I wonder why my first memory of my childhood begins with this beating I received. Did I not have anything good happen before that I can talk about? Apparently not.
The cycle of abuse
After the physical and emotional abuse which stemmed from being raised in a dysfunctional family, came more abuse. More emotional. Sexual. Verbal. Physical. It just never ended.
Anyone looking in from the outside would think that I just craved this lifestyle.You would think that I longed for it. You would think that I was a loser with no ambition or desire to better my life. You would think that I was clearly an abuse magnet.
You would also think that people who live with and through abuse are just fated to live the rest of their lives like this.If you thought any of those things, you were right. Except for the last one. You’re wrong there.
The physical abuse
When I had my son (my only child) I vowed that the physical abuse I suffered as a child would not repeat itself with Julian. I vowed to never hit my son. Ever. I adored every ounce of him and he was, and still is, the most precious thing in my life.
He would never get hit.
At around 3 or 4 years old something happened and I spanked his little bum. I cried for 2 days. Bad Iva. How dare you? How could you? What is wrong with you? Is this how it’s gonna start? You’re no better than your parents.
I battled with this incident for days and weeks to come. I mean, even still to this day I remember that little spank. He probably doesn’t. But I do.
And it never happened again. I barely ever raised my voice at Julian. To me, he was pure perfection. I adore this boy with all that I am. In my eyes, he could do no wrong. He did wrong, he wasn’t perfect, but to me it was just a boy being a boy.
The physical abuse stopped at my child. The cycle of parent/child abuse was over. I still had to work on the other abuses though. Those weren’t and aren’t as easy to break.
Fortunately for me, if you want to call me fortunate, I only had one boyfriend who abused me physically and one sexually. Lucky me.
Emotional abuse from parents
Though my parents physically abused me and neglected me an awful lot, I never once realized that it was also emotional abuse. I didn’t realize the damage that was taking place until long after I became an adult and started dealing and healing from all the trauma. That in itself is a long slow painful journey.
When we have to deal with emotional abuse from parents we struggle to find reasoning behind why they even treated us like this in the first place. For me, I finally understood that my parents raised me the only way they knew how. It was the same way they were raised. They knew no other way. I get that now.
We have to understand that even though these people are our parents, they have struggles too that they may not know how to deal with and they take out a lot of their anger and frustrations on their children and family. It’s just the way it is. It doesn’t make it right but at least we can understand it a wee bit more knowing this.
The emotional abuse and verbal abuse
I struggled my entire life to break the cycle of verbal and emotional abuse. This form of abuse? Not so easy to break unfortunately. Not for me anyway.
I was never raised with love and though I craved it and gave it out freely, I didn’t know what love was. I had no idea what healthy love was. I sacrificed up my self worth and a few other ‘selfs’ for love.
Until you truly love yourself, the cycle of verbal and emotional abuse will continue. It’s when we love ourselves full heartedly, we can stand up proudly and say “No, you can’t talk to me or treat me like that”, set up a firm and clear boundary line and put your foot down.
We just have to learn how to love ourselves.
And ya, I still struggle with that. I’m getting much better at it. Having to put my foot down has removed a few people from my life who I thought were my friends.
You know, because that whole ‘I need to be loved and accepted and liked by everyone’ thing that I still battle. I am learning to find my voice with these ‘friends’ and suddenly my list is getting smaller and smaller. That’s ok. I’m still learning.
You might like these blog posts about self love, self help and forgiveness:
Signs of Emotional Abuse
It can be difficult to know if someone is suffering from emotional abuse. Some people are naturally just quiet, introverts if you will, where others tend to not share their pain at all. For me, it was all about masking my pain and putting a smile on my face so no one would suspect. Only people who are truly close to me know when I’m suffering.
Here are a few signs of emotional abuse you can watch out for and maybe offer an ear or a warm hug if you suspect your friend is suffering.
- low self esteem
- put themselves down all the time
- very withdrawn and quiet
- eager to please at any cost
- will cower back at signs of confrontation
Now of course, these signs could also mean many things but for sure they indicate some sort of abuse or depression. Watch for them and ask if you can help.
How to break the cycle of abuse
It stops with you. It stops when you learn how to love yourself and show people how to love you.
It stops when you decide and realize that you don’t deserve this treatment. When you realize that you are a beautiful magnificent being who deserves respect and love.
It stops when you fully understand that you too deserve the love you keep giving away.
Learning how to love ourselves is no easy feat. Trust me on that one. I’m still learning to this day. I think I’m almost at a point where I can proudly say ‘I got this shit’, but not quite there yet. Close though.
When someone treats you poorly, sink deep into those feelings and really feel them. Feel the hurt, pain, and heart ache they cause. Feel that intense pain in your stomach like you just got punched.
Now remind yourself why you don’t deserve that and do whatever the heck it takes to not have to go through those feelings again.
You are here for a life of crazy ridiculous joy my friend and if someone is taking that away from you, it’s time to draw a boundary line. It’s time to pull up your big girl/boy panties and say “NO more!”
You can do this.
If you are struggling to let go of emotional and verbal abuse my self help guide might be just what you need. In it is all the tools I used to free myself from emotional pain from abuse. Grab your copy now.
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