Confronting Your Abuser

Sent via email: a list of ways in which I identify as being abused from childhood to present is available at  http://emotionalabuseawareness.tumblr.com/

The things which damaged me the most are highlighted in Bold. 

Remember all our correspondences are now being sent to a therapist.

Refusing to acknowledge or respond to this will result in my cutting off all contact with both of you indefinitely.

Manipulation of Guilt Feelings

– having a negative attitude towards the child because they were a product of sexual abuse against the mother

– tell stories of how complicated the pregnancy / birth was, how much the parent had to suffer, or how difficult the child was a baby / toddler – without making it clear to them that it’s not their fault that the mother had to make such an effort

– blame the child for any health problems they have (e.g. asthma [epilepsy]), either directly or indirectly by complaining to them or other people about how much one has to spend on the child

– constant demand for gratitude, because the parent is spending time and money on the child

– act as if one were a martyr for the child and as if the child were responsible for ruining the parent’s life

– generally giving the child the blame for all problems that the parents have, including drug addiction, alcohol addiction (‘You are such a difficult child, that’s why I began to drink.’, etc.),…

– give the child the responsibility for the feelings of parents (’You don’t behave well – you don’t want me to be happy…’)

– exaggerating the consequences of the behaviour of the child (‘If mum gets sick, it will be your fault.’, ‘You’ll be the cause of my death.’,…)

– in situations where the abuse is seen by outsiders, forcing the child to lie and take the blame (forcing you to apologize & take blame for their mistake)

– if the child experiences physical or sexual violence, blame the child either directly or indirectly due to lack of sexual education and opportunities to discuss the topic in order to explain to the child that it’s not its fault

– make/buy/say stuff of which the child has expressly stated that they didn’t want, and then require deep gratitude and manipulating the child into feelings of guilt

– blaming the child for clearly abusive behaviour by the parent (‘I would not yell at / insult / hit you if only you were better.’)

– promising the child rewards, although one knows that the conditions for it can’t be met anyway and/or keep demanding more and more conditions for the reward (for example, if they managed to clean the room, setting an advanced condition, that the child also has to clean the bathroom) – the child is suggested that it’s their fault that they haven’t reached the goal (reward) even though in reality the reward is unattainable

– encourage other people to apply one-sided and negative psychological pressure on the child (e.g. telling the teacher / therapist / pastor etc. about the “bad child“ so that he/she may “encourage“ them ‘to obey its parents better’ independently of the parent’s (abusive) behaviour)

– psychological pressure / fear mongering through religion or similar things (‘If you’re disobedient, you’ll go to hell.’, ‘You’re possessed by the devil!’, ‘God sees if you’re bad and will punish you severely.’, ‘Satan is trying to lead you astray – don’t even think about disobeying us [parents].’

Verbal/Emotional Invalidation

– never admitting one’s own mistakes, instead having to be always right, without exception, and always having to have the last word – even if the explanation is far-fetched or simply plain wrong; never apologizing

– blocking out any discussion if the child points out the abusive behaviour with arguments like‘You are ungrateful!’, ‘How dare you to say something like that!’, possibly followed by an enumeration of all the things that are good in the family (e.g. excursions, holidays, birthday parties, leisure activities, etc.) or prodding to those who have it ‘worse’

– denying the emotional abuse by pointing out that you don’t abuse the child, because you don’t beat them

– mocking or ignoring the feelings (and tears) of the child and/or seeing them as wrong and punishable (a sign of weakness)

-ridicule wishes / dreams / goals of the child (‘Don’t be ridiculous, that’s a really hard job!’ ) – showing no confidence in the child


– ridicule or trivialize/devalue feelings and concerns of the child (‘…you’re just imagining stuff …’, ‘You are exaggerating!’, ‘You have no reason to be sad.’, ‘Don’t make such a fuss!’, ’Don’t get angry’, ’You’re too sensitive!’,…) or angry reaction to it (‘I have my problems too and don’t act like that!’, ‘You’re so selfish, you don’t think about your poor mom who has enough problems of her own!’,…) 

– prohibiting the child from having negative emotions such as anger or sadness because it is viewed as selfish or sinful 

– denying the perception of the child; denying abusive situations (‘You’re lying, I didn’t start the dispute, you did’, ‘We fixed that’,…)

– downplay problematic events in the child’s life (e.g. bullying at school or serious illness) and/or blame the child for them

– dismissive reaction to obvious mental problems (self-harm, suicidal behaviour, eating disorders, etc.) of the child (‘What have we done to deserve such a disturbed child?’, ‘I always knew that you were crazy.’, ’You’re doing it just to get attention,…) 

– consistently impose one’s own opinion on the child without caring about the views and feelings of the child (‘I don’t care what you think!’, ‘” I don’t agree with how you remember things!’,…); teach blind obedience – the child is not allowed to have their own opinion 

– always criticizing the child’s views and opinions while often encouraging them at the same time to speak up – the child is not allowed to express their own opinion (respectively only as long as it’s the same opinion as the parent’s) 

– the child is only allowed to speak when asked / spoken to by the parents

Role Reversal/ Self Satisfaction of the Parents
– expect the child to have sympathy with the “reasons” behind the abusive behaviour (‘I just get too worked up to think about
this.’, ‘Life is just so difficult…’, ‘I had a bad childhood ‘, ‘Don’t be mad at me, you know that I have anger issues and can’t help it…’, ‘It’s because of the borderline personality disorder…‘
,…) while refusing to get (professional) help


– showcasing the child: they’re forced against their will to learn skills like playing an instrument or gaining outstanding competence in a sport or to participate in contests – subsequent praise by outsiders serves the parents self-satisfaction 


– forcing the child to have physical contact, when they don’t want to (e.g.  disguising painful methods of physical control (e.g. “milking your mouse”) as signs of affection even though they have said that they don’t like that; tickle even if they don’t want it: ‘Don’t be a spoilsport!‘) – deny the child control over their own body

– set unattainable goals, unattainable demands; never be satisfied (take top marks at school (and at free time activities) for granted; punish anything that’s “worse” than a straight A)

False Expectations

– not allowing the child to make any mistakes (punishing or mocking them)

– no encouraging, positive words; take everything for granted, especially when the achievements are not necessarily age-compliant 

– prohibition or non-teaching of activities (e.g. cooking, paying taxes, doing homework) and then humiliating the child, because the child can’t do them 

– punishing or mocking the child for mistakes that aren’t yet biologically and developmentally feasible, however the parent sees the behaviour as impudence or disobedience (e.g. the baby who pees on the mother; the toddler who cannot sit quietly for an extended length of time;”

– punish the child for poor school performance without offering solutions (e.g. tutoring) and / or without having created a learning-friendly environment to start with (for example, never caring about school matters and never helping with homework, verbally abusing the child as a form of “teaching” at home, etc.)

Wrong limits: Inappropriate degrees of control

-set no limits: the child gets everything when, where and how they want

– inconsistent limits #1: mood swings: for no apparent reason, or at a minimal offense, the mood of the mother changes from loving to extremely irritated – this includes usually unpredictable / inconsistent behaviour: today something is forbidden and punished, tomorrow the same behaviour is desired and is praised, just depending on the current mood of the mother

– inconsistent limits #2: two faces: behave one way in front of strangers (usually more loving, peaceful, compassionate towards the child) and a completely different way (cold, harsh, mean) when alone with the child

– set too strict limits: controlling the life of the child in a way which is inappropriate for their age

– over-mothering/over-protecting the child, thus giving them no chance to make their own experiences and learn from mistakes (e.g. the daughter is never allowed to help in the kitchen or help with the household or is only allowed to do quiet games, out of fear from the parent that she may hurt herself”

– follow the child everywhere they go, never leaving them alone to control them and out of an unsubstantiated assumption that they will otherwise do “bad things”

– spying on the child

– failing give the child no (age-appropiated) privacy (e.g. for a teen: read their mail, search the bedroom, listen to private phone calls, read private e-mails, give no privacy in the bathroom)


– regulations / restrictions for everyday needs such as going to the toilet, taking a shower, etc.

– severe restriction on the books, that they are allowed to read (e.g. only books “for girls”)

– severe restriction on the music, which they are allowed to hear (e.g. only religious music)

– forcing the child to wear a certain clothing style (e.g. girls may only wear skirts) and not allowing any input from the child, even though the child is of an age where input should be expected (school uniforms or special events/circumstances not withstanding)

– dictating the child’s hair style (bangs, pulled back, braids, long or short etc.), against the wishes of the child even though the child is of an age where they should have some input (school customs or special events/circumstances not withstanding) \

– prohibit or severely restrict the contact with other children (-> isolation)

– prohibit recreational activities – provided that they aren’t questionable and that there are no financial or organizational obstacles

– not giving age-appropriate leeway (e.g. shopping with friends from a certain age on)

Damaging effect on relationships: partner, siblings, others,

– expect understanding and cooperation from the child in dealing with the abusive parent (‘Do this, otherwise your father will get a tantrum again.’, ‘If Mom finds that out, we’ll be in trouble.’, ‘Have understanding for the difficult behaviour of your mother – she did have a bad childhood’,…)

– constant negative comparison with the siblings (‘Your sister can do … better than you. You’re brother scored better on his ACT’s.’)

– set excessive expectations or put under pressure in comparison with the siblings (‘Why can’t you be more like your brother.’, ‘You must be the perfect sister.’ )

– have a favourite child who is allowed to do anything, while the other siblings must stick strictly to the rules and are punished more severely, or vice versa – have a child that is treated worse and allowed less than any of the other siblings

– assign one of the children the role of scapegoat for the failings of the siblings

– speak negatively to one child about the other siblings; play the siblings against each other

– sexist behaviour: prefer the boys in the family and let them have more freedom than the girls

– tolerate emotional / physical / sexual abuse by other persons (including partner/teacher/clergymember) towards the child and compound the problem by not acknowledging the abuse and/or not protecting the child (e.g. not seeking help and not doing everything possible to separate from an abusive partner.)

– hush up problems #1: complain to the partner or other persons behind the child’s back about problems one has with the child, while acting in front of the child as if everything is OK and not address the problems

– hush up problems 2: in case of disease, death, etc. in the family, not giving the child an age-appropriate explanation thereby calming their fears and leaving room for sadness – instead just do as if nothing happened or mourn without talking about the problem to the child

– take out anger toward other persons (e.g. partners, step-mother, boss) on the child

– do rants in which the child is scolded representatively for other persons (e.g.‘That’s what I would like to say to my mother, it’s not addressed at you.‘)

Negative, abstruse world views; personality disorders
– see emotional or physical violence as a normal means of communication
– transfer one’s own bad attitude towards sexuality to the child: create fear of sex; use offensive language; sexualizing innocent actions of the child, (e.g. accusing the child of “touching the dog’s penis” when in fact she is only petting him) etc.
– forcing the child into traditional gender roles (‘You’re a girl, you shouldn’t play with trucks. Go play with dolls!’, ‘As a woman, you should stay in the house, raise children and be a good wife and diligent housewife’, ‘The man is in authority in the house.’, ‘You as a man shouldn’t do a woman’s job. Let your sister clean the table.’,…) 
– confront the child prematurely with world problems (e.g. explaining the death of Princess Diana to a 6 year old) or overwhelm them 

– focus the attention heavily on money and material things, at the expense of teaching interpersonal social skills and empathy

– manipulate by feelings of guilt by not forgetting and forgiving anything – the child is constantly reproached for past mistakes (at least in the subjective perspective of the parents “mistakes”) – and to muzzle the child, especially during arguments (e.g. list all past guilty acts as a ‘proof’ that the child is evil; ‘You lied once, I don’t believe you anymore.’,”

– all-are-against-me worldview: twisting words and actions (even positive ones) of the child (and others) until it looks like a personal attack against the parent (e.g.  the child didn’t say 
‘I sometimes feel ignored’ – the child said ’You are a neglecting, evil mum and I want to have your attention 100% of the time and that you serve me like a slave’, which is “obviously” spoiled, selfish and ungrateful; ) – there’s everywhere a conspiracy against the poor parent, the parent is always a victim

– invent bad stories about the child: invent that they have done a bad thing (e.g. stolen something or taken drugs, or simply been naughty) and must therefore be reprimanded, punished. Sometimes the lie is further told to the partner, the teachers, friends, etc. It can be done for the joy of lowering the child’s self-esteem, or because the parent really is convinced of their own tale, or it can be to direct the fury of the abusive partner away from oneself and towards the child 

– have an irrational distrust, believing that the child is evil and will do wicked things if given the chance (e.g. not giving them the house key because they may steal and demolish things from the house, locking their door at night because the child may “kill them with an axe”) 

– denying past abuse – where the abuser has actually forgotten it or pushed it aside

– disclaiming emotional abuse as a ‘real’ abuse – only physical and sexual violence are bad and wrong. These parents are often really proud that they don’t beat their child – as opposed to perhaps their own parents – and do not consider that they are inflicting emotional abuse on their child 

– excessive greed: despite having financial resources, letting the child walk around with worn out clothes or give them bad food etc. – while the parents either grant themselves everything or equally deprive themselves

– excessive cleanliness, cleaning compulsions, excessive order in the house – with harsh punishments for even minor accidents 

– take out the frustration of one’s own childhood on the child – because the parent himself/herself had a bad childhood, their own child shouldn’t have it better 

– see the child as a possession or as some kind of toy to be entertained by – they shouldn’t express their own needs or any negative, unfunny emotion 

– label normal child/youth behaviour like them wanting to have cool clothes as ‘sinful’ 

– once the child is diagnosed with e.g. depression or bipolar disorder or other mental problems, escape responsibility by using the disease as an excuse/explanation for the child’s feelings and behaviour, deliberately ignoring the fact that the original reason for the break out of the illness and for the feelings was and is often the parent’s (and/or other people’s, e.g. bullying schoolmates’) behaviour. 

– admit that there’s “something wrong” – often after the child/youth has started therapy – but then either “change” ad try to ignore the past, unwilling to see the long-term-effect the abuse had on the child (e.g. stop yelling but keep the psychological abuse and put the child under pressure ‘We have changed, we are not abusive anymore, so stop self-harming and being depressive!’) or “berate” oneself (‘I’m such a bad parent, am I?’) without making long-term changes; not change but play the victim, blaming e.g. the abusive partner or the circumstances, unwilling to admit the consequences of one’s own actions and one’s own damaging role in the whole abusive situation

– gaslighting: is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, andsanity.   Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

Emotionally damaging “disciplinary“ actions

– yell or scream at the child

– have a cold and repellent behaviour towards the child as a punishment

– punish the child with the silent treatment

– give the child the stern look

– totally ignore the child, not reacting if they say something, see through them as if they weren’t there, overlook them – this can last for weeks (or a lifetime)

– have an “I’m angry with you and therefore won’t talk to you” attitude; in extreme cases reduce the verbal exchange with the child to an absolute minimum (e.g. only 
‘Get up.’ & ‘The food is ready.’ & ‘Go to bed.’) for days or even weeks

– threaten to bring the child to a children’s home (while implying that these are scary places and the child will be treated there badly) or a correctional facility (or school)

– threaten to harm the child through physical or sexual violence (‘‘Stop crying or I’ll give you a real reason!’,…) (and then maybe actually do it)

– threaten to injure or kill or give away pets the child loves if they don’t obey (I’m going to take your cat to the river and drown it!); threaten to destroy toys the child loves (e.g. ‘I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and sell them!’) (and then maybe actually do it)

– control and manipulation through sermons which last minutes to hours, even after the slightest offenses – often with religious elements

– lock the child up a in a room as punishment (particularly dark rooms such as cellars or broom closets, but also other rooms)

– social isolation

– hush up problems #3: The child is not told when they make a mistake or that a certain behaviour is expected of them, but they will be punished without any explanation by stern look or by ignoring them or inflicting guilt (e.g. the sad look of the father) or other punishment methods

– punishment/reward systems, artificial “logical” consequences, denying privileges etc. In loving homes these methods aren’t necessarily abusive but rather a suboptimal form of parenting (due to ignorance). When taken to extremes or applied very often – which is often the case in unloving homes – they can become abusive, though. For example, when the child is punished for even the smallest mistakes or suffers a punishment that is extreme/exaggerated compared to the misbehaviour  (e.g. ‘If you don’t clean up your room, you may not find your favourite toy when you want it’ is a natural consequence. ‘If you don’t clean up your room, I’ll put your toys in a box and they’ll be unavailable for one day’ is an artificial consequence. ‘If you don’t clean up your room, I’ll throw your favourite toys away.’ is harsh artificial consequence.) etc.

Emotional neglect

– have little or no positive physical contact with the child (hugging, patting,…) 

– not telling/showing the child that you love them

– having a cold and repellent behaviour towards the child (not as punishment, but in principle) 

– showing affection only after some achievement, never spontaneously 

– repressing feelings with material things (e.g. not offering a grieving child physical contact and the possibility to talk about it, merely giving a consolation gift) 

– only saying nice things about the child in the presence of other people – often as bragging 

– generally not listening to the child 

– ignoring the child (not as punishment but in principle) 

– having no interest in the feelings / concerns / desires / dreams / goals of the child 

How Parents Control Adult Children with Money

Coraline (2009)

Have you ever thought,
“My parents wouldn’t care if I were dead.
They would be happy because I cost so much!”?

It is NOT your fault that you think this!
It is based on a Narcissistic Personality Trait called Grooming.

Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.

This is a pattern of behavior that falls under the
“we don’t talk about that” category in our family. My parents have groomed me to be dependent. I am their last child and they want to resent me for taking any of their time/money, but they also need to be needed, to justify their existence. 

Don’t reach for that cheese!

My dad started hounding me about saving money and my money choices when I was about 14. I got my first job at 15, and haven’t stopped working until a month ago. Growing up, if I needed clothes, I had to beg for Mom to drive me to the next town so we could go to JC Penny. Every time it turned into a bi***fest over her trying to control what I buy, and her rule to “only get one thing.” Well, only getting one thing, twice a year doesn’t amount to much to wear at school. I was always forced to piece together some random “family friend’s” hand-me-downs. I was bullied in school for years until I started bullying back. The kids thought it was hilarious I never had any sports bras.

Maybe one day I'll get a sock with colors!

Maybe one day I’ll get a sock with colors!

Anyway. I worked constantly, paid my way through college, I got my Bachelor’s degree. I went hungry, often. I went far away each Summer for work.

They helped me with gas and groceries for the first couple years. They used this tiny connection to emotionally abuse me while I was in college. Dad would nag me about sending him the exact date, time, and amount I had spent, what store, and a “general description of what I’d bought,” for “taxes.”

They gave me the first loan last year when life’s obstacles started literally beating my brains out…I was in too much pain last year to continue my work past mid-September, and my Winter job ($8.50 an hour, son) didn’t start paying me till AFTER CHRISTMAS. So for Sept- Dec I was hungry again. And had NO money for rent. I asked them for help…

                I gotcha where I want ya, and now I’m gonna EAT ya!

They barely gave me enough to get by, held it over my head, hated me for it, etc. But that’s exactly what they wanted, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing – getting by. I hardly made any money this Winter – I missed 2 weeks of work when I was out with severe concussion, displaced vertebrae, and and general unconsciousness. Then the season ended early due to horrid snow conditions.

Last month is the first month I’ve ever surrendered to “quitting.”I had a perfectly good job (except the insanely evil Nboss/don’t get me started on her/I had it under control), but I had to quit because,
GUESS WHAT? I HAVE EPILEPSY. And the seizures didn’t start when I hit my head in December.
They started when I WAS BORN (according to the MRI I got last week).

What happens to people who suddenly find out they’re disabled?

I had to quit my job (my boss would never fire me – she already fired everyone else and I’m all she had left!) The
DMV officially suspended my license due to “uncontrolled lapses in consciousness.” I lucked into
couchsurfing at a buddy’s place for this month only, and afterward I’ll be homeless, like usual. Unless I can round up maybe $2,000 for a first/last/depostit on an apt in town. After that I can get work again.

So I called to tell mom’ndad about ….my life.

Here’s Dad’s responses:

“That sounds really tough, kiddo.”

“Well, we really hope you feel better soon.”

We’ll believe it after you see a specialist.”

“You never ask ME about my prostate!”

“I just don’t have any ideas for you.”

“So you don’t want to drive because you’re scared?”

When I told him I don’t have rent, and want to borrow $2,000, for first/last/deposit, he started complaining about how he “already loaned me $10,000, which he knew he would never see again“. When I told him that wasn’t true, he switched to insisting that if he helped me find a place to live,
I would probably just flake out and move somewhere else (How??? IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ME TO DRIVE).
We argued for a while, and I told him I didn’t want to talk to him again unless there was someone else there, to hear the things he said. So he wrote me this email instead!:

I’m writing an email rather than calling because our calls tend to devolve from conversation to conflict, then we can’t have a rational discussion.

First of all, I was mistaken when I said we loaned you $3,000 last fall [I guess that’s his apology for screaming, “we already loaned you money!”].
The amount was actually $2,000 which you asked for in early September to help pay rent until you started getting paid by the ski area [which didn’t happen until January].
I was recalling an additional $700 that we paid for your rent in February while you were still in college. I don’t think we discussed the $700 as a loan, but it was a gift to help you finish school
[then why bring it up?].


We’re extremely proud of you for completing your degree and appreciate all the hard work that went into it [we will now put a dollar sign on how much we “love” you]: 

So as far as loans go, there is the $5,000 loan from the Alumni Association for college expenses [tuition] which we co-signed and are currently paying off in monthly installments for you and the $2,000 for rent last Fall for a total of $7,000.

Woah! The college loan comes back from the dead to help Dad save face!
The loan is interest-free until I’m able to pay it back, AND you can work with the Alumni Association to pay it back whenever you can; however, he intercepted their communications with me so I never got their letters. He sold his boat when he moved away from our family home (and left me) on the coast BECAUSE HE WOULDN’T HAVE ANY USE FOR IT IN INLAND.
He started paying off the loan without asking me first. Then randomly brought it up on the phone one day, and I said, “Oh, I wish you hadn’t done that.”
He answered, “well, I really believe in that association and think they deserve the money,” and besides “I’m getting payments for the boat anyway.”

He hasn’t mentioned that “loan” in years. But obviously NOW – when I’m suddenly disabled, in pain, homeless, and starving is a good time to decide that I OWE HIM $7,000???? 

Our “conflicts” usually involve me asking for a little bit to get by with, and him demanding several thousand dollars in return. Then I usually bring up that he seemed very pleased to pay over $30,000 to have me committed to a mental institution in 2012 for two months for “being too sad”
(They used my epilepsy symptoms to make me look crazy, and looking crazy for having epilepsy makes you sad).

My dad made over $100,000 yearly before he retired at 55. He’s got two new cars in his 5 car garage, and a NEW motorboat, and a camper-trailer, and a giant 3 bedroom lodge-style home on canyon-front property which he had custom constructed for him – complete with a plasma screen in each room.

I don’t speak to my parents any more.I would rather be homeless.
At least when I sleep outside, nobody judges me. 🙂

Anyway, he wrapped up his (UNWELCOME) email with this loving little quip:

You’ve been critical of the financial support we’ve provided in the past,
so please know that

we’re not trying to force anything on you or make you feel guilty about anything.

We’re making this offer because you’ve asked for it, and because we’re concerned about your health and safety, and we want to help you continue to make progress toward emotional stability and independence. If you’d like to discuss any variation on what we’ve proposed, please send me an email.

Statement of Solidarity

To all the other Little Voices:

We are waking up to the abuses of our environment,

We have been told we are bad and crazy,

and we are obedient.

We have acted bad and crazy.

We have screamed to get our voices heard

and we are labelled manic.

We have been disbelieved,

and we are labelled distrusting.

We have learned from infancy that safety is arbitrary,

and we are called paranoid.

We have anticipated punishment and deferred to pretenses,

and we have been punished for being manipulative.

We must fragment ourselves to integrate multiple realities,

and this process is called psychosis.

What do labels mean to you?

Stuff my Mom Says

She’s narcissistic.

And the children of narcissists often feel empty inside. To me, that emptiness is a conditioned expectation of disappointment. When you allow yourself to vulnerable, it’s natural to expect compassion. You get your hopes UP! And they have a loooong way to tumble back down as Mom turns away and ferociously cleans (dismantles) the oven. Too many times we’ve expected compassion, empathy, or validation and been let down. The repercussions of this extend into our adult life; we just cage ourselves up after a while.

Vulnerability is something to extend to people you trust, AND we are supposed to trust our parents, right?

vulnerability

Personality Disorder Mom’s responses to my most vulnerable moments over the years:

When I told my mom I was:

Not doing well in 4th grade: We’ll put you in a Christian school where the teachers can ACTUALLY beat you.
Not doing well in 5th grade: SHOW ME THE BRUISES!
(No, but really, she’s abusing us): don’t get ugly with me!

duckling

Not into Jesus: I just can’t let you leave this room until you can convince me that you’re not going to Hell!
*Jesus bonus!*: All my friends at Bible study told me that it’s not you, it’s just Satan.. acting through you.
Threatened by a harem of Mexican middle schoolers: Well if you leave school early, I’ll call the police and they’ll take you to JAIL.
Sad-walking alone at night: I just know you’re having SEX! With BOYS! (I was thirteen)
Lesbian: I just know you’re going to get tortured and killed like that poor boy in Wyoming! 
Breaking up:
I thought you two were going to be together forever!
…..except she said it like this:

We are a co-dependent family! Now depend!

sick for several weeks in college: well then, why are you wasting all your time on the phone telling me about it? You should be doing homework!
nervous about adulthood: how can you expect ME to tell the future?
epileptic: (…) oh right she doesn’t answer the phone since I found that out
angry about being abused at school: you were a difficult child!

We don’t have to stay in that cage. We can look at the walls and decide as adults where they should be.

We Are the Chosen

My partner is in the hospital as a result of her personality disorder.

canthelp2

Why would anyone choose to be in a relationship with someone who has a personality disorder?

You don’t choose a partner based on their deficiencies. I try to see the good in people. I’m trusting and naive and probably a bit of a fixer. But ultimately it came down to love. I’m constantly told to leave, but Jane’s sabotaging behaviors have left her two steps away from being a homeless shopping-cart lady who screams at mice. I know she snapped a month ago when I told her to leave my life for a while so that I could try to start picking up the pieces of my shattered reputation and my lost job and home. She drained my bank accounts and left me with nothing but a tent. I should run for the hills, right? But let me ask you, would you feel good driving down the road and seeing a homeless crazy person talking to plants, and thinking “Wow, we were in love a couple months ago?”

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These are the facts of my communications with my “partner” at this time:

  • Nearly every conversation ends in arguments over her denial of sabotaging behavior
  • Her consistent plan is to be miraculously rescued by me or people that know her
  • Any and all attempts I make at establishing boundaries (e.g. don’t enter my home uninvited) are met with defenses, excuses, yelling, crying, and then appeals for pity and compassion, in that order.

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So why stay? Why torture myself like this?

We are the girlfriends who are frightened of our partners but are afraid to leave because we fear what will happen to us after we do.   -Out of the Fog

I have a disability that I only recently learned about. I fear for my life; I wonder if I’m going to die soon. I wait days on end, alone, for news of what exactly is wrong with me. A couple of good friends have called to offer condolences, but nobody in my life really “checks in,” or has the energy or time to let me vent about my fears and frustrations. When I told one of my best friends I now have constant seizures, she said, “No big deal – just pop an Adderol and you’ll be fine.”

Jane is the only person who cares enough about me to offer emotional support for the exhaustion, the panic, the anxiety, the sadness, the sense of loss, the restriction of freedom, the isolation, the physical pain, and immobility of epilepsy. It’s not a simple, easy decision to just “let Jane go.”

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Just because I can’t leave doesn’t mean I’m happy

We are lonely from inside a relationship.

We have put off taking care of ourselves because of the overwhelming “needs” or demands of our partners. We live in a FOG – full of Fear, Obligation and Guilt.

People on the outside of our relationships often have no idea what we live with. Some of us are constantly torn between trying to protect and heal ourselves, and trying to take care of a demanding partner. Others have decided that they no longer want a relationship but don’t know how to protect themselves on the way out. So many of us have been subjected to years of emotional, verbal, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. Sometimes, the worst scars cannot be seen.

-Out of the Fog

Til’ next time,
Vico

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Myoclonus – This one’s for Mama n’ Pa

Myoclonus isn’t fun, and it isn’t a panic disorder.

Does this look fun to you?

It doesn’t go away on it’s own. The muscle contractions are extremely painful and the stigma and embarrassment almost took my life.

I’ve never met someone else personally who suffers from my condition, but there are a few extremely brave souls on the social media who are speaking out. Connecting with these people, if only through their videos keeps me going right now, keeps me sane. Thank you to the brave women (they’ve all been women…) who’ve posted their stories.

Here are just a couple of those videos:

Living with Myoclonic Dystonia
Link redirects to a brave makeup artist talking about how her condition effects her daily life


 


Young woman with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy who, like me, wasn’t believed for several years.
She was lucky enough to be diagnosed as a teenager.


A Cry for Help — Open Letter to my Folks

Hi Mom n’ Dad,

It’s been a long, slow weekend.  The total count for seizures Fri-Sun now is about 5 or 6. No matter how hard I try I can’t really remember much of yesterday. I’ve been sleeping a lot, which I suppose is good for me. On Friday I collapsed 3 times, and once this evening. I honestly don’t remember much of yesterday.

The collapsing is becoming a real issue, and a huge anxiety factor. Before I broke up with my partner, I could usually count on her to catch me. She knew my behavior enough to know when I was going to fall. I don’t typically have them during the day – they’re more common before 8 in the morning and around 8 – 10 at night. But, like the day I was discriminated against in Vicki Fowler’s office, stress can cause them to come on suddenly. Usually when I fall, I start losing muscle control quickly but am able to simply lay on the floor – or the stairs, or whatever. But when I’m outside, or on cement, I tend to fall much harder than I intended to. I remember hitting the cement pretty hard outside Fowler’s office, then crumpling forward but my partner was already there waiting. My head would have smashed into the cement if it weren’t for her.

I know I’m not safe alone any longer. I probably need someone to take care of me, but I can’t imagine who would want to do that. My good friend has offered several times to get an apartment together in town, but there’s hardly any listings and nobody’s taking me seriously because I have absolutely no source of income.

I’m obviously worried about falling and hurting myself. I can always trust my dog to guard me while I’m passed out, but she was forcefully separated from me in the fake Dr.’s office and I can’t afford the cost of getting her registered even as a therapy dog so she can’t go on the city bus. I don’t feel safe going anywhere without her.

I’ve wracked my brain for other options. Dad offered to get me back to the homestead somehow, but I don’t understand how that would help my situation. He said you would try to find an apartment for me to live in alone, but I don’t see how that helps with my falling-while-I’m-alone issue. I guess it’s just a danger I have to face alone from now on.

I’m still waiting on the neurologists to call and make an appointment. All my friends including my buddy whose girlfriend died from my condition, and my house-mate who is a nurse at St. Joseph’s hospital say that Humboldt county is grossly understaffed medically and that’s why it’s almost impossible to get appointments around here. The under-privileged minorities simply aren’t accepted. Fowler started acting stand-offish when I told her my girlfriend was waiting outside (discrimination). I thought it would make her feel more accountable but instead it made her angry, and I was thrown out. It’s been suggested that I move to a bigger city to look for medical help. I’d gladly pick up and move, but how? I can’t drive, and once I got to Santa Rosa or San Francisco I’d be starting from scratch with no money to speak of. I can’t even afford a bus ticket South any more. I spent my last bit of cash today on some food to get me through this week. I don’t think trying to move by bus to a city I’ve never been to in order to wander alone into more medical facilities looking for help is a good idea.

This isn’t something that’s just going to go away if we ignore it. I may have better days and worse days but epilepsy is for life. I’ve stretched my strength, my pain tolerance, and my money as far as it could go. I stayed employed as long as possible and found a place to stay for the month while I figure things out. What I really need now is some support from my family. Friends have offered to lend me money if I run out of food, and more friends have offered to drive me places sometimes, but I don’t think my friends should have to take the role of my parents. If I was having some sort of mental health crisis right now, I think you guys would be jumping to try and help me make a plan to get better. But for some reason this actual physical illness is sortof passing under the radar. Dismissing me with phrases like, “That sounds really rough,” and “we really hope you feel better soon,” and “I’m sure somehow it will work out,” is grossly disrespectful to my condition, my suffering, and the reality of what I’m going through.

I can’t fix this or make it go away. And I’m doing everything right as far as signing up for benefits. I think I may be able to get signed up for food stamps as early as this week, but state disability takes months to go through. I’m sure it won’t pass through by the end of the month. So when September rolls around, I suppose I’ll be homeless. I’ll try to drive my truck somewhere inconspicuous and camp out of it, but the cops are very harsh on people who sleep in their cars, and the discomfort and stress may cause my condition to get dangerously severe.

Should I keep going down this path of signing up for Humboldt County based benefits? Do you really think that living alone in an apartment in your town, which is even more remotely located than mine, is a good idea? You once spent $30,000 on my ‘mental health’ thinking it would fix my brain – but now there’s actually something wrong with my brain and your nonchalance is painful. Why can’t we talk about some kind of plan for my health? What ideas have you had? Have you discussed it at all, or is this another one of those things “we just don’t talk about?” (Quoted from my brother – ‘It’s just not our family’s ‘way’ ‘)

I’m curious to see how soon I’ll get my EEG. Right now it’s the most important thing for me to get, and the best tool they use today to diagnose epilepsy. If they call me soon and my appointment is soon, then it’s probably best for me to stay here long enough to get diagnosed. But if they put me on a waiting list because there’s not enough doctors per patient in this county, I think I should probably try to get somewhere where I can actually get help. I can’t go on living off a can of beans and a spoonful of yogurt a day, collapsing randomly and answering ad after ad on craigslist saying, “I need a place to live – I’m sure some money is coming to me soon.”

It’s a bad situation, and one I think I’ve dealt with pretty maturely on my own so far. I know you guys have been on vacation and that this is all hitting you pretty fast, but honestly I’ve been having seizures since this past winter. I think I’ve waited long enough for you guys to come around and believe that this is serious. Let’s please talk. Please help me figure something out. I’m not being immature in asking my parents to be somewhat supportive of me as I come to terms with having a long-term and life-threatening condition.

love you,
VC