling out one hair, just pulling it enough to hurt a bit, to obtain control over me, and even to knock my much needed and expensive (breakable!) eyeglasses off of my face in the process. On a couple of occasions, she literally spit on me. She dumped out a bowl of cereal with milk in it onto my head. There are probably many, many more cases of things that were pretty “physically” abusive. But I think I’ve listed enough. So many of these things don’t leave physical injuries, just… emotional ones, I guess. But they often involved invading my personal space. Using “touch” in a negative way. Etc.
I remember that once I’d finally stopped living with her, while in the hallway of a courthouse as my dad and she fought over custody of me and my brother… on multiple occasions she tried to hug me and I jerked away. I did NOT want to be touched by that woman, okay? I wasn’t afraid she’d actually hurt me in a public place. I certainly expected it’d be “just a hug”, but the contradictory nature of such a loving action from her made me SO uncomfortable, and I wanted to avoid it.
As I soon ended up going away to college, on my campus there seemed to be a tradition at one point, by the Student Union, of “Free Hugs Friday”. And… I just really didn’t want to be hugged by strangers, okay? I felt so weird every time I dodged the people with their arms outstretched and the cheery posters. I felt like someone with “intimacy issues” who maybe would like hugging more if I’d tried it more. But whatever. I was happy enough with my life of not ever touching anyone.
I’m pretty sure part of the reason I identify as wtfromantic is because so many romantic ace narratives include so much TOUCH and I often feel like I must be aromantic, if I could be fully satisfied in a relationship that includes absolutely zero touch. That for most people, some level of touch that is reserved for only “non friends” is what makes a romantic relationship romantic, or something. But then again, I have a lot of other reasons for NOT feeling like I’m aro… but still, I feel like my relationship toward sensuality & touch, toward cuddling and non-sexual physical intimacy of all kinds… comes up a LOT in my self-analysis of my feelings when I’m trying to place myself somewhere on the romantic spectrum.
I feel like I enjoy hugging some of my extended family members slightly more now than I used to. Maybe enjoy is the wrong word. I think… I no longer feel awkward and uncomfortable hugging them.
I think for me, it’s about comfort with the person. How much I love them. How much I feel like they’re friendly and like me at all. How much I know them. To me, even a simple hug is a pretty intimate thing. My uncle who I rarely say one word to despite us showing up at the same Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc celebrations for years, who I don’t feel like I know at all? Hugging him is still uncomfortable and I’d rather skip that ritual when he decides he’s ready to leave the house, but I still go through the motions because I feel like I have no choice. But now that I’ve grown up, and I’m almost 25 years old… I feel like I really have gotten to know quite a few of my other extended family members better, after having many moments of conversational bonding with them… and all of a sudden hugging them feels so much more natural/simple/easy. Could I live without it? Sure. Would a wave hello and goodbye, or a simple smile, suffice? Yeah I’d be totally cool with never touching these people in any way, ever again.
If I compare my feelings of sex-aversion to how I feel about touch, I am 95% sure I’m not touch-averse, not as a blanket statement. I think I am pretty touch-averse in cases where the person is a stranger, a near-stranger, or my abusive mother. But in cases where I feel comfortable around a person and feel like I’ve gotten to know them fairly well, I can kind of find touch to be either something I’m indifferent to, or in a few select circumstances, a wonderful experience. I definitely don’t crave touch in my life, though. And I don’t experience sensual attraction toward specific people, either.
This post does mention my asexuality very briefly, but mainly this post touches on the fandom and family parts of my blog and takes a break from asexuality-related discussions, FYI. The main fandom discussed is an unusual one, one most people wouldn’t call a fandom… lol… but I would like to think it counts. I also bring up Harry Potter at one point. 😉
I would recommend you read my “The Insidious Nature of Abuse” post first, which I wrote back in April. It deals with many similar topics as what I have just now written about, below. I also discussed some stuff about my family situation in my “Lack of Awareness/Education Leads to False Assumptions… aka It Would’ve Been Great to Have Heard of that Term Sooner!” post and probably in a few other posts too.
So my dad and I went to Kohl’s on the Friday night a little over a week ago to buy some new socks for ourselves and the first thing that caught my eye upon entering the store was a Mercer Mayer collection of newly released children’s books, including an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel. I picked up a copy of the book and began leafing through it curiously, and was quite disappointed to find my favorite part of the story – by far the most memorable part, for me – being entirely skipped over as the story starts with Hansel and Gretel already stumbling upon the witch’s cabin in the woods.