I remember the moment like it was just yesterday. There I was sitting in my first year Psychology lecture, as an almost 20 year old, and the penny had finally dropped…
We began talking about the different types of abuse, and the effect that they can have on a person. I remember thinking ‘Oh my god… that’s me’. The flood of emotions that I had to try and contain in that moment was almost overwhelming. I remember feeling a sense of relief though. I remember thinking, ‘So it’s not me, I’m not a bad person’. For years and years I had been led to believe that I was the problem, when in fact, I was the result of many years of psychological abuse from the one person that I was supposed to trust the most, my mother.
Verbal abuse is the most common form of psychological abuse, and in my case, the primary form. A quick Google search will come up with the following forms of verbal abuse;
On a regular (probably daily) basis, my siblings and I were berated and belittled for aspects of ourselves that we can neither design, nor control. We were abused for the people that we were, and for the people that we were becoming. No one believed us, and no one seemed to understand. From the outside, we had the mother that most people wanted. To all of my friends, she was supportive, kind and so much fun. Behind closed doors I was condemned for not being enough. As time wore on, I learned that the only way to protect myself from this kind of treatment was distance. I was torn down for simply being myself, and I think that's why these days, I push so hard for acceptance, and to quit the shaming and the judgement. I let it all out, and refuse to be boxed in or categorised. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and often get hurt. Hurt beyond words, but it's made me stronger, and right now, I stand firmly in the belief that, I am me... Like it, or lump it.
Don't get me wrong, my life is not all doom and gloom! I have an incredibly special relationship with my dad. I'm incredibly lucky. Not many get to experience the kind of father-daughter relationship that I have. I often wonder how our relationship may have developed if I hadn't been subject to the years of psychological abuse. My dad gave me somewhere to turn, somewhere to feel safe and to be myself. He gave me the strength to be more than what I had been told I was, to accept the aspects of me that I was tormented for, and to turn them into something good. The rebuilding process has taken years, and I'm pretty sure, will go on for the rest of my existence, and now, the aspects of my personality that I used to push down, that I used to try and hide for fear of judgment are the ones that I most proudly admit to, and share.
There have been many moments in my own motherhood journey where I have reacted in a way that reminded me of moments in my childhood. At first I was scared, petrified that I was going to be like she was, but then I realised that I am only human, and we all make mistakes. What’s important for me now, is that I use my experience for some kind of good. It’s about breaking the cycle. It’s about breaking the habits that have been formed; the ways of thinking that have been developed either as a result of my upbringing, or as a coping mechanism. The scars that have been left behind are so deeply ingrained in me, I feel I have no choice but to accept that they are there and work with them, instead of trying to ‘heal’ them. I will forever more be a work in progress, but I refuse to let the darkness of my past define my future.
And to my dad, if you're reading this... I will always remember your wise words (Ok, well maybe Obi Wan's wise words)... You know the ones ;)
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version